I think what Fisk understands is that most “backgrounds” books are boring. Also, they don’t engage directly in the personal challenges of faith, the questions that are raised by the mystery of who Jesus is and what he was doing in his life on earth. “Norm” illuminates our thinking not simply by answers discovered, but also in the eagerness to explore every nook and cranny of the Holy Land while reading every bit of the Gospels. This is, in a sense, “narrative therapy” for real students who need to “explore” their own doubts when they engage in historical Jesus studies.And here's my favorite bit (though I'm pretty sure the tobacco in Norm's hookah was narcotics-free):
You can tell that Fisk is not interested in comfortable, quick, or easy answers. The book points towards a sense of owning the complexity in such a way that faith continues to be an adventure. There is no taming Jesus in faith, there is no taming Jerusalem (today, right now), there is no end to the exploring. And…there is a lot of fun to be had on the way (some of it involving narcotics?).Nijay writes with a nice touch. Still to come are his "ruminations on the genre of the Gospels." Looking forward to that.