The essays in this volume were written for and presented at the fourth international meeting of the Context Group, held in Tutzing, Germany, in June 1999. The general question asked at this meeting was: What can one, with the help of historically informed social-scientific models, know about the “historical” Jesus from the New Testament that cannot be known by other approaches? Most contributors to this book adhered to this theme. The Tutzing meeting proved to be successful in generating scholarly interaction among Context Group members and their German New Testament colleagues. Yet one of the founding members of the Context Group could not attend, and we would like to dedicate this volume to him.
Since the inception of the Context Group in 1989 and of its predecessor, the Social Facets Group of the Jesus Seminar, in the early 1980s, John H. Elliott has structured our annual national programs. Like all Context Group members, Jack came to social-scientific biblical interpretation through a distinctive set of circumstances.
A native of New York City, Elliott received his Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Divinity, and Master of Divinity degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and his degree of Doktor der Theologie from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (1963). He was ordained a Lutheran clergyman in 1963. He taught at Concordia Seminary (1963–67) and at the University of San Francisco from 1967 until his retirement in 2001.
Jack Elliott takes pride in his career of liberal activism. In the 1960s, he protested the Vietnam War and marched in Selma, Alabama. Finding that he shared intellectual interests with a number of his fellow protesters— many of them from Berkeley—Elliott met with them off the streets to ex-