Looking for books on the following subjects

Hi, there, I’ve been doing a lot of research online about the existence and historicity of Jesus, the reliability of the gospels, etc., and it has been a bumpy ride.The internet is full of amateurs, hyper-skeptics, conspiracy crackpots, and the like, and so I’ve decided on seeking out books to arm myself with knowledge. Can anyone recommend to me books on the following subjects:

-The existence and historicity of Christ. A through and exhaustive walkthrough of every credible historical argument which also addresses skeptical interjections.The claim is made that there is more evidence for the existence of Jesus than many other figures in the ancient world. I would like to see this claim expounded a bit more with comparisons to the historical proofs of other figures.

-The supposed pagan parallels to the life, deeds, and message of Jesus Christ. I’ve found out that these parallels are, at best, highly suspect, and, at worst, total fabrications. I would like a formal and systematic refutation of them.

-The reliability and historicity of the Gospels. This is a big, big topic. Anything will be helpful.

The Wikipedia entry (see here) has many footnotes and references.

Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity.

Triumph of the Catholic Church (can’t recall author’s name at the moment).

Do not rely on Wiki for anything other than lightweight entertainment data, and even then they get it wrong.

One of the best books that I have found on the subject of the historical Jesus was published in 2000 but didn’t really fly from the shelf is “Jesus: The Evidence” by Ian Wilson.
Ian Wilson takes you to the archaeological digs, shows you the crumbling documents analyzed by scholars, and highlights the latest discoveries, including recently uncovered bones and papyrus, that affirm that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected in the Holy Land.
You can probably find it at Amazon.com at a pretty reasonable price. His theology tends to be middle of the road and not slanted in either direction. For the die hard skeptic Lee Strobil’s “Case for Christ” is still widely circulated but has a greatly Protestant flavor as he is a Protestant convert.

I hope this helps.

Dear Windfish,

May I warmly recommend An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels by B.F. Westcott. Westcott was a conservative Anglican Bishop and although this book has long been out of print, it should be easily obtainable on the secondhand market. It remained a standard textbook for Anglicans for half a century.

Westcott’s volume affirms that we have solid grounds for accepting, and no good grounds for rejecting, the traditional belief in the authenticity and historical accuracy of the four Gospels. Moreover, it seeks to uphold the conservative 'oral hypothesis ’ of Gospel origins, namely, that our four Gospels were written by St. Matthew and St. John, apostles, by St. Mark the companion of St. Paul and by St. Luke the companion of St. Paul. Thus Westcott would argue that it is unecessary to think that St. Matthew, St. Mark or St. Luke quoted from or in any way made use of each other. The events of our Lord’s life, both His words and works, were repeated orally for years by the apostles and others and so were in common circulation among the early Christian community. Indeed, they were the substance of the daily preaching of the apostles.

If this book fails to assure you that the Gospels are not the product of enthusiasim, invention or accretion, then I do not know what book will. So get a copy without delay, you could try the internet.

I have undertaken much extensive study on the authenticity of the Gospels, thus if I can be of any further help please don’t hesitate to ask.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

Thanks for the recommendation Portrait. If you want to read it online or download it in to a PDF, just google the title and go to google books.

I just started reading it yesterday. Good stuff:thumbsup:

Thanks for the suggestions, I hope they keep coming!

I think I’ll start with Westcott’s work since his seems to be available online for free (thanks for the heads-up on that, jeffinjapan :thumbsup:).

About Lee Strobel. Man, the comments on the Amazon page for the book sure are divisive. Not that I’m a skeptic by any means, but it wouldn’t surprise that his treatment is a bit fluffy. For those who have read it, am I wrong?

Check out Gary Habermas. Not catholic but he has written a few works on the historicity of Jesus.
Also, read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, he does something interesting with the pagan Christianity argument

I would suggest that Strobel is a journalist writing for a specific audience. I imagine that many people teetering on the edge of wanting to learn about Jesus would find a connection with his modern rational arguments. After all, the book isn’t meant to be an academic work and is written in an entertaining style. Start with milk and then move to solid food :slight_smile:

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