Item description for The Evidence for Jesus by James D. G. Dunn...
Overview An acknowledged New Testament authority, James D. G. Dunn here makes an important contribution to contemporary thought. He looks at the origins of Christianity in the light of modern scholarship, demonstrating why Christians should "welcome the critically inquiring and investigative skills of scholars."
An acknowledged New Testament authority, James D. G. Dunn here makes an important contribution to contemporary thought. He looks at the origins of Christianity in the light of modern scholarship, demonstrating why Christians should "welcome the critically inquiring and investigative skills of scholars."
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.36" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Feb 3, 1999
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN 0664246982 ISBN13 9780664246983
Availability 0 units.
More About James D. G. Dunn
James D. G. Dunn is Lightfoot Professor Emeritus of Divinity at Durham University and one of the foremost New Testament scholars in the world today. His many other books include The Oral Gospel Tradition; Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels; The Theology of Paul the Apostle; and Jesus Remembered and Beginning from Jerusalem, volumes 1 and 2 of Christianity in the Making.
James D. G. Dunn currently resides in Durham. James D. G. Dunn was born in 1939 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Durham.
James D. G. Dunn has published or released items in the following series...
Christ and the Spirit
Inquiry Into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation
Reviews - What do customers think about The Evidence for Jesus?
level headed reading, avoiding extremes Nov 19, 2006
this is a splendid little book about the historical Jesus. Deals with some of the issues that bear upon whether or not the Jesus of the new testament is as presented therein. This book is short, and yes, it is a little bit dated, but it is still very relevant and gets to the point. It presents, what I think to be, sane and responsible judgement from a bona-fide new testament scholar. It's not liberal, it's not excessively conservative either, it lingers somewhere in the middle with perhaps just a slight leaning towards a conservative take. But it's well informed and it makes sense. It will not treat all relevant issues, but it's still a good place to start, and not a bad place to come back to from time to time. When dealing with Jesus studies though, one really needs to read a variety of works on the subject in order to be well informed, and thus, able to make sober conclusions. If you are trying to come to grips with the historicity of Jesus/new testament issues, this little book is pretty good, although you will not want to stop with this one. A few others will go a long way towards being more well rounded in Jesus studies. Here are some others that are level headed and sensible- Jesus in His World by Peter Walker, Jesus and The Gospels by Craig Blomberg, The Evidence For Jesus by R.T. France, Who Is Jesus by Thomas Rausch, Familiar Stranger by Michael McClymond, Fabricating Jesus by Craig Evans, Jesus as a Figure in History by Mark Allen Powell, and for a good introduction to the new testament in general, see Early Christianity and It's Sacred Literature by Lee Martin McDonald and Stanley E. Porter (it has some good chapters on Jesus and Jesus studies). None of these are fundamentalist, they are definitely on the conservative side, but not in an obscurantist way. These are serious new testament scholars who know their stuff. These books and the bibliographies in them will introduce one to just about the whole world of Jesus/new tesatment studies. There is enough here to get started, and enough here to stay busy for years.
A Sober Book, Though Somewhat Limited and Dated Feb 11, 2005
Dunn is a pre-eminent New Testament scholar. As such, I had high hopes that this book may be "the" response to the Jesus Myth. Although useful and well-written, its focus is not necessarily the Jesus Myth, but some of the other liberal treatments of the historical Jesus. The book appears to have been prompted by a British television special featuring a preponderance of radical liberal New Testament scholarship.
A scholar of a moderate bent, Dunn begins by mentioning the difficulties created by the "gap" between Jesus' ministry and the writing of the gospels (which he places at 36-39 years), the fact that the Gospels were written in Greek but Jesus taught in Aramaic, and the redaction of the sources in the Gospels. The discussion of the redaction of material in the Gospels is surprisingly in-depth for such a short book. Dunn demonstrates that though there is redaction, it is focused on a core of historical information accepted by each of the gospels.
Dunn goes on to demonstrate quite convincingly that Jesus considered himself uniquely to be God's son and that the earliest Christians believed in the empty tomb and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. These chapters are not your typical apologetics, because Dunn has quite a sceptical eye for some material. Nevertheless, his careful analysis shows the emptiness of overly sceptical conclusion-jumping.
Dunn considers the early Christian epistles and other evidence to conclude that there was diversity in early Christianity, but not nearly as broad as some contend. Ultimately what bound Christians together was their belief in "Jesus as the climax of God's ongoing purpose for man's redemption, the one whom God had raised from the dead and exalted as Lord, the man who demonstrated most clearly what God is like."
A notable feature of the book is the one to two-page "note" responding to specific commentators from the TV program. This includes professors G.A. Wells and Morton Smith.
All in all, I am sure this book is a compelling response to a British TV show. But as a general response to skepticism it is limited and dated. Still, Dunn is a careful scholar and engages relevant issues carefully and in surprising depth for such a relatively short book.
Good Introduction Jan 1, 2005
James D.G. Dunn is a "centrist" New Testament scholar who has written a large number of books, many focusing on the Apostle Paul. Dunn is one of the leaders of the "new perspective on Paul" movement, which argues that the Reformers misunderstood or overemphasized Paul's teaching on justification by faith (or at least that's what their critics assert they are saying).
This relatively small book discusses four questions: (1) the historicity of the Gospels; (2) did Jesus claim to be the Son of God?; (3) what the first Christians believed about the resurrection; and (4) unity and diversity in earliest Christianity. It assumes little or no knowledge of the Gospels and could be studied profitably by beginners and those who are exposed to fanciful stories of Jesus' life (e.g., Jesus married Mary Magdalene and moved to India). The discussion of the resurrection is particularly good, and Dunn shows that there are few parallels to belief in Jesus' resurrection in the pagan or Jewish world of the time.
Not everyone will agree with Prof. Dunn's conclusions. For example, he argues that John's Gospel is something of a theological commentary on Jesus' life and that the dispute with "the Jews" reflects the later separation between church and synagogue. Another book, which complements this one and reaches perhaps more conservative conclusions, is F.F. Bruce's THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS: ARE THEY RELIABLE?
Concise and Balanced Introduction to Critical Scholarship Jul 18, 2004
If you're looking for an exhaustive treatment of critical scholarship issues, this book is not for you. Its intended audience is the layperson or young college student. Professor Dunn's book deals with four issues which provide a response to the television series, Jesus: The Evidence, which first aired in the mid-eighties, and, according to Dunn, misrepresented the scholarly consensus in early Christian studies. Rather than provide a balanced overview of scholarship, this show favored the eccentric views of a minority of scholars, and thus misled many viewers. This book is a brief reply, and deals with four salient issues: 1. The Reliability of the Synoptic Gospels 2. Finding the Historical Jesus in the Gospel of John 3. Beliefs of the Resurrection in the Early Church 4. The Early Church -- Christianity or Christianities?
Brief, lucid, and a fine example of deftly blending scholarship with a concern for the contemporary church, this book is a must for every layperson not yet exposed to critical scholarship.
A thoughtful book dealing with tough issues Oct 16, 2000
It is nice to see a book dealing with the tough issues of the day with respect to the new testament and modern scholarship. There are so few authors who are tackling the issues (did the resurrection occur? Was Jesus God? Why do the gospels differ in their accounts? Why do christians disagree on so many points?) that I was surprised to find one that did. I would recommend this book for anyone who struggles with some of these issues and would like to see a thoughtful response. I was so impressed with Professor's Dunn's book, I purchased another, Jesus, Paul, and the Law.