(PUBEerdmans)Apart from the Gospels, what does the outside evidence (Roman, Jewish, early Christian, heretical) tell us about Jesus of Nazareth? All of the relevant texts have been freshly translated and are accompanied by Van Voorst's backgrounds, comments on viewpoint, and evaluation of the material. 248 pages, softcover.
Did Jesus actually exist? Much has been written recently on this subject, including numerous books examining the New Testament record of Jesus' life. Now Robert Van Voorst presents and critiques the ancient evidence outside the New Testamentthe Roman, Jewish, pre-New Testament, and post-New Testament writings that mention Jesus.
This fascinating study of the early Christian and non-Christian record includes fresh translations of all the relevant texts. Van Voorst shows how and to what extent these ancient writings can be used to help reconstruct the historical Jesus.
Ben Witherington III
"Scholars have tended to say that there is no significant evidence about the historical Jesus to be garnered from sources outside of the New Testament canon. This book shows that that assessment is by no means entirely correct. Here we finally have in one book all the essential extrabiblical data from the earliest period about Jesus. Anyone who cares about understanding Jesus within his historical context will find this well-written study to be an invaluable aid"
John P. Meier
"Jesus Outside the New Testament gives a clear, concise, and orderly presentation of the major sources pagan, Jewish, and Christian for our knowledge of the historical Jesus. Readers will be especially grateful for the way in which Robert Van Voorst gathers together disparate texts that are otherwise difficult to find in one place. This is especially true of his treatment of the pagan authors. Both scholars and lay readers will find this work useful."
"Van Voorst has written a comprehensive, rigorously focused survey of the evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as manifested by the written sources other than the New Testament. . . This very well-organized and -written book fills a comparative void left by the deluge of historical Jesus books. It will be valuable for those interested in the historical grounding of their faith."
Marion L. Soards
"This careful study is a lucid, concise, and insightful presentation, analysis, and guide to the ancient extra-New Testament materials related to Jesus. Robert Van Voorst provides a tremendous service for those studying the life of Jesus by collecting, translating, and commenting on these often-cited but seldom seen (or critically examined) early references to Jesus. All students and scholars interested in 'Jesus' will welcome this work."
Paul J. Achtemeier
"The material collected in this volume, along with the sober evaluations provided by the author, presents readers with a rather complete sampling of the noncanonical evidence about Jesus of Nazareth, from Greco-Roman, Jewish, and noncanonical Christian sources, both actual and hypothetical. Those interested in the contemporary quest for the historical Jesus have here much of the noncanonical evidence called upon by those who seek to present Jesus in radical as well as more traditional forms"
Internationale Zeitschriftenschau für Bibelwissenschaft und Grenzgebiete
"This is a careful survey of all the relevant ancient materials on Jesus. A remarkable study, to be recommended for its references to a wide range of interpretive opinion."
"Van Voorst's style is both readable and objective, and he poses questions that more skeptical readers would raise, such as 'Are these texts reliable?' and 'Why is there not more ancient evidence for the historical Jesus?' In the process he supplies a wealth of notations for those interested in further study, making it an ideal primer for all levels of university students, as well as general readers."
Review of Biblical Literature
"For those who would like a trustworthy and readable introduction to early non-canonical sources related to Jesus, this book should be placed at the very top of the list. The balance, clarity, brevity, and scope of this book commend it as a textbook for courses at any level. While it may be of special interest to scholars and students, this book may be strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in the contemporary study of the historical Jesus."
The Expository Times
"In a well-researched, yet highly readable study, [Van Voorst] introduces the reader to all non-canonical references to Jesus. . . Van Voorst helpfully analyses each reference in turn, situating each within the context of the work as a whole, asking from where each author derived his information, and evaluated its historical significance. . . Overall, the book provides a useful introduction to a wide range of literature from the ancient world, a clear outline of the state of the question regarding sources behind the canonical gospels, and a particularly valuable discussion of the place of the Gospel of Thomas and certain Apocryphal texts in reconstructing the historical Jesus."
"Van Voorst shows himself to be well abreast of recent scholarship in all parts of his book. . . He is a careful and cautious guide to the material about Jesus outside the Gospels, wisely concluding, as others have done before him, that we are thrown back upon the New Testament for solid information about him."