Saturday, December 23, 2006

Reinventing Jesus

It is no exaggeration to say that Dan Wallace was one of the biggest influences on my early academic development. In fact he was the primary reason I decided to go back to Dallas Theological Seminary --I don't know if he knows that. Recently he co-authored the book Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture with Ed Komoszewski and James Sawyer. I recently read it and would like to join the the chorus of voices that have praised it. Among whom are Scot McKnight, Criag Keener, and Criag Blomberg (by no means can these guys be considered narrow-minded evangelicals).

The book is structured in a very logical manner seeking to build progressively the case for the historical reliability of Christianity in the face of recent attacks. While it is focused on refuting contemporary skeptics of the New Testament and Early Church history, the book provides a graspable introduction to issues in these fields.

Furthermore, it is extremely accessible to the layperson. This is readily seen, for example, in Part 2 of the book which deals with a field that is less than straightforward to scholars much less lay persons: Textual Criticism—by the way, this section surely was written by Dan because he is a recognized expert in the field. Five short chapters--a strenght of the book are the short chapters--deal with a range of issues orienting a person to the theory and practice of TC. Upon reading this section, I first thought of my undergraduate students in my John course who do not know Greek and have no orientation to issues such as these. These chapters would provide an attainable description of the important initial step in interpretation.

The writers believe that open-minded readers will discover that the evidence, when considered more closely, not only reveals the high probability of a reliable text (the NT) and history, but also shows the improbability of recent imaginative counter-narratives of the early history of Christianity.


Michael W. Kruse said...

I agree with your review. I reviewed this a few months ago and I was particularly impressed with how accessible the language is in discribing some complex idea.

Anonymous said...

Well, I had not heard of this book, but your review, coupled with endorsements by Craig Blomberg (my college advisor back in the day) and Craig Keener and Scot McKnight (both friends whom I consider to be some of the best of current evangelical scholarship), has placed it on my wish list. I am very upset with the way popular culture is misled this way--although rightwing distortions are just as bad.