Friday, January 15, 2010

The Historical Jesus: Five Views

Ordinarily I find these 'four views' or 'five views' kind of books a little contrived. Usually published by evangelical publishers and edited by evangelical editors, I think they are intended to show the superiority of the evangelical position. But this volume comprises a nice cross-section of current historical Jesus research.

The introduction to the volume is judicious and offers the basic background to historical Jesus research. The chapters that follow are essays by five scholars (Robert M. Price, John Dominic Crossan, Luke Timothy Johnson, James D. G. Dunn and Darrell Bock) who represent points along the spectrum of scholarly positions on the historical Jesus and the enterprise of studying the historical figure of Jesus. The volume does not disappoint expectations since the arrangement of the essays suggests a graded progression from the most radically revisionist to the most traditional portrait of Jesus. In spite of the clearly chosen arrangement, the essays each provide a snapshot of major voices in historical Jesus scholarship.