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Hidden Gospels
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Philip Jenkins is also the author of "Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Social Crisis" and "Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History".

About the Author

Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars joined Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion as Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion.

Reviews

In addition to attempting to find postmodern, multiple, nontraditional interpretations of traditional biblical texts, the renowned Jesus Seminar has published texts from outside the traditional canon, heralding them as new discoveries that suggest reinterpretation of traditional Christian theology and practice. In this book, Jenkins counters the interpretations of Jesus Seminar scholars, concisely and evenhandedly introducing their theories and presenting historical and textual evidence to contradict them. He questions their "discoveries" of texts that have been known to biblical scholars for at least two hundred years, challenges their dating of texts in order to impart them greater weight and traces many of their purportedly new interpretations to age-old traditions ("heresies" to the early Church) such as Gnosticism. He ascribes to the seminar scholars "inverted fundamentalism," claiming that these critics, ironically, assign great authority to historically questionable noncanonical texts, such as The Gospel of Thomas, while simultaneously challenging the authority and validity of the long-established canon. He attributes this bias to both a postmodern search for meaning and a lay audience hungry for religious truth, while noting that only new interpretations advance academic careers and attract media attention. In short, he argues that the Jesus Seminar offers nothing new under the sun. Jenkins closes out this forceful critique by noting "we can only hope" that when new biblical texts surface, they might be "evaluated on their merits, and not solely for their value in cultural battles." (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"One of the many services of Mr. Jenkins's fine, carefully argued book is to put discussion about what happened in Palestine 2,000 years ago on more reliable ground."--George Sim Johnston, The Wall Street Journal "Jenkins explains his thesis in language that is both clear and fair. Hidden Gospels is admirably evenhanded."--Frederica Mathewes-Green, Los Angeles Times "A quite absorbing book."--Clergy Journal "A sober, and sobering, account of how some scholars have enthusiastically embraced 'new' or 'hidden' gospels which just happen to support certain currently fashionable ideologies--and of just how unwarranted such claims actually are."--N.T. Wright DD, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey "Jenkins has brilliantly identified the mythic dimension of the recent fascination with hidden gospels and alternative Christianities."--Luke Timothy Johnson, author of The Real Jesus "One of the many services of Mr. Jenkins's fine, carefully argued book is to put discussion about what happened in Palestine 2,000 years ago on more reliable ground."--George Sim Johnston, The Wall Street Journal "Jenkins explains his thesis in language that is both clear and fair. Hidden Gospels is admirably evenhanded."--Frederica Mathewes-Green, Los Angeles Times "A quite absorbing book."--Clergy Journal "A sober, and sobering, account of how some scholars have enthusiastically embraced 'new' or 'hidden' gospels which just happen to support certain currently fashionable ideologies--and of just how unwarranted such claims actually are."--N.T. Wright DD, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey "Jenkins has brilliantly identified the mythic dimension of the recent fascination with hidden gospels and alternative Christianities."--Luke Timothy Johnson, author of The Real Jesus "Jenkins makes clear that the inflated claims of the boosters of the Gospel of Thomas are neither well founded nor all that new. This book places the recent 'selling of Nag Hammadi' within the larger context of American academic politics, social trends, and New Age religions, and does all this in a manner that remains accessible to the general reader."--John P. Meier, author of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus "...nontechnical, lucid, and well argued."--Choice

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