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Gospel Truth Paperback – April 1, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Russell Shorto does a crackerjack job of summing up the latest research on the historical Jesus. Without taking sides, Shorto draws a fascinating picture of Jesus the man by approaching the topic from all available angles, such as his Greekness, his Jewishness, his miracles, and his message. Although there is nothing in this book that hasn't been said already, it's value lies in its easy-to-read, balanced synthesis of the cacophony of scholarly and religious opinions. Not meant as a challenge to the Gospels but as an honest exploration of an issue of profound significance to so many Christians and non-Christians alike. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Readers, especially Christian ones, who are unaware of current New Testament scholarship may be surprised by Shorto's work, which gives a different picture of Jesus from the one portrayed in the New Testament. Other readers, even if they have read only what popular news magazines have been reporting lately about biblical research?witness recent attention to Robert Funk's Jesus Seminar?will find here an interesting and cohesive summary of the current state of research on the Gospels and specifically on the person of Jesus. Shorto brings together results from the study of archaeological finds, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the extra-canonical gospels to show a Jesus stripped of the unhistorical. Shorto's skills as a journalist are evident in this well-written book. Highly recommended.?John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reprint edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573226599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573226592
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Don W. Dotson on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Books are finite products written for specific purposes. In this work, the author is very explicit about his aims and goals: this book was written by a journalist to tell a story about recent historical Jesus scholarship. With that purpose in mind, the book is a huge success and something of an intellectual tour de force. Those expecting original scholarship or conclusions backed by detailed argumentation are missing the point. It is especially disingenuous, as one reviewer has done, to take material out of context as exemplary of the author's use of "unsupported assumptions." The detailed scholarship and arguments are to be found in the works cited by Shorto and the reader is referred to them for further study. As one who has read and studied most of the works in the reference list, I can attest to the masterful job Shorto has performed in making sense of a huge amount of scholarship. I literally could not put it down and finished it the day I purchased it. Since many of us get caught up in the trees and miss the forest, Shorto's book serves a great service by bringing the contours of the forest of historical Jesus scholarship in sharp focus. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
 Shorto's Gospel Truth is a discussion of various conclusions drawn by many biblical scholars searching for the historical Jesus (as opposed to the Christ of faith), which will disappoint Fundamentalists. Shorto is a journalist rather than a biblical scholar, but he has a good grasp of recent research in this field. He has done his homework, which included personal interviews with some scholars. Considering the topic, the book is surprisingly easy to read. He has no axe to grind, as do most biblical scholars, so his presentation is relatively fair. Although he devotes the most space to the Jesus Seminar and Crossan, he does present alternative viewpoints. He discusses some aspects of the work of Sanders, Frederiksen, Schillebeeckx, Funk, Borg, Mack, Raymond Brown, John Meier, Spong, N.T. Wright, and others, as well as the criticisms of William Craig.
The current trend among Bible scholars is the historical approach. Shorto states "The historical Jesus movement has not only taken over New Testament studies but has swept into the popular consciousness" thanks primarily to the publicity surrounding the Jesus Seminar. The ranks of historical scholars includes ministers and priests. "Far from trying to undo Christianity, many of them [historical scholars] were working toward a new definition of it."
Because the evidence about the historical Jesus is so sparse, the conclusions drawn by all historical scholars are tentative. Every author has at least some bias, and it is primarily for this reason that there are so many different viewpoints.
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Format: Paperback
Russell Shorto's *Gospel Truth* is the book all of us interested in the "historical Jesus" wish we could have written. It is well-written, comprehensive, fair-minded and above all, written with great clarity of thought. For those who are new to this field of study or know someone who is, Shorto's book is the best I have found for getting a good overview of modern biblical scholarship. It can be hard to decide whom to believe: Spong, Crossan, Borg, etc. This book gives a concise summary of the views of a range of scholars as well as the author's own opinions. However, Shorto does not come across as dogmatic about many issues, leaving the ultimate decision to the reader. Why can't all books be this easy to understand *and* informative?
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Format: Paperback
I know when people see the words "Historical Jesus" they flinch in that uncomfortable way, waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of bible-bashing or blasphemous conjecture but I must say Russel Shorto does a magnificent, un-biased summation of historical research in the life and especially the times of Yeshua ben Josef.

A not unimportant point is that is a fascinating read. I could not put the book down and read every night til 3am. The historical picture he paints of the eastern Mediterranian in the first century is a testimony to his journalistic integrity.
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Format: Paperback
For the past fifteen years I have avidly read just about every major work and every major author in the scholarly "Quest for the Historical Jesus". I picked up Russell Shorto's "Gospel Truth" expecting just another superficial, possibly biased, layman's survey of the field. What I found quite frankly surprised and pleased me. It is indeed a survey work but Shorto has done his homework in depth. His presentation is comprehensive, balanced and unbiased. His writing is most readable, even entertaining. His own questions of the scholars and his own insights demonstrate his thorough mastery of this very large body body of literature. For the layman with an interest in the field looking for an introductory work and even for the more advanced student looking for a work to tie it all together, "Gospel Truth" is it. I recommend it heartily!
Alastair MacDonald
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