Review: The Historical Jesus: five views by James K Beilby

· Christianity
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Review is from: The Historical Jesus: five views (Paperback)

I have rated this book with 4 stars, not because I was gripped with its contents or editorial skills but because it confirmed for me the kind of thinking behind academic theologians and evangelists. I will admit, as a layman, I was able to read and digest only a few pages at a time, and I had to persist to finish it. I found massive quotes of chapter and verse of the Bible unhelpful and distressing as I should have had a Bible next to me to know to what the authors were referring to. Otherwise those references would be meaningless to most readers.

I was hoping to gain an insight into the ‘historical Jesus’ but instead I found that like most evangelists, these academics and theologians were seeking ‘historical Jesus’ “within the limited boundaries of the Gospels and Biblical literature,” never once exceeding these ‘boundaries of evangelicalism,’ nor were there any suggestions that Jesus in the Bible could have been an allegorical Jesus. Yet none of the authors ever questioned the historical authenticity of the Gospels or their authorship nor the possibilities that such literature written hundreds of years after the event were not historical but simply a collection of allegorical stories plagiarised from one another, edited and re-edited by numerous scribes, Pharisees, and theologians until the stories were sanitised and harmonised to suit their objectives. Or even suggested that there could have been possible corruption or cosmetically dressed versions of the original events presented for popular consumption. Thus I was rather disappointed with the uncritical manner of the examination by these theologians in their search for historical Jesus. I was disappointed with the findings of the ‘historical Jesus’ as the search was very limited in scope.

I do not believe that the historical events as stated in the Bible have yet been fully verified historically or archaeologically. There have been recent archaeological findings that are now being analysed that could reveal a different aspect to Biblical history.

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