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What Have They Done with Jesus?

ISBN: 9780061120015

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Strange theories about Jesus seem to ooze from our culture with increasing regularity. Popular books and network TV specials proposing bizarre, historically unfounded tales of Jesus’ mysterious bloodline and secret teachings continue to titillate the religiously curious. Witherington, one of the top Jesus scholars today, will have none of it. There were no “Jesus Papers,” no “Lost Christianities,” no secret “Gnostic teachings” in the first century. With leading scholars and popular purveyors of bad history in his crosshairs, Witherington reveals what we can-and cannot-know about the real Jesus.

Utilizing a fresh “personality profile” approach, Witherington highlights core Christian claims by investigating the major figures in Jesus’ inner circle of followers: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Peter, James the brother of Jesus, Paul, and the mysterious “beloved disciple.” In each chapter Witherington satisfies our curiosities and answers the full range of questions about these key figures and what each of them can teach us about the historical Jesus. In what amounts to a vigorous defense of traditional Christianity, What Have They Done With Jesus? offers a compelling portrait of Jesus’ core message according to those who knew him best.

Key Features

  • Demonstrates the solid historical foundation of Jesus' life and teachings
  • Challenges faddish ideas about the origins of Christianity
  • Presents the historical evidence for Jesus' followers and his relationships with them

Praise for the Print Edition

In this accessible, yet scholarly book, Ben Witherington is absolutely right to focus on the people who were closest to Jesus. We know lot about them, enough to know that they knew a lot about Jesus. As Witherington shows, to know the real Jesus, we don’t have to resort to late and unreliable sources. The best sources are the ones we’ve always known about.

Richard Bauckham, Senior Scholar at Ridley Hall in Cambridge and a visiting professor at St. Mellitus College in London.

Witherington insightfully critiques today’s plethora of speculations about the evolution of earliest Christianity, rightly pointing us away from misinterpretations of Gnostic and other late documents and back to the earliest sources.

Craig S. Keener, Professor of New Testament, Eastern University, and author of three commentaries on the Gospels

Rumor, conjecture, salacious gossip, conspiratorial plots, innuendo, and hysterical alarm swirl around the name of Jesus these days. Ben Witherington III genially and coolly examines each item, one by one. It is a pleasure to watch one of our best biblical historians do some of his best historical work.

Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The Message

Product Details

  • Title: What Have They Done with Jesus?
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Publisher: HarperOne
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: viii, 343

About the Author

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world and has written over thirty books, including The Brother of Jesus (co-author), The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. Witherington has been interviewed on NBC “Dateline”, CBS “48 Hours”, FOX News, top NPR programs, and major print media including the Associated Press and the New York Times.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition

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Top Highlights

“This is not surprising: women in that culture were generally considered too emotional or too illiterate to be valid witnesses. For this reason, it is all the more striking that women were the key witnesses to the heart of the later Christian creed, for they were last at the cross, first at the tomb, first to hear the Easter message, first to see the risen Lord, and first to proclaim the Easter message.” (Page 18)

“Romans 16:7. The Latin name Junia is in fact equivalent to the Hebrew Joanna.” (Page 18)

“There is a reason that both Ehrman’s mentor in text criticism and mine, Bruce Metzger, has said that there is nothing in these variants that really challenges any essential Christian belief: they don’t.” (Page 7)

“And at the end of the day it is this fact, having seen the risen Lord, that binds all these persons together, cementing their place in the family of faith, centered on Jesus.” (Page 11)

“So far as we can tell, women were not disciples of early Jewish teachers before Jesus’s time.” (Page 15)

Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. A prominent evangelical scholar, he is also on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. His other works include The Indelible Image, Women and the Genesis of ChristianityThe Gospel CodeA Week in the Life of Corinth and commentaries on the entire New Testament. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications and is a frequent contributor to Patheos and Beliefnet. Witherington is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament and the Institute for Biblical Research. He previously taught at institutions like Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings around the world. He has led numerous study tours through the lands of the Bible and is known for bringing the text to life through incisive historical and cultural analysis. Along with many interviews on radio and television networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline and the Peter Jennings ABC special Jesus and Paul—The Word and the Witness


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Digital list price: $19.99
Save $4.00 (20%)