My review of "Who is Jesus?" by Darrell Bock

Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith

about the book....

From the author of Discovering the Da Vinci Code, this new book is the result of a ten-year study that offers concrete evidence to reconcile the Jesus of history with the Christ of faith.

Most people agree that a man named Jesus lived in the first century in the historical regions surrounding Jerusalem. But what about the Jesus many believe to be the Son of God, the Savior of the World? How can anyone know anything about Him? Over the last decade, an international group of historical and biblical scholars met each year to investigate whether faith and history can be reconciled. The twelve scholars who conducted this study are members of the Institute for Biblical Research Jesus Group.

This prestigious group of scholars identified ten rules that they applied to key events, sayings, and teachings of Jesus to determine their authenticity. The most important of these rules is corroboration. Requiring corroboration means, for example, that most of the gospel of John is not usable in this study of Jesus, since up to 88 percent of it is singularly attested. But these scholars discovered that by applying these rules, they were able to reconstruct twelve key events in Jesus’ life purely on the basis of historical authenticity.

Who Is Jesus? is an evidence-based way to bridge the gap among science, history, and faith.

my review...

Many Christians accept what the Bible says on faith, thinking "If the Bible says it's true, then it just is!". Other Christians want to know why the Bible is true, want to know about the historical evidence for the Bible, and enjoy spending time thinking through philosophical arguments. The book "Who Is Jesus?", will especially appeal to the latter group, although people of all walks will enjoy reading this well-crafted book.

I found the book to be well laid out and easy to read and comprehend. The author clearly explains the rules that are used to test whether a Biblical text meets the criteria for authenticity or not, and then proceeds to unpack 12 main events from Jesus' life as tested against the rules. I think the rule that often spoke to me the most was the one about an event causing embarrassment to Jesus and his followers, such as the account of Peter confronting Jesus when Jesus is talking of his approaching suffering, and Jesus tells him "Get behind me Satan" (Mark 8:33). Why on earth would the first Christians have made up such a story, which serves to embarrass a key leader of the Church, unless it is true? The author has done an excellent job at looking at all the different elements that were considered in examining an event, and his writing is very approachable. A reader doesn't have to be a pastor to be able to understand the arguments that are being presented. Whether or not a reader will agree with everything they read, at the very least they will leave the book with a greater understanding of history and able to better enter into discussions about who Jesus is and was. For myself, I found the book to be an absolute faith-builder!

I highly recommend this book and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books (Simon and Schuster) for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author....

Image of Darrell L. Bock
Darrell L. Bock (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary.

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