A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence

Overview

Whether Jesus was really the Son of God or not is a central question for Christians-and one that has provoked heated debate since the time of Jesus' birth. Dean L. Overman examines the earliest Christian records to build a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. Addressing questions raised by books such as Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus and Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, Overman builds a carefully reasoned case for Jesus truly being the Son of God.

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A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence

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Overview

Whether Jesus was really the Son of God or not is a central question for Christians-and one that has provoked heated debate since the time of Jesus' birth. Dean L. Overman examines the earliest Christian records to build a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. Addressing questions raised by books such as Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus and Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, Overman builds a carefully reasoned case for Jesus truly being the Son of God.

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Editorial Reviews

New Testament Abstracts
After describing the evidence concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Overman, a former senior partner in the international law firm of Winston & Strawn, develops his case for the divinity of Jesus with reference to the worship patterns in the earliest church, Jesus' use of "I am" sayings and his conviction for blasphemy, the reliability of the canonical Gospel accounts, the reliability of oral Gospel tradition, the resurrection as a plausible event, and the basis of the new and old gnosticism in fantasies. Then he argues that one cannot logically maintain that all religions describe a path to the same ultimate reality, and considers how one should engage a person of another faith concerning diverse religious beliefs.
Birger Gerhardsson
I admire this book's elegant, efficient, and clear style, formulated by a trained jurist. The argumentation is lucid and strong throughout, giving readers important and solid knowledge in 'good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.' It is a clearly written presentation against the proposition that early Christians freely constructed the words and traditions of Jesus. The reader is in good hands.
Richard N. Longenecker
Skillful lawyer Dean L. Overman has carefully marshalled the earliest evidence available from the early church's earliest confessions and set out a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. What results is not just an enjoyable 'good read'—it is an excellent and perceptive 'must read' for laypeople and scholars alike, which calls for an intelligent response in the court of public opinion.
Craig A. Evans
Dean Overman covers a lot of very important ground in this well organized and easy-to-read book. He makes a solid case for the divinity of Jesus, as seen especially in the historically credible accounts of the resurrection. But Overman deals with many other important topics, such as the reliability of the New Testament Gospels and the unreliability of the second-century gnostic Gospels and the complicated question of how other religions of the world fit into the picture. Students, clergy, experts and non-experts alike will benefit greatly from this book.
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
Dean Overman brings the investigative skill of a brilliant lawyer together with the insights of an outstanding Christian intellectual leader to make a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus and his resurrection. The careful argument he makes needs to be taken seriously by all who want to examine the foundations for the astonishing claim that Jesus uniquely is the Son of God. No assertion of truth is more revolutionary in the world's history than this. Overman presents an accessible, persuasive case for why this assertion is historically grounded and intellectually trustworthy.
Rev. John Polkinghorne
Dean Overman has produced a carefully written, helpful book that investigates this exceptionally important issue in a persuasive and convincing manner.
January/February 2010 Edmonton's Living Light News
This book is one of the best examples of a solid argument for Jesus' divinity and His relationship with God the Father. . . . He carefully traces the evidence from an enormous collection of sources to prove his book's argument beyond any doubt. . . . Overman writes and discusses as a skillful lawyer would argue his case in a crowded courtroom.
Wes Granberg-Michaelson
Dean Overman brings the investigative skill of a brilliant lawyer together with the insights of an outstanding Christian intellectual leader to make a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus and his resurrection. The careful argument he makes needs to be taken seriously by all who want to examine the foundations for the astonishing claim that Jesus uniquely is the Son of God. No assertion of truth is more revolutionary in the world's history than this. Overman presents an accessible, persuasive case for why this assertion is historically grounded and intellectually trustworthy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442203228
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,067,869
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean L. Overman is former senior partner of the international law firm Winston & Strawn. A former Templeton scholar at Oxford University in religion, information theory, and physics, he has also studied theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and Harvard University. He lives in Washington, D.C., and is the author of A Case for the Existence of God, and A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1 Worship Patterns in the Very Earliest Church Indicate an Immediate Veneration of Jesus as Divine Following His Crucifixion
Chapter 2 In the Synoptic and Johannine Gospels Jesus Used the Term "I Am," Words that Function as the Name of God in the First Century; Hence His Conviction for blasphemy in His Trial Before the Sanhedrin
Chapter 3 Reliability of the Canonical Gospel Accounts is Supported by the Historical Evidence
Chapter 4 The Means of Communication of the Gospel Immediately After the Crucifixion was through a Highly Reliable Oral Gospel Tradition
Chapter 5 The resurrection is a Plausible Event
Chapter 6 The New and Old Gnosticism are Based on Fantasies, Not on Historical Events
Chapter 7 One Cannot Logically Maintain that all Religions Describe a Path to the Same Ultimate Reality
Chapter 8 How Should One Engage a Person of Another Faith Concerning Diverse Religious Beliefs?
Appendix A: Hymnic or Creedal Verses
Appendix B: Bart Ehrman’s recently published Jesus Interrupted is contradicted by the conclusions of his mentor, Bruce M. Metzger

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2009

    A Case for the Divinity of Jesus

    Dean Overman's recently published book, A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence, is masterful in doing just that -- examining the very "earliest" evidence. It is a wonderful and enlightening sequel to his previous two books, A Case for the Existence of God and A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization. Throughout the book he emphasizes the earliest creeds, hymns and liturgies of the very earliest church. Here he is actually describing the beliefs about Jesus held by those who were most closely associated with him in the days immediately preceding his crucifixion and the days following his resurrection. He describes in detail how these creeds and hymns were incorporated into our very earliest Christian writings and sets forth evidence validating the reliability of these writings and the dramatic patterns of the worship of Jesus as divine prior to the composition of these writings. Of key interest and importance is the focus and extensive research Overman has done on the second-century Gnostic gospels. Overman clearly explains the speculative nature and inaccurate information disseminated by persons promoting these Gnostic gospels in an attempt to distort the traditional, orthodox faith of the earliest church. This is unfortunately a growing and popular sentiment in today's world. For the history buffs, this book is a history book. Overman's continuing extensive research in the theological area is also profound and invaluable to any reader. His comprehensive writing style and consistent attention to detail and factual information is remarkable in his honest effort to seek the ultimate truth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2010

    This is a very well researched, historical account of the origin of the Christian faith. One need look no further than the factual and accurate review given by Publisher's Weekly as provided below:

    The divinity of Jesus Christ has been a matter of fervent dispute since the Galilean
    made his appearance on the human stage. Following his death and resurrection, numerous schools of thought arose to try to explain who this man was and why he mattered. Overman, a former Templeton scholar at Oxford University who studied religion at Princeton and Harvard, brings his considerable talents to this question, focusing on the scholarly evidence for early belief in the divinity of Jesus. This is the third in a series of studies from his able pen, including a volume examining the case for the existence of God. He spares no effort in dissecting and analyzing early liturgical practices and documentary bases. His examination of Gnosticism and its impact on Christian belief is nothing short of masterful: his reflections about a resurrected messiah among the Jews are thoughtful and pointed....he maintains a level of readability such that any student of Christianity and its leader will benefit from Overman's thorough examination.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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