Evidence and Criticism
John A. T. Robinson (Wipf & Stock Publishers: Jul, 2001), 384 pages.
Bishop Robinson, a theological modernist whose "Honest to God" made him controversial within the Anglican communion, began this book as what he labels "a theological joke": "I thought I would see how far one could get with the hypothesis that the whole of the New Testament was written before 70", the year in which the Roman army sacked and burned the Temple of Jerusalem. As it turned out, he got much further than he had ever expected, a journey made more impressive by his lack of any predisposition toward a "conservative" point of view. His conclusion is that there is no compelling evidence - indeed, little evidence of any kind - that anything in the New Testament canon reflects knowledge of the Temple's destruction. Furthermore, other considerations point consistently toward early dates and away from the common assumption (a prejudice with a seriously circular foundation) that a majority of primitive Christian authors wrote in the very late First or early-to-middle Second Century under assumed names. ~ E.T. Veal at Amazon.com
Craig Blomberg (Broadman & Holman: Jun 1, 1997)
The intertestamental and first-century background information alone is worth the price of the book. Blomberg offers a concise treatment of critical methodologies (Historical Criticism and Literary Criticism), and then an eminently readable and interesting intro to the four gospels. Blomberg's survey of the life of Christ is as good or better than anything I have seen. What sets Blomberg's work on Jesus slightly ahead of that of Robert Stein (Jesus the Messiah) is, again, readability. Blomberg offers a chapter on the external evidence for the reliability of the gospels which seems to be basically a summary of his work from 1987 (Historical Reliability of the Gospels). He sums up this great work with a challenging look at the theology of Jesus. ~ Buddy Boone