December 20, 2012

12 Day Book Giveaway - Day #2 - Challenging the Faith

Each day until the end of the year, I'll be giving away a group of books from my library. These are all used but in generally readable condition. Some may contain underlining. I don't necessarily endorse the content in any of these books, but they have all been useful in one way or another.

How to Win

Fill out the form below to enter the drawing. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day today. I'll select one person at random to be the winner and they will receive all of the books listed for the day. If no one wants them they will be donated. The drawing is only open to US residents.

Day #2
Today's books are an interesting lot, especially for this site. Much of my time is spent reading and writing on topics that expound upon or defend biblical Christianity. However, all of today's books seek, in one way or another, to undermine the testimony of the Bible. What gives? Well, as the saying goes, "you keep your friends close and you buy up all your enemies books so no one else can read them." Some may disagree, but I believe the best way to effectively engage and counter arguments against Christianity is to understand those arguments and get down to the truth of the matter. If Christianity is true, then we need not fear arguments that oppose it. For conscience sake, and to avoid potentially leading anyone astray, I have also included links below to Christian responses and interactions with these books.

The Jesus Dynasty by James Tabor
This is an interesting exercise in historical reconstruction, and gives you an idea of how pliable history can sometimes be. From the Wikipedia description: The book "develops the hypothesis that the original Jesus movement was a dynastic one, with the intention of overthrowing the rule of Herod Antipas; that Jesus of Nazareth was a royal messiah, while his cousin John the Baptist planned to be a priestly messiah."

New Testament scholar Darrell Bock interacted with Tabor's book in his Christianity Today article The Jesus Dynasty: How to Explain Away the New Testament.

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman
From the description: "In this compelling and fascinating book, Ehrman shows where and why changes were made in our earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the first time how the many variations of our cherished biblical stories came to be, and why only certain versions of the stories qualify for publication in the Bibles we read today. Ehrman frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultra–conservative views of the Bible."

Bart Ehrman has become somewhat of an celebrity in critical circles (famous or infamous depending on who you ask). As one of the leading New Testament textual critics in the world, he seems to carry some credibility. However, when you get down to listening to and reading him, you get the feeling that he has a big chip on his shoulder. Ehrman has one thing going for him - he does understand textual criticism and most unsuspecting Christians (or non-Christians for that matter) do not. The first part of this book is actually a pretty good overview of the art of textual criticism.

Another well-respected (yet still Christian) textual critic, New Testament scholar Dan Wallace, interacts with Ehrman's book in this review.

The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Bart Ehrman
This is Ehrman's intro to the Gnostic gospel of Judas. From the description: "Ehrman, a featured commentator in the National Geographic special, describes how he first saw the Gospel of Judas--surprisingly, in a small room above a pizza parlor in a Swiss town near Lake Geneva--and he recounts the fascinating story of where and how this ancient papyrus document was discovered, how it moved around among antiquities dealers in Egypt, the United States, and Switzerland, and how it came to be restored and translated. More important, Ehrman gives the reader a complete and clear account of what the book teaches and he shows how it relates to other Gospel texts--both those inside the New Testament and those outside of it, most notably, the Gnostic texts of early Christianity. Finally, he describes what we now can say about the historical Judas himself as well as his relationship with Jesus, suggesting that one needs to read between the lines of the early Gospels to see exactly what Judas did and why he did it." Here is another overview and perspective on the Gospel of Judas from Jeff Volkmer.

God's Problem by Bart Ehrman
The subtitle is "How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer" but the content is more along the lines of "How the Bible's Answers to Our Most Important Question Fails to Satisfy Bart Ehrman." Here is a brief interaction and review  as well as a more thorough discussion.


Kris said...

What a great idea, Jacob!

Jacob said...

Thanks, Kris. I just decided it would be better to share these with others and let them learn as well rather than having them just sit on my bookshelf.