Reinventing Jesus: About the Book

A book came in the mail for me to review. Reinventing Jesus: What the Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don’t Tell You, by J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace

I suppose reviewing books on the blogosphere is still in fashion . . even though we should probably be reviewing .PDF documents and significant blog entries. Imagine if the first books coming off Gutenberg’s printing press were reviews of the latest SCROLLS . . . lame!!! . . . but I just read this book and want to give a word UP.

082542982X.01. Scmzzzzzzz So . . . about the book . . . An excellent book. A readable book. A perennial book with, unfortunately, a seasonal title. It deserves to be bought and read and stored and studied – with or without its current connection to Da Vinci Code and The Jesus Seminar. The book is an easy reading account of why and how we have the New Testament. These facts should be commonplace but its amazing how easy we forget and how stupid we look in the process.

Postmodern thinking, summed up by the extremist forms, gets the usual spanking but I resonate with the author’s approach to truth-seeking through avoiding the two extremes of total despair and absolute certainty.

Bottom line: We can trust our Bibles. There is an “embarrassment of riches” to draw from and the minor differences between the 5,700 Greek texts are miniscule in numerical significance and do not affect any foundational doctrines, despite what Da Vinci Code tells you.

Self Disclosure: One of the authors, Dr. Daniel Wallace, is my cuzz. Or more accurately, he married my wife’s cousin, Patti, and we are therefore in a familial contract to respect each other’s work, so that potential family Christmas celebrations [which have yet to happen] may not be spoiled by two members of the extended family becoming embroiled over a theological dispute over ‘dynamic equivalence’ and Benjamin’s theories of translatability.

Dan’s a great guy, highly inteligent. . . intelligent . . . and he teaches New Testament Greek at some up-and-coming seminary in north Dallas [he..he..he]. As well as training the nation’s spiritual leaders, Dan is also one of the guys who wrote my Bible [Dan was senior editor for The Net Bible] and when i read it i often think of him in a dank basement, slumped over the manuscripts, adding oil to his lamp and consulting crumbling books from authors long dead. In moments like these, I conveniently forget that Dan uses a Mac, and at one time, or so he told me in Prague, requested a 125 terrabyte laptop from Steve Jobs [no success on that one, btw].

btw – you may want to visit my blog buddies who are also reviewing this book:

[added later] Pryomanic Dan Phillips has perhaps the premier post and attracted some controversy.

Roger Overton at The A-Team would have liked to have seen more on gnosticism but still, he says the book “does a commendable job of making the scholarly discussions accessible and relevant to ‘motivated laypersons’ without dumbing down the material”.

Justin Taylor commends it.

Dan Kimball (author of “The Emerging Church”) liked it so much he did a 5 week series at his church and had one of the authors Dr James Sawyer come and teach.

Michael Kruse has the fullest review and gives 6 conclusions [hint . . go there next]

Stephen Shields calls it an “excellent and unique treatment”.

ChristusNexus is keeping track of the reviews.

Mark D. Roberts gives it a thumbs up

Internet Monk Michael Spencer recommends this book “without reservation”. But then he was given a bag of white castle cheeseburgers along with the book.

250Px-Whitecastlecheeseburgerbox

YUK! thats gross! Keep the burgers . . and I will keep the book.

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Prediction: Its 2009 and due to popular demand from Seminaries and Bible Colleges, the book is reprinted. But it has undergone a radical name change. The reference to The Da Vinci Code, now seen as passe and an embarrassing attempt to be relevant to the the conversation of early 2006, is dropped like a ton of cliches. “Reinventing” is also abandoned because of its similar title to “Reinventing Jesus Christ by Warren Smith and because of its association with a large range of books on the emerging church containing the title “Reinventing”, a trend started by Brian McLaren with “Reinventing Your Church“. But the new name is a keeper and a good match for the book, which is now a staple on recommended reading lists for people seeking the truth about the textual accuracy of the New Testament and seeking to give a gentle, but confident answer to those who ask.

Comments? Go ahead.

– Flag waving King James Only fans can leave strongly worded acclamations of KJV below and i will not poke fun at you. Promise. Give me a K . . . Give me a J . .

– Da Vinci Code readers are welcome to leave behind some esoteric clues for me to decipher.

– Jesus Seminar readers can leave complaints regarding the views of the ‘historical’ Dan Wallace.

– The rest of you . . . if you have read the book, leave some thoughts.

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

10 Comments

  • Haven’t read the book, but just wanted to echo your concern about the lack of reviews for .pdf works and significant blogposts. We are all still tending to priveledge books as if they contained the best content, which is something most bloggers no longer believe, or at least claim to no longer believe.

  • Aaaaah. No… more… books… please. For an avid reader and an impulse buyer like myself, you are contributing to my poverty. 😉
    Looks like I’ll be burning an Amazon gift certificate on this one. I linked your review over at my blog.

  • Aaaaah. No… more… books… please. For an avid reader and an impulse buyer like myself, you are contributing to my poverty. 😉
    Looks like I’ll be burning an Amazon gift certificate on this one. I linked your review over at my blog.

  • Good point about book reviews. Ditto for CD reviews? Should we be reviewing podcasts instead?
    AC
    P.S. – Would you please ask whoever sent you that review copy to add me to the list? I get a few books a month to review but 80 percent of them are crap.

  • Unfortunately, Mr. Wallace is a evangelical/fundamentalist christian and therefore, totally blind to anything that might reflect a more enlightened understanding of early christianity or infact chrisitianity as it stands today. Therefore, his review of Bart Ehrman’s excellent discussion of how early christianity was influenced by the disfuse amount of, not just oral tradition, but early written tradition and how this unltimately translated into an enormous amount of misinformation and doctrine that Jesus probably would find quite offensive. It’s interesting how you have lumped Dan Brown’s fictional book the Da Vinci code in with true scholarship. The fact is anyone who true is interested in and has studied the bible, or ancient history understands that Dan Brown is merely putting forth a very good illustion as pseudohistory so as to sell books, not to be understood as true bilble or historical scholarship. Oh, well to each his own.

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