Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence
Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence

Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence

in Studying the Historical Jesus

by Robert E. Van Voorst

5 Rank Score: 5.1 from 1 reviews, 0 featured collections, and 0 user libraries
Pages 264
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 2000
ISBN-13 9780802843685
Did Jesus actually exist? Much has been written recently on this subject, including numerous books examining the New Testament record of Jesus’ life. Now Robert Van Voorst presents and critiques the ancient evidence outside the New Testament—the Roman, Jewish, pre-New Testament, and post-New Testament writings that mention Jesus.

This fascinating study of the early Christian and non-Christian record includes fresh translations of all the relevant texts. Van Voorst shows how and to what extent these ancient writings can be used to help reconstruct the historical Jesus.

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Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Studying the Historical Jesus Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000. Pp. xiv + 248, Paperback, $22.00, ISBN 0802843689. Allen Kerkeslager St Josephs University Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395 Among the specialized studies of non-canonical sources relevant to the quest of the historical Jesus is a growing bibliography of works by Robert Van Voorst. In the present book, Van Voorst provides a highly readable general survey of the non-canonical sources that have attracted the most attention in efforts to expand the database of evidence for the study of the historical Jesus. The simple act of gathering together in one short volume such a wide array of sources would have been sufficient in itself to make this book extremely useful. But Van Voorst demonstrates that he is also a reliable guide to these sources by the judicious manner in which he surveys the research on them and the equanimity with which he evaluates their significance for the study of the historical Jesus. The book is dominated by the twin issues of understanding the historical Jesus and demonstrating his existence. Chapter 1 opens with a summary of contemporary research on the historical Jesus for the general reader. It then offers a fascinating survey of modern writers who have denied that Jesus even existed. Van Voorst acknowledges the legitimacy of their questions, such as why references to Jesus are relatively absent from early non-canonical sources. But he recognizes that the existence of Jesus is essentially a non-issue in mainstream historical scholarship. As a result, he wisely relegates apologetic concerns to the background and concentrates most of his attention in the rest of the book on evaluating whether a given source provides a witness to the historical Jesus independent of the canonical Gospels. [Full Review]