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130 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Argument for the NT's Historicity
This book is a fantastic guide for any person, Christian or otherwise, who would like to understand the level of historical accuracy that can be found in the New Testament documents. In that Christianity is a religion whose truth claims are allegedly rooted in historical fact, it is key that the works through which we read of those "facts" be considered reliable. Bruce...
Published on January 1, 2001 by guy-72

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82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scholarly work; atrocious published production
Bruce's work on New Testament reliability is concise, incisive, and persuasive. The content of this book is outstanding.

However, Wilder Publications 2009 printing of Bruce's classic work is absolutely appalling. I honestly cannot believe that a publisher sent this copy to press with the number of errors, misprints, spelling mistakes, etc. that are contained...
Published on January 13, 2010 by Tawa Anderson


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82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scholarly work; atrocious published production, January 13, 2010
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Bruce's work on New Testament reliability is concise, incisive, and persuasive. The content of this book is outstanding.

However, Wilder Publications 2009 printing of Bruce's classic work is absolutely appalling. I honestly cannot believe that a publisher sent this copy to press with the number of errors, misprints, spelling mistakes, etc. that are contained. I have not yet read a complete page that was error-free, and ALL of the errors I have come across so far would have been easily identifiable through the use of a proofreader. A couple of examples: page 10, talking about the timeline of Jesus' ministry, Bruce writes that Jesus' public ministry would have commenced in September or October, AD 27.1. The Wilder edition presents it as "September or October, AD a7.1". A few pages later, while discussing the closeness of the NT manuscript tradition to the time of Christ, Bruce compares it to other ancient writings. At the top of page 13, the Wilder edition presents Bruce as writing: "For Caesar's Gallic War (composed between 58 and 50 BC) there are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is some goo years later than Caesar's day." I don't know how many years "goo" is, but I suspect that it is 800. There are a few regularly-recurring errors: the word "in" is presented as "m"; there are random quotation marks that do not belong; words run into one another without a space between them. Occasionally letters are missing from words (e.g. Matta an logia instead of Matthaean logia), and sometimes entire words are missing from sentences.

It appears that Wilder Publications ran an earlier edition of Bruce's work through a digital scanner, and sent the resulting copy directly to the printing press without ever running it by a proofreader. I tried to find an email address for Wilder Publications, or at least a phone number where I could relate my concerns, but came up empty. I will send them a letter to the post office box listed inside the book.

Basically, Bruce's work is excellent; I can't recommend it highly enough. But do NOT buy the 2009 Wilder Publications edition of it. My 4th-grader could have done a better job of proofing it.
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130 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Argument for the NT's Historicity, January 1, 2001
This book is a fantastic guide for any person, Christian or otherwise, who would like to understand the level of historical accuracy that can be found in the New Testament documents. In that Christianity is a religion whose truth claims are allegedly rooted in historical fact, it is key that the works through which we read of those "facts" be considered reliable. Bruce does a great job of doing just that. No historical account, regardless of reliability, can prove miraculous events. However, Bruce argues, if a work can be proven to be historically and culturally accurate with respect to most of its content, that document then becomes-on the whole-more compelling. Any historian would then need to take more seriously the author's questionable claims such as the miracles, and Christ as God and savior of humanity. For if an author can be shown to be reliable in all other aspects of his work, why should he lie with respect to the documentation of miracles? This line of reasoning, and many other arguments, make Bruce's short book a compelling read for anybody interested in this topic.
Several sections of this book stand out. Bruce provides an introductory discussion regarding how historians have arrived at different dates for the original writing of the NT books. That particular chapter thus demonstrates how soon after the actual events of the NT that those events were actually captured in written form. Also, he briefly explains how the different NT books came to be "canonized" during the first three centuries the Christian Church. Throughout the rest of this book, Bruce provides internal and external evidence that point to the historical reliability of the NT. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Bruce does not try to convince his readers that Christianity is true; that is not his goal. It is only his aim to demonstrate that the NT documents, which themselves assert Christianity's truth claims, are as historically reliable as any documents of antiquity. In fact, based on the guidelines that historians use to determine historicity, the NT books can be considered much more reliable than ALL other documents of antiquity. That being the case, it then is up to the reader of the NT to determine if they will choose to believe or disbelieve the truth claims that the authors of the NT assert.
The objectivity with which Bruce approaches this book makes it a must read for Christians who want to better understand the historical roots of their faith, and non-Christians who believe that the Bible is mere religious myth. Both groups of readers stand to have their minds opened by Bruce's careful scholarship.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy from this publisher, April 23, 2011
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F. F. Bruce has written a magnificent book, certainly worth having in your library. Unfortunately Amazon chose to buy this book from a publisher who must employ illiterate non-English speaking typists or proof readers, because there is NO WAY a competent publicist could have ever produced such a horrible product. Nearly every page contains typos, misspellings, punctuation errors, or even weird numbers (example: g00 for 800?). I was going to give this to my son who is having difficulties regarding the legitimacy for the New Testament claims about Jesus. But as an English major in college he would not get past the first ten pages before rejecting the book. I enjoy Amazon and have bought many books from them, and will continue to do so in the future. But do yourself a big favor and buy this book from a different publisher. You will be sorry if you don't.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I am shocked by the reprint of this classic work-FULL of Typos and errors, December 21, 2010
By 
Dennis K. Gabos (Allison Park, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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I am shocked by the reprint of this classic work-FULL of Typos and errors. Obviously Wilder Publications is a counterfeit company that scanned and OCRed the text and never proof read. This is plainly unreadable. Does Amazon do any Quality testing of products it sells. I will have to go to a reliable vendor to get this venerated text. I had to give this 1 star to complete the review- I meant 0/5 it is worthless. AMAZON should be embarrassed by this.
DGThe New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the One, March 25, 2003
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F.F. Bruce is probably one of the finest New Testament scholars there ever was and possible there ever will be. Why? Because my New Testament Studies professor in college said so, despite disagreeing with every single conclusion Bruce ever made about authorship, dating, or importance of the various books of the New Testament, not because of a lack of scholarship or invalid arguments or data, but simply because he did not wish to have the same conclusions as Bruce. That says a lot for a scholar. In addition, the research he has done is superb and the writing style is sublime. You will see other New Testament authors go into lengthy discussions on dating alone, but Bruce somehow manages to condense his entire argument into something that will fit in your shirt pocket. That also says a lot, both for the man and the work. The fact that it is still so widely regarded among not only NT studies folks but laymen only further proves its staying power. However, despite its refreshing brevity, I do wish Bruce had taken the time to go into greater depth on the books themselves, tackling some of the more complex problems of authorship of more of the NT books. Still, it's quite good and worth your time to read no matter which side of the fence you're on.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start!, June 26, 2006
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This review is from: The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Paperback)
There are many books out there that try to demonstrate the reliability of the New Testement writtings. This is the best one I've read so far.

Bruce writes in a way that is detailed enough to point you towards an informed conclusion, but that does not vear off into too many unnecessary side issues. From the very start he is forthcoming with his own Christian position, but is willing to honestly look at objections that could contradict his own conclusions.

In a day when fact seems to have very little bearing on peoples beliefs, I think that this book is essential reading
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The New Testament Documents Are they Reliable, February 19, 2011
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I sent this comment to Amazon.com. I don't know if they will look at it or even care
In the past I have considered Amazon.com a reliable source for books. But this last shipment from the publishing company Wilder Publications was really bad. There are many typos in the book and I found the disclaimer in the front of the book extremely offensive. To say that this great book does not reflect the values of today is absurd! I read that they also said this about the Constitution. Shame on you Amazon.com for selling books from this publisher.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Introduction to the New Testament Documents, November 21, 2004
This review is from: The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Paperback)
This is the sixth edition of a very popular and useful work first published in 1943. The author examines various evidences which contribute toward our understanding of the reliability of the New Testament documents upon which Christianity stands. We are fortunate to have had such a man and his considerable gifts write on this vital subject.

F. F. (Frederick Fyvie) Bruce is perhaps best known for his ability to combine deep scholarship and practical down-to-earth communication (pp. x-xi):

"Though this book remains at a level the beginner can understand, Bruce pulls no punches. When he needs to cite recondite evidence, he cites it, with due explanation. We are never left in doubt that the argument is underpinned by serious and accurate knowledge of the ancient sources. . . . Fred Bruce was, in short, a tower of strength in the worlds of scholarship and faith, and in particular to those who, like him, were and are determined not to separate the two."

There is an immense amount of valuable information packed within this relatively small book-all of it clearly presented, well-documented, and convincing in its survey of ancient documents. Yet, for all that, the text is easily read by non-academics. Indeed, such is the intended audience of the work.

After having established that the reliability of the New Testament documents do matter, the author turns to a consideration of manuscript evidence and other early writings which show us that the New Testament we have today is a reliable representation of its original form.

In an especially interesting section, Bruce discusses the many historical subtleties mastered by Luke, both in his gospel and especially in Acts (pp. 82-83):.

"The accuracy of Luke's use of the various titles of the Roman Empire has been compared to the easy and confident way in which an Oxford man in ordinary conversation will refer to the Heads of Oxford colleges by their proper titles -- theProvost of Oriel, the Master of Balliol, the Rector of Exeter the President of Magdalen, and so on. A non-Oxonian like the present writer never feels quite at home with the multiplicity of these Oxford titles. But Luke had a further difficulty in that the titles sometimes did not remain the same for any great length of time; a province might pass from senatorial government to administration by a direct representative of the emperor, and would then be governed no longer by a proconsul but by an imperial legate. . ."

The author also includes a chapter discussing archaeological evidence related to various passages in the New Testament. This is both helpful in establishing the reliability of the Scriptures as a historical record, but also a useful and interesting source of background for use by preachers and teachers.

A minor criticism: the author could have spent less time in such a short work discussing source criticism of the Gospels. Postulating the existence of the conjectured "Q" document does little to shed light on the reliability of the factual gospel records we hold in our hands. Although seeming to accept the Markan hypothesis, to his credit, he admits (p. 31): "While the Markan hypothesis is still the regnant hypothesis, it has been assailed by writers of great scholarship and ability."

This book deserves the very modest space it would occupy on the bookshelf of every thinking believer. It is an excellent introductory resource to share with friends who are skeptical of the reliability of the New Testament. Bruce easily demonstrates the inconsistency with which the secular world accepts the authenticity of other ancient writings which have a much poorer and later attestation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This particular version of this book is NOT RELIABLE, July 21, 2012
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This version of this classic book is a ripoff.

Somebody OCR'd it and printed up a bunch of copies and is selling it on Amazon. You can find the exact same .PDF for free on the web with the same typos.

There are so many typos that you really can't discern the meaning of many portions of this book- vital portions.

I gave up trying to read it after page 5 when I realized it was just confusing me. Truly incoherent.

Don't waste your money. Amazon, stop selling this fake book. There is not even any copyright and publisher information in the beginning of the book.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Testament is historical; good introduction to evidence, May 22, 2001
By 
Bruce H (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This book deals with the question of whether the events recorded in it are historical (i.e. did they actually happen)? As such, the primary focus of the book is on the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and Acts (tells the first 30 or so years of Christianity). This book does not address the existence of God, evolution or other apologetic topics; it deals specifically with the New Testament from the perspective of a historian.
Bruce starts the book with an Introduction, which shows that Christianity depends on certain historical events; it is not an ethical system or a metaphysical system first. It is the Gospel; that Jesus was born, did and said certain things, died and was resurrected.
Often when one reads about the evidence for the New Testament, it is very general. In this book, that is not the case. For example, in the chapter, "The Writings of Luke," Bruce mentions how Luke knew specific titles of Roman officials and why this is significant. Bruce also examines the Gentile (i.e. non-Jewish) evidence regarding early Christianity and Jesus. He cites Tacitus, Suetonius and a letter of Pliny the Younger. In the chapter on Early Jewish Writings, Bruce examines what little the Talmud says about Jesus and then goes into more depth about Flavius Josephus; Bruce investigates the idea that Christians have edited Josephus. The chapter, "More Archaeological Evidence," was probably the most interesting chapter for me in this book. It discusses specific finds that have a bearing on the New Testament and I had not previously encountered most of them in other apologetic works. Bruce does note one of the difficulties of finding New Testament Jerusalem sites. The Romans destroyed the city in 70 A.D. and a pagan city was rebuilt in its place in 135 A.D.; so it is surprising that anything is found.
Bruce also discusses the evidence regarding what happened in Acts 14:12 where the people of Lystra wrongly think that Paul and Barnabus are the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes. Bruce discusses the background to this and puts this curious event in its proper historical context. At the close of the chapter, Bruce very briefly looks at the so-called "Gospel of Thomas" and says it shows Gnostic influence but that the reader should look to other works for a discussion and evaluation.
Bruce, of course, deals with the Gospels at great length. I found this section the most difficult to go through; it just seemed very boring to read about the textual history of the Gospels. He does cover the Synoptic Problem and the Gospel of John as well. I think Bruce also makes a good point with his chapter about the Apostle Paul; several details about Jesus are known from Paul's writings which are independent, earlier and in agreement with the Gospels (e.g. Jesus is a descendent of David, was betrayed, endured the Roman punishment of crucifixion and instituted a memorial meal of bread and wine etc..).
The one drawback with reprinting a book originally published in 1943 is that many of the works that Bruce cites or footnotes are old. There are many works quoted from that were published from 1900-1950 and these books are difficult to look up if you want further information. However, Bruce partially makes up for this with his "Suggestions for Further Reading," at the end of the book which has works published in the 1960's-1970's.
I would recommend this book to someone who has the interest and patience to get into the New Testament and history; I don't think I would call it a popular level work but if you want information about the New Testament, this 12
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The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? by F. F. Bruce (Paperback - April 2, 2003)
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