By Raymond Martin
What might the findings of researchers engaged in the quest for the historical Jesus mean to Christians? In posing this question and others, The Elusive Messiah opens a window for looking anew at the age old problem of faith vs. reason. To fully understand the implications of the historical search, Raymond Martin suggests we must first examine the inquiries of the individual scholars. In the book's first section, he provides an insightful overview into the major players who have written on the subject, among them E. P. Sanders, John Meier, Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza, J. D. Crossan, and Luke Timothy Johnson. In his second section, Martin discusses various Christian responses to the challenges presented by the historians' work. Martin goes on to argue philosophically that faith and reason are able to coexist alongside each other, and then suggests how this may be the key to Christianity's future. Through readily understandable language and examples, Martin poses basic questions, looks for the answers, and explains how these answers correspond to the overall problem. His accessible writing synthesizes complex academic arguments in ways that bring them down to earth, enabling Christians and other readers to understand what is being claimed and to test these claims for meaningfulness.