Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: Fabricating Jesus

Fabricating Jesus by Craig A. Evans is an interesting book that tries to take on too much. Evans is a Biblical scholar who tries to counter the recent scholarship of the "alternate gospels" variety. This is the first time I've seen The Gospel of Thomas, Peter, Mary, and others in one place, side-by-side, and it was good to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge. The book is written well, it's just trying to do too much at once. The arguments against specific scholars or ideas come down to a page or two, usually, and although I think Evans is usually right, there's no way to be sure other than to decide which way your trust goes. I'd say read this book for a good systematic example of how scholarship can be skeptical, just of the novel theories rather than the orthodox ones, but the topic's just too big for this book to convince you if you're doubtful about where Evans is coming from.

(Interesting PS: What do we do WHEN a topic gets to big for one person, or at least one book, to handle? How do we have a fair debate in that case?)

Let me reiterate: I think Evans is right. It's just that I think he's right from what others have written more than what's in this particular book.

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