I am trying to set up what I want to say about Jesus’ view of the afterlife, and am finding that it requires a good bit of background information.  I have already done two things: shown what he taught about the coming kingdom and explained that his teaching (about the kingdom and everything else) is very different in John from the Synoptics.  Scholars are almost unanimous that given these differences, the older sources (the Synoptics and the accounts they built on, e.g., Q, M, and L) are more likely to be accurate about Jesus’ words than the later and heavily theologized John.  Now I need to explain more broadly, if in very brief form, the major elements in Jesus’ preaching/teaching.   For that I have borrowed from a post a few years ago, as follows:


We could obviously have a year-long thread on the topic of what it was Jesus taught during his itinerant preaching ministry.  Many people have written very long books on the subject – and the books just keep comin’ out.   If you want a more extended discussion of my views on the matter, you can see my book Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.  I include bibliography of other works to consult.  For my money, among the best and most influential have been John Meier, E. P. Sanders, Dale Allison, and Paula Fredriksen – all of whom agree that Jesus is best understood as an apocalyptic preacher.

Here let me summarize under several rubrics what I think we can say with reasonable reliability about Jesus’ preaching:

The Kingdom of God:  Jesus’ preaching was principally about the coming Kingdom of God.  Like other Jewish apocalypticists, Jesus did not mean by “Kingdom of God” what…

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