missing gospels

[BOOK REVIEW] The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities

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The Missing Gospels Book Cover The Missing Gospels
Darrell L. Bock
Religion
Harper Collins
October 7, 2007
260

IS JESUS WHO YOU THINK HE IS? Perhaps you've heard the recent buzz about "alternative Christianities" and "new gospels." Speculations have shown up in magazines, documentaries, popular fiction, and even on the big screen. Much of the controversy stems from a library of ancient texts found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Now revolutionary questions about the Christian faith are being raised as a result of these findings: Is Jesus truly a divine Savior or just a teacher of wisdom? Is orthodoxy a by-product of third-century or fourth-century theologians? Did Judas betray Jesus because of evil intent or a request by Jesus? Does salvation include the physical body or just the soul? Darrell L. Bock takes you on a tour of the new claims as well as the controversial writings, examining their origins and comparing them with traditional sources. With discussion questions for group or individual study at the end of each chapter, The Missing Gospels will help you understand the messages of all of these writings so you can form your own opinion. This provocative work could even change what you believe!

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The wild success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code has spawned a thriving cottage industry of both supporters and critics. One of Brown’s more controversial assertions is that the emergence of Christian orthodoxy was based not on its merit but on the politics of the winning side. Here, Bock sums up the evangelical perspective as he challenges the idea that orthodoxy “emerged” at all. Rather, he argues, it survived its many challenges in the early centuries of the Christian church because it best reflected the thoughts and teachings of Jesus and the apostles. The author, who teaches New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, considers the idea that Christianity needs to be “reimagined”—reformed in the image of recent archeological and literary discoveries—to be an ill-advised attempt to rewrite history. He takes on those scholars who want to reinterpret Christianity in light of early Gnostic teachings that denied the oneness of the Father and the Son and spiritualized the gospel stories into myths. Bock recognizes this is pretty sophisticated stuff, and offers the reader a helpful chapter outlining times, names and ideas, providing a useful framework for the rest of his book. While not conclusively proving his thesis, Bock does provide a lively and readable survey of competing beliefs in Christianity’s earliest days. (Aug. 8)
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missing gospels

Review

Darrell Bock has written a timely and valuable study for anyone curious about the question of lost or missing gospels. Cutting his way through a great deal of hype and misinformation, he provides a solid, scholarly grounding to the early history and development of the gospel traditions. In the process, he makes nonsense of theories that Gnostic texts in any sense represented the suppressed core of Christian truth, concealed by a sinister institutional church. A breath of sanity!
Philip Jenkins, Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University

About the Author

Darrell L. Bock, PhD, is Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He also serves as Professor for Spiritual Development and Culture. As well as being a corresponding editor for Christianity Today and past President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Bock serves as an elder at Trinity Fellowship Church in Richardson, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Sally, and their three children.