Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'Conspiracies and the Cross'

We all remember the Da Vinci Code book and movie, and as we look back to 2004, we wonder just how it was that the book and the film created so much hype in the first place. But the fact of the matter is that the book was only part of a whole series of attacks on the nature and authority of the Bible, and the facts of Christ's life. Many excellent books answering the Da Vinci Code were released at the time that the film came out, but now that the Da Vinci Code is a distant memory in the remainder bin of life, that research needs to be put in a more permanent form. Thus Peter Jones' Stolen Identity, and the excellent Reinventing Jesus by Komoszewski, Sawyer and Wallace, were born. Now Timothy Paul Jones, author of Misquoting Truth, the response to Bart Ehrman, has given another book of this type, Conspiracies and the Cross.
This is popular-level apologetics at its best, serious research underpins eveything that Jones says. Not only has he obviously worked hard to understand the ten 'conspiracies' that he deals with in this book, but he has read widely to refute them. The book is structured around these ten 'Conspiracies', widely-popular theories that attack the Gospel. Each chapter begins by simply laying out the 'conspiracy', then giving a list of those who say so. The rest of the chapter interracts with these sources, finally refuting the 'conspiracy'. Jones' prose is lively and often humorous, though without ever becoming crude or insulting. There is a ten-page bibliography, and twenty-nine pages of endnotes that display the scholarship that underlies the answer. This is not a simplistic book, and Dr. Jones is plainly very much aware of contemporary scholarship. He refuses to buy into easy answers or dubious interpretations of facts, rather exposing the reader to the facts as they are. The book will probably be most useful in a more intellectual setting, such as a university, where the Christian faith is under intellectual attack. It contains a study guide for use in small groups, which will again be of most use in a more intellectual environment, such as a Christian Union at university.
I liked this book, and I think that the books that are now trying to put the research that was done to debunk Dan Brown (vastly more than was ever done by Dan Brown) into more permanent form are a great contribution to the corpus of apologetics.

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