Item description for Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels by Mark L. Strauss...
Overview To Christian believers, the Gospels record the ?greatest story ever told,? the events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah. They narrate the climax and turning point in human history, when God acted decisively to achieve salvation for people everywhere. To study the Gospels is to study the foundation of Christianity. Even to those who do not follow Jesus as their Lord, the Gospels serve as the primary source documents for the most influential life ever lived. Jesus of Nazareth has been the topic of more books, movies, discussions and debates than any person in history. But who was this man Jesus, and how did his movement begin? In this textbook we will examine the nature and content of the four Gospels, the primary source documents for the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Where did these books come from? What was their purpose? What can they tell us about Jesus? These are the questions we will seek to answer.
To Christians worldwide, the man Jesus of Nazareth is the centerpiece of history, the object of faith, hope, and worship. Even those who do not follow him admit the vast influence of his life. For anyone interested in knowing more about Jesus, study of the four biblical Gospels is essential. Four Portraits, One Jesus is a thorough yet accessible introduction to these documents and their subject, the life and person of Jesus. Like different artists rendering the same subject using different styles and points of view, the Gospels paint four highly distinctive portraits of the same remarkable Jesus. With clarity and insight, Mark Strauss illuminates these four books, first addressing their nature, origin, methods for study, and historical, religious, and cultural backgrounds. He then moves on to closer study of each narrative and its contribution to our understanding of Jesus, investigating things such as plot, characters, and theme. Finally, he pulls it all together with a detailed examination of what the Gospels teach about Jesus ministry, message, death, and resurrection, with excursions into the quest for the historical Jesus and the historical reliability of the Gospels."
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Mark Strauss (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary San Diego. He is the author or coauthor of several books and numerous articles, including"How to Read the Bible in Changing Times, Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels, How to Choose a Translation for All It's Worth"(with Gordon D. Fee), "The Essential Bible Companion"(with John Walton) and commentaries on Mark's Gospel in the"Zondervan Exegetical Commetary Series"and"Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. 9." He is New Testament editor of the Expanded Bible and the Teach the Text Commentary Series. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee for Bible Translation for the New International Version and as an associate editor for the NIV Study Bible. Strauss has a heart for ministry and preaches and teaches regularly at churches, conferences and college campuses. He is the weekly teacher at the Cove Bible Study at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. He lives in San Diego with his wife Roxanne and three kids."
Reviews - What do customers think about Four Portraits One Jesus?
lots of information presented in an easy to understand manner Oct 7, 2008
This is a great book. I am pleased to say this book is an excellent educational tool and it helped me in my class and my work. Kudos to the authors for understanding what needs to be done to make something both interesting and credible.
Christ Sep 30, 2007
This is a book that is easy to read and puts forth information in a clear manner. The pictures and charts help to make the process of gaining knowledge easier and more colorful. I especially enjoy the facts that are pointed out about certain passages. If you want to take a closer look at Christ's life I would recommend this book to you. If you are wanting to take a scholarly look at Christ's life this would be a great starting point for you as well. Salt and Light Silver
Best Evangelical treatment on the Gospels Jul 9, 2007
Having personally taught the Gospels at the Christian college level, I obviously have had to look over a number of appropriate texts before choosing only one to assign my students. Well, starting with the next time I teach the Gospels, I now have a new book to assign. Mark Strauss does an excellent job in Four Portraits, covering the important issues related to the Gospels. His writing style is smooth, lacking an "Ivory Tower" feel that could easily alienate potential learners, yet it is obvious throughout that Dr. Strauss is no academic slouch. Definitions are readily provided to new terms that are bold-faced, as he assumes nothing when it comes to the language of the New Testament. Even lay-learners outside the classroom setting would benefit greatly from this book--of course, an educational institution is not a requirement for reading and learning!
One thing that will be enjoyable for the reader is that this is a user-friendly book; it has plenty of fascinating pictures, charts, and short blurbs that will help keep the interest of even the most disinterested person. His charts (labeled "figures" in the book) are outstanding; he and the publisher worked very well together to produce some visual-learner tools that will be meaningful, even when the text hasn't been fully read or comprehended.
While Strauss obviously comes from an Evangelical position and shares his opinions throughout, there is not a feel that he is being overly dogmatic. He presents all sides of the issues in a very objective way. Several times I would have liked him to have been more opinionated. (For instance, he declines to give his final opinion for the dating of the individual gospels.) But perhaps this aspect should be considered a strength. Too often writers of overview books share too much of their opinions and end up creating straw men fallacies and biased information when they explain the viewpoints contrary to their own.
In addition, it is apparent that Dr. Strauss is a good educator, as he uses educational tools to make sure the reader understands each chapter. There are overviews and objectives at the beginning of each chapter, and he concludes with summary bullet points, key terms (maybe definitions for these terms could be included in future editions?--though I can see value in assigning students to write out the definitions themselves), and discussion and study questions. (The questions would make for an easy-to-assign task, especially if the professor is assigning two chapters a week for a quarter, as there are 20 total chapters--very convenient!) Each chapter also includes a bibliography of layperson's sources as well as more scholarly sources.
Whether a reader is liberal or conservative, there would be great benefit in using this book to overview the gospels. I encourage college and seminary professors to consider using this text for their classrooms, as I believe the students will learn to love this text. And, finally, I conclude by saying that Dr. Strauss should continue his good work and produce a similar book on the rest of the New Testament, because what he has done here will be useful for many years to come!
Excellent textbook!!! Intelligent and informed ! Apr 12, 2007
This 500+ page textbook on Jesus and the gospels is superb! Deals with the four written gospel accounts of Jesus in the new testament; their literary genre, date of composition, themes, historical context, development and more! Also covers historical Jesus studies; the various "quests" for the historical Jesus, methods for studying Jesus, results, etc. The main themes of Jesus' meaning and teachings are covered as well; his teaching on the law for instance, the miracles of Jesus, the purpose of Jesus in bringing about the Kingdom of God and salvation from sin, the resurrection of Jesus and more. This book is loaded with information, up to date, it is very clearly written, and very useful in it's format. The table of contents are laid out quite well. Comes from a conservative perspective, but not a fundamentalist one by any means, this work interacts with many perspectives and embraces a cautious but open use of historical criticism. Also, this book does a fine job of understanding Jesus in his historical and cultural context!Just a superb new textbook on the subject for educating oneself in Jesus and the gospels studies! Comes with recommendations by some top New Test. scholars; Dr.'s R.T. France, Craig Keener and Frank Thielman. Thanks Dr. Strauss for this useful and fine work!