Even mature Christians have trouble defending the person and divinity of Christ. The Jesus Legend builds a convincing interdisciplinary case for the unique and plausible position of Jesus in human history. He was real and his presence on the planet has been well-documented. The authors of the New Testament didn't plant evidence, though each writer did tell the truth from a unique perspective. This book carefully investigates the Gospel portraits of Jesus--particularly the Synoptic Gospels--assessing what is reliable history and fictional legend. The authors contend that a cumulative case for the general reliability of the Synoptic Gospels can be made and boldly challenge those who question the veracity of the Jesus found there.
Paul Rhodes Eddy (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gregory A. Boyd (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Eddy and Boyd are authors or coauthors of several books, including Across the Spectrum.
Introduction: The Case for the Legendary Jesus Part 1: Historical Method and the Jesus Tradition: Miracles, Parallels, and First-Century Palestine 1. Miracles and Method: The Historical-Critical Method and the Supernatural 2. A Jewish Legend of "Yahweh Embodied"? How "Pagan" Was First-Century Judaism? 3. One Among Many Legends? Do "Parallels" Relativize the Jesus of History? Part 2: Other Witnesses: Ancient Historians and the Apostle Paul 4. A Conspiracy of Silence? What Ancient Non-Christian Sources Say, and Do Not Say, About Jesus 5. The "Silence" of Paul? What, if Anything, Did Paul Know about the Jesus of History? Part 3: Between Jesus and the Gospels: The Early Oral Jesus Tradition 6. Ancient Literacy and Oral Tradition: Assessing the Early Oral Jesus Tradition 7. Historical Remembrance or Prophetic Imagination? Memory, History, and Eyewitness Testimony in the Early Oral Jesus Tradition Part 4: The Synoptic Gospels as Historical Sources for Jesus: Assessing the Evidence 8. The Genre and Nature of the Canonical Gospels: Did the Gospel Authors Intend to Write Historically Reliable Accounts? 9. Evaluating the Synoptic Gospels as Historical Sources: Methodological Issues and Preliminary Considerations 10. The Synoptic Tradition and the Jesus of History: A Cumulative Case for the Reliability of the Synoptic Portrait(s) of Jesus Author Index Subject Index