Friday, October 09, 2009

Lord or Legend?

People will probably accuse me of going on a Gregory Boyd kick and in some ways, they'd be right. But when I saw the great deal that CBD was running on Lord or Legend? by Gregory Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy, I had to snatch it up and read it.

Basically Boyd and Eddy tackle one of the in vogue theories that's floating around concerning Jesus, namely that He is either in whole or in part mythical. You see this theory touted just about everywhere nowadays, either from the "august" members of the Jesus Seminar or the twerp who made that horrible film Zeitgeist. People point to the supposed parallels between the Jesus story of the New Testament and other mythic figures and they assume that somehow, that means that Jesus is legendary and you can't trust the New Testament.

That's quite a leap to make, and Boyd and Eddy do an excellent job showing why. They lay out a number of arguments why the New Testament is historically reliable. Most of those arguments I'm familiar with. I've seen them before. But Eddy and Boyd are a helpful addition because they put them all together in one helpful, quick read. Seriously, I knocked this off in about a day.

This book is intended for laypeople and so the discussion, while somewhat dense, never veers into the hypertechnical. For those of us who might appreciate the hypertechnical, they point to a longer and more scholarly work, namely The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition.

What I really appreciated about this book is the clear reiteration of something that I've read about in C. S. Lewis, namely that the reason why there are parallels between the Jesus story and other mythical stories is not because Christians copied the myths, but that the myths stem from a deeper longing for truth that Jesus ultimately fulfills. In other words, the myths copy Jesus, not the other way around. I can't really do the argument justice without plagiarizing Boyd and Eddy. So I'll just say, get a copy of this book and check it out. You won't be sorry you did.

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