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The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and…
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The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ (origineel 2016; editie 2016)

door Brant Pitre (Auteur), Robert Barron (Nawoord)

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Over the past hundred years, scholars have attacked the historical truth of the Gospels and argued that they were originally anonymous and filled with contradictions. In The Case for Jesus, Brant Pitre taps into the wells of Christian scripture, history, and tradition to ask and answer a number of different questions, including: If we don't know who wrote the Gospels, how can we trust them? How are the four Gospels different from other gospels, such as the lost gospel of "Q" and the Gospel of Thomas? How can the four Gospels be historically true when there are differences between them? How much faith should be put into these writings? As The Case for Jesus will show, recent discoveries in New Testament scholarship, as well as neglected evidence from ancient manuscripts and the early church fathers, together have the potential to pull the rug out from under a century of skepticism toward the apostolic authorship and historical truth of the traditional Gospels.… (meer)
Lid:Dan_Smith
Titel:The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ
Auteurs:Brant Pitre (Auteur)
Andere auteurs:Robert Barron (Nawoord)
Info:Image (2016), Edition: Illustrated, 256 pages
Verzamelingen:Jouw bibliotheek
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Trefwoorden:Geen

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The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ door Brant Pitre (2016)

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I picked up this very recent book because of an interview with the author that was featured in the Jesuit weekly America, and I was intrigued because here was a very young Biblical scholar taking on a project to radically revise some of the assumptions and presentations of both the Gospels and Jesus Christ himself in the field of Biblical scholarship as currently dominated by form and source critics. I wanted to read this because as the author states, he had his faith challenged by the assumptions and answers that the dominant school of form critics presented about Jesus and the first generations of Christian teaching about Him, which is something that happened to me as well when I encountered these assumptions when I studied at the Catholic University of America. He is concerned that he almost lost his faith, and that a whole generation of Catholic young people were losing theirs because of the shift from an uncritical approach to the Gospels that most of us have before we encounter the modern critical approach that seems to dispel all of the most cherished ideas and beliefs we have about Christ and the people who wrote about him in the canonical Gospels. He decided to take a fresh look at questions like "Were the Gospel writers anonymous", " when were the Gospels written?", "did Jesus present himself as Divine", and other related questions that have been presented by both religious and agnostic commentators in a way that tilt towards a secular understanding of the historical Jesus that minimizes his divinity and makes him a creature of several anonymous followers presenting their master as the Son of God in a rather clumsy way. Pitre wants to correct all of this, claiming that there is an abundance of both internal and external textual evidence that affirms traditional understandings for who wrote the Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John), and for the notion that Jesus pretty explicitly claimed a divinity for himself that cannot be rationalized away. He gives new evidence for dating the Gospels much closer to the 60's AD rather than the seventies and eighties, rejects the notion that the Gospels were composed after a rather long game of "telephone" in the collective memories of various Christian communities, and that there is good grounds for asserting that at least two of the Gospels (Matthew and John) were written by the apostles of those names, and that the others were written by near witnesses who knew the apostles and therefore had accesss to reliable accounts of Jesus' life. Perhaps the best thing that he does is to try and situate Jesus within the context of first century Judaism (as all such scholarship should), in his self understanding as Messiah and Son of Man as presented in the Book of Daniel, which most first century Jews would have understood immediately. His use of parables, his allusions to the Prophets and the Psalms all point to his understanding of himself as a divine figure, a figure anticipated by those first century Jews as expected to arrive in the "fourth kingdom" of the Romans and who would usher in the "fifth kingdom" of the Kingdom of God. Finally, Pitre gives evidence for Jesus' positive assertion of who he was after hiding his "Messianic secret" as the main cause for his execution by the Romans through the behest of the Sanhedrin, and not because he was a Zealot or because he had threatened the Temple itself. He shows that there is more than enough evidence that he was accused and found guilty of blasphemy for asserting his divinity and equality with God, the punishment for which was death.

I started this book feeling almost giddy with excitement for Pitre's perspective on each of these questions and others that I have omitted here, that the disappointment and threat that I experienced in modern biblical studies back in college could be rolled back by a new approach backed by evidence and not just customary faith. I felt this way for most of the book, but by the end, I now feel sort of wary about his conclusions, not because his scholarship is bad (it's very good, and as someone who does not read Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, etc, it's hard to criticize that anyway), but because I still feel as though he is not challenging some other basic assumptions that affirm his case. One of those assumptions is that while he makes a good case for believing that the Gospel writers were actually much closer in time to the lives of the first witnesses to Christ (the Apostles Matthew and John most prominently), there still is the question of the reliability of both memory and eyewitness testimony, for which it is axiomatic in legal circles that both witness memory and testimony are largely unreliable as evidence in a legal case, which ought to apply to this case as well. He does a good job of showing that our assumptions about the veracity of the Gospels and how they were composed are mostly reflections of how we ourselves write histories and compose narratives, and not how they were done in the ancient world, all of which are immensely helpful reminders when we talk about context, and that's fine, but even chronicles written only two decades instead of five would be troublesome to us now. The section on the "lost" or Gnostic Gospels as competitors or similar to the four canonical gospels was needed and he spears this scholarship well, but he needs more than just the assumption that the early church fathers regarded them as forgeries to totally destroy that area of contention to the degree he wants to.

In the end, Pitre realizes the limits of his ability, or anyone's ability, to prove whether Jesus was the Son of God or not, but I think he succeeds in pointing out the biases and weaknesses of the form critical approach and that we can still be open to believing in the Gospels as faithful proclaimers of Christ as they were once presented than is now customary. This book is a work of apologetics as well as biblical scholarship, so the reader will see this and does well to keep it in mind while reading. It is meant for non-specialists who have some familiarity with the questions involved, and he leavens the book with a modern style that has the occasional snarky remark to it that readers will find amusing as well as accessible. I recommend this book to anyone with more than a casual interest in Christology, or even just interested in good, sharp scholarship. It's a good book for Lent, too, as the last chapters will relate heavily to this period in the liturgical year. ( )
  Dan_Smith | Jul 24, 2021 |
Over the past hundred years, scholars have attacked the historical truth of the Gospels and argued that they were originally anonymous and filled with contradictions. In The Case for Jesus, Brant Pitre taps into the wells of Christian scripture, history, and tradition to ask and answer a number of different questions
  StFrancisofAssisi | Apr 28, 2019 |
Brant Pitre presents clear, well-reasoned evidence for the authenticity of the Gospel texts and for the assertion that Christ did indeed claim to be God. Each section of his presentation offers fascinating new insights into familiar topics. Since I've never doubted that Jesus's statements about himself in the Gospels were the wishful thinking of the evangelists, as some do, I was more interested in the first half of the book. I was familiar with the idea that the Gospels had been written relatively late in the first century, but Pitre argues convincingly in favor of an earlier dating.

Many of the supposedly modern approaches to biblical scholarship have at their core the implicit belief that Jesus *could not* have been what he claimed to be or have done what the Gospels claim he did. This book points out just how much evidence is overlooked or ignored when one approaches the topic with that particular prejudice. Highly recommended. ( )
1 stem baroquem | Jul 9, 2016 |
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Over the past hundred years, scholars have attacked the historical truth of the Gospels and argued that they were originally anonymous and filled with contradictions. In The Case for Jesus, Brant Pitre taps into the wells of Christian scripture, history, and tradition to ask and answer a number of different questions, including: If we don't know who wrote the Gospels, how can we trust them? How are the four Gospels different from other gospels, such as the lost gospel of "Q" and the Gospel of Thomas? How can the four Gospels be historically true when there are differences between them? How much faith should be put into these writings? As The Case for Jesus will show, recent discoveries in New Testament scholarship, as well as neglected evidence from ancient manuscripts and the early church fathers, together have the potential to pull the rug out from under a century of skepticism toward the apostolic authorship and historical truth of the traditional Gospels.

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