This book offers a fresh and imaginative approach to Jesus studies and biblical criticism by providing a gripping fictional account of one student’s journey to the Middle East to investigate the New Testament and Jesus’ life for himself.
Norm, a fictional college graduate, undertakes this journey to discover if he can study Jesus and follow him at the same time and if curiosity will make him a better disciple—or no disciple at all. As Norm hitchhikes simultaneously across the Gospels and the land, readers follow his faith journey as well and wonder if he will be able to reconcile his Christian faith with current critical scholarship. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus offers readers a creative and engaging way to explore many of the major questions surrounding Jesus studies today and affirms the importance of asking probing questions about Jesus and the Gospels.
The book features maps, photos, doodles, sketches, and email exchanges between Norm and his professor. Its classroom-tested material will appeal to professors and students in Jesus, Gospels, New Testament, and religion courses. Thoughtful lay readers will enjoy this book.
The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus is a wonderful travel guide for pilgrims perplexed by the multiple maps hawked by recent scholarship. But it is also an invitation for homebound believers to join a journey of discovery to the mysterious places where history meets hope. Bruce Fisk is a wise and imaginative tour guide, and this book will open new angles of vision for readers seeking to investigate the path of Jesus.
—Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Divinity School, Duke University Divinity School
Bruce Fisk has possibly written the most creative, fascinating, and informed book on the Gospels in a generation. My students will love this book. Think Gerd Theissen’s Shadow of the Galilean, but in this case the narrator isn’t a first-century grain merchant but a hookah-smoking college student named Norm. Norm is an honest inquirer who goes in search of the realities behind the Gospels and all along trades correspondence with his liberal professor. The crisp narrative and the theological points Fisk scores are delicately and effectively knit together. In countless cases, I found myself amused and impressed with how Fisk could illustrate things. ‘Genius’ could well describe many of the pages in the book. Fisk is a first-rate scholar as well as a brilliant communicator. Every New Testament teacher owes it to his or her students to consider this as a fresh new text on the Gospels.
—Gary M. Burge, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
With warmth, wit, and penetrating insight, Fisk writes for all who find themselves fascinated by the enigmatic prophet from Nazareth yet unwilling to settle either for the naive certainties of ‘simple faith’ or for the latest ‘assured results’ of biblical criticism. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus provides no pat answers, but in the spirit of faith seeking understanding, it compellingly poses all the right questions, setting the quest for Jesus in its proper context—the search for meaning in a world of beauty and strife, love and loss.
—Ross Wagner, associate professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
Students often find the academic study of the Gospels disorienting as they discover a previously unexplored world of literary, historical, and theological questions opening up before them. In A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus, Bruce Fisk proves himself a reliable guide—knowledgeable, candid, steady, and witty—through this territory. He takes no shortcuts or easy paths as he travels with his readers in the quest to discover faith in Jesus that takes intellectual questions seriously.
—Marianne Meye Thompson, George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
This volume introduces students to New Testament scholarship by telling them a story—a lively romp that combines travelogue with quest narrative, spun in a style sparkling with wit and replete with idioms of the Facebook generation. Along the way, we are introduced to the key issues that occupy modern scholars, and we discover why those issues would matter to people in the world today, including contemporary college students. This is definitely a creative way of granting students access to modern and postmodern fields of New Testament study.
—Mark Allan Powell, Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
Bruce N. Fisk is a professor of religious studies at Westmont College. He is the author of Do You Not Remember? Scripture, Story, and Exegesis in the Rewritten Bible of Pseudo-Philo and Interpretation Bible Studies: 1 Corinthians. A fresh voice in New Testament scholarship, he often travels with students throughout the world of the earliest Christians—Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.