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The Historical Jesus of the Gospels Paperback – April 13, 2012
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-- Catholic University of America
"With critical acumen, Craig Keener presents a comprehensive account of the study of the historical Jesus. It will be a boon for all readers -- inquisitive laypeople, pastors, students of the Gospels, and biblical colleagues."
James H. Charlesworth
-- Princeton Theological Seminary
"Keener proves why the Evangelists' view of Jesus is preferable to most modern constructs: the Gospels, as ancient biographies, reflect eyewitness accounts of Jesus and provide the only valid sources for reconstructing the historical Jesus. . . . This book is exceptional for its breadth and its captivating prose."
-- University of Heidelberg
"Historical Jesus research has developed in the last decades from a 'postminimalism' concerning the authenticity of Jesus traditions to a new 'moderate confidence' in the historicity of the Gospels. Craig Keener's book is both a milestone and a boundary stone in this development. By contextualizing the sources of Jesus research and Jesus himself, Keener succeeds in increasing the historical plausibility of the Gospels to a degree that is exceptional among critical exegetes. Therefore this book must be read and taken seriously -- both by those exegetes who are reluctant to support this 'historical-critical maximalism' in Jesus research and by those reluctant to contextualize Jesus in such a way. But both will enjoy reading what Keener has written with an open and critical mind."
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone who doubts that can pick up this book for proof.
Keener is calm, polite, and thorough as he demolishes the arguments of liberal scholars. Best of all, Keener writes so clearly that anyone, even someone with no background in scholarship, could pick up this book and read it.
Keener gives the background of the hunt for the historical Jesus and then sets out systematically to show how liberal theories were shown wrong.
Apocryphal gospels? "Most scholars recognize that the apocryphal gospels...bear...similarities to ancient novels...In contrast to Luke's Acts, the apocryphal acts date from the heyday of the Greek romances" (p 50). Gnostic gospels are late compared to Christian gospels and aimed at "an academic elite" (p 52), not the general public. The Gnostic gospels rely on information given in Christian documents.
Thomas, so beloved by the Jesus Seminar, has recently been shown by Perrin to bear "numerous characteristics of Syriac Christianity from the second half of the second century" (p 56).
Keener also discusses Burridge's bombshell of a book arguing that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John follow the Greco-Roman bioi. Ancient history writers aimed at finding the truth. They "harshly criticized other historians who...Read more ›
Well, (despite one reviewer that says otherwise) Keener is very objective in his scholarship. He seems to heed critical scholarship when it might not suit his Christian fancies. For instance, Keener thinks Jesus was an obvious Eschatological Prophet and even seems to hint that Jesus' eschatology involved apocalyptic thought (something that conservatives cringe at). Keener's tome is also thoroughly footnoted and it's obvious he has done his homework. Moreover, the one thing that makes this book so valuable is the way Keener demonstrates that the majority of Jesus tradition strands can be traced back to an early Palestinian environment. This aspect cannot be overlooked. Keener demonstrates how permeated the Gospels are with early Palestinian Jewish tradition which in turn makes the Gospel's historicity even more plausible. In fact, there was so much information to be absorbed that I plan to read the book a second time in the future just to catch up on the abundance of scholarship.
My only (small) problem with this tome was Keener's chapter on the resurrection. Not only was the chapter weak (I will be fair and assume this was due to the space constraint) but it did not flow very well and it seemed slightly thrown together. The book would've been much better if Keener left it out. However, this problem is very minor and is not substantial enough to take away from the excellent scholarship that precedes the aforementioned chapter.
Interested in Jesus studies? Do yourself a favor and read this book.
Keener is suspicious of any man made theory of Jesus that denies his Jewishness or that Jesus preached about the future. he examines gospel passages, and demonstrates that they are most plausibly recognized as historical. this is a great book to have in your library. I wish the end notes were footnotes, but that is personal preference.
This increases the probability that the Gospels preserve a reliable picture of the historical Jesus. The Jesus of the Gospels also says and does things which only make sense in first-century Palestine. One piece that was striking to me is that the name of "Bethsaida" was changed after 30 AD, but Jesus calls it Bethsaida. This doesn't make sense as a creation of the later church, but it does make sense on the lips of the historical Jesus.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent apologetics!!! One of the best! Keener is an anointed scholar/theologian.Published 13 months ago by Paul Bortolazzo
This is strange book. Half is references, and the about 50% of the meat of the book doesn't provide sufficient discussion on the historical Jesus. Disappointed.Published 15 months ago by TY
This book is titled "The HISTORICAL Jesus of the Gospels".
yet on the cover, Jesus is shown as a white European looking dude.
uh, ok ?? Read more
Keener's book on the Historical Jesus is the single best book on this topic which I've read.
He showns an amazing familiarity and proper understanding of the broad... Read more
Finally a sane perspective in which a proper historical context was used to understand the historical Jesus and the gospels. Read morePublished on March 30, 2014 by tdean
Keener's work is painstakingly thorough and careful. He builds his case on a survey of historical methodology, both ancient and modern. Read morePublished on February 20, 2014 by Alfred J. Lindh
The Historical Jesus of the Gospels by Craig Keener is a massive work showing Keener's highly impressive scholarship in the area of Historical Jesus studies. Read morePublished on August 26, 2013 by Nick Peters
keener did it again. he tackles the historic reliability of the accounts of the life of Jesus recorded in the four gospels. Read morePublished on April 5, 2012 by CAM Book Reviews
Wonderfully comprehensive overview of much of the prominent scholarship on the historical Jesus--and one of the best books on the validity of the Gospels as a focal point. Read morePublished on May 18, 2011 by Brandon Ward