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Jesus: The Evidence [Paperback]

By Ian Wilson (Author)
Our Price $ 23.76  
Retail Value $ 27.95  
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Item Number 127316  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   225
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.4" Width: 7.74" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   1.83 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2000
Publisher   Regnery Publishing, Inc.
ISBN  0895262398  
EAN  9780895262394  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Ian Wilson takes you to the archaeological digs, shows you the crumbling documents analyzed by scholars, and highlights the latest discoveries, including recently uncovered bones and papyrus, that affirm that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected in the Holy Land.

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More About Ian Wilson

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Ian Wilson studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling "The Blood and the Shroud, Holy Faces, The Columbus Myth, " and "Shakespeare: The Evidence." He lives with his wife in Australia.

Ian Wilson was born in 1941.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > World > General   [35342  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > World   [1586  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology   [2037  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Balanced and informative  Dec 3, 2007

This appealingly objective book by a Christian author explores certain major themes about the life and message of Jesus of Nazareth. Wilson attempts to find the answer to timeless questions like whether Jesus really existed, who he was, what he really taught, if he would have endorsed the Nicene creed, how he might view contemporary Christianity or if he would feel more comfortable with modern Judaism.

On every issue Wilson marshals a wide spectrum of opinion including that of atheists and extreme skeptics, which make the book really interesting. He even considers the mushroom cult angle of John Allegro! In addition there are fascinating snippets about the discovery of early manuscripts, the development of Greek writing styles and various episodes from history.

Wilson is entirely honest about the fallibility of the Gospels, measuring the contradictions between the four accounts and the geographic and historical anomalies within them, all against the Jewish culture of the time. He frequently refers to the work of the respected scholar Geza Vermes whose books The Passion and The Nativity I have found very informative. The various and possible source/s of the gospels are discussed in great detail.

He approaches the question of the existence of Jesus from many perspectives, looking at the possible dates of birth and death via astronomical postulates about the star of Bethlehem, what we know of history, references in Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and the Hebrew Mishna. There are passages on Jesus the Jew and the nature of Judaism at the time with reference to Honi the Circle Drawer, Hanina ben Dosa and the Essenes.

The information on John the Baptist is quite enlightening, as well as the words of Jesus viewed in the cultural/religious context of the time. Much emphasis is placed on the parables and Wilson attempts to explain some puzzling gospel verses whilst allowing other scholars to speak on some truly enigmatic ones. In this regard, I strongly recommend Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin.

The miracles or magical acts of Jesus are investigated in detail, considering the possibility that hypnosis played a part in the healings. The idea of deeper mysteries with adepts or initiates is thoroughly covered. In this regard, the interested reader may find Kabbalah of Yeshua by Zusha Kalet of great interest. Subjects like the identity of the earliest disciples and followers, the crucifixion and the resurrection are investigated by taking into account every shade of opinion.

The chapter titled A Faith Is Born deals with the spread of the religion, different groups in early Christianity (Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman provides much more information on the bewildering variety of early Christian movements), similarities between Christianity and other religions, Emperor Constantine, the Council of Nicea and the creed formulated there. Some prominent participants afterwards expressed their regret and unease with the formulation.

In the final chapter: The Real Jesus, Wilson sets out his conclusions. He argues that there may not be any formula or any one view of Jesus that can adequately explain or encompass him. I found this section to be particularly moving because of the author's genuine faith that is leavened by intellectual honesty. Lord Jesus Christ, an extensive scholarly work by Larry Hurtado is a most valuable and accessible book on how Jesus was viewed by the earliest Christian communities.

There are beautiful illustrations, including works of art and photographs plus comparative tables and maps of the Levant and the larger Mediterranean area. The book includes bibliographic notes and references arranged by chapter, an extensive bibliography and an index. Jesus: The Evidence is an enjoyable read and a balanced text; I recommend it to believers and agnostics alike.

Useful, worthwhile read  Dec 27, 2006
Up front, Wilson informs the reader of any personal bias he may hold (he is a believing Christian) and why he produced a second edition (in response to those who think him too skeptical and recent archaelogical evidence that has since become available for analysis). Wilson examines key questions surrounding the life and divinity of Jesus in a particular form. Chapters are geared toward answering a single question, such as "what do we know of Jesus' birth or upbringing?" Each chapter begins critically with skeptical arguments summarized, followed by what Wilson views as contradictory evidence. Most importantly, chapters conclude with a summation which invariably reveal Wilson as the Christian that he is. I can see this format as lending itself well toward "Jesus: The Evidence" being a handy reference source should a specific question about Jesus' life pop up at a future instance. At the very least this book worked for me in establishing Jesus as a true historical figure.
Speculation  Jul 11, 2006
Parts of this book are interesting, but one problem is that it is not well documented. The author does what many others do, which is to speculate, based on the hypotheses of others, many of which are simply based on skepticism, with no real merit or evidence behind them. I do not find helpful writers or theologians who assume they know what biblical writers were thinking nearly 2,000 years ago. While I think it is obvious the gospel writers, along with Peter, Paul, James, and others, had agendas, it is ridiculous to say, with authority, that Luke's account of the rejection at Nazareth is faulty. The best authorities we have, on the life of Jesus, remain the four gospels, which is likely to remain the case, despite authoritative titles and the tone of books such as this. The author is mistaken when he refers to Mark's account of Jesus driving demons into the pigs; while he insists the gospel writer's account of geography is faulty, it is his own which is weak. One need only look at a map of the area around the Sea of Galilee. This is not the only mistake in the book. The copy I read is the original edition; I don't know whether or not the book has been revised.
Interesting and Informative  Feb 20, 2006
Wilson's book is well written and well illustrated, with lots of pictures of the early founders of the Jesus Quest movement (e.g., David Strauss, Wilhelm Wrede, Hermann Reimarus, Rudolf Bultman) as well as early Christian artwork. The book does not attempt to cover every aspect of Jesus' life, but instead focuses on a few major issues (e.g., did Jesus exist, did he work miracles, who was responsible for killing him, was he resurrected, etc). It's a reasonable list of topics, but personally I would have preferred more. Also, the documentation is relatively poor (e.g., he quotes from many sources, but almost never gives the exact citation) and the bibliography is relatively short given such an undertaking.

Generally speaking most of his conclusions appear to be supported by the evidence. His orientation appears to be relatively neutral, not wanting to push a Christian agenda nor invoke conspiracy plots. He does have some notable errors, claiming, for example, that in Early christianity there was "...intense rivalry between two major factions (p. 150)" whereas most scholars recognize that there were many and diverse rivalries in the early years (e.g., James' Jerusalem group vs Paul's group vs Gnosticism vs Docetists). I suspect Wilson accepts Paul's portrayal rather than the evidence. He also seems to think that Acts and Luke were written by the same person, which is the traditional point of view but cannot be sustained by anyone who reads the two (or is it 3?) works. Curiously enough he offers us artwork showing that Jesus was roped (not nailed) to the Cross, yet maintains that he was nailed with no reference to the artwork.

All of these criticisms are minor when you look at the work as a whole, which deals with a vast array of issues from a neutral point of view and that marshalls a plethora of evidence to support his conclusions. But the real find here are the large number of illustrations. This is definitely a book you'll want for your reference library. It would also make a good supplementary text for a course.
No Evidence  Aug 1, 2005
Anyone searching for some concrete evidence that Jesus actually existed will be disappointed with this book.

There is no evidence presented.

What is passed off as "evidence" is derivative, i.e. requires the assumption that what is written in the scriptures actually happened. The explanations of the stories of miracles as being mass hypnosis are particularly weak. Other chapters include irrelevant information such as the discovery of the remains of a boat from about 2,000 years ago.

If you're searching for independent evidence of the veracity of the stories in the scriptures, you will not find it here.

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