Two new books on the historical Jesus might be worth your careful consideration. The first one provides the spectrum of views, the second one is a historical Jesus book by one scholar.
James Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy have produced a book for students, or for pastors who simply don’t have the time to read the major books and sort through all the scholarship. The book is called: The Historical Jesus: Five Views
. Here’s what you will find:
Chapters by prominent scholars: Robert Price (there wasn’t a Jesus!), John Dominic Crossan (Jesus the Mediterranean peasant), Luke Timothy Johnson (a narrative approach), James D.G. Dunn (the Jesus of the Church’s memory), and Darrell Bock (an evangelical view). The highlight of multiple view books, of course, is the interaction. While thoroughly civil, there’s some real fireworks in the responses — Dunn to Price and vice versa were juicy. This book is an excellent textbook for colleges and seminaries, and an wonderful place to begin for anyone who wants to know what major players are saying.
Craig Keener, a delightful scholar at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, may be our generation’s most detailed scholar, and his approach is on full display in his brand new book on Jesus: The Historical Jesus of the Gospels: Jesus in Historical Context
. 800+ pages; everything covered; footnotes for everything. Texts cited in abundance! But his focus on the historical sources more than reconstructing a new Jesus. In some ways, this is about Jesus in his historical context.
Craig covers some really good topics, but makes no pretense of even comprehensive coverage. He covers John the Baptist and Jesus the Galilean Jew and Jesus as a teacher and kingdom discipleship and Jesus’ Jewish ethics and conflicts with other teachers and Jesus the Prophet and Jesus the Messiah and Confronting the leaders, and sections on the passion and death and resurrection.
This book will be a staple for many of us for years to come. Great job, Craig