Cover Image: Contagious Holiness

Contagious Holiness:
Jesus's Meals with Sinners (NSBT)

Craig Blomberg (Apollos, 2005)

Blurb Review


One of humanity's most basic and common practices - eating meals - was transformed by Jesus into an occasion of divine encounter.  In sharing food and drink with his companions, he invited them to share in the grace of God.  His redemptive mission was revealed in his eating with sinners, repentant and unrepentant alike. Jesus' ‘table fellowship' with sinners in the Gospels has been widely agreed to be historically reliable.  However, this consensus has recently been challenged, for example, by the claim that the meals in which Jesus participated took the form of Greco-Roman symposia - or that the ‘sinners' involved were the most flagrantly wicked within Israel's society, not merely the ritually impure or those who did not satisfy strict Pharisaic standards of holiness. In this excellent and thorough study, Craig Blomberg engages with the debate and opens up the significance of the topic.  He surveys meals in the Old Testament and the intertestamental period, examines all the Gospel texts relevant to Jesus' eating with sinners, and concludes with some contemporary applications.


1 The current debate
2 Forming friendships but evading enemies
3 Contagious impurity
4 Jesus the consummate party animal?
5 Pervasive purity
6 The potential of contemporary Christian meals

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