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The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels
Luke Timothy Johnson

0060641665 Retail Price: $14.00
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Format: Paperback, 208pp.
ISBN: 9780060641665
Publisher: Harper SanFrancisco
Pub. Date: Reprint edition February 1997

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About the Author
Table of Contents
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Powerfully challenging the scholarship of the media-hungry Jesus Seminar, respected New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson argues that Christian faith is founded not upon a historical Jesus that scholarship can reconstruct, but on the resurrected Jesus proclaimed by the New Testament and Christian tradition. He states, "The real Jesus is not simply a figure of the past but very much and above all a figure of the present," Provocative and timely, The Real Jesus exposes the fundamentally misguided quest for the historical Jesus by the Jesus Seminar — actually a small group of mostly marginal scholars — and by such scholars as John Dominic Crossan, Burton Mack, and Marcus Borg.

The Real Jesus--the first book to challenge the findings of the Jesus Seminar, the controversial group of two hundred scholars who claim Jesus only said 18 percent of what the Gospels attribute to him--"is at the center of the newest round in what has been called the Jesus Wars." (Peter Steinfels, New York Times). Drawing on the best biblical and historical scholarship, respected New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson demonstrates that the "real Jesus" is the one experienced in the present through faith rather than the one found in speculative historical reconstructions. A new preface by the author for the paperback edition presents his point of view on the most recent rounds of this lively debate.


"Luke Timothy Johnson calls the bluff of the Jesus Seminar and other purveyors of trendy 'historical Jesus' marketing hype. This timely book offers an engaging account of what serious historical scholarship can--and cannot--say about the Jesus of history. Johnson refocuses the debate by posing fundamental questions about the relation between history, tradition, and faith."
—Richard B. Hays, Duke Divinity School, author of The Moral Vision of the New Testament

"The Jesus of cheap scholarship, the Jesus-as-I-personally-like-to-imagine-him, has been zealously promoted through the past decade like a fizzy new drink. Thank goodness, then, for a cool, clear glass of sober scholarship from Luke Johnson, who clearly exposes the dubious techniques of the Jesus Seminar and reminds us of the limitations of what historians can demonstrate and claim."
—James D. G. Dunn, University of Durham


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About the Author

Luke Timothy Johnson is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. A Roman Catholic, Johnson was a Benedictine monk and priest before becoming a biblical scholar. He is the author of Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel and writes for Commonwealth, America, and Christian Century.

Table of Contents

The Good News and the Nightly News
History Challenging Faith
Cultural Confusion and Collusion
The Limitations of History
What's Historical About Jesus?
The Real Jesus and the Gospels
Epilogue: Critical Scholarship and the Church

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