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55 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the Jesus Seminar Where it Hurts, November 12, 2001
This review is from: Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Paperback)
This book is a composition of short essays written by a number of prominent Christian apologists which focus on specific and fundamental questions about the Christian faith. Each of the chapters offers solid defenses of orthodox Christianity as well as highlighting where folks like the Jesus Seminar are in opposition to Christian orthodoxy and the many philosophical and scholarly flaws that undermine their case.
While each of the chapters offered compelling reasons in support of Christianity while rejecting the 'scholarship' of the Jesus Seminar, I felt that two chapters were quite outstanding. Habermas's chapter on miracles and Craig's chapter on the resurrection both did the best job of deconstructing the Jesus Seminar, in part, by demonstrating the reasonableness of orthodoxy. Habermas did a good job of demonstrating that the Jesus Seminar, far from being a group of people offering fresh scholarship because they are not bound by Christian tradition, are clearly bound tightly to a naturalistic worldview that slants their entire approach to their study of Jesus. These guys are not neutral and impartial scholars. As both Habermas and Evans effectively demonstrate, the Jesus Seminar is often in the intellectually dubious position of trying to meld two worldviews that are hostile to each other - Christianity and naturalism. The result, as the entire book effectively shows, is a highly subjective effort on the part of the Jesus Seminar to naturalize Christianity and to christianize naturalism. Since this can't be done objectively or evidentially, the Jesus Seminar tries to do it subjectively. And while this has certainly resulted in the Seminar getting lots of attention, it also makes books like Jesus Under Fire easy to write, because the Seminar's scholarship methods are frighteningly easy to refute.
William Lane Craig's chapter does a very good job of refuting the Seminar on the question of the resurrection. Craig's main emphasis is on demonstrating the massive falsity of John Dominic Crossan's musings on the resurrection. Craig's chapter in this book, coupled with Craig's formal debate with Crossan some years ago, provides defenders of orthodox Christianity with a multitude of reasons to be confident in the intellectual soundness of Christianity while also being confident that opponents of orthodox Christianity are in a very bad way if Crossan's views represent the best they can do.
In conclusion, this is a book that puts the Seminar squarely in its place as a group of rogue people who's scholarship and improbable theories are better suited for daytime television than in the halls of academia. I was very impressed with the concise nature of each chapter, and how each chapter is heavily referenced. Lastly, I was also very happy to see a somewhat lengthy list of suggested readings on various Christian topics that complement this book.
When it comes to religious books, topics discussed tend to be pretty fluid, and there is no shortage of rebuttals and rebuttals to rebuttals among scholars of differing views. But every once in a while, a book comes along that really cripples the opposition, and this can be seen by the muted response the opposition offers to the book. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis is one of those books, The Gospel and the Greeks by Ron Nash is another. Jesus Under Fire is a book that comes close to falling into this category. This book has been out on the market for nearly 7 years now, and the response to this book from prominent folks on the other side of the equation has been sparse at best. And what little response there has been has often been guilty of the same philosophical and scholarly presuppositions employed by the Jesus Seminar that were so thoroughly refuted in this book. It is therefore with great confidence that I recommend this book as a quality starting point for exploring the rationality of traditional Christianity, and then applying the same tests of logic, philosophy, and intellectually honest scholarship to the views and methods employed by the Jesus Seminar and its sympathizers.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 5, 2007 1:45:59 AM PDT
Swift says:
I find it somewhat absurd that you would challenge the suitability for academia of anything given that you are in essence defending the logically indefensible - faith. The fundamental difference between the Jesus Seminar and the references quoted in this book is that the Jesus Seminar members take great pains to peel back layer after layer of storytelling, story-mutation, and embelleshment to try to get at, as much as is possible, the historical Jesus. The references used in this book are mosly echo-chamber secondary sources. Until you understand this most basic of basic crucial differences, you really have no business commenting on what is or is not 'academic.'

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2009 9:42:02 AM PST
B. Kaminsky says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 1:21:16 PM PDT
spfdgreg says:
The Jesus Seminar assumed, without any real evidence, that there was storytelling, story-mutation, and embelleshment in the Gospels, so their findings are nothing more than their biased, antichristian opinions.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2011 7:42:08 AM PDT
Faith can come about from the examination of evidence . . . . I guess you didn't know that.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 7:34:03 PM PST
Sum_bad_hat says:
Faith that is cemented through experiance with (anything) becomes logical to that person. Is this not something that naturalist and progressives "preach" anyway, relativeness?
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