Baker Academic

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Jesus Books Would You Use? - Le Donne

Dr. Skinner, now blogging over at Crux Sola with Nijay Gupta (a blessing on their new union), gave me the gift of good news today. I consider it the highest praise when a member of my target audience finds one of my books useful:

I look forward to getting to know these bright (and well-read!) students at Mt. Olive College soon. But this conversation has got me thinking: if you were to teach a class on Jesus and the Gospels to novices (adult learners, university freshman, etc) what three texts would you use?

Let's make this interesting and exclude the texts that Dr. Skinner has already mentioned.



  1. 1) Mark Strauss', Four Portraits, One Jesus
    2) Robert Stein's, Jesus The Messiah
    3) Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Second Edition)

  2. Which LeDonne book was this?

  3. Raymond Brown, Introduction to the New Testament
    Dale B. Martin, New Testament History and Literature
    Amy-Jill Levine, et. al.,eds., Jewish Annotated New Testament
    E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism
    Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions

    The Sanders one is probably a bit of a stretch for the beginning audience, but I feel that it represents such as forthright challenge to conventional Christian theological assumption about Jesus that it's really a must-read.

  4. Edward Adams, Parallel Lives
    David Cartlidge, Documents for the Study of the Gospels
    Ed Blum and Paul Harvey, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

    If I had a fourth option, probably a curve ball like George Aichele's Simulating Jesus. And if you ask me tomorrow, I'd probably come with up four different books.

    Eric T.

    1. Since it's "tomorrow," another list:
      Eric Eve, Behind the Gospels (because recommended here)
      Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus
      Stephen Prothero, American Jesus
      The wild card: Richard Horsley, Jesus and Empire

      So far it seems most choices are books on the historical Jesus, and only a few on the gospels. Not sure what, if anything, that says...

      Eric T.

  5. Helen Bond, The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed
    Dale Allison, The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus
    Greg Carey, Sinners: Jesus and His Earliest Followers

  6. E.P. Sanders, *Jesus and Judaism*.
    Ben Meyer, *The Aims of Jesus*.
    David Flusser, *Jesus*.

    IIRC, the first two were assigned in the first class on Jesus that I ever took.

  7. Tough question. I would have them read the entire book from Keener, and only selections from Wright and Bauckham.

    1. N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God
    2. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
    3. Craig Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels

  8. Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels
    Allison, Constructing Jesus
    IVP Dictionary of Jesus & Gospels

  9. Kenneth Bailey "Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes" (and add the earlier two books as backup)
    Richard Bauckham "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses"
    NT Wright and Marcus Borg "The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions"

  10. Bond: Historical Jesus (Guide for the Perplexed)
    Burridge: Four Gospels, One Jesus?
    Wright: The Challenges of Jesus