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Modern historical study of the Gospels seems to give us a new portrait of Jesus every spring—just in time for Easter. The more unusual the portrait, the more it departs from the traditional view of Jesus, the more attention it gets in the popular media.
Why are scholars so prone to fabricate a new Jesus? Why is the public so eager to accept such claims without question? What methods and assumptions predispose scholars to distort the record? Is there a more sober approach to finding the real Jesus?
Commenting on such recent releases as Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, James Tabor's The Jesus Dynasty, Michael Baigent's The Jesus Papers and the Gospel of Judas, for which he served as an advisory board member to the National Geographic Society, Craig Evans offers a sane approach to examining the sources for understanding the historical Jesus.
1. Misplaced Faith and Misguided Suspicion: Old and New School Skeptics
2. Cramped Starting Points and Overly Strict Critical Methods: The Question of Authenticity
3. Questionable Texts—Part I. The Gospel of Thomas
4. Questionable Texts—Part II. The Gospel of Peter, The Egerton Gospel, the Gospel of Mary and the Secret Gospel of Mark
5. Alien Contexts: The Case Against Jesus as Cynic
6. Skeletal Sayings: Maxims Without a Context
7. Diminished Deeds: A Fresh Look at Healings and Miracles
8. Dubious Uses of Josephus: Understanding Late Antiquity
9. Anachronisms and Exaggerated Claims: Christianities Lost and Otherwise
10. Hokum History and Bogus Findings: Jesus Between the Lines
11. Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Unfabricating His Aims and Claims
Appendix 1. Agrapha: Free-floating Sayings of Jesus
Appendix 2. What Should We Think About the Gospel of Judas?
Index of Extracanonical Ancient Sources
Posted December 12, 2009
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Posted January 28, 2012
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