- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan; 1St Edition edition (February 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310292018
- ISBN-13: 978-0310292012
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ Paperback – February 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Atheist-turned-Christian Strobel, with four Gold Medallions and other awards, focuses on rediscovering the real Jesus, whose identity and message have come under attack in recent years. He addresses six major challenges and claims: that a different Jesus is seen in ancient documents that seem as credible as the four canonical gospels; that tampering by the church has damaged the Bible's portrayal of Jesus; that new explanations refute Jesus' resurrection; that Christianity copied pagan religions regarding Jesus; that Jesus didn't fulfill messianic prophecies; and that contemporary people should be able to choose what to believe about Jesus. As with his previous books, Strobel attacks the issues as an investigative journalist, though one with a clear agenda. He searches out experts (including Craig A. Evans and Michael Licona) to refute each objection, offering readers top evangelical scholarship revealed in everyday language while challenging the claims of liberal writers like John Shelby Spong, Bart Ehrman and others. In the end, he says, none of these seemingly daunting challenges turned out to be close calls... they were systematically dismantled by scholars... with facts, logic and evidence. Evangelical readers will come away with deeper understanding of the various arguments about Jesus. (Sept.)
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'Lee Strobel treats the subject with his usual excellence.' -- Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox <br><br> (Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox)
'...provides solid apologetics attempting to rebut current attacks on the character of Jesus and the 'rampant relativism' Strobel believes has enveloped our culture....[A]ddresses today's questions in a captivating style useful for those who are ready for 'solid food' rather than 'milk.'' -- YouthWorker Journal <br><br> (YouthWorker Journal)
'A solidly researched book in the series that offers sound apologetics, refuting many of the current challenges regarding the character of Christ. Great for the teacher desiring intellectual reflection.' -- Youthworker Journal <br><br> (Youthworker Journal)
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Top Customer Reviews
In defense of this common belief, many scholars have sought to prove that the Bible as we know it is a book of fables copied from other historical myths into an inconsistent, incomplete group of humanly devised books which only the most insecure people need bother with.
In this day of instant, around-the-world communication, what is proposed by one, is shared hundreds or thousands of times until many take the proposition to be factual.
Whenever I discuss such matters, I always insist on the author to produce “primary” sources. Unfortunately, that is too much work for most and too revealing of inaccuracy to others.
In this book, Strobel presents a very painstakingly analysis of the fact and fiction regarding the authenticity of the Holy Bible. He quotes source after source going back to ancient primary sources time after time to prove that the Bible is the most historically proven book of all time.
Strobel often takes the oppositional position when questioning Biblical scholars, challenging their ideas until the false arguments are completely disproven. One example which was new to me was the idea that other religious myths predate Christianity and the Bible “borrows” from those myths. Strobel demonstrates that there are only three instances that predate Jesus and those do not come close to being a parallel of Jesus birth, death as a sacrifice for our sins.
It is obvious that essentially all of the antagonists of Christianity would do well to actually perform scholarly research rather than repeat what they have read on anti-Christian blogs.
The narrator did a very good job of keeping the listener engaged although as with many books, I would have preferred that the author narrate the book himself.
I was given a free audio version of this book for my agreement to review it but this has not influenced my personal impressions of the book.
The earlier books were defenses against more credible attacks. The first book, "The Case For Christ" responded to attacks from secular historians, atheists, and religious scholars who seemed to think Jesus needed a re-make. Next, "The Case For A Creator" presented a strong summary of arguments for Intelligent Design. Then "The Case For Faith" was a philosophic defense of God (not so much debating his existence as explaining why he should be worshiped).
Much of the new book "The Case For The Real Jesus" defends Christianity against the likes of Dan Brown, James Cameron and Michael Baigent, who are experts only in drama and making money. I find it sad that such a defense is even necessary, but the situation may be a sign of the times, when every conspiracy theory is assumed true until proven false, and revisionist history is automatically preferred over tradition. Fortunately, Dan Brown has already been discredited by many experts (including Strobel himself), and the other opportunists are easily dispatched.
Another currently popular theme is "lost gospels", such as those of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and Judas. These gospels are treated as new discoveries in the popular media, even though we've known about many of them for decades. Scholars almost universally reject these as anything representative of the early church beliefs, yet they are popularized as credible witnesses to the origins of Christianity. Strobel puts these documents into perspective and provides the reader with valuable tests to evaluate them.
But recent attacks on the identity of Jesus are not always so sensationalistic. The public seems to hunger for alternative visions of Christianity, and scholars have moved in to fill the void.
Bart Ehrman is a well respected scholar who is also well known from his The Teaching Channel classes and recent best selling books, including "Misquoting Jesus", which creates doubt about both the original teachings of Christianity, and the role of the early church in manipulating scripture. Strobel does not so much dispute the facts Ehrman presents as question Ehrman's conclusions. Ehrman is an agnostic, and Strobel is a believer. This is much like the difference between a pessimist and an optimist, and interpreting the fullness of a glass of water. The same information can be presented in very different ways with very different emphases. Strobel simply provides balance to Ehrman's doubts. Clearly we don't have perfect copies of the original scriptures, and clearly some scripture was tampered with. But despite this, Strobel makes clear we can be very confident with the scripture we do have.
As always, scholars find the idea of miracles and the resurrection hard to swallow intellectually. They haven't come up with new arguments, but have framed their arguments in new ways. Strobel does likewise, rehashing his arguments from previous books, but with the bullet point style of Michael Licona. He also responds to Islamic theories about what happened to Jesus on Good Friday.
Another favorite argument today is that Christianity has much in common with other religions, and may even have stolen it's central archetypes (like the resurrection, the virgin birth, and the Son of God) from earlier religions. Strobel shows us that such similarities are superficial at best, and often require quite an imagination to see the connection.
Many religious people today are discarding the old time religions, rejecting the need for religious authorities and seeking God on their own - and on their own terms. Jesus loses his identity and becomes little more than an imaginary friend, or a comforting tradition. Jesus becomes re-made, re-interpreted, like an unfaithful movie adaptation to a well known story. And the loss of church means the loss of Jesus in our social lives. Strobel describes the situation eloquently. This creative religious atmosphere may be the root cause of the absurd pseudo-Jesuses popping up in the media today, and the loss of Christianity's roots. This aimless, lukewarm attitude towards God may be more destructive to the Christian community than any athiest's argument or any secular oppression.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's time to put to bed the Gnostic and Liberal teaching and live in Christ.