Dale C. Allison
|Born||November 25, 1955|
|Occupation||New Testament scholar, historian of Early Christianity, and Christian theologian|
|Title||Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary|
|Sub-discipline||New Testament studies|
Dale C. Allison (born November 25, 1955) is an American New Testament scholar, historian of Early Christianity, and Christian theologian who for years served as Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is currently the Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Allison received a BA from Wichita State University (1977) and an MA (1979) and a PhD (1982) from Duke University. Prior to joining Princeton Theological Seminary in 2013, Allison served on the faculties of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author of books on early Christian eschatology, the Gospel of Matthew, the Epistle of James, the so-called Sayings Source or Q document, the historical Jesus, George Harrison, religious experience in the modern world, and the Testament of Abraham. He has been called "the premier Matthew specialist of his generation in the United States" and "North America's most complete New Testament scholar."[permanent dead link] Allison has served on many editorial boards including New Testament Studies and the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus and he was for many years the main New Testament editor for the multi-volume Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. He contributed the commentary on the Gospel of Matthew to the single-volume Oxford Bible Commentary, published in 2001.
Allison is a prominent defender of the view of the historical Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet expecting the imminent end of the age. This view is laid out in his books Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet and Constructing Jesus: Memory and Imagination and History (which the Biblical Archaeology Society named best book relating the New Testament for 2009-2010). This view stands over against those of the Jesus Seminar and such scholars as John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, whose reconstructions of Jesus are largely free of apocalyptic elements. In recent years, he has been a critic of the standard scholarly means of authenticating sayings attributed to Jesus and events concerning him, and he has proposed an alternative approach that takes into account the modern scientific work on human memory.
We can, nonetheless, make numerous informed judgments--for instance, that the Romans crucified Jesus as "king of the Jews"--and we can, happily, judge many propositions more probable than others. It is, for example, much more credible that Jesus was a millenarian prophet than that the eschatological enthusiasm reflected in so many early Christian texts appeared independently of his influence. Still, a vast ignorance remains, and our reach often exceeds our grasp. Time after time, if we are honest, arguments concocted to demonstrate that Jesus really did say this or really did do that fall flat. Historians of Jesus, including myself, have too often assumed that we should be able, with sufficient ingenuity, to reconstruct the genealogy of almost every individual tradition. But it is not so. Some things just cannot be done, and desire does not beget ability.