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Lord or Legend?: Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma Paperback – September 1, 2007


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Lord or Legend?: Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma + The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801065054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801065057
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Can we trust the Jesus narratives in the Gospels? Boyd and Eddy, who hold doctoral degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Marquette University, respectively, affirm that we can. Both have written widely on biblical and theological subjects. Their experience shows in this marvelous study of the historicity of the gospels and the reliability of the biblical narrative. At times this book reads like a good detective story: it lays out the clues and the methods of evaluating those clues, and then draws conclusions based on the best evidence. From the most ancient witnesses, like Josephus and Irenaeus, to contemporary critics like Burton Mack, the authors ably rebut the critics' claims to inconsistency and historical error. They further explore the value of the fantasy works of popular writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Although the authors are certainly capable of turning out an academic text, this book is intended for the general reader, the average churchgoer who may be struggling with difficult questions about the Jesus story. It's a fascinating and valuable work that merits a wide readership. (Sept.)
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From the Back Cover

Did Jesus ever really exist--and if so, who was he? "This is a marvelous study of the historicity of the gospels and the reliability of the biblical narrative. At times this book reads like a good detective story: it lays out the clues and the methods of evaluating those clues, and then draws conclusions based on the best evidence. From the most ancient witnesses, like Josephus and Irenaeus, to contemporary critics like Burton Mack, the authors ably rebut the critics' claims of inconsistency and historical error. They further explore the value of the fantasy works of popular writers like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien . . . . This book is intended for the general reader, the average churchgoer who may be struggling with difficult questions about the Jesus story. It's a fascinating and valuable work that merits a wide readership."--Publishers Weekly "Boyd and Eddy do not shy away from the tough historical, cultural, textual, and logical questions and their implications. Both those of a modernist and those of a postmodernist bent will find this a helpful clarification of issues relating to the truth about the historical Jesus."--Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary "Boyd and Eddy present a compelling case that the Gospels were composed using eyewitness accounts passed down from the earliest followers of Jesus. This volume should be read by anyone interested in the ongoing discussion of the reliability of the Gospels and the truth about the historical Jesus."--Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego "This accessible reference tool provides an overview that answers many of the major criticisms that circulate in both scholarship as well as in the popular media. Some of the issues included here are rarely treated elsewhere."--Gary R. Habermas, distinguished research professor and chair, department of philosophy and theology, Liberty University Gregory A. Boyd is the senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the author of numerous books, including Letters from a Skeptic. Paul Rhodes Eddy is a professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the coauthor (with Boyd) of The Jesus Legend.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Shari J. Sjolund on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
In Lord or Legend Boyd and Eddy are not out to prove with absolute certainty that the Bible is accurate, because they understand in reality it is impossible to prove anything about the past. They do however, present the historical evidence that is found for Jesus as not just a man, but as Christ and also evidence for the reliability of the Bible. Though they are both pastors, they have great insight that goes beyond their faith. I think this book can help Christians and non-Christians see Jesus from a different perspective then maybe they have before. It is great that someone from the Christian circle is not afraid to jump into historical and often secular discussion about Jesus. Lord or Legend? is a question we all should not be afraid to explore. I think this book is a great start to a discussion about who Jesus was historically and what that means for us now.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By not4prophet on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
The first couple books I read about the historical Jesus were the popular ones by Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell, The Case for Christ and More Than a Carpenter. I find those books are both good but with certain flaws, particularly important points that they jump over without much detail. I later read Craig Blomberg's academic treatise The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, which is thorough but perhaps too detailed for some. "Lord or Legend" splits the differences, giving a concise treatment in under 200 pages that nonetheless tackles all the major issues swirling around the topic in recent years. It is also simply more up-to-date than Strobel and McDowell.

The first half tackles approaches to Bible scholarship. One major theme that Strobel and McDowell never touch is the reliability of oral transmission. No one knows exactly when the gospels were written, though we give 70 A.D. as the date that "most scholars agree on". But could the sayings and doings of Jesus have been recorded that long after his death? In fact, scholars have studied the transmission of sayings through oral tradition and found that they remain reliable for much longer periods than that. Boyd and Eddy also tackle the claim that Paul didn't believe Jesus was a real human being--a ridiculous assertion but one that's gained a remarkable amount of traction in recent years. They carefully list the many reasons why this claim doesn't hold up.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Dirks on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Boyd and Eddy present excellent arguments for the credibility of the Gospels and the divinity of Christ in this book. They address all of the major claims against the reliability of Scripture with honesty and humility, admitting that they have also had their doubts in Christianity but that its truth stands up against critical examination. Boyd and Eddy do not even claim that the historical evidence proves with absolute certainty that every aspect of the Gospel's portrait of Jesus is historically accurate, but they do claim that if one remains open to the historical possibility of that portrait they will find this to be the most historically probable understanding available. Form this open outlook the authors approach such topics as belief in the supernatural, the theology and culture of first-century Judaism, the accounts of the apostle Paul, the genre of the Gospels in relation to Jewish oral traditions, the historical veracity of the Gospel texts, the credibility of the Gospel authors, the consistency and plausibility of Scripture, and the literary and archeological evidence of the Gospels. In each of these discussions Boyd and Eddy compare the claims of Scripture and the arguments against it with historical evidence and logical reasoning apart from their beliefs as Christian men and provide extremely credible conclusions for the divinity of Christ. This book is great for anyone, Christian or non-Christian, who is willing to approach the historical life of Christ with an open mind and see where the evidence leads.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter S. Wallick on August 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was at odds for the longest time while pondering the dilemma of the Gospels' accuracy, yet these two professors made one of the best intellectual arguments I've read for the validity of the Gospels, and the truth that the Gospels foretell. I recommend this book to any skeptic--like myself--who has been waiting a while for a true and intellectual argument for the inherency of the Gospels. If there were more believers in God that were *this* intelligent, the world would be utterly and radically different right now (for the better).
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Johnson on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Lord or Legend? is a great introductory book to the historical Jesus. In Lord or Legend? Boyd and Eddy make a case for the historical reliability of the portrait of Jesus painted by the gospels. In making this case Boyd and Eddy expose the myth of the 'neutral' and 'unbaised', historical critical method utilized to disprove the historicity of the gospels and their account of Jesus. Boyd and Eddy demonstrate how the historical critical method and its supporters come to the text of the gospels with their own theological bagage and faith-based presuppostitions, such as a disbelief in miracles. The historical critical method which they apply to the text is then used to disprove the reliability of the gospels based on these presuppostitions. The solution that Boyd and Eddy propose is an 'open' historical critical method which attempts to come to the text unbaised and free of faith-based presuppositions.
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