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on January 7, 2003
This scholarly, yet approachable volume on the life of Jesus will appeal to both scholars and interested laypeople alike. While not exactly dumbing down, Bock writes in a style that would allow one not familiar with the technical sources cited to breeze over that material and get to the heart of Jesus' teachings.
Bock masterfully synthesizes the Gospels into a coherent, thematic picture of the Jesus of history. Bock's methodology uses very technical synoptics to piece together the gospel accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus and present the "portrait from the Gospels." The history of the life of Christ comes alive, and Bock draws on historical and cultural data to further the reader's understanding of the texts.
Most will find the overview of the four gospels at the beginning a good introduction (or a great refresher) to the historical and form issues of each.
Most excitingly, Bock deals a devastating blow to critical scholars (i.e. John Dominic Crossan, and his minions)who seek to undermine the credibility of the gospel accounts of the life of Christ. After reading this work, it becomes very apparent that these Jesus "scholars" are far from scholarly in their treatment of the life of Christ. They are simply revisionist historians making attempts to form their own portrait of Christ and read it back into the gospels. Bock doesn't argue against these fascimiles of biblical scholars in this volume, but his portrait of Christ makes it clear that theirs are thoroughly counterfeit.
I give Bock's book two thumbs up. A refreshing alternative to the critical garbage we've all been forced to put up with for the last century. At last, a biography of Jesus that is evangelical, scholarly, intelectually stimulating, and a historically accurate picture of the life and ministry of Christ.
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