Nicholas Perrin holds the Franklin S. Dyrness Chair of Biblical Studies at the Wheaton College Graduate School. Between 2000 and 2003, he was research assistant for N.T. Wright. He is the author and editor of numerous articles and books, including Thomas: The Other Gospel (Westminster John Knox, 2007), Lost in Transmission: What We Can Know about the Words of Jesus (Thomas Nelson, 2007) and most recently Jesus the Temple (Baker Academic and SPCK, 2010).
Hays is Dean of the Divinity School and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of several important studies in the New Testament, including Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (1989), The Moral Vision of the New Testament (1996), The Faith of Jesus Christ (2nd ed. 2002), and The Conversion of the Imagination (2005).
Familiar: Since Christian worship services began, areading from the gospels has played a central role.
Studied: For over two hundred years scholars havechallenged and defended the central claims of thegospels: miracles, historical accuracy, the divinity ofJesus, and more.
But Forgotten: Still, leading Bible scholar N. T.Wright reveals shocking news: We have all forgottenwhat the four gospels are about.
"Despite centuries of intense and heavy industryexpended on the study of all sorts of features of thegospels," Wright writes, "we have often managed tomiss the main thing that they, all four of them, aremost eager to tell us. What we need is not just a bitof fine-tuning, an adjustment here and there. We needa fundamental rethink about what the gospels aretrying to tell us."
What Wright offers is an opportunity to confront thesepowerful texts afresh, as if we are encountering themfor the first time. How God Became King reveals thesurprising, unexpected, and shocking news of thegospels: this is the story of a new king, a new kind ofking, a king who has changed everything, and a kingwho invites us to be part of his new world.
This book, third in Wright's series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians' belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances."
How do we explain these phenomena? The early Christians' answer was that Jesus had indeed been bodily raised from the dead; that was why they hailed him as the messianic "son of God." No modern historian has come up with a more convincing explanation. Facing this question, we are confronted to this day with the most central issues of the Christian worldview and theology.
Now, Wheaton College scholar Nicholas Perrin takes on Ehrman and others who claim that the text of the New Testament has been corrupted beyond recognition. Perrin, in an approachable, compelling style, gives us a layman's guide to textual criticism so that readers can understand the subtleties of Ehrman's critiques, and provides firm evidence to suggest that the New Testament can, indeed, be trusted.