Item description for What Have They Done with Jesus?: Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History--Why We Can Trust the Bible by Ben Witherington...
Overview A leading Jesus scholar debunks the latest fad theories about Jesus and offers a compelling portrait of his real mission and message, according to the followers who knew him best.
Strange theories about Jesus seem to ooze from our culture with increasing regularity. Ben Witherington, one of the top Jesus scholars, will have none of it. There were no secret Gnostic teachings in the first century. With leading scholars and popular purveyors of bad history in his crosshairs, Witherington reveals what we can--and cannot--claim to know about the real Jesus. The Bible, not outside sources, is still the most trustworthy historical record we have today.
Utilizing a fresh "personality profile" approach, Witherington highlights core Christian claims by investigating the major figures in Jesus's inner circle of followers: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Peter, James the brother of Jesus, Paul, and the mysterious "beloved disciple." In each chapter Witherington satisfies our curiosities and answers the full range of questions about these key figures and what each of them can teach us about the historical Jesus. What Have They Done with Jesus? is a vigorous defense of traditional Christianity that offers a compelling portrait of Jesus's core message according to those who knew him best.
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Reviews - What do customers think about What Have They Done with Jesus?: Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History--Why We Can Trust the Bible?
Shrewdly Argued Jan 11, 2010
This book was a Christmas gift from my son.
Ben Witherington III has written good book for those seeking answers to all of the chaos that seems to be creeping into the religious world of today. With the explosion of books by Helms, Ehrman, Baigent, etc., it is good for the mind and soul to read a tome that is both learned and takes a different (conservative) angle on the roots of our Christian beliefs.
The more illumination on this subject, the better for all concerned. In the arena with Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace, Witherington shrewdly argues the points and counterpoints that have been unleashed on the public.
One minor quibble is the numerous times that he glazes over discrepancies by citing that the authors were sometimes engaging in "damage control". Maybe. But I have read quite a bit on these discrepancies both from the school of "There are no discrepancies - just lack of understanding" to "The entire work is sullied and should be rejected". As a man of faith, I don't need damage control but I would like to know more of the thoughts of the original authors. I am probably asking too much.
All in all, this is a good book and will give an in-depth look into James, Paul, Peter, Mary and Mary.
I also enjoyed Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them),Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Plus),What Jesus Meant,Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture's Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ and The Bible Against Itself: Why the Bible Seems to Contradict Itself
I hope you find this review helpful.
Michael L. Gooch Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders.
What Have They Done with Jesus? In deed what is being done to Jesus Sep 30, 2009
This book is a good resource for all Christians to read and gain a better understanding of what is to be said of new documents being discovered and their validity. Mr. Witherington provides a great deal information of how these provide little if any new light to be shed upon scripture.
The trouble with Sola Scriptura Jan 12, 2009
If the Bible can be relied upon for knowing the "True Jesus," there arise large problems:
(1) 38,000 PROTEST-ant sects each vying and subdividing and reforming and competing for their own personal interpretation of Scripture (all in violation of II Peter, viz.: 3:16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction." and
(2) The devil himself used Scripture to TEMPT CHRIST [Luke 4:9. And he brought him to Jerusalem and set him on a pinnacle of the temple and said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself from hence.
4:10. For it is written that He hath given his angels charge over thee that they keep thee.
4:11. And that in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.]
Hence, Christ says the path is narrow and few find it. Best to join the only Church Christ and the Holy Spirit instituted at Pentacost, the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Hard to stomach? Recall St. Paul's problem and Christ's statement, "It is hard for thee to kick against the goad." Come home, before it is too late.
6 stars! Dec 31, 2007
I've been told that Witherington is too challenging by some friends I've shared his work with. This book has been an exception. Witherington is, in my opinion, the finest Biblical scholar and historian we have today. His books are generally written for the aggressive, intellectual, deep diving God seeker. "What have they done with Jesus" opens the window of opportunity to be shared with a larger audience.
Witherington breaks from his socio-rhetorical commentaries and historical narrative style. He cuts back on his typically extensive academic narrative (letting the reader peruse the supporting notes and references for themselves) while boosting the granularity of his critique of modern and historical controversies. "What have they done with Jesus" condenses and reorganizes his more extensive works into a lively, entertaining perspective on hot button topics.
The book flows through the action of: * Overlooked, and misunderstood female hero's * Scriptural revelation versus theologically modified characters * The mother of Jesus and matriarch of the family in scripture, society and time * The mysterious "disciple whom Jesus loved" revealed * The late blooming brothers of Jesus * Paul and his real versus contemporarily imagined challenges in the Jesus movement * What of the other disciples? * Those strange Gnostics that have captured the media
A picture is created by this scriptural detective of a far more interesting historical Jesus movement than one might imagine. There are a number of eye openers here to be considered. Witherington masterfully engineers his arguments and leaves popular revisionists no slack.
If you are seeking to understand the Bible story with state of the art translation and understanding, Witherington is your author and this book is a great place to start. Witherington treads on `sacred cows' and `media darlings' with the nuance and fact of `what we can know' from scripture in such a way as to make you deep dive contemporary conceptions. The aggressive God seeker will not be disappointed by this book.
Fascinating Defense of Congruence of Inner Circle's Christology Dec 17, 2007
Witherington certainly has a fine writing style that keeps the reader engaged with precise scholarship sprinkled with learned speculation and Columbo like inquiry to discern whether the Christology of Jesus was evolved and embellished by later Christians or was from the beginning by the Inner Circle.
Witherington thus runs through this hypothesis viewing the family and close disciples of Jesus and then the apostles. He concludes from this fine, thorough search: "there is no easy evolutionary spiral from low to high Christology, from early to late Christology, from more Jewish to more Gentile Christology, or from Christology more for Jews to Christology more for Gentiles. Just as the majority of New Testament documents can be traced back to the inner circle of Jesus either directly or indirectly, so also can the high and often divine Christology found in documents for both Jewish and Gentile Christians be traced back to the inner circle of Jesus."
No lost Christianities or streams equal to the inner circle's teachings that were purposely obscured until recent scholars rediscovery and media promotion.
I do take exception with his take of linking Joanna/Junia as an apostle in sense of same usage as Paul's apostleship. Equally informed exegetes see this as not a female, and the term there is not always used as an eyewitness with that authority, but as sent one.
His other suggestion as to the author of Gospel of John being Lazarus, the Beloved Disciple, is a new one to this reviewer. It will have to stand the test of peer exegetical review before it can be accepted.
Fascinating read. Interested readers will also want to read Larry Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ:Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Centuries" and Richard Bauckham's "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses."