For over twenty years, Craig Blomberg's The Historical Reliability of the Gospels has provided a useful antidote to many of the toxic effects of skeptical criticism of the Gospels. He offers an overview of the history of Gospel criticism. Thoroughly updated edition with added footnotes and two new appendixes.
Because the twentieth century search for the historical Jesus so heavily favored the Synoptic Gospels, we are long overdue for a reassessment of the evidence presented in the Gospel of Johnl. Craig L. Blomberg offers a foundational introduction and commentary, focusing with intelligence and care on the historicity of John's Gospel.
The historical reliability of the Gospels has been discussed from the Enlightenment onwards. At present, many scholars assume that the canonical Gospels as we have them are essentially fictions constructed near the end of the first century to meet the needs of the Christian movement of that time and that they give us very little reliable information regarding the life and teachings of Jesus. But have these scholars really understood the nature of the written Gospels? Birger Gerhardsson has devoted almost the whole of his academic career to the study of the oral tradition that is the basis of our canonical Gospels. His groundbreaking doctoral dissertation, "Memory and Manuscript," drew a parallel between the way in which the rabbis taught their disciples and the way Jesus taught his disciples: both required memorization of the master s teaching. Rabbinic disciples handed on their masters tradition with great care, and we can be sure that the disciples of Jesus would have been no less careful with what he taught them! "The Reliability of the Gospel Tradition" presents three studies that illuminate how the early Christians passed on tradition. The Origins of the Gospel Tradition gives an accessible review of the debate regarding the extent to which the New Testament evangelists enable us to hear the voice of Jesus. The Path of the Gospel Tradition contains a critical discussion of the approach of the form-critical school to the problem of the early Christian tradition, ending with an alternative sketch of the path of the tradition. The Gospel Tradition offers a rather detailed picture of various aspects of the content and method of early Christian tradition and assesses thereliability of the four oldest of the extant written records. In the current climate of skepticism I know of nothing more helpful than Birger Gerhardsson s writings, and that is why I am particularly delighted that the pieces that compose the present volume are again available in print. New generations of students deserve to have them, not merely because they ultimately vindicate the church s estimate of Jesus, but because they are true to the nature of the Gospels themselves and to the purpose of those who wrote them." Donald A. Hagner (from the Foreword)
The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus. Carrier re-examines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm. Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory would posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century. Carrier finds the latter theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time. For anyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge.
The New Testament is the foundation of the Christian church, but some question its historical accuracy. Others have claimed that Paul's teaching differs from that of the Gospels. How can we reconcile the seemingly different messages of Jesus and Paul? What is the relevance of the New Testament in our world today, in cultures far removed by time and space from the first-century Mediterranean world? What principles can we use to make appropriate applications? In Making Sense of the New Testament, Craig Blomberg offers a reasonable, well-informed response to these crucial questions encountered by Bible readers. Grounded in sound scholarship but written in an accessible style, this book offers reliable guidance to pastors, students, and anyone interested in a better understanding of the New Testament.
Why a Philosophical Analysis Elucidates the Historical Discourse
Author: Raphael Lataster
This volume explains the inadequacy of the sources and methods used to establish Jesus’ historicity, and how agnosticism can reasonably be upgraded to theorising about ahistoricity when reconsidering Christian origins.
Paul Barnett s title Finding the Historical Christ is a calculated jab against the popular dichotomy between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. In this book Barnett seeks to establish that the two figures are, in fact, one and the same. / The culmination of Barnett s After Jesus trilogy, Finding the Historical Christ carefully examines the ancient sources pertaining to Jesus, including writings by historians hostile to the Christian movement (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny), the summarized biographies of Jesus in the book of Acts, and especially the four canonical Gospels. Based on compelling historical evidence, Barnett maintains that Jesus of Nazareth regarded himself as the prophesied Christ, as did his disciples before Jesus died and rose again. This is the only way to explain the phenomenon of the early church worshiping Jesus. / There is currently something of a revival of confidence in the historical value of the Gospels. Paul Barnett s work, notable for its sober use of historical method and its many fresh observations and proposals, is an excellent contribution to that development. Richard Bauckham / University of St. Andrews / Over his illustrious career, Paul Barnett has returned repeatedly to questions about the historical Jesus, the historicity of the Gospels, and the history of earliest Christianity. Drawing together scattered strands of all of that work, elaborating them further, and adding still new ones, Barnett here mounts what may be his most impressive case yet for the accuracy of the canonical material and the messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth on historical grounds alone. Craig L. Blomberg / Denver Seminary