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on 12 September 2011
Having first read Bart Ehrman's Jesus Interrupted, it was refreshing and helpful to read a more balanced analysis. Novices to the historical-critical method might wonder if Ehrman, a comtemporary skeptic, has gone too far. Well, he has. Whilst dealing with difficult textual issues head on, Komoszewski shows that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are powerfully and reliably attested to in the historical record. There is no need or excuse for Christian anarchy. The real Jesus is the living Son of God.
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on 9 August 2008
My thanks to Tim Hawthorn for his earlier review of this book, which persuaded me to buy it after I had read Craig Evans' useful volume, 'Fabricating Jesus'.

Just today, I have read a review in the Saturday Telegraph of Richard Dawkins' recent Channel 4 programme on Darwin. The reviewer, himself an atheist, casually slips in a comment about the 'many mistakes/inaccuracies' in the Bible. These kinds of ideas float around in a world of their own, unattached to the real one of historical fact and known data - but due to constant repetition they achieve their purpose: a general acceptability in the public arena.

'Reinventing Jesus' deals with many of these ideas - tackling head-on such issues as (i) the composition of the Canon, (ii) those 'other' books which did not make it into the New Testament, but which Dan Brown depends so heavily on for 'The DaVinci Code', (iii) the self-serving proclamations of 'The Jesus Seminar', (iv) the myths about Christianity 'borrowing' from other world religions.

The authors survey a great deal of material in this book. It is pithily written, and bang up to date. A great read for Christians who simply want to understand the factual background to the world's greatest book - and, I would suspect, something of a challenge for those who base their unbelief on the notion that the Bible is unreliable and suspect. It's a book I'm going to keep on my shelf and come back to time and time again.
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on 3 July 2006
If you prefer the facts to fiction this is the book for you.

It always amazes me that people can get so many basic, simple facts wrong. For example, some people 'claim' there are no manuscripts that predate the 4th century, yet there are a MINIMUM of 48 (and possibly nearer 60) that date back to the 2nd century - a simple matter of counting (see Institute for New Testament Textual Research INTF - not a 'fundamentalist' site by any means!!). The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford alone holds 12+ such documents.
If you're genuinely interested in the truth read this book
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on 3 March 2011
Within the past few months I have had the pleasure and profit of reading and reviewing (on amazon)three books dealing broadly with the same topic, namely the authenticity and reliability of the New Testament record of and testimony to the Person, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and his sending of the Holy Spirit to found a church and spread the Christian message throughout the world. They are, (1) "The Jesus Legend - A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition" (Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd, Baker Academic, 2007); (2) "Fabricating Jesus - How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels" (Craig Evans, Inter-Varsity Press, 2007); (3) "Putting Jesus in His Place - The Case for the Deity of Christ" (R Bowman Jr and J Ed Komoszewski, Kregel Publications, 2007). This third book concentrates on showing not only that the New Testament Jesus is the `Real Jesus', but that the New Testament overwhelmingly views the `Real Jesus' as God.

Here now is a fourth book to join that good company: (4) "Reinventing Jesus - How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture" (J Ed Komoszewski, M James Sawyer and Daniel B Wallace, Kregel Publications, 2006).

Having read carefully through these up-to-date books, I accept and make my own the verdict of James D G Dunn given on p.34 of his 2005 book, "A New Perspective on Jesus". It is quoted on p. 453 of "The Jesus Legend". I edit it slightly (in square brackets) because I have taken it out of Dunn's immediate context. "If we are unsatisfied with the Jesus of the Synoptic tradition, then we will simply have to lump it; there is no other truly historical or historic Jesus ... [T]he quest [for the historical Jesus] has been too long captivated by the will-o-the-wisp of a historical Jesus, an objective artifactual figure [supposedly] buried in the Gospels and waiting to be exhumed and brandished aloft, as [being] different from the Jesus of the Gospels - not fully realizing [that] the less the reconstructed Jesus owed to the Synoptic picture of Jesus, the more it must be expressive of the agendas of the individual questers."

All of these books especially target the publications of the members of the Jesus Seminar, and Bart Ehrman. (I am not close enough to the workings of American biblical scholarship to understand how Bart Ehrman could have been accepted by Bruce Metzger and his publishers, the Oxford University Press, as co-author of the fourth edition of Metzger's benchmark book, "The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration" in 2005.)

To concentrate now on the main subject of this review. The authors of "Reinventing Jesus" divide the book into five main sections. Part I, "I believe in Yesterday", has three chapters which discuss some of the reasons why the New Testament writings can be trusted. They were indeed written between 20 and 70 years after the death (and claimed resurrection) of Jesus, but by eyewitnesses or hearers of eyewitnesses, whose whole purpose (both the eyewitnesses and their hearers) was to perpetuate and spread the `good news' brought by Christ. Those who support the authenticity of the New Testament witness have an infinitely stronger case than those who try to explain it away and must instead explain how this incredible story came to be invented. Part II, "Politically corrupt? The Tainting of Ancient New Testament Texts" is an introduction to the science of textual criticism, from which it emerges that the number and coherence of the manuscripts of the New Testament establishes a far stronger case for the authentic transmission of these authentic original Christian texts than can be made for any other surviving text of the centuries before and immediately after the Christian era. Study the statistical testimony for surviving manuscripts.

Part III , "Did the Early Church Muzzle the Canon?" is very strong. It reminds us that over the wide area of the Roman Empire, over three or four centuries, all or nearly all of the 27 books of the present canon of the Church (with most difficulty only for 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation) were consistently seen as authentic transmitters of the Christian message. Very strikingly, no Gnostic writing or other `apocryphal' fringe `Christian' writing of the time ever found a permanent (or even a long-lived but temporary place) in this New Testament canon. This is an excellent section.

Part IV, on "The Divinity of Jesus: Early Tradition or Late Superstition?" summarizes the message of book (3) above, "The Case for the Deity of Christ". Finally, Part V, "Stealing Thunder: Did Christianity Rip Off Mythical Gods?" completely routs again the now-discredited view that Jesus is just an invented copy of some pagan dying-and-rising god. I emphasize that it is a common fault, in those who attack the mainstream view of Christ, to exaggerate the most insignificant similarity between two people into an absolute identity. Furthermore, our book convincingly shows that many of the pagan similarities to Jesus were added to the description of the pagan gods, using the Christian picture of Jesus, after the death of Jesus. The pagans borrowed from Jesus, not the other way about. Even this favourite exhibit, the dying-and-rising god, is never found with any clarity in the pagan records. Neither Osiris nor Mithra, nor Alexander the Great nor the `deified' Julius Caesar, is in any way a serious comparison to Jesus of Nazareth.

I conclude: the positive case for the reliability of the New Testament record is overwhelmingly strong; the negative alternative, the case for some alternative story, or some alternative supposed model for the New Testament Jesus, just never ever convinces. Unfortunately, the negative alternative often does "mislead popular culture". We need more books like "Inventing Jesus", and an end to 'misleading' books like the "Da Vinci Code".
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on 26 May 2010
I'm not one usually for long reviews but to be blunt this is simply one of the best if not the best Christian Apologetics book I've had the pleasure of reading. The authors have produced a work that is of both scholarly in its research yet understandable for those with no previous history in the subjects included. I won't give every chapter by name, as there are too many, but the book is split into five different parts which cover the following:

Part 1: Believe in Yesterday. Goes into the sources used by the Gospel authors and some of the means by which information was gathered, such as Oral tradition although for a more extensive look at that subject see: The Jesus Legend by Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory Boyd. It also looks at the different criteria critical scholars use to determine the reliability of an ancient text.

Part 2: Politically Corrupt? The Tainting of Ancient New Testament Texts. Looks at manuscript evidence, dates etc. Deals with many of the modern myths put forward by popular writers such as Dan Brown the author of the Da Vinci Code. Looks into textual criticism and some of the work of Bart Ehrrman, and examines many questions regarding the historicity of the NT documents.

Part 3:Did the Early Church Muzzle the Canon? Looks at different suggested canons, dates and some of the debated books for inclusion.

Part 4: The Divinity of Jesus: Early Tradition or Late Superstition? One of my favourite parts of the book, it examines both internal and external evidence that look at Jesus' divinity and looks specifically at the Council of Nicea as this has been thought to be an area of controversy by some. However for a more detailed examination of this subject see: Putting Jesus in His Place by Robert Bowman & Ed Komoszewski.

Part 5: The authors look into the claims that have again been popularized by many misinformed internet nibblers that Jesus is some sort of copy-cat of Egyptian deities such as Osiris. These claims generally stem from the Christ-myth position, a very ignorant position if you were to ask me.

So that's a brief summary, but all I can say is buy the book for yourself, recommend it to your friends, then your Pastor/Elders then anyone else who will listen. Awesome book!
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on 24 March 2014
I have read quite a lot on this subject , it's handled with sensitivity and is a really good read for the general public . It's nuanced in favour of the literalist/orthodox in my view but less so than the opposing standpoint can often seem , based on what I have also read . Lots of comprehensive notes for referral .
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on 25 March 2014
Ideal for anyone who needs help getting the scholarly answers to modern attacks in Christology or against the veracity of the Bible from those whose Theological training goes as far as a Dan Brown novel. These top scholars have made these facts very readable and applicable. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK
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on 13 December 2010
For a work of this kind to deserve the five stars given to it by previous reviewers, it needs to be altogether more than a polemic. "Reinventing Jesus" is an intelligent and thought-provoking book, fair enough, but in the way that a leader in the Daily Telegraph might be: perhaps you admire the writing and are even persuaded by some of the detail in the argument, but you know exactly where it's coming from ideologically, and such is the case here.

These three writers regard the Jesus Seminar as an enemy of true Christianity which must be defeated, and a major part of their intention here is to pull it to pieces. They have no respect for the Seminar's intention, which is to rehabilitate Jesus as a figure who can speak to the modern world. Granted they may have failed to execute this task, and their methodology is no more immune to critical scrutiny than anyone else's, but because they are determined to to a hatchet job on the Seminar rather than give it a fair hearing, the value of Komoszewski and his co-authors' analysis is severely limited.

To dismiss the Seminar's members as "skeptics" is misleading: they are critical scholars, but some - not all, admittedly - are also devout Christians. A dialogue between them and this group of writers would be very interesting and might well be worth five stars. This is a diatribe; maybe a scholarly one, but a diatribe nonetheless, and as such I'm giving it the thumbs down.
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