A couple more reviews of Dynamics of Identity

There is a very well-written and thoughtful review of my book out in Journal of Religion by Joshua D. Garroway of Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Institute of Religion.  It was rewarding to hear my arguments accurately explained by someone else, and in this case the reviewer also offers very carefully expressed criticisms of my approach.  If your institution has a subscription to JSTOR, you can find the full review here:  http://www.jstor.org/pss/10.1086/661571.

Here are two excerpts:

“Harland does not deny the uniqueness of Christian or Judean groups, but to study them alongside  associations—indeed, as associations—requires him to lay stress on similarities rather than  differences. In his defense, this approach contrasts with much previous scholarship that emphasized—and, in light of Harland’s convincing studies, probably overemphasized—the uniqueness of Christians and Judeans.”

“Until recently, scholars of early Judaism and Christianity have generally pursued the differential quality. Harland’s effort to broaden that perspective by seeing what we might learn about Judeans and Christians by considering their similarities to other “cultural minority groups” in antiquity, even if it is overstated at times, therefore comes as a welcome alternative. The sharpness with which Harland presents that perspective makes it all the more rewarding.”

There is another somewhat less analytical review by Guy Stroumsa at the BMCR site:  http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2011/2011-08-42.html.