This article seeks to understand Jesus historically and categorize him sociologically as a charismatic revolutionary prophet according to the norms of First Century Jewish society and Max Weberâ€™s Theories of Legitimate Rule. We begin by noting the apparent risk of historical Jesus studies turning into scholarly self-portraiture and how the move back to a genuinely historic Judaism (as in Meyer  or Wright ) is the only way to avoid it. Arguing that the primary texts of the Gospels are reliable sources of historical information about Jesus, we then move on to a sociohistorical reading of Luke 4:16-30, from which we can observe Jesus participating in a First Century Jewish worship community and a recognizably Palestinian Honor/Shame society. Moreover, we observe that Jesusâ€™ announcement (that the end of Israelâ€™s exile was being accomplished through him) would be understood in that context as a prophetic statement, thus locating Jesus on the religious map of First Century Judaism as a prophet. Once we have recognized Jesusâ€™ First Century status as a prophet, we can utilize Weberâ€™s categories to define Jesus sociologically as a charismatic prophet, a categorization we nuance further by applying Swensonâ€™s (2009) classification of revolutionary.
historical Jesus, N.T. Wright, Max Weber, charismatic, revolutionary, prophetic, honour/shame, Judaism