Customer Review

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting attempt, October 20, 2002
This review is from: Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts (Hardcover)
I would account this a good book, well worth the read. The noble attempt to fuse archaeological evidence with Biblical exegesis is very helpful in giving a much clearer vision of life in the first century and thereby putting a context to Jesus' life and preaching.
It is not, however, free of flaws, and those have caused me to give it only three stars instead of four. One is that the jumping back and forth between archaeology and exegesis is sometimes confusing. Another is that whole paragraphs, whole physical descriptions, entire lines of argument, are sometimes repeated almost word for word. These are problems that superior editing could have and should have dealt with.
Another issue involves not so much a flaw as a caveat, but it does matter. I freely admit to not being a believer; my interest is in the historical Jesus, the real, actual flesh-and-blood person who sought to bring a prophetic message to the ignored and exploited, who died likely thinking himself a failure and convinced, if the Gospels are to be believed at all, that even God had forsaken him - but whose life and death became the basis for one of the world's great religions (and political forces).
In pursuing that interest, I've read several books on the Gospels and the life of Jesus by various authors (including Crossan) and I've noticed they all share one characteristic: Every author has his or her own Jesus, their own particular view of him and of how he himself saw his work and his intent, and they invariably interpret Biblical passages in ways that fit their notions. This is as true of devout believers as it is of dedicated debunkers. The current volume is no exception, and the caveat is thus that the book should be read with open eyes as well as open minds.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2009 12:29:20 PM PST
Rev Casey says:
Good review. Your comments remind me of Albert Schweitzer who, of course, reinvigorated 20th century interest in the "historical" Jesus. I would genially challenge your assumptions ("the historical Jesus, the real, actual flesh-and-blood person who sought to bring a prophetic message to the ignored and exploited, who died likely thinking himself a failure and convinced, if the Gospels are to be believed at all, that even God had forsaken him"). I'd also encourage you to delve into N.T. Wright's books: The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 1:03:44 AM PDT
Could you recomend a book on this subject?

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 2:32:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2014 1:26:02 PM PDT
Bill Hilly says:
Larry, thanks for your balanced book review; and, I know what you're saying, about seeking the real, historical, Jesus. I'm a bit further removed than you however as I'm still trying to find some evidence, any evidence, that will convince me that Jesus was a real "flesh and blood" type of guy. Might suggest reading some of Earl Doherty. Yes, I know what the apologist say about dear Earl, that "he's just another loony kook, wannabe, self-publishing amateur mother---ops, myther", %@#!"; then The End of an Illusion: How Bart Ehrman's "Did Jesus Exist?" Has Laid the Case for an Historical Jesus to Rest. Tell you what, Doherty is no kook, he's done his homework and took Bart D. to the outhouse, ah, woodshed, nah, whatever, he called him on his stuff--Ok? Another good book on this subject is "The Invention of Christianity," and you have the privilage a ripping up my book review.

Um, just read your other comments in this thread. Hope they're getting a copy of this. Oh, a patient of mine recommended, insisted that I read Excavating J. Think I'll pass, for now.

HILLBILLY

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2014 12:34:08 PM PDT
hi

read ernest renan's life of jesus. i, too, am skeptical but searching. renan's book is old, but i found it fascinating and very well-written.
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