Christ Files: How Historians Know What They Know about Jesus  -     By: John Dickson
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Christ Files: How Historians Know What They Know about Jesus

Zondervan / 2010 / Paperback

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Uniquely among the world's religions, the central claims of Christianity concern not just timeless spiritual truths, but tangible historical events. At the heart of the of the Christian faith are things that are meant to have happened in Palestine between 5 BC and AD 30. It's as if Christianity happily places its head on the chopping block of public scrutiny and invites anyone who wants to come and take a swing.

Some of Christianity's claims are so spectacular that they provoke a firestorm of questions, scrutiny, debate, and misinformation whenever they are discussed. The popularity of The Da Vinci Code and the frequent airing of TV documentaries delving into the darker uncertainties of Christianity show that such skepticism flourishes in the Western world today.

In The Christ Files you will learn how historians know what they know about Jesus. Historian John Dickson embraces the need to examine Christianity's claims in the light of history, opening readers to a wealth of ancient sources and explaining how mainstream scholars---whether or not they claim Christian faith personally---reach their conclusions.

Christianity arrived on the historical scene at a time of great literary activity. While many texts penned by ancient philosophers, historians, poets, and playwrights can reliably inform us about Jesus himself and about the culture in which he lived, others are not so credible. Dickson skillfully highlights both types of sources along with the historical methods used to study Christianity's claims.

He also shows how historians asses the reliability of available data, and provides an honest but informed perspective on where historical issues are clear-cut and where personal faith comes into play. The Christ Files is a must-read for those looking to expand their understanding of early Christianity and the life of Jesus.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310328691
ISBN-13: 9780310328698
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

In The Christ Files, a four-session small group Bible study, scholar John Dickson examines the Christian faith through a historical look at the Christian faith and life of Jesus from both Scriptural and other non-Bible documentation.

Unique among the world’s religions, the central claims of Christianity concern not just timeless spiritual truths, but tangible historical events as well. Historian John Dickson examines Christianity’s claims in the light of history, opening you and your group to a wealth of ancient sources and explaining how mainstream scholars – whether or not they claim Christian Faith personally – reach their conclusions about history’s most influential figure, Jesus of Nazareth.

In The Christ Files, Dickson skillfully highlights sources and historical methods used to study Christianity’s assertions. He illustrates how historians assess the reliability of data, and provides an honest and informed perspective on where historical issues or clear-cut and where personal faith comes into play.

The Christ Files will help you and your small group expand your understanding of early Christianity and the life of Jesus.

This 110-page Participant Guide includes seven chapters of reading and background contextual information, along with questions for four impactful small group sessions. It is meant for use in conjunction with the four-session The Christ Files DVD (sold separately).

Chapter titles:
1. The Game of Scholarship…How to Read between the Haedlines
2. Secret Gospels…Jesus in the Gnostic Writings
3. The Troublemaker…Jesus in Ancient Pagan Writings
4. Deceiver and Magician…Jesus in Ancient Jewish Writings
5. Behind the New Testament…Earliest Christian Sources
6. Before the Gospels…Jesus in the Oral Tradition
7. Jesus in Context…Background Sources for the Study of Jesus

Small Group Study sessions include:
1. Gnostics and Romans
2. Jews and Christians
3. Lost Sources and Oral Traditions
4. Archaeologists and Artifacts

Author Bio

John Dickson (PhD, Macquarie University, Sydney) is a senior research fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University; co-director of the Centre for Public Christianity; and senior minister at St. Andrew’s Roseville. The author of more than a dozen books, he is the host of two major historical documentaries for Australian television and is a busy public speaker in corporations, universities, churches, and conferences.

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