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Book Review of Jesus Under Fire

From here, his interested in the New Testament and other pieces of Biblical literature started, and from here he went on to study for a Master’s degree. His PhD was in New Testament with specialisms in 2nd Temple Judaism and Old Testament Theology. He went on to work as a pastor, then accepting an appointment at the Talbot School of Theology, where he is currently based. He has worked on several research articles, books and chapters in his chosen fields of New Testament theology, Christology and discipleship. About Jesus Under Fire Jesus Under Fire is essentially an examination of the critics and criticisms of Jesus Christ throughout history. It is an academic work comprising of contributions from eight authors who put forward accounts of the life of Jesus and assess the historicity of the way that Jesus is perceived in the Bible. These scholars take into account the work of the Jesus Seminar and the role in which this has played on the view of Jesus and His life throughout history. The work is essentially a criticism of the methodology of the Jesus Seminar, and presents different accounts which give evidence that the Jesus of the Bible is historically accurate. It does this by examining the New Testament and the words and actions of the Jesus contained within. It can be classified as a work of religious non-fiction opinion. The book starts with the question “Where Do We Start Studying Jesus?” This is an interesting one, and sets the tone for the rest of the book by describing how scholars and laymen alike should approach the Bible and Jesus’ teachings. Interestingly, this section covers the issue of scholarly scepticism regarding the Gospels and how this has affected the approach to Biblical study in modern times. Blomberg, the author of this chapter, argues that this scepticism of modern times is not warranted, and goes on further to examine reasons why this is the case and where the scepticism arose from. This sets the tone for the whole book, which aims to prove that the texts found in the Bible are generally trustworthy and are not deserving of such a response from the academic communities. Scot McKnight is the author of the second chapter, which investigates Jesus studies and the correct way of approaching the historicity of Jesus as found within the Bible. This is a very informative chapter that introduces some methodology. Many of those who disagree with the Jesus seminar suggest that the methodology is faulty, so this section is necessary to examine the different ways of approaching the study of Jesus that may be more appropriate and useful in determining historicity. The book then moves on to examine the words of Jesus. Firstly, it ascertains that there were no tape recorders or newspapers, and this makes it difficult to understand how information may have travelled in these earlier times. The culture in which Jesus lived was an oral one, and therefore most information travelled by word-of-mouth, including a number of Jesus’ teachings. This chapter argues that some of the differences between the Gospels where similar events are reported can be said to be due to differences in priorities between the reporters and their reporting style. This is a middle ground between those who think everything in the Bible literally records everything like a Memorex tape recorder and those (like the Jesus Seminar) who believe that the Bible represents only a loose idea of what the historical Jesus was saying. Chapters four and five cover what ...Show more

Summary

Michael J. Wilkins. Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. 254 pages. 978-0310211396. Michael J. Wilkins, the author of Jesus Under Fire, is Distinguished Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Talbot School of Theology…
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