Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth---and How They Confirm the Gospel Accounts

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9780718018306: Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth---and How They Confirm the Gospel Accounts
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Searching for Jesus:  In this exhaustively researched new life of Jesus, award-winning writer Robert J. Hutchinson argues that Jesus was not an "apocalyptic prophet" who thought the world was about to end. Jesus was not a "zealot" revolutionary who wanted to kill the Romans. Jesus was not a Greek Cynic philosopher. Jesus was not an orthodox rabbi who accidentally got himself killed by causing a disturbance in the Temple. Jesus was not a world-hating Gnostic. Jesus was not a delusional fanatic who tricked his followers into following him.

Instead, Jesus was just as the Gospels describe him: a fiery, courageous, charismatic populist who drew crowds by the tens of thousands and electrified all of Palestine with his strange and exhilarating announcement of God's kingdom in their midst.  Jesus reached out to the most wretched and despised people in society -- the demon-possessed, the deformed, those afflicted with horrible contagious diseases, prostitutes, even soldiers of an occupation army.  Hutchinson shows that many of the negative ideas about Jesus paraded in the media every Christmas and Easter are increasingly obsolete.  These obsolete portraits of Jesus, the author says, are based on assumptions, theories and unproven hypotheses that are more than a century old and that have been discredited by more recent research.

Written for skeptics and believers alike, Searching for Jesus reveals how the Gospels are truer than many people have been led to believe. He asks the question:  "What if everything the Gospels say about Jesus... his words, his deeds, his plans... actually turn out to be... true?"

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From the Author:

This is a book about new discoveries in the search for Jesus of Nazareth. It's an overview of recent archaeological finds and new developments in Biblical scholarship that are calling into question much of what skeptical scholars have assumed and asserted about Jesus over the past two centuries.

It argues that many of the "scientific" or scholarly ideas about Jesus paraded in the media every Christmas and Easter are increasingly obsolete, based on assumptions, theories and unproven hypotheses that are, in some cases, more than a century old and which have been superseded by more recent research.

Among the recent developments discussed in this book are:

  • the 2012 announcement of the discovery of seven previously unknown New Testament papyri--one of which, from the Gospel of Mark, that may date to the first century;

  • the 2009 discovery of a first-century stone house in Nazareth that refutes one of the key arguments used by those who say Jesus never existed;

  • a young secular scholar in the UK who recently argued that the Gospel of Mark was written not forty or fifty years after Jesus' death, as many scholars have claimed for at least a century, but more like five or ten;

  • recent excavations in Israel that have uncovered archaeological proof of the existence of key figures mentioned in the New Testament, including the high priest Caiaphas and possibly James the Just;

  • new research that suggests belief in Jesus as a divine savior arose very early, within a year or two of the Crucifixion, not fifty to one hundred years as academic researchers used to claim in the twentieth century;

  • the recently discovered Hebrew-language tablet dating back to the early first century that speaks about a messiah who would suffer, die, and perhaps rise again in three days;

  • Jewish experts who insist that the gospels show Jesus was not an "illiterate peasant," as some historians and popular writers have claimed, but was likely a highly trained and knowledgeable rabbi;

  • leading New Testament researchers who challenge the notion that Jesus was a "zealot" who sympathized with efforts to overthrow Roman rule;

  • a top New Testament scholar in the UK who insists that the gospel accounts are based on eyewitness testimony tied to named individuals, not based on anonymous reports that circulated over decades as scholars once thought;

  • new studies that argue the gospels' version of the crucifixion--that Jesus was arrested on trumped-up charges of sedition because he openly challenged Temple authorities--may be far more historically accurate than previously believed; and

  • the growing recognition that the Gnostic gospels the Christian church allegedly suppressed were actually written one hundred to three hundred years after Jesus, and are in some cases openly misogynistic.

In the end, these new discoveries are causing some experts to wonder if the basic portrait of Jesus in the gospels is far more plausible than the elaborate reconstructions created by academic skeptics over the past 150 years.

In other words, the New Testament may be truer than we thought... and Jesus of Nazareth, rather than being smaller than the gospels portray him, may actually be much bigger... and far more interesting.

From the Inside Flap:

In a provocative new book that challenges two centuries' worth of skeptical New Testament scholarship, award-winning writer Robert J. Hutchinson argues that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was as the Gospels describe him - a fiery, courageous, charismatic populist who drew crowds by the tens of thousands and electrified all of Palestine with his strange and exhilarating announcement of God's kingdom in their midst.

In ways no one has done before or since, Jesus reached out to the most wretched and despised people in society--the demon-possessed, the deformed, those afflicted with horrible contagious diseases, prostitutes, tax collectors, even soldiers of an occupation army.

Hutchinson shows that many of the negative ideas about Jesus paraded in the media every Christmas and Easter are increasingly obsolete -- based on assumptions, theories and unproven hypotheses that are, in some cases, more than a century old and that have been discredited by more recent research.

Written for skeptics and believers alike, Searching for Jesus reveals how the Gospels are truer than many people have been led to believe and Jesus of Nazareth, far from being an "illiterate peasant," was a trained rabbi on a mission to save humanity from itself.

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9780718077976: Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth - and How They Confirm the Gospel Accounts

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