I have had quite a few search hits recently looking for a review of the work of Robert M. Price (i.e. Jesus did not exist guy) by Craig A. Evans. Evans provides a paragraph long review of Price's The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man in the IBR's Bulletin of Biblical Research 14/2 Spring, 2004 which is available in pdf, word and html. I believe Evans also discusses Price in Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels although I have not read it.
More detailed reviews of Price are available. A wide array of good historical Jesus scholars including John Dominic Crossan, Luke Timothy Johnson, James D.G. Dunn and Darrell Bock reviewed his hypothesis that it is unlikely that Jesus existed in The Historical Jesus: Five Views (well worth $16 if you are interested in historical Jesus studies!). Tony Costa has also reviewed Price's Jesus is Dead for the Review of Biblical Literature and it is available here. Gregory Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy discuss Price and a range of surrounding areas of scholarship with regard to a minimalistic view of the historical Jesus in Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Copy/pasted below is an old essay of mine on Jesus in historical sources outside of the New Testament - I cover the common non-Christian sources as well as as go with Thomas and P.Egerton 2. I cannot remember what I wrote so some of my views may have changed.[I tried editing it and ended up redacting it into something terrible.]
Jesus of Nazareth is mentioned in a number of Christian and non-Christian documents found outside of the New Testament. The critical study of these sources in terms of origin,and date are important in determining their value as historical sources for the life of Jesus. This study will confine itself to sources that: have a high probability of having their origins in the first century and or are later sources that may preserve independent or authentic Jesus traditions. Sources such as Slavonic Josephus and Sepher Toledot Yeshua which are widely seen as having no value for serious historical Jesus research have been omitted.
Pliny the Younger was a Roman official sent to govern the province of Bithynia circia 110. In a correspondence to Emperor Trajan Pliny makes reference to early Christians and their worship of Jesus. (Epistle book 10, letter 96) Jesus is referred to as “Christus” and the text reflects the ethical teaching of Jesus such as to “abstain from theft, robbery, adultery…”. Pliny notes the Christian practice of coming together to “partake of a meal, but an ordinary and innocent meal.” This meal appears to be an allusion to the early Christian practice of the last supper that is multiply and independently attested to in the canonical gospels and 1 Corinthians. Pliny’s investigation into the practices of Christians may have corrected a misunderstanding of the symbolism of wine and blood and other allegations against the Christians.
Although reflecting Jesus traditions, the letter tells us more about early Christians of Bithynia. The Christology of Messiaship is important as Christ acts as a sufficient identification of Jesus. Similarly, a high Christology is evident in the practice of singing hymns to “Christ as if to a god” which may have precedent among the Pauline churches. Pliny informs us that his information is obtained through interviews, often forced, with Christians such as “the slave women, whom they call deaconesses.” On the question of reliability, there appear to be no reasons to doubt the textual authenticity of the reference. In conclusion, Pliny’s letter tells nothing new about the historical Jesus, although alluding to early Christian practices, Christological models and his ethical teachings which are also developed within the canonical corpus.