New Skins, Old Wine

For almost 2,000 years, Christians have been confessing Jesus Christ as God and Savior in the assurance that they knew enough about Him to justify making this confession. From the earliest days of Christianity, its adversaries have repeatedly challenged the facts and doctrines recorded about Christ in the four canonical Gospels and in the great credal statements of the early Church, claiming that they were fraudulent. Even from within the Christian community in the early centuries of our own era, documents claiming to reveal more and other things about Jesus than those four Gospels record have been advanced—things sometimes in conflict with the dogmatic statements of the orthodox creeds. Although Professor Jenkins properly calks them "hidden" (in the sense that they have not received regular attention), for the most part they were not unknown but rather known and found inauthentic or unreliable. However, in accord with the spirit of postmodernity, it is possible to argue that the four canonical Gospels became the standard for Christianity not because of their greater reliability but because of political factors—specifically, the Church at Rome seeking to impose her will on the entire Christian community.

What Professor Jenkins deals with here are not attacks from outside the Faith but the works of people closely connected with Christian scholarship, purporting to show how misguided and mistaken orthodox Christian...

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