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The Historical Reliability of the Gospels

af Craig L. Blomberg

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697424,163 (3.91)4
For over twenty years, Craig Blomberg's The Historical Reliability of the Gospels has provided a useful antidote to many of the toxic effects of skeptical criticism of the Gospels. Offering a calm, balanced overview of the history of Gospel criticism, especially that of the late twentieth century, Blomberg introduces readers to the methods employed by New Testament scholars and shows both the values and limits of those methods. He then delves more deeply into the question of miracles, Synoptic discrepancies and the differences between the Synoptics and John. After an assessment of noncanonical Jesus tradition, he addresses issues of historical method directly.This new edition has been thoroughly updated in light of new developments with numerous additions to the footnotes and two added appendixes. Readers will find that over the past twenty years, the case for the historical trustworthiness of the Gospels has grown vastly stronger.… (mere)
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In an era when it’s trendy to question everything written in the Bible, here’s a scholarly exception. Blomberg is a conservative who isn’t content to found his faith on faith alone. After a run-down of the latest methods of Biblical analysis, he tackles three primary “problems” for scholarly believers:

[1] Miracles, and the problem of credibility. This may be Blomberg’s weakest argument, where he is reduced to concluding that if the resurrection really happened, then surely none of the other stories are that incredible!

[2] Contradictions within the three Synoptic Gospels. Perfect harmonization is an unreasonable expectation, and even if errors do exist (Blomberg does not admit to any, but confesses the possibility) then that may explain some of the apparent contradictions.

[3] The problem of John’s Gospel. What are we to make of this maverick writing? It seems to argue against the Synoptics at every turn, and repeatedly insists upon eyewitness testimony. Blomberg’s take (which I’m oversimplifying) is basically, “Let John be John;” the apparent contradictions are not severe enough to discredit either John or the Synoptics.

Blomberg then discusses the Jesus tradition outside the Gospels. What do the remaining books in the New Testament say about Jesus? What do the extra-canonical writings say? What do non-Christians say? He concludes that they reinforce the Gospel story.

So are the Gospels reliable history? Some Christians would affirm this merely because their doctrine of the inspiration of scripture requires them to, but Blomberg believes the Gospel story can stand on its own. He finds it neither a slam-dunk for or against historical reliability, but rather a topic deserving of serious scholarship, and certainly not a barrier to conservative Christian faith. ( )
  DubiousDisciple | Oct 10, 2011 |
NO OF PAGES: 268 SUB CAT I: Gospels SUB CAT II: History SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: The search for the historical Jesus has had a long and complicated history. Nineteenth-century scholars, employing the tools of the historical-critical method, supplied a host of novel and contradictory interpretations of the Gospel materials. With the publication of Albert Schweitzer's "Quest for the Historical Jesus" nearly all hopes of producing a "scientific" life of Jesus vanished. Twentieth-century researchers while gaining a new appreciation of the Gospel writers as theologians, have largely remained skeptical of them as historians. Applying stringent "criteria of authenticity" to the sayings of Jesus, they have often left us with a Jesus who was merely human. Is such skepticism justified? Or can we trust the New Testament to give us accurate information about the nature and character of Jesus? What is the current state of Gospels research? Craig Blomberg summarizes the work of contemporary evangelical scholars sponsored by the Gospels Research Project of Tyndale House, Cambridge, and published in the six-volume Gospel Perspectives series. Yet he does more than merely summarize; he offers a truly independent work that will be of use to theological students, pastors and others concerned about the historical reliability of the Gospels. After sketching the history of Gospel criticism from the early church to the present, Blomberg describes distinctive developments of the past half century. Next he discusses the problems associated with the miracle stories and examines alleged inconsistencies both within the synoptic Gospels and between them and the testimony of extrabiblical sources, Blomberg looks critically at historical method.NOTES: Purchased through Overstock.com. SUBTITLE:
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
I found this book to be very helpful in understanding some of the movements that are occurring in Hermeneutics. The author gives a very general and concise summary of many of the major movements. This has also sparked my interest to read the book of which this is a summary, mainly the Gospel Perspectives. ( )
  Sansom48 | Oct 14, 2008 |
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For over twenty years, Craig Blomberg's The Historical Reliability of the Gospels has provided a useful antidote to many of the toxic effects of skeptical criticism of the Gospels. Offering a calm, balanced overview of the history of Gospel criticism, especially that of the late twentieth century, Blomberg introduces readers to the methods employed by New Testament scholars and shows both the values and limits of those methods. He then delves more deeply into the question of miracles, Synoptic discrepancies and the differences between the Synoptics and John. After an assessment of noncanonical Jesus tradition, he addresses issues of historical method directly.This new edition has been thoroughly updated in light of new developments with numerous additions to the footnotes and two added appendixes. Readers will find that over the past twenty years, the case for the historical trustworthiness of the Gospels has grown vastly stronger.

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