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

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

Excerpt

This book examines the ancient evidence from outside the New Testament for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is a large subject, so any one book that covers it must necessarily be very limited in depth. I have tried to present comprehensively the passages themselves in a contemporary translation, and introduce the most important issues in the current interpretation of these passages. Because of the size of this topic and the size constraints on this book, I cannot pretend to offer an exhaustive account of current scholarship, much less the full history of research into this question. The interested reader can trace out much of this by following up on the footnotes. If now and then I can go beyond these objectives to offer a new insight into the historical and theological problems at hand, I will be satisfied.

Many people have helped this book along its way, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank them. The editorial staff at William B. Eerdmans have been fine partners in developing this book. I especially thank Daniel Harlow, my editor at Eerdmans, now at Calvin College, and Craig Evans and Bruce Chilton, general editors of the Studying the Historical Jesus series, for inviting me to write this volume and guiding it along. They may not agree with everything here, but they have made this a better book.

My New Testament students at Lycoming College, where I taught from 1989–1999, heard most of this, read much of it, and contributed to the process. They were a constant stimulation, and usually a delight! They all had an indirect hand in this book, and a few of them had a larger impact. By asking questions I could not readily answer, Kay . . .

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