Re: [XTalk] Barnett's _Birth of Christianity_
- Bob wrote:
I had not heard about Barnett before. Are any published reviews on this
book available? What approach is he likely to take on the "Historical
Christ"?-- the title, btw, seems to provide a clue.
I don't know this book, but I have read Barnett's "Jesus and the Logic of History", No.3 in a series called New Studies in Biblical Theology, published in 2001 by Apollos, an imprint of Inter Varsity Press. Dr Barnett was Bishop of North Sydney at the time of publication. The blurb says "At the heart of the Christian faith stands a man, Jesus of Nazareth. Few people seriously question whether he existed in history. But many, influenced by the more sceptical scholars, doubt that the Christ of orthodox Christianity is the same as the Jesus of history. In this important new book, historian Paul Barnett lays the doubts to rest. He uncovers the methodological weaknesses present in some forms of critical scholarship, demonstrating a failure to account for important early evidence about Jesus. Once the evidence is properly marshalled, a picture of Jesus emerges that fits well with orthodox belief in him."
He argues that distinctions must be made between self-consciously written history and information which may be inferred from other sources. On those grounds, he suggests that the "flood of literature" about HJ has concentrated on the gospels and largely ignored the letters (!?). He argues for text-based historical enquiry rather than sociological amalysis, which is limited in value a this distance. The letters give sufficient information to form a "rough grid" against which to validate or otherwise teh gospel accounts; he believes that integrity of the gospels is strongly affirmed.
You will be able to fill in the gaps. He writes from a consciously evangelical point of view, his bibliography is wide-ranging and he is clearly aware of the fields of controversy in the subject. People will draw their own conclusions as to how fair he has been to opposing arguments, and how adequately he has treated the evidence.
Rev Tony Buglass
Upper Calder Methodist Circuit
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