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The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, Vol. 2: From Transfiguration through Triumphal Entry
by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel (Editor), Thomas A. Wayment (Editor)
Reviewed by Jeff Needle
5/10/2006 7:38:06 AM
Publication of this volume brings to a close the monumental three-volume series of studies treating the mortal ministry of Jesus the Christ. In a previous review of the first volume, I expressed my gladness that Mormonism, and its mainstream publishing outlets, were breaking free of its self-imposed isolation, and deep dependence on the writings of respected LDS authors, that typified so much of what has come from its presses. This is not to dismiss the contributions of those Mormon scholars who have added so much to the discussion. But it does acknowledge that biblical scholarship has made great strides since Talmage and McConkie penned their favored works.

The present volume focuses on the period from the scene at the Mount of Transfiguration up to Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Much had transpired during this time, and the contributors document these events with clarity and impressive scholarship.

Some of the essays:

There is evidence of a slow but certain evolution of attitudes toward Jesus and his ministry, as nicely documented in Jennifer C. Lane's "From Opposition to Hostility: Changing Reactions during Jesus' Ministry." Her study offers a keen understanding of how vehement was the opposition to Jesus and his teachings.

One of the best essays is Thomas A. Wayment's "The Woman Taken in Adultery and the History of the New Testament Canon." Here he discusses the pericope found in John 8 and studies the reasonableness of its inclusion in the canon. However one comes down on this issue, Wayment's treatment of the history of the development of the canon with regard to this story is a fascinating and instructive read.

Brian M. Hauglid offers a comparative study of "Luke's Three Parables of the Lost and Found." Calling on historical, textual and cultural context, Hauglid brings these parables to life in a unique and very helpful way, helping the student to focus not just on the stories, but on how they illuminate our understanding of the character of God.

There are, of course, may other entries in this volume. What a wonderful collection this is!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a statement about these books: the Church can benefit greatly by placing these alongside Talmage and urging all members to study these three volumes. There is simply nothing better in all of Mormondom than this series when it comes to studying the life of Christ and his ministry on earth.

In particular, those in teaching situations must have these books. They will add so much insight into their teaching, so much depth to their understanding of the subject matter. But, in fact, maybe it's time to add a new slogan to the Church's repertoire: "Every member a student!" Not just teachers, but every person who takes on the name of Christ ought to feel an obligation to learn more about the one they honor.

Please get these books. They are an investment that will pay big dividends for years to come, providing an exceptional basis for Gospel study and contemplation of the life of Jesus Christ. And if Deseret Book decides to produce similar volumes covering the Old Testament histories, I will be first in line to read and review them.