Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review: How God Became Jesus

How God Became Jesus:  The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature is a very tricky book to review, at least for me.  The book with essays from Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, Simon J. Gathercole, Charles E. Hill and Chris Tilling is a rebuttal to a book called How Jesus Became God by historian Bart Ehrman.  I have not read Ehrman's book, but from what I gather in this book, Ehrman's book must try and say that Jesus was just another human being and that He never said He was God .  Apparently, Ehrman says that Jesus was so highly revered that it was His followers who began the notion that Jesus was deity.  The purpose of this book is to refute the claims made by Ehrman.

This book was awkward to read having not read Ehrman's book first.  The authors specifically call out things said in Ehrman's book and having not read it, I just have to trust that the authors are not taking Ehrman's work out of context or stretching his words.

Beyond that, though the information in this book is fascinating (although I will say it is more scholarly than the average Christian taste), the way it is written it's clear that the intent is to pick apart Ehrman's work, not to inform the reader.  Maybe some people really get into these books.  I see them as a waste of paper.  Christianity has always endured because the truth endures.  While picking apart another book is appropriate in a review or possibly a magazine article, it is pointless to put it into book form.  If it is not the truth, the book will fall off into oblivion without our help.

This is not a bad book.  It's purpose is just of questionable value.  I would have much rather seen a "rebuttal" that was just a straight up presentation of the facts instead of basing it on point/counterpoint arguments.  These kinds of books just read like petty intellectual tit for tat.  I would love to see this book rewritten with no mention of Ehrman's book.

So, with the exception of the narrow demographic that has read Ehrman's book and wants to hear the other side of the argument, I can't recommend this book.  I sincerely hope that the authors go back and rewrite this book as if Ehrman had never written his book.  The information is fascinating.  It's just buried under an intellectual fist fight.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest review.

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