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Jesus Before the Gospels

Author: Bart D. Ehrman
Publisher: HarperCollins
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The bestselling author of Misquoting Jesus, one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today examines oral tradition and its role in shaping the stories about Jesus we encounter in the New Testament—and ultimately in our understanding of Christianity. Throughout much of human history, our most important stories were passed down orally—including the stories about Jesus before they became written down in the Gospels. In this fascinating and deeply researched work, leading Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman investigates the role oral history has played in the New Testament—how the telling of these stories not only spread Jesus’ message but helped shape it. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman draws on a range of disciplines, including psychology and anthropology, to examine the role of memory in the creation of the Gospels. Explaining how oral tradition evolves based on the latest scientific research, he demonstrates how the act of telling and retelling impacts the story, the storyteller, and the listener—crucial insights that challenge our typical historical understanding of the silent period between when Jesus lived and died and when his stories began to be written down. As he did in his previous books on religious scholarship, debates on New Testament authorship, and the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, Ehrman combines his deep knowledge and meticulous scholarship in a compelling and eye-opening narrative that will change the way we read and think about these sacred texts.


Christ and the Created Order

Author: Andrew B. Torrance
Publisher: Zondervan
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According to the Christian faith, Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation not only of the nature of God the Creator but also of how God the Creator relates to the created order. The New Testament explicitly relates the act of creation to the person of Jesus Christ - who is also a participant within creation, and who is said, by his acts of participation, to have secured creation's ultimate redemption from the problems which presently afflict it. Christian theology proposes that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word and Wisdom of God, the agent in whom the Spirit of God is supremely present among us, is the rationale and the telos of all things - time-space as we experience and explore it; nature and all its enigmas; matter itself. Christology is thus utterly fundamental to a theology of creation, as this is unfolded both in Scripture and in early Christian theology. For all this, the contemporary conversation about science and faith tends, to a remarkable degree, to neglect the significance of Jesus Christ, focusing instead on a generic "God of wonder" or "God of natural theology." Such general theism is problematic from the perspective of Christian theology on many levels and has at times led to a more or less deistic theology: the impression that God has created the world, then largely left it to itself. Such a theology is far removed from classical Christian renderings of creation, providence, redemption, and eschatology. According to these, the theology of creation is not just about remote "beginnings," or the distant acts of a divine originator. Rather, the incarnate Jesus Christ is himself - remarkably - the means and the end for which creation itself exists. If we would think aright about our world, study it and live within it wisely, we must reckon centrally with his significance. What might such a bold claim possibly mean, and why is Jesus Christ said by Christian theology to be so important for understanding God's overall relationship to the created order? What does this importance mean for science? Christ and the Created Order addresses these questions by gathering insights from biblical scholars, theologians, historians, philosophers, and scientists. This interdisciplinary collection of essays reflects on the significance of Jesus Christ for understanding the created world, particularly as that world is observed by the natural sciences. Contributors to Christ and the Created Order include Marilyn McCord Adams, Richard Bauckham, Deborah Haarsma, Paul Moser, Murray Rae, James K. A. Smith, Norman Wirzba, N. T. Wright, and more.


Jesus and Christian Origins

Author: Ben Wiebe
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
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There has been a varied range of studies on Jesus. Though now it seems there is a pause and perhaps opening to new orientation, with the aim not simply to cover old ground or repeat past mistakes. This is a study of Jesus and Christian origins with a primary focus on the Gospels. There have been comprehensive and important contributions, like N. T. Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God. At the same time, more defined studies have appeared. The purpose here is not to develop particular New Testament themes as such. Rather, in this volume the writers take up Gospel related topics in the context of the early church in order to illuminate specific baselines for New Testament interpretation and to discern directions toward a new paradigm. There is much to do. The need to take account of reception history and so of the “external evidence” for the New Testament documents; also eyewitness and oral tradition as embodied in the Gospel accounts. The genre of the Gospels with reference to biography or history has its own importance. The reception and “authority” of the Gospels in the early church marks another baseline. Jesus in his Jewish context and in relation to emerging Christianity is also a critical baseline for interpretation.


The Dawn of Christianity

Author: Robert J. Hutchinson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
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Drawing upon the most recent discoveries and scholarship in archaeology and the first-century Near East, The Dawn of Christianity reveals how a beleaguered group of followers of a crucified rabbi became the founders of a world-changing faith. How did Christianity truly come to be? Where did this worldwide faith come from? The Dawn of Christianity tells the story of how the first followers of Jesus survived the terror and despair of witnessing the one they knew to be the messiah—God’s agent for the salvation of the world—suddenly arrested, tried, and executed. Soon after Jesus’ death, his relatives and closest followers began hearing reports that Jesus was alive again—reports that even his most loyal disciples at first refused to believe. Using the most recent studies by top Christian and secular scholars, Robert Hutchinson, known for his popular books on Christianity and Biblical Studies, reconstructs all of the known accounts of these early resurrection appearances and follows the witnesses to the resurrection as they experience brutal persecution at the hands of zealots such as Saul of Tarsus and then become committed evangelists to the major population centers in Antioch, Damascus, Rome, and Athens—and ultimately across the world. A riveting thriller of the most improbable history-changing movement imaginable, The Dawn of Christianity brings to life the compelling story of the birth of Christianity.


The Earliest Perceptions of Jesus in Context

Author: Aaron White
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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This volume contributes to the study of the identity of Jesus, focusing on how he was originally perceived both by his contemporaries and in the earliest Christian writings. The essays include studies of methodology, archaeology, background, individual gospel perspectives, gospel relationships, intertextuality in the gospels, the earliest reception of the Jesus tradition in the post-Easter writings of the New Testament, and the missiological and pedagogical implications of Jesus' teaching. John Nolland is the reason for this volume, and his important writings on the gospels are its backdrop. The contributors, who include N.T. Wright, Craig Evans, Darrell Bock, Rainer Riesner and Roland Deines, pay tribute to Nolland's work and ideas, by drawing on his writings, and by exploring questions and issues close to his heart.


The History of Islam

Author: Terence Lovat
Publisher: Springer
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This book applies philosophical and critical textual scholarship to the traditional Islamic narrative in an attempt to distinguish between its historical and interpretive elements. It allows the narrative to be preserved with due respect for its significance and distinctiveness, but in a way that frees it from the ease with which it can slip into the hands of literalists and fundamentalists in order to serve a purpose which is at odds with its original spirit and intention. When radical Islamists use social media to try and convert young followers to a Jihadist cause, they refer often to the narrative about the Prophet, the original Islamic community (Ummah), and the holy book (Qur’an). The references usually imply that these are under threat by infidels, either non-Muslim Westerners or Muslims themselves who follow allegedly errant forms of Islam. The narrative itself is, however, never questioned; it is taken as merely factual with every word to be taken literally, including words that appear intolerant of difference and given to violence. As such, it can serve well the forms of fundamentalism that lie at the heart of radical Islamism and Jihadism. Because of a shortage of critical scholarship about Islam’s central narrative, the radical Islamist understanding of it differs too little from that of mainstream Muslims. Neither tends to take sufficient account of the context of the writing, its original purpose or the many interpretive elements that have been overlain. This makes it difficult for mainstream Islamic authorities to counter effectively the radical Islamist discourse or to distinguish moderate and liberal forms of religious practice from radical breakaway forms. In turn, this causes confusion among Muslims, who know the radical Islamists are in error but find it hard to say just why, and even greater confusion and angst among non-Muslims, for whom the allegation that all of Islam is inherently violent and to be feared is clearly being heard by an increasing number. This book sets out to address this problem by applying forms of scholarship that can preserve the best of the Islamic narrative while, at the same time, illustrating just how errant is the radical Islamist understanding of it.


The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Author: Henri Decaisne
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Global Warming and the Risen Lord

Author: Jim Ball
Publisher: Russell Media
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Global Warming and the Risen LORD moves beyond the old debates about climate change to a new conversation focusing on the tremendous opportunities there are and the biblical and spiritual resources we have been given to meet this threat. Filled with inspirational stories and sobering scientific research, Rev. Ball shows us that global warming is one of the major challenges of our time, but one that can be overcome by following the Risen LORD.


Shadow of His Wings

Author: Rebekah Mitchell
Publisher: WestBow Press
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Shadow of His Wings is a book of twenty faith-based short and longer stories for ‘tweens (between children and teens). The stories are built on tried and true scriptural principles and concepts. The book is fiction, but it is not false. It is like little snapshots of life. The stories all have different characters, settings, and lessons. For example, “Productive Fear” is a story about Mark who wants to help Tony begin to care about his schoolwork. Mark tries praying several different ways until one day Tony opens up to him about his problems. Mark decides then and there he will help Tony in any way he can. “First Step” is about Brian who is a bully who goes too far and injures another student. He is disturbed when he discovers that the boy is in the hospital pending surgery, and he takes his “first step” toward change: he listens to his mother as she tries to help him to rediscover God in his life. The story “Lackluster Love” is about Kristie who doesn’t understand her friend’s lack of love for Jesus. Her mom tells her to pray about it. Kristie does, and her friend begins to change. Kristie wants to know what changed her friend, but her mother tells her not to ask but to pray about it again. After prayer, Kristie discovers Sandy and her family were not really saved. It makes all the difference once they turn to the Lord. It would take a lot of time and space to tell about all twenty stories. All of the stories are different. Some of them are centered around boys, and some are centered around girls. Both girls and boys should enjoy them.


Christianity

Author: Diarmaid MacCulloch
Publisher: Penguin
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The New York Times bestseller and definitive history of Christianity for our time—from the award-winning author of The Reformation and Silence A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses the globe. It captures the major turning points in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox history and fills in often neglected accounts of conversion and confrontation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. MacCulloch introduces us to monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in shaping human history and the intimate lives of men and women. And he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.


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