Book Review: 40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)

40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)Whatever you may think about him or his followers, Jesus of Nazareth continues to capture the attention of billions across the planet. From church-going Christians and New Atheists to the media and academics, Jesus remains a pretty popular guy, at least in terms of the time spent discussing this first century Palestinian Jew and his various views on contemporary issues. Amidst these ongoing conversations about what Jesus would think or say about the latest news cycle there are those who have proposed a quest (or, more accurately, quests) for the real Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of history who stands behind the Jesus of Christian faith. These voices—which are by no means new—have long influenced the popular understanding of the Nazarene and continue to shape how many people interpret the message of Jesus. However, many practicing Christians remain generally unaware of the divergent claims regarding the “Jesus of Faith” and the “Jesus of History” and are (understandably) concerned when they first encounter such statements. Continue reading

NT Canon: What You Need to Know

New TestamentMost Christians, and I would dare say most Americans, know some basic things about the Christian New Testament. But many people don’t know (or don’t want to know) how the New Testament came into being. Some people seem to think that Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation fell from the sky in a nicely leather bound English translation (whichever your church happens to use, of course). Hopefully, most of you know that wasn’t quite how it happened.

So how did the New Testament canon form? Continue reading

Richard Bauckham on The Lost Gospel

The Lost GospelControversy sells.

If that’s not an adage about publishing books, it should be. It’s no secret that the controversial statements (or perspectives which can be made to sound controversial) catch the headlines. Look no further than The DaVinci Code or Reza Aslan’s Jesus. Unfortunately, much of culture is predicated on the idea that the bigger the “splash” you make, the most important you are (*insert censored joke about Kim Kardashian here*).

The same is true in scholarship, especially if you can write a book suggesting something even remotely scandalous about Jesus.

This type of stir is what Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson’s new book The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene (New York: Pegasus, 2014) is all about. Fortunately, there are still sane scholars who can debunk such claims in the course of a few articles. One such authority is Richard Bauckham, longtime professor (now retired) at the University of St. Andrews.

If you’re interested in learning why Jacobovic and Wilson are wrong and learn how to deal with the latest “Jesus and Mary Hype”, I would strongly encourage you check out Bauckham’s Seven Article Refutation of The Lost Gospel, helpfully posted over at Mark Goodacre’s NT Blog. Engage these articles, they are well worth your time.