Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture
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Kregel Publications / 2006 / Paperback

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Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture

Kregel Publications / 2006 / Paperback

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Product Description

Cultural misconceptions abound regarding the uniqueness of Christ and the reliability of the New Testament. International bestsellers such as The Da Vinci Code and Misquoting Jesus merely add fuel to the fire. In this meticulously researched guide, Komoszewski, Sawyer, and Wallace invite readers to take a firsthand look at the primary evidence for Christianity's origins.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2006
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN: 082542982X
ISBN-13: 9780825429828

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Publisher's Description

From the worldwide phenomenon of "The Da Vinci Code" to the national best-seller "Misquoting Jesus," popular culture is being bombarded with radical skepticism about the uniqueness of Christ and the reliability of the New Testament. "Reinventing Jesus" cuts through the rhetoric of extreme doubt expressed by these and several other contemporary voices to reveal the profound credibility of historic Christianity. Meticulously researched, thoroughly documented, yet eminently readable, this book invites a wide audience to take a firsthand look at the solid, reasonable, and clearly defensible evidence for Christianity's origins. "Reinventing Jesus" shows believers that it's okay to think hard about Christianity, and shows hard thinkers that it's okay to believe.

Recently, there has been a flood of attention given to the life of Jesus. One film in particular that has contributed to this is The Da Vinci Code, based on the novel of the same name by author Dan Brown. (He has also written Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress.) The plot outline is that a murder inside the Louvre leads to the discovery of clues found in the Da Vinci paintings, such as the Mona Lisa, which uncover information that has been protected by a secret society for 2,000 years. This information is so powerful that if brought out into the open, it could have major repercussions on Christianity. What this movie is really attempting to do, however, is to tear down the credibility of the historic Christian faith. This is not new by any means. Liberal theologians, philosophers, atheists, and various unbiblical religious leaders have attempted to do the same for a long time. The Da Vinci Code is just a more popular, though no less dangerous, attempt to rewrite history.
One book in particular that has taken on Dan Brown's historical reconstruction is Reinventing Jesus: What The Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You, co-authored by J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace. Reinventing Jesus is divided up into five parts: Part 1, which deals with the history behind the New Testament manuscripts; Part 2, which answers critical questions about the ancient manuscripts behind the New Testament; Part 3, which answers questions about how the Canon was determined; Part 4, which answers questions about Jesus, His divinity, and what the early church thought of Him; and Part 5, which answers the question if Christianity used ideas from mythic gods and applied them to Jesus.
With all the hype around The Da Vinci Code, the authors of Reinventing Jesus make this accurate statement: "Although The Da Vinci Code is a fascinating tale, that is all it is: a tale, a fable, a good yard spun by a master storyteller" (p. 193). Adding later in the book, they write, "So why all the present fuss about the historical Jesus? More specifically, why are so many people infatuated with reinterpretations of his life? Little attention is given to the scriptural portrait of Christ. However, when a new perspective on Him---one that is decidedly out of sync with the Bible---is unveiled, it draws a crowd. But why isn't society interested in reinventions of other major religious figures? Why not Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, or Confucius? Why Jesus? In a word: accountability. People in the civilized, Western world usually know something about Jesus and the gospel message, and their interest in him rises whenever a new theory comes along that can ease their consciences. People gravitate toward a tame Jesus; a Jesus who can be controlled, a Jesus who is not threatening, a Jesus who values what they value and does not demand anything of them at all. In other words, a Jesus who is not Lord and Savior. Frankly, it's hard to escape the feeling that our culture has taken Jesus' question 'Who do you say that I am?' and changed it to 'Who do you want me to be?' But the real Jesus doesn't ask that question; the real Jesus is not so tame" (pp. 261-62).
While there are other books being written to defend the historical Jesus of the New Testament, and the authenticity and trustworthiness of the New Testament writings, Reinventing Jesus is one of the better ones read by this reviewer. The authors cover such a breadth of material that it is hard to find one of similar value in terms of thoroughness and argumentation. I highly recommend this work. – Ray Hammond, Christian Book

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 23, 2007
    Aaron Hopper
    Yeah it's a really great book. One thing I thought was very interesting is the way they would include quotes by skeptics at the beginning of each chapter, which always sparked my interest. (Later, they would address them.) The authors do an excellent job of explaining most of the parts they deal with. (Very well on the documentary evidence and facts surrounding the documents. Pretty well with the claims that Jesus stories are copied.) The one area I wish would have been a touch better was about the canon and apochyphal materials. (I would really drive home the point that the apocryphal gospels are later than the canonical ones and are derived from Greek/Roman thought, not Jewish thought, which means it is highly unlikely they represent the real Jesus.)
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 31, 2006
    Craig Blomberg
    Few could have speculated how the critics would pan the Da Vinci Code movie or anticipated that by the time this book was released the market would be glutted with good responses to the fiction-presented-as-fact in Dan Browns novel. Otherwise a different subtitle for this volume would have been chosen. This is not just another response to the issues raised in the novel and the film. It is a serious, detailed, yet eminently accessible refutation of the exaggerated skepticism of bona fide scholars like Bart Ehrman or Robert Price and of the outright misinformation in frequently-believed pseudo-scholarship circulating on the web or via little-known publishing houses.Dan Wallace is one of todays premier American evangelical textual critics, teaching New Testament at Dallas Seminary. Komoszewski and Sawyer are Dallas Th.M. and Ph.D. graduates, respectively. The former teaches Bible and theology at Northwestern College; the latter, theology and church history at Western Seminary. Together they have combined to cover several important topics touched on more briefly in some of the other responses to The Da Vinci Code, but nowhere else is this precise package of issues deal with as accurately and helpfully as it is here.The book divides into five main parts and eighteen total chapters. Part 1 contains three chapters that deal with the order and composition of the Gospels, from the period of oral tradition, where careful memorization accounted for a fair amount of the transmission of the material, to the earliest written sources to the final, completed Gospels. The next five chapters all deal with textual criticism. The third segment is entitled, Did the Early Church Muzzle the Canon? Part 4 treats the debate over whether or not belief in Jesus deity was a late doctrine in the development of the first centuries of Christianity. Reinventing Jesus is one of the best recent counterbalances to that older, perceived trend. It is a must read for anyone interested in the
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 25, 2006
    John Glynn
    Reinventing Jesus (Kregel), a joint effort by J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Saywer, and, Daniel B. Wallace, includes summary data on how we know the Gospels got it right when it came to the life of Jesus, how we know the scribes got it right when it came to the original text, how we know the church did not rip off pagan gods and simply invent the Messiah out of whole cloth, how we know the church got it right when it came to canon, and how we know we got it right when it comes to the interpretation of the person of Christ. 30% of the book is on textual criticism. Although written for a broad audience, it is backed up with the best of scholarship (65 pages of endnotes).
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 27, 2006
    Sandra Glahn
    Credible, understandable answers for accusations leveled against the historial Jesus and the ancient biblical text. The authors use everyday language as they explore Jesus deity and resurrection, the Gnostic gospels, and the canon of Scripture. In doing so they invite a wide audience to consider the primary evidence of Christianitys origins.
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