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Average customer rating:
4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0310211395
Manufacturer : Zondervan|
Release data : 17 July, 1996
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A selection of product reviews
An Important Work
I had to use this work while in school. I found the arguments challenging and whet my appetite for further studies. This give blow after blow to the Jesus Seminar and others like that. An Important work!
A lot of excellent points
This book has a lot of excellent points about various aspects the Jesus Seminar attacks. It's just enough info to wet your appetite and give you something to say in casual conversation to address these issues, but not enough for a thorough defense of any of them. But a very good overall view.
Excellent Conservative Protestant Response to Jesus Seminar
Edited by J.P. Moreland and Michael Wilkins, `Jesus Under Fire' is a collection of essays by conservative American Protestant scholars on a range of issues pertaining to Christianity. First published in the mid-1990s, the book is a response to some of the revisionist views put forward by the Jesus Seminar. Following are a few thoughts for potential readers on aspects of the work that I thought were particularly well done.
Though not its main thrust, perhaps the book's most valuable contribution to the lay reader is its recognition of the inherently subjective nature of belief. Although we may not always be conscious of it, our interpretation of the world is influenced by our assumptions and beliefs - or worldview. This is true regardless of whether one is an atheist, a theist or a scientist. One worldview that comes into play when discussing the large metaphysical and ontological questions raised by religion is that of philosophical naturalism. In general, this view posits that reality is limited to the spacio-temporal world and that scientific induction is the primary means to truth (these assumptions are evident in work of the Jesus Seminar). In accordance with philosophical naturalism, non-naturalistic religious claims are dismissed as misguided or meaningless. Though this type of worldview is popular in contemporary Western society it is not without logical and epistemological challenges. For instance, any claim that science is the sole means to truth - is self-refuting since it (uniqueness of scientifically derived truth) is not itself derived through the scientific method. Although sometimes overlooked recognition of an author's perspective is an important aspect of critical reading.
In his portion, Craig Blomberg does a commendable job of placing the work of the Jesus Seminar within the spectrum of `historic Jesus studies' (for an excellent overview of this subject readers can see Ben Witherington's `The Third Quest'). He notes the drawbacks associated with attempts to delve into ancient history as ascertain the "truth" is wrought with difficulties. To sift through data criteria have to be selected - i.e. what types of facts and source will be accepted. These criteria, in turn, often determine the outcome (e.g. naturalistic assumptions equals naturalistic Jesus). Blomberg argues that there is no good reason to think that the revisionist interpretations of modern liberal thinkers are preferable to traditional scholarship. I recommend Bruce or Metzger for readers seeking more on Christian canon (Blomberg has also written in more detail on the subject).
Darrell Bock's chapter is also helpful. The Jesus Seminar expends significant time and effort attempting to discern what words traditionally credited to Jesus were actually spoken by him. Although it may make good press, in and of itself, this type of analysis is rather meaningless. As Bock points out, the important question is whether the Gospels reflect the true voice (the meaning) of Jesus, not whether they capture his exact syntax and grammar. Although Bock's comments are salient to religious study they are also useful for the study of history in general. In our technological age we place an emphasis on technical details that were not stressed in the past.
Overall,`Jesus Under Fire' is the best short collection of essays that I have come across from a conservative protestant perspective. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the historic Jesus or Christianity in general. To get a view from both sides I would also recommend a look at `The Five Gospels' from the Jesus Seminar.