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Lord or Legend?: Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma Paperback – 19 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (19 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801065054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801065057
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Puts skeptics' claims to the test against multiple scholarly disciplines - including history, ethnography, anthropology, and folklore - to uncover truths about the historical Jesus.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Sue K.B. on 28 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book for my husband and he is very impressed. He reckons it is the best of it's type. Clearly and fairly considers the evidence. Would highly recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Lord or Legend 17 Dec. 2008
By Shari J. Sjolund - Published on
Format: Paperback
In Lord or Legend Boyd and Eddy are not out to prove with absolute certainty that the Bible is accurate, because they understand in reality it is impossible to prove anything about the past. They do however, present the historical evidence that is found for Jesus as not just a man, but as Christ and also evidence for the reliability of the Bible. Though they are both pastors, they have great insight that goes beyond their faith. I think this book can help Christians and non-Christians see Jesus from a different perspective then maybe they have before. It is great that someone from the Christian circle is not afraid to jump into historical and often secular discussion about Jesus. Lord or Legend? is a question we all should not be afraid to explore. I think this book is a great start to a discussion about who Jesus was historically and what that means for us now.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Their answer is Lord 20 Feb. 2011
By not4prophet - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first couple books I read about the historical Jesus were the popular ones by Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell, The Case for Christ and More Than a Carpenter. I find those books are both good but with certain flaws, particularly important points that they jump over without much detail. I later read Craig Blomberg's academic treatise The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, which is thorough but perhaps too detailed for some. "Lord or Legend" splits the differences, giving a concise treatment in under 200 pages that nonetheless tackles all the major issues swirling around the topic in recent years. It is also simply more up-to-date than Strobel and McDowell.

The first half tackles approaches to Bible scholarship. One major theme that Strobel and McDowell never touch is the reliability of oral transmission. No one knows exactly when the gospels were written, though we give 70 A.D. as the date that "most scholars agree on". But could the sayings and doings of Jesus have been recorded that long after his death? In fact, scholars have studied the transmission of sayings through oral tradition and found that they remain reliable for much longer periods than that. Boyd and Eddy also tackle the claim that Paul didn't believe Jesus was a real human being--a ridiculous assertion but one that's gained a remarkable amount of traction in recent years. They carefully list the many reasons why this claim doesn't hold up. There's a good, long discussion about the idea of Pagan influences on the gospels that cuts that argument down to size as well.

The second half takes on specific issues within the gospels themselves. It hits all the major points that anyone would expect: dealing with contradictions, archaeology, and extra-biblical sources that mention Jesus. The discussion of the Testimonium Flavinum is particularly even-handed. I also enjoyed the chapter on biblical archaeology and its mention of a dozen discoveries in the Middle East related to the gospels, such as the "Jesus boat" in the Sea of Galilee.

As others have mentioned, these two authors are at pains to be fair about major issues and to acknowledge evidence when it doesn't go the way they want it to. They also pack the book with excellent references and suggestions for further reading. And they are just plain good writing. "Lord or Legend" should be in every Christian's library along with the armor of God and the helmet of salvation.
Boyd Lite 27 Jan. 2015
By M&M - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Boyd is a Christian apologist and offers some plausible arguments for taking the Gospel accounts as at least partially based on historical truth. The book is not intended to develop a proper scholarly proof, but more as a counterpoint to scholars who dispose of the gospel accounts as pure fiction and mythology. It should be seen as an introductory discussion of the question and not the definitive scholarly development of Boyd's thesis.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An Open-Minded Look at the Life of Christ 8 Dec. 2008
By Chris Dirks - Published on
Format: Paperback
Boyd and Eddy present excellent arguments for the credibility of the Gospels and the divinity of Christ in this book. They address all of the major claims against the reliability of Scripture with honesty and humility, admitting that they have also had their doubts in Christianity but that its truth stands up against critical examination. Boyd and Eddy do not even claim that the historical evidence proves with absolute certainty that every aspect of the Gospel's portrait of Jesus is historically accurate, but they do claim that if one remains open to the historical possibility of that portrait they will find this to be the most historically probable understanding available. Form this open outlook the authors approach such topics as belief in the supernatural, the theology and culture of first-century Judaism, the accounts of the apostle Paul, the genre of the Gospels in relation to Jewish oral traditions, the historical veracity of the Gospel texts, the credibility of the Gospel authors, the consistency and plausibility of Scripture, and the literary and archeological evidence of the Gospels. In each of these discussions Boyd and Eddy compare the claims of Scripture and the arguments against it with historical evidence and logical reasoning apart from their beliefs as Christian men and provide extremely credible conclusions for the divinity of Christ. This book is great for anyone, Christian or non-Christian, who is willing to approach the historical life of Christ with an open mind and see where the evidence leads.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Finally, An Intelligent Argument for Validity 18 Aug. 2011
By Peter S. Wallick - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was at odds for the longest time while pondering the dilemma of the Gospels' accuracy, yet these two professors made one of the best intellectual arguments I've read for the validity of the Gospels, and the truth that the Gospels foretell. I recommend this book to any skeptic--like myself--who has been waiting a while for a true and intellectual argument for the inherency of the Gospels. If there were more believers in God that were *this* intelligent, the world would be utterly and radically different right now (for the better).
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