READ “Tekton”


Recently, I visited friends in Amman, Jordan. It was my first trip to the Middle East, and though my experience was quick and largely as a tourist, I had a few magic moments that can only happen when you shed any schedule and open yourself to wandering. One of those instances was a spin through a bookstore just off Rainbow Road in Amman. I am promiscuous when it comes to books. The bookstore was very modern, and luckily many of the titles were in English. One book caught my attention immediately: Zealot by Reza Aslan (2013). It felt right to read a book about the historical life of Jesus while in the Holy Land. Even better, the book Zealot is a historical (and controversial) unpacking of the political world which swirled around Jesus, both before and after his brief appearance. I began reading it that night. The author introduced Jesus as a tekton, the Greek word for craftsperson, which reminded me of a paper I wrote in seminary aptly titled “Tekton.” I decided to revisit that paper when I returned from my trip. Written a decade before Aslan’s book, the short report was for a graduate-level “Historical Jesus” seminar. After rereading the paper, I was happy with the material. The copy here is close to the original from 2003. I made some changes to syntax, tried to smooth over the potholes in meaning and structure.