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Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus

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Who is Jesus? What did he do? What did he say? -Are the traditional answer to these questions still to be trusted? - Did the early church and tradition "Christianize" Jesus? - Was Christianity built on clever conceptions of the church, or on the character and actions of an actual person? These and similar questions have come under scrutiny by a forum of biblical scholars c Who is Jesus? What did he do? What did he say? -Are the traditional answer to these questions still to be trusted? - Did the early church and tradition "Christianize" Jesus? - Was Christianity built on clever conceptions of the church, or on the character and actions of an actual person? These and similar questions have come under scrutiny by a forum of biblical scholars called the Jesus Seminar. Their conclusions have been widely publicized in magazines such as Time and Newsweek. Jesus Under Fire challenges the methodology and findings of the Jesus Seminar, which generally clash with the biblical records. It examines the authenticity of the words, actions, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus, and presents compelling evidence for the traditional biblical teachings. Combining accessibility with scholarly depth, Jesus Under Fire helps readers judge for themselves whether the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus of history, and whether the gospels' claim is valid that he is the only way to God.


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Who is Jesus? What did he do? What did he say? -Are the traditional answer to these questions still to be trusted? - Did the early church and tradition "Christianize" Jesus? - Was Christianity built on clever conceptions of the church, or on the character and actions of an actual person? These and similar questions have come under scrutiny by a forum of biblical scholars c Who is Jesus? What did he do? What did he say? -Are the traditional answer to these questions still to be trusted? - Did the early church and tradition "Christianize" Jesus? - Was Christianity built on clever conceptions of the church, or on the character and actions of an actual person? These and similar questions have come under scrutiny by a forum of biblical scholars called the Jesus Seminar. Their conclusions have been widely publicized in magazines such as Time and Newsweek. Jesus Under Fire challenges the methodology and findings of the Jesus Seminar, which generally clash with the biblical records. It examines the authenticity of the words, actions, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus, and presents compelling evidence for the traditional biblical teachings. Combining accessibility with scholarly depth, Jesus Under Fire helps readers judge for themselves whether the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus of history, and whether the gospels' claim is valid that he is the only way to God.

30 review for Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    If all we had were the remarks by Josephus, Tacitus et al about Jesus and the prima facie reports of the empty tomb, we would be fully warranted in believing Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose again. The Jesus Seminar rejects that and rejects that we can know most anything about Jesus. This book is an early response to the juvenile methods of the Jesus Seminar. It also serves as a great text for an intro to a Synoptic Gospels class. I. The Seminar’s Method Aside from their ludicrous coloring If all we had were the remarks by Josephus, Tacitus et al about Jesus and the prima facie reports of the empty tomb, we would be fully warranted in believing Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose again. The Jesus Seminar rejects that and rejects that we can know most anything about Jesus. This book is an early response to the juvenile methods of the Jesus Seminar. It also serves as a great text for an intro to a Synoptic Gospels class. I. The Seminar’s Method Aside from their ludicrous coloring system, the Seminar says: a. If an utterance isn’t a parable or an aphorism, then Jesus didn’t say it. That’s rather strange; why would they say that? They want Jesus to be a wandering Cynic or guru. In other words, he’s from Woodstock. Of course, no other body of scholarship would dream of applying such restrictive criteria to any other religious figure. B. Jesus’s Jewish heritage is exorcised(!) from his ministry. This makes sense, since a Hebrew prophet wouldn’t have been a Greek Cynic. Of course, even critical New Testament studies would reject that today, since if anything all the emphasis is on Jesus’s Jewishness. C. The Gospel writers either borrowed from the Gospel of Thomas and/or the Secret Gospel of Mark. Oddly enough, the stringent criteria above is not applied to these texts. Craig Blomberg gives a good rebuttal to the above points. We especially note the oft-made claim that Jesus expected the end of the world (and was likely disappointed). The problem is that he gave a bunch of instruction which presupposed a long interval of time (Blomberg 31). He mentioned mundane issues such as paying taxes, divorce, and marriage. And to say the early church made up the texts simply won’t work. If the church “invented” Jesus’s deity, then why are there passages where Jesus seems to downplay it? The most important essay is Darrell Bock’s essay on the historiography of the Gospels. Is the reporting of the gospel events designed to be a memorex, live, or jive? In other words, given the standards of ancient writing, did the authors write dwon the exact wording of Jesus (memorex), nothing of Jesus (jive), or the “gist” of Jesus (live)? Bock makes a convincing case for live. If you hold to the memorex view, then you have a hard time affirming inerrancy in light of different sequences (or even worse, did Jesus heal the blind man as he was going into Jericho or leaving Jericho?). The live view seeks to reproduce the “voice” or Jesus, not the exact words. Compare this with Thucydides account in 1.22.1. Thucydides admits he is summarizing, and perhaps reordering, a speaker’s thoughts and words, yet scholars recognize him as a model of accuracy and good reporting. Other comments: Gary Habermas remarks on the Seminar’s disavowal of miracles: the Seminar says we can’t trust the miracle narratives because the authors wanted to believe in them. Whether they did or not is irrelevant. It’s called the genetic fallacy. Strangely enough, skeptics like Marcus Borg believe in the exorcism stories, but he gives us no reason for accepting the attestation of all Gospel writers on these stories while excluding the nature miracles. William Lane Craig offers his standard defense of the Resurrection. I’ll forgo it here because I think it is better presented in Craig’s later works (cf. On Guard). He does note that the Resurrection can’t be a hallucination on the disciples’ part. Hallucinations can only show what is already in the mind, and Jesus’s resurrection isn’t identical with the Jewish afterlife (Craig 161). Edwin Yamauchi’s concluding essay is fine survey of “Jesus studies” after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He also touches on Josephus’s writings, including the controversial passage in Antiquities 18. It’s mostly authentic. Eusebius’s edition is somewhat doctored, but it is clear that Josephus knew of Jesus and his miracles. This is an outstanding short response to the Jesus Seminar. It is somewhat dated as N.T. Wright’s refutation of the Jesus Seminar came out soon afterwards.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glory

    A great, great, great book on the questions raised by the Jesus Seminar and others on whether the traditional view of Jesus coincides with the historical evidence. The chapters cover the common questions and are answered by known scholars in the field. The style is easy to read for the layman, yet comprehensive enough (by its pages of footnotes) for someone who wishes to search further.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Resposito

    Faith shall not be proven in argument. Well...this book puts that idea to rest!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe

    WoW read this book if you want to constantly have to flip back and forth to the footnotes! it’s crazy how well-researched each of the essays is, and how well and logically they make their argument. it’s pretty intellectual (meaning anyone who doesn’t enjoy Christian history or textual criticism would have a hard time), but well worth the read if you want some Biblical reliability in your back pocket.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Leigh

    Very good book. Well thought out and systematic. Each chapter is written by a different expert, and it covers many topics, including the flaws in the Jesus Seminar's claims and methods, and their attempt to mesh Gnosticism and true Christianity into a pseudo Christianity that there is no evidence for having existed. 5 out of 5 stars! Very good book. Well thought out and systematic. Each chapter is written by a different expert, and it covers many topics, including the flaws in the Jesus Seminar's claims and methods, and their attempt to mesh Gnosticism and true Christianity into a pseudo Christianity that there is no evidence for having existed. 5 out of 5 stars!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    book I read in "life of Jesus" class in college. book I read in "life of Jesus" class in college.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    A brief overview of historical questions about Jesus studies. Helpful but brief.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    After reading a few books by Jesus Seminar authors, it was refreshing to find a challenge to their material.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adam Feichtmann

  10. 5 out of 5

    Simon Konecny

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lonnie Collier

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  15. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

  16. 4 out of 5

    Switmuli

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Douglas

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julius

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sheldon Mann

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kellye Fabian

  21. 5 out of 5

    Neil

  22. 4 out of 5

    Timothy D. Billingsley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dr Wesley Rose

  25. 4 out of 5

    RJ Patten

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Vanhorn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annie Cottrell

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wilhelm

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Matos

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