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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious scholarship on a broad range of topics, 4 Mar 2014
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Tom (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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One of my children is being taught RS A-level by a teacher who is clever, funny and influential, but who is teaching with a personal agenda. His core message is that the Gospels are inherently unreliable, and that their key passages about Jesus' claims to divinity were not written as reasonably contemporary history but were inserted a century or more later, as propaganda to justify a theology which had by then developed. Researching these issues myself, I discovered that it was very difficult to find material which was written without an obvious bias one way or the other.

I therefore asked a few academic theologians for recommendations. I wanted something (a) with serious scholarship behind it, and (b) not written with an agenda. This book was the one which they all mentioned, so I got it, and I am very glad that I did.

First, it has a good breadth of topics. It does what it says on the label: it's a dictionary. So it is arranged in alphabetical order, by topic. If you want to know about Pontius Pilate, or the genealogy of Jesus, or who wrote the Gospel of Matthew, or whatever, you turn to the relevant place and see what's there. Generally speaking there is always an entry relevant to what you would like to know, and so far there have been very few disappointments (though they do occur - I was surprised to find no separate entry on Judas Iscariot, for example).

Second, when you find the relevant entry, the content is really first rate. The books operates by elegant summary: of the historical material (eg what ancient sources say); of the main academic viewpoints; of any controversies and so on. There are extensive references to more detailed works if you want/need to know more (and sometimes you do, because it's only a dictionary and can only do so much, though usually it's more than adequate). The writing is clear, concise and neutral.

Third, I greatly value the fact that it manages both to be a detached and academic work, and yet to be written with sympathy to Christianity. It does not proselytise, and it does not shrink from difficulties. But having summarised the difficulties, it will often offer up a short, quiet suggestion of how Christian thought accommodates them.

I am finding it invaluable, and am learning a great deal from it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 28 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP Bible Dictionary) (Hardcover)
A good reference book
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Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP Bible Dictionary)
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP Bible Dictionary) by Joel B. Green (Hardcover - 12 Sep 2013)
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