The Significance of Sanders

The recent, extensive crop of reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature includes the following

Fabian Udoh, ed.
Redefining First-Century Jewish and Christian Identities: Essays in Honor of Ed Parish Sanders
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

The final paragraph gives an accurate summary of the significance of Ed Sanders' scholarship:

"Most of us in academia hope to come up with a few new and original ideas that will
impact upon scholars and scholarship. If we are lucky and this happens, we might remain
in the eye of scholarship for a generation or two, but after that most of us and our work
fade into various levels of academic oblivion. Only very few scholars produce work of such
monumental importance that it becomes benchmarks not only for colleagues but for
anyone wishing to study a particular field. Sanders has done this in not one or even two
but in three centrally important areas of New Testament study: Judaism, Jesus, and Paul.
Moreover, even if one does not study Christianity or Jesus, it is still impossible today to
work on the Second Temple period without Sanders, and obviously this is the case
regarding Jesus and Paul. This has been true for decades and will undoubtedly continue to
be so for the coming ones. Few scholars have been able to bend, as it were, the not always
pliant study of religious traditions and to form it into something new. Not all agree with
him; his work has sometimes aroused opposition and criticism, but we cannot make do
without it. The present volume is a fitting accolade for an outstanding scholar."