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Reinventing Jesus Paperback – May 9, 2006
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This is not just another response to the issues raised in the novel and the film. It is a serious, detailed, yet eminently accessible refutation of the exaggerated skepticism of bona fide scholars like Bart Ehrman or Robert Price and of the outright misinformation in frequently-believed pseudo-scholarship circulating on the web or via little-known publishing houses." (Craig L. Blomberg Apologia Report 2006-11-01)
"Reinventing Jesus cuts through the rhetoric of extreme doubt to reveal the profound credibility of historic Christianity. Meticulously researched yet eminently readable, this book invites a wide audience to take a first-hand look at the primary evidence for Christianity's origins. Reinventing Jesus shows believers that it's okay to think hard about Christianity, and shows hard thinkers that it's okay to believe. . . .While there are other books being written to defend the historical Jesus of the New Testament, and the authenticity and trustworthiness of the New Testament writings, Reinventing Jesus is one of the better ones read by this reviewer. The authors cover such a breath of material that it is hard to find one of similar value in terms of thoroughness and argumentation. I highly recommend this work." (Ray Hammond ChristianBookPreviews.com 2006-08-01)
"I have bought all the Da Vinci Code books and I feel this book is by far the best one out there. Reinventing Jesus transcends The Da Vinci Code stuff and is more a book on the origin of the New Testament for the most part. It is definitely a book for the average person to learn about how oral tradition and a memorizing culture was behind how things were written back then, all about textual criticism and why we can have confidence in the New Testament today. How books were selected etc. I can say there that it is one of the best books I have ever read that goes into the apologetics of the Bible and I hope that the Da Vinci Code tie in, doesn't give a short shelf life to this book, as it really is a book that is like taking a class on the origin and trustworthiness of the Bible, not The Da Vinci Code." (Dan Kimball Vintage_Faith.com 2006-07-01)
"An excellent book. A readable book. A perennial book with unfortunately, a seasonal title. It deserves to be bought and read and stored and studied ó with or without its current connection to DaVinci Code and The Jesus Seminar. The book is an easy reading account of why and how we have the New Testament." (Doug Pagitt tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com 2006-07-01)
"For years now I've been lamenting the sad state of published apologetics, as it seemed that there was far more interest in getting out insipid eschatological novels than in offering defenses of the faith rooted in sound scholarship. I was glad when Lee Strobel's works finally jimmied that door some, and when Licona and Habermas cracked it further open with The Resurrection of Jesus; and now, this trio has blown the door off its hinges and sent it flying into the atmosphere. I'll put it bluntly: Buy this book. If you're tired of the Christian publishing industry putting out the intellectual equivalent of Hostess Ding Dongs in defense of the faith, you NEED to make this book a success, because otherwise, they won't get the message and we'll get more Ding Dongs instead of more roast beef." (J. P. Holding Tektonics Book Reviews 2006-04-01)
"Reinventing Jesus cuts through the rhetoric of extreme doubt to reveal the profound credibility of historic Christianity. Meticulously researched yet eminently readable, this book invites a wide audience to take a firsthand look at the primary evidence for Christianity's origins. Reinventing Jesus shows believers that it's okay to think hard about Christianity, and shows hard thinkers that it's okay to beli --1
From the Publisher
From the worldwide sensation The Da Vinci Code to the national best-seller Misquoting Jesus, popular culture is being bombarded with radical skepticism about the uniqueness of Jesus and the reliability of the New Testament. Reinventing Jesus cuts through the rhetoric of extreme doubt to reveal the profound credibility of historic Christianity. Meticulously researched yet eminently readable, this book invites a wide audience to take a firsthand look at the primary evidence for Christianity's origins. Reinventing Jesus shows believers that it's okay to think hard about Christianity, and shows hard thinkers that it's okay to believe.
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Top Customer Reviews
That was years before I read this book. After reading this book, I wish I had it when I was faced with those early challenges. It would have spared me a lot of time and questions.
Ironically, in trying to debunk Christianity, many of these very intellectual (and genuinely gifted) men/women have fallen into the same hole they accuse Christians of dwelling. They don't seek to find the real historical Jesus as they claim. They aren't even open to the full idea. Instead, they are seeking their own supposition of what Jesus was. They have faith that Jesus was not as the Bible describes Him. He could not have been the Son of God, because such an idea is ludicrous to them! Through that lens they selectively impose standards that attempt to support their own belief. From there, anything goes no matter how far it has to stretch because the alternative (Jesus being divine) is unacceptable.
This book does a fantastic job at exposing the problems with that position using historical fact, as well as good ol' fashioned reason. If you're genuinely interested in this type of thing, being either an intelligent Christian going to a skeptical environment (i.e a university), or a skeptic wanting to read the other side, I'd highly encourage giving this a read.
The author's state their case to the point, but without hubris. There are some books, both by evangelical and post-modern or liberal scholars, that I can barely stomach because the author is full of himself and his ideals. Happily, this is not one of those.
The case is drawn originally, as well as pointing to past works of scholars who had already researched the subject in great detail. Common issues regarding the accuracy of the New Testament, the influence of mystery religions, and the virgin birth similarities are all addressed very well. I think this is a critical book for a believer to own! One that cuts through a lot of the pseudo-intellectual schools of thought on the subject that abounds these days...particularly over the internet by anyone who fancies themselves an 'enlightened' intellectual expert and believes a lot of the anti-Bible junk they have been fed without question.
It offers the orthodox response to the hoards of Da Vinci Code enthusiasts, believers in multiple Christianities, and those people who still haven't heard that no, Christianity did not mix up Osiris with Jesus.
Better yet, it is well written, breezy, and comprehensive. It doesn't require you to be a scholar to figure out the arguments.
There is an excellent section on the reliability of the New Testament and textual criticism in general. "Of the hundreds of thousands of textual variants, the majority are spelling differences that have no impact" (p 56). The church fathers cited the New Testament so frequently "that if all other sources for...the New Testament were destroyed...they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the whole New Testament" (p 81).
There is also a section on whether or not the early church put the correct books into the gospel. This is not as comprehensive as it could be, but certainly sufficient for anyone who wants basic questions answered.
One thing I especially enjoyed was the chapter on early forgeries. Did the early church care about forgeries? Did forgeries become mixed up with the real texts?
"The early Christians took seriously the question of authorship" (p 139). The section on how Hebrews was treated should convince any open minded person on just how seriously they took the debate about which texts to add to the canon.
They even answer the old charge that "psuedepigraphy (the writing of a document in someone else's name)" (p 145) was a standard practice in the early church. No it wasn't. The early Christians took very seriously the authorship and age of texts. When 3 Corinthians was found to be a forgery the elder was defrocked as a punishment.
Because so many books are flooding the marketplace about new, hidden gospels the section on the apocryphal gospels is especially needed. Many were written "to entertain the growing population of Christians" (p 153) such as the Protoevangelium, which was one of the earliest. It is also the one least likely to be cited by the Jesus Seminar or Elaine Pagels since it is devout.
No, they prefer the gospels written by Gnostics. And what they always forget to mention in their books is how little the various schools of Gnosticism had to do with Christianity. The Gnostics were the pagan reaction to Christianity. And they arrived long after Christianity.
There are also chapters on whether the earliest Christians regarded Jesus as divine and human, and whether the early Church borrowed from, or was influenced by, paganism.
Also very needed is a discussion on the Council of Nicea where, no, Dan Brown, Constantine did not declare Jesus a God.
The bishops who arrived at Nicea had survived Diocletian's persecution. One had "lost his right eye and gained a limp in his leg before being banished to the mines" (p 210). Other bishops had "lost use of their fingers because their nerves had been seared with hot pokers...Men who had suffered such physical injuries for the sake of spiritual integrity were not about to be told what to believe about Christ" (p 210).