Evidence for Jesus – R.T. France (introduction)

Evidence for Jesus

R.T. France


Bibliographic data here.


(footnotes & other links would go here)


Jesus was a common name in first century (12x in Josephus, 4 high priests)
Likely that Barabbas’ name was also Jesus (Mt. 27:16-17) (Metzger’s Textual Commentary on Greek NT)
Jesus wasn’t conspicuous in his day like Napolean

Many unconventional views of Jesus in recent years
     G. A. Wells –> Jesus never existed, attention to detail, but picks and chooses texts to support his points
     John Allegro –> Jesus was head of a mushroom cult
     H. J. Schoonfield –> Jesus engineered own crucifixion
     Morton Smith –> Jesus was magical practioner including sexual practices
     ‘Holy Blood and Holy Grail’ –> extravagant thesis tracing secret society back to Jesus based upon

     Free Inquiry magazine symposium –> all committed to a non-traditional Jesus
     Brtitish TV show ‘Jesus – the Evidence’ –> posed more questions than answered, but questioned
     the gospels and spurred protest because of one-sidedness  
“It is tempting for those who move in more traditional Christian circles to dismiss such apparently perverse ‘reconstrucitons’ of the ‘real’ Jesus as unworthy of notice, mere aberrations on (or beyond) the fringes of recgonised biblical scholarship.  But they show no sign of going away.” (France, 13)

What all re-constructionists have in common: extreme skepticism concerning the gospels
The best evidence we have for Jesus comes from the Gospels unless we have reason to believe these are unreliable

A lot can also be gained from non-Biblical sources

Purpose of the book

This book is to show what resources are availiable to the historian in reconstructing Jesus
There is no discrepency between the Jesus of faith (and experience) and the Jesus of history, “each reinforces the other” (17)

Outline: WPF



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