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Fabricating Jesus

Craig A. Evans (IVP Books : December 6, 2006), 290 pages.

Craig Evans is a very well-respected New Testament scholar with a background in historical studies. Although Fabricating Jesus includes brief though able refutations of claims made by The Da Vinci Code, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, The Jesus Papers, and The Pagan Christ, the bulk of material addresses popularized claims made by more reputable commentators, such as J.D. Crossan, Bart Ehrman, James Robinson, the Jesus Seminar, and James Tabor. Evans begins by discussing his own religious background and how it was affected by the critical study of the New Testament and historical Jesus. He uses this personal reflection to try and understand why some respected scholars have embraced such far-fetched theories. One of his explanations is that some of these scholars came from strict, fundamentalist backgrounds. When exposed to the critical studies, they were not flexible enough to accomodate the new information in their existing religious mind set. As a result, their faith was shattered instead of modified. They see little middle ground betweeen strict fundamentalism and utter rejection of traditional positions. Evans points to himself as evidence of a middle ground that actually bases its opinions on better historical evidences. ~ C. Price at

Table of Contents

    • Preface 9
    • Introduction 15
    • 1 Misplaced Faith and Misguided Suspicion: Old and New School Skeptics 19
    • 2 Cramped Starting Points and Overly Strict Critical Methods: The Question of Authenticity 34
    • 3 Questionable Texts-Part I: The Gospel of Thomas 52
    • 4 Questionable Texts-Part II: The Gospel of Peter, the Egerton Gospel, the Gospel of Mary and the Secret Gospel of Mark 78
    • 5 Alien Contexts: The Case Against Jesus as Cynic 100
    • 6 Skeletal Sayings: Maxims Without a Context 123
    • 7 Diminished Deeds: A Fresh Look at Healings and Miracles 139
    • 8 Dubious Uses of Josephus: Understanding Late Antiquity 158
    • 9 Anachronisms and Exaggerated Claims: Christianities Lost and Otherwise 180
    • 10 Hokum History and Bogus Findings: Jesus Between the Lines 204
    • 11 Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Unfabricating His Aims and Claims 222
    • Appendix 1 Agrapha: Free-floating Sayings of Jesus 236
    • Appendix 2 What Should We Think About the Gospel of Judas? 240
    • Glossary 246
    • Abbreviations 248
    • Notes 250
    • Recommended Reading 272
    • Author Index 275
    • Subject Index 278
    • Scripture Index 283
    • Index of Extracanonical Ancient Sources 288