James and Judith McConkie have taken a deep dive into something relatively few Mormon scholars and teachers have researched: the historical Jesus. Latter-day Saints have been doing scripture studies for years, and are in the past few decades beginning to contribute their own studies to the growing body of work on the Bible, but only a handful have attempted to dive into the vast literature on the subject of just who Jesus of Nazareth was in his time and setting, studies that seek to understand his life and teachings in the context of his ministry in what is now Palestine and among a colonized people ruled from Rome through the cooperation of many Jewish leaders. One result of their many years of study to discover for themselves and, initially, their family, is a new book, Whom Say Ye That I Am?: Lessons from the Jesus of Nazareth (Greg Kofford Books, 2018).
In this episode, the McConkies join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of the book, literature on Jesus within Mormonism, discoveries they made that surprised or inspired them, and much more. Specifically, they focus on several areas discussed within the work: Jesus and his interactions with women and (with and about) family, his teachings and views on suffering in this world, the systematic injustice during his time and teachings about the “kingdom of God” he was attempting to usher into being, and finally discipleship and covenanting.
Be warned: This is a terrific discussion that is sure to tease you into buying this book and many others mentioned herein! This is fascinating literature and a rich and wonderful area to dive into ourselves, one that yields many good dividends for our own spiritual walks.
James W. McConkie and Judith E. McConkie, Whom Say Ye That I Am?: Lessons from the Jesus of Nazareth (Greg Kofford Books, 2018)
N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Jesus
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography