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Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels

, 2006
ISBN: 9780830875153

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Modern historical study of the Gospels seems to give us a new portrait of Jesus every spring—just in time for Easter. The more unusual the portrait, the more it departs from the traditional view of Jesus, the more attention it gets in the popular media.

Why are scholars so prone to fabricate a new Jesus? Why is the public so eager to accept such claims without question? What methods and assumptions predispose scholars to distort the record? Is there a more sober approach to finding the real Jesus?

Commenting on such recent releases as Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, James Tabor’s The Jesus Dynasty, Michael Baigent’s The Jesus Papers and The Gospel of Judas, for which he served as an advisory board member to the National Geographic Society, Craig Evans offers a sane approach to examining the sources for understanding the historical Jesus.

With Logos Bible Software, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels is easily searchable. Scripture passages appear on mouse-over, and all cross-references are linked to the other resources in your digital library, making this collection more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal Bible study. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference, such as finding every mention of “Jesus” or “John 1.”

Key Features

  • Assesses important aspects of progress in the study of historical Jesus
  • Examines the thinking and methods of scholars and popular writers
  • Leads readers to know Jesus again

Praise for the Print Edition

The quest of the historical Jesus has been seriously misled by much poor scholarship and distorted almost beyond recognition by recent pseudo-scholarship. But now Craig Evans out-skeptics the historical skeptics, demonstrating from his own intimate familiarity with the biblical texts and his mastery of ancient sources how unfounded are many of the claims made and how ridiculously bizarre are the hypotheses thought to give some support to The Da Vinci Code and its like. The mature judgment of such an accomplished and front-rank scholar cannot be ignored or lightly gainsaid—a welcome draft from a clear spring after all the muddied waters of recent years.

James D. G. Dunn, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Durham

Fabricating Jesus exposes the misinformed nonsense that has confused the reading public over the past few years. Craig Evans is a well-read and thoughtful scholar who knows all the ancient texts. In this well-written book, he exposes the misguided assumptions and dubious sources that lie behind the wild theories that have plagued the public. He has also presented Jesus and the Gospels in their proper historical context. With enthusiasm, I recommend this book for scholars and all interested in Jesus and Christian origins.

James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary

Few scholars are as well-positioned, well-trained and well-informed as Craig Evans to critique the recent spate of books that have hit the stands, touting a new Jesus for a new day. In a scholarly world where almost anything can pass for knowledge of the historical Jesus or earliest Christianity no matter how far-fetched, it is comforting to have someone like Craig Evans as a sure guide through the maze of books on Jesus and supposedly lost Christianities. Fabricating Jesus is simply the best and most well informed popular-level book ever written on the Gnostic and apocryphal Gospels, as well as on a host of other early traditions that in some way touch on the story of Jesus. Along the way, Evans also provides us with a sane and sober reconstruction of Jesus and his aims and the history of earliest Christianity. I hope this book will gain the wide audience it so richly deserves.

Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

This powerful and persuasive book is a much-needed antidote to the outrageous distortions about Jesus and the Gospels that have been popularized in recent years. It's authoritative while still being accessible, and well-argued without being mean-spirited. I strongly recommend this outstanding resource to both Christians and spiritual seekers.

—Lee Strobel, author, The Case for Christ

Craig Evans is well-known in academic circles for his expertise in Judaism and the history of early Christianity. In this new book he brings a refreshing mixture of scholarly erudition and critical common sense to an evaluation of the various documents that have been thought to undermine the credibility of the New Testament and demonstrates convincingly that they cannot bear the burden of proof that has been placed upon them. . . . At a time when much baseless fiction is being developed by novelists on the basis of such dubious sources, it is good to have this exposé of just how fictitious such writings are.

I. Howard Marshall, Honorary Research Professor of New Testament, University of Aberdeen

Many recent studies of Jesus are arguing that evidence requires a Jesus redo. Some works are written by well-known academics, while others are written by less well-known authors. Enter Craig Evans, who has given his life to the historical study of Jesus. Mincing no words, he calls most of these efforts what they are—fabrication. However, his tone is irenic, the style is accessible, his argumentation is sound, and his scope is comprehensive. This book is a necessary exposé of many recent works, taking us from the hype to the historical Jesus. Eminently qualified, Evans has done us all a great service.

Darrell L. Bock, Research Professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Product Details

  • Title: Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels
  • Author(s): Craig A. Evans
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 290

About the Author

Dr. Craig A. Evans received his PhD in New Testament from Claremont Graduate University and his DHabil from the Karoli Gaspar Reformed University in Budapest. He is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University in Texas.

Evans taught at Trinity Western University in British Columbia for 21 years, where he directed the graduate program in biblical studies and founded the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute. He has recently served on the advisory board for the Gospel of Judas for National Geographic Society and has appeared frequently as an expert commentator on network television programs.

Evans has written and edited extensively on the historical Jesus and the Jewish background of the New Testament era. His published works include From Prophecy to Testament, Jesus and the Ossuaries, Jesus: The Final Days, and Dictionary of New Testament Background.

Resource Experts

Top Highlights

“codex. an ancient book produced on leather (vellum or parchment) or papyrus pages” (Page 246)

“It was the reality of the resurrection and its impact on those who heard and responded to it in faith that propelled the new movement forward, not ‘mistake-free’ Scripture.” (Page 29)

“Nonexperts perhaps need to be told that in the first ten to fifteen years of the existence of the church, not one book of the New Testament was in existence. Nevertheless, the church grew fast and furious, without benefit of a New Testament or the Gospels (inerrant or otherwise).” (Page 29)

“‘rule.’ Accordingly, when Jesus proclaims the kingdom of God, he is proclaiming the rule of God” (Page 41)

“options proposed by C. S. Lewis half a century ago: Jesus was either liar, lunatic or Lord.” (Page 20)

Craig A. Evans

Craig A. Evans earned his PhD in biblical studies at Claremont Graduate University and received his decretum habilitationis from Budapest. He is Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament; Acadia Divinity College Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada; John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins (Houston Theological Seminary); a New Testament scholar; and a prolific author and popular teacher/speaker.

Evans is well-known for his work on the Gospels, the Historical Jesus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the archaeology of the New Testament. His passion for archaeology has him frequently participating in Middle East digs and leading Holy Land tours. He has regularly appeared in television and radio interviews, such as the History Channel, BBC, and Dateline NBC, served as a consultant on the National Geographic Society's Gospel of Judas project and for The Bible television miniseries, and is featured in documentaries like Fragments of Truth and the Archaeology and Jesus series.

He's written hundreds of articles and reviews and published more than 70 books, including Jesus and His Contemporaries, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies, Mark in the Word Biblical Commentary, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, God Speaks, and Jesus and the Remains of His Days: Studies in Jesus and Archaeology. He coauthored Jesus, the Final Days with N. T. Wright.


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Digital list price: $29.99
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