Tuesday, April 7, 2009

'Dethroning Jesus' By Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace

The success of the Da Vinci Code book and film took many of us by surprise. After all, the book, despite its claims, was extremely sloppily researched, and made no new claims. But then we overlooked the sad fact that the majority of people don't have the sort of historical grounding to discern fact from fiction in the book. So a number of Christian authors, scholars and pastors, wrote well-researched works answering the claims advanced by Dan Brown. A lot of serious research was done, answering a book based on extremely poor research - but that is so often the nature of apologetics, anyone can make an ill-informed claim, but it takes serious research to anwer them! Yet the nature of popular fiction is that last year's best-seller is this year's remainder-bin bargain. So books on The Da Vinci Code are just not selling any more. The research that was done for those books now has to be put in a form that is widely useful.
Dethroning Jesus (Thomas Nelson, 2007) is one of the books based on this research. It sets its sights wider than just one book, and focuses on, as the subtitle says, 'Popular culture's quest to unseat the Biblical Christ'. Like Timothy Paul Jones' Conspiracies and the Cross, this book surveys a number of claims that have been made in popular culture that deny the Biblical Jesus. Six claims are treated, including the corruption of the text of Scripture, the Gnostic gospels, the Paulus und Jesus theory (memorize the term so you can reply to anyone who claims that Paul is the real founder of Christianity 'Oh, the Paulus und Jesus theory is so ninteenth century!'), and the claim that Jesus' tomb has been found, proving He did not rise from the dead. Bock and Wallace are two very careful scholars, and they have treated the six claims they address in this book with fairnesss and devastating clarity. The book unpacks attempts to have a 'Jesus' who is not the Jesus of the Bible, and shows that all of these attempts fall short.
This is a well-presented book as well, a small hardcover with a nice cover. It is well-written, and quite readable. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone dealing with those claiming that the Biblical Jesus is not the Jesus of history.
Dethroning Jesus is available from Christian bookshops, and from Amazon.co.uk.

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