The Historical Jesus: Five Views (IVP) is a great introduction to the world of historical Jesus studies. After being brought up to speed by editors Paul Rhodes. Eddy (co-author of The Jesus Legend) and James K. Beilby (Theology Professor at Bethel University) in the introductory chapter, we are thrown into a symposium of historical Jesus scholars. At the one end, we find Robert M. Price espousing Jesus did not exist! On the other, prominent Evangelical New Testament scholar Darrell Bock affirms the historical Jesus as best being understood from within the New Testament gospels. Between this we have also have James D.G. Dunn, Luke Timothy Johnston and John Dominic Crossan all respectfully poking holes in each others arguments.
In the first chapter, Robert Price presents “Jesus as the Vanishing Point” where he contends that only the Christ of faith is important as he believes it is “most probable that there was any other.” (56) That is, to Price a person named Jesus who walked the lands of Israel around 2000 years ago who preaching sermons who was crucified under Pontius Pilate in all probability did not exist. It should be noted that although scholars have historical questions authenticating some of the deeds of Jesus presented in the gospels, such a view that Jesus did not even exist is very rare among scholars. In his response James D.G. Dunn who has written thousands of pages on the historical Jesus makes this apparent when he is surprised to hear that there is actually someone holding such a view!
A great book well worth the read - especially the destruction of the micky mouse view of Price.
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