Thursday, September 3, 2009

Books Update

Lord or Legend?
Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma

By Gregory A. Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy

This is a short book, only 180 or so pages in length, which summarises the larger work by Boyd and Eddy titled The Jesus Legend. The text deals with a number of issues - however, these are generally issues of later scholarship which have been rebirthed by less qualified scholars. The book deals with the work of G.A. Wells - a non-historian and non-Biblical scholar who earlier postulated that Jesus did not exist. His works have been pushed by Earl Doherty (another non-scholar). The book tackles the questions of historiography (how do we view the miraculous in history?) to the issues of oral traditions and general reliability. Some questions dealt with include as to whether there really was a conspiracy of silence about Jesus; was Jesus a Jewish version of a Graeco Roman cosmic saviour? Is the New Testament nothing but myth? Could the context of first century Palestine support such a myth?

In the end, it is a great book. Although they begin with the caveat that they are believing scholars, they end far more objective than the (pseudo)scholars with whom they interact. I would recommend this book as a great introduction, however, if you do have the ground knowledge in New Testament scholarship jump straight into The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (2007).

Jesus and the God of Israel:
God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine IdentityBy Richard Bauckham

I haven't read much of this book, but the back cover seems rather enlighting.

This book is a greatly revised and expanded edition of Richard Bauckham’s acclaimed God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (1999), which helped redirect scholarly discussion of early Christology. The basic thesis of this book, outlined in the first chapter, is that the worship of Jesus as God was seen by the early Christians as compatible with their Jewish monotheism. Jesus was thought to participate in the divine identity of the one God of Israel. The following chapters provide more detailed support for, and an expansion of, this basic thesis. Readers will find here not only the full text of Bauckham's classic book God Crucified but also other groundbreaking essays, some of which have never been published previously.

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