5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good addition to Wells' cumulative case against historicity of the Gospel Jesus,
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This review is from: Can We Trust the New Testament?: Thoughts on the Reliability of Early Christian Testimony (Paperback)
This book is worth owning. While Wells is not employed as a religious apologist, nor does he use his scholarship as a launch pad for religious ax grinding. He is indeed a competent scholar and Professor in his field, and his more than 40 years of rigorous study of Christian origins, theology, and New Testament makes him an authoritative voice urging reason and rationality regarding the question of whether the NT canonical Gospel stories can be trusted as nominally historical. Taking note of the vast chasm in meaning between the preexistent cosmic Christ Jesus being of pure consciousness that somehow became a man in an unspecified time, place, and setting imagined by Paul versus the schizophrenically diverse redactional impressions of late first/early second century Hellenistic Jesus cults, Wells clearly identifies the facts that prove fatal to assigning trust to the NT as history. The silence of the genuine Pauline epistles of any detail of the Gospel Jesus stand with the equally resounding silence of the deutro-Paulines, the general epistles including those of Peter, James, John, Jude as well as that of the anonymous letter to the Hebrews. However, the canonical but pseudepigraphical forgeries, 1st, 2nd Timothy, and Titus, followed by the writings of Ignatius and 1st Clement (regardless of whoever actually did pen them) do show traces of the Gospel stories indicating a time span wherein the details of Gospel Jesus were propagated subsequent to Mark's invention of them. Throughout CWTTNT, Wells refers the reader to supporting arguments in his other books while deconstructing and demonstrating falsification of counter arguments offered by various religious scholars or apologists. Professor Wells also points out the misgivings of many Christian scholars regarding the complete dearth of evidence for historicity of the Gospel Jesus. This short book does answer the question titling it with an unqualified no. The faulty argument of other reviewers notwithstanding.