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The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ Paperback – February 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Lee Strobel treats the subject with his usual excellence." — Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox

(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

(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

(Youthworker Journal ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • 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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Frank Turek on August 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Christian apologist and writer (I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist)who is a friend of Lee Strobel. Yes, I have an agenda just like every author who claims to write non-fiction. Lee Strobel has an agenda, and so do the atheist critics who dismiss his work. But that doesn't mean that what Lee or a critic writes is false or biased. People can present evidence objectively even if they personally are not neutral (I've noticed that neutral people rarely have the interest or expertise to write books!).

Unfortunately, many of Lee's critics claim that Lee's work cannot be trusted simply because he has some kind of Christian agenda. This is a fallacy that, if true, would swing a sword cutting both ways-- if you can't trust Lee because he has a Christian agenda, then you can't trust his critics because they have an atheist agenda. All authors have agendas, and all authors believe what they write! The issue is not the agenda, but the evidence!

The survivors of the Holocaust certainly had an agenda when they wrote about its horrors. Does that necessarily mean that we cannot trust them? Of course not. In fact, their experiences may have caused them to be all the more accurate and meticulous so as not to risk the dismissal of the message they cared so passionately about.

If you know Lee Strobel, he takes the accurate and meticulous route when writing a book. As in his previous "Case" books, Lee covers complicated topics honestly, and in a very readable and comprehensive way.
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Format: Hardcover
Strobel does not present himself as an intellectual heavy-hitter. He presents himself as a former atheist, who after some research discovered faith in Christ. He approaches his task with the perspective of a reporter and former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, which he was. He does not represent himself as an authority. He simply has six challenges that he poses to scholars respected by both the defenders and skeptics of Christ.

His six challenges are:

1. Scholars are uncovering a radically different Jesus in ancient documents just as credible as the four gospels.
2. The Bible's portrait of Jesus can't be trusted.
3. New explanations have refuted Jesus' resurrection.
4. Christianity's beliefs about Jesus were copied from pagan religions.
5. Jesus was an imposter who failed to fulfill the Messianic prophecies.
6. People should be free to pick and choose what to believe about Jesus.

These are tough questions. Strobel does not provide the answers. He merely takes the question to the expert. These experts are not third rate scholars. Prior to each interview, Strobel presents each scholar's credentials. If you've been reading books in this sort of genre before, you will recognize the names. Even if you don't and are a layman, their credentials will impress you.

The problem for me with the field of Bible study is that I am not a language expert. Unless I want to learn Coptic, Aramaic, ancient Greek, and Hebrew, I am never going to study the original texts. I therefore have to rely upon the accuracy of others. Trust is key. I have read numerous books by Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels.
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Format: Hardcover
Lee Strobel's "The Case for the Real Jesus" is his latest in a series of defenses of Christianity in which Strobel introduces numerous expert witnesses to refute arguments posed against traditional Christianity. Like all of Strobel's books, this latest has many illustrative examples and reads like a novel, yet is densely rich with information. This is probably Strobel's most timely book -- which is really faint praise since his other "Case for" books were more time-less than timely, and worth re-reading several times.

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.
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