Book Notices: On Textual Criticism, History, and Apologetics

Several books are about to hit the stores concerning apologetics this October and November. They look very interesting and worth keeping an eye out for them if your are interested in those topics.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

In Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism In this volume Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry, along with a team of New Testament textual critics, offer up-to-date, accurate information on the history and current state of the New Testament text that will serve apologists. It is to be released on November 5 of this year.

Some of the chapter topics include:

  • Myths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Dating Myths, Part One: How We Determine the Ages of Manuscripts
  • Dating Myths, Part Two: How Later Manuscripts Can Be BetterMyths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Myths About Variants: Why Most Variants Are Insignificant and Why Some Can’t Be Ignored
  • Myths About Early Translations: Their Number, Importance, and Limitations
  • Myths About Modern Translations: Variants, Verdicts, and VersionsMyths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived

The publisher has designated this book as an intermediate read. So it is not for beginners, but practicing apologists should definitely be picking up a copy to hone their understanding and presentation on the New Testament and textual criticism.

Jesus, Skepticism, & the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian Origins is described by the publishers:

In recent years, a number of New Testament scholars engaged in academic historical Jesus studies have concluded that such scholarship cannot yield secure and illuminating conclusions about its subject, arguing that the search for a historically “authentic” Jesus has run aground. Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History brings together a stellar lineup of New Testament scholars who contend that historical Jesus scholarship is far from dead. These scholars all find value in using the tools of contemporary historical methods in the study of Jesus and Christian origins. While the skeptical use of criteria to fashion a Jesus contrary to the one portrayed in the Gospels is methodologically unsound and theologically unacceptable, these criteria, properly formulated and applied, yield positive results that support the Gospel accounts and the historical narrative in Acts. This book presents a nuanced and vitally needed alternative to the skeptical extremes of revisionist Jesus scholarship that, on the one hand, uses historical methods to call into question the Jesus of the Gospels and, on the other, denies the possibility of using historical methods to learn about Jesus.

Divided into three parts the book covers the topics of: Part One: The Value of New Testament Historical Studies; Part Two: The Gospels and the Historical Jesus; and Part Three: The Book of Acts and Christian Origins.

Same chapters are:

  • New Testament Textual Criticism and Criteria of Authenticity in Historical Jesus Research by Daniel B. Wallace
  • The Historicity of the Gospel Miracles of Jesus by Craig S. Keener
  • Jesus’ Burial: Archaeology, Authenticity, and History Craig A. Evans and Greg Monette
  • Resurrection, Criteria, and the Demise of Postmodernism Michael R. Licona
  • External Validation of the Chronology in Acts Ben Witherington III
  • along with contributions by Craig L. Blomberg, Robert M. Bowman Jr., J. Ed Komoszewski, Robert K. McIver, Paul R. Eddy, Darrell L. Bock, Paul N. Anderson, Michael F. Bird, Ben Sutton, Larry W. Hurtado, and Nicholas Perring.

A foil to this volume might be Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity edited by Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne in which it claims that “scholars from different methodological frameworks have expressed discontent with this approach to the historical Jesus. In the past five years, these expressions of discontent have reached a fever pitch.”

A popular volume on apologetics is coming out by Mary Jo Sharp: Why I Still Believe: A Former Atheist’s Reckoning with the Bad Reputation Christians Give a Good God. Sharp is a former atheist from the Pacific Northwest, who thought religion was odd at best. Holding a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola she is an assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. It will be available November 5th.

Alister McGrath, the prolific writer and theologian of Oxford University is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian Faith is coming out October 15. Since the Bible is a narrative, McGrath encourages believers to present the truth of Christian not only through systems, arguments, and talking points (methods that appeal to our mind and neglect our imagination and our emotions), but he shows how we can both understand and share our faith through the use of stories.

Dr. Tanya Walker, dean of the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics declares that this book is a “compelling call to resist a reductionist rationality and to enter into the ‘imaginative embrace’ of the Christian faith.”

By J. Steve Lee

J. Steve Lee has taught Apologetics for over a decade at Prestonwood Christian Academy. He also has taught World Religions and Philosophy at Mountain View College in Dallas. With a degree in history and education from the UNT, Steve continued his formal studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary w/ an M.A. in philosophy of religion and has pursued doctoral studies at the UT-Dallas. He is finishing his dissertation at South African Theological Seminary. He has published several articles for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students (B&H Publishing, 2010) as well as articles & reviews in various periodicals including Philosophia Christi, Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics, and the Areopagus Journal.