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The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  433 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah?
Did he promise to return and usher in a new age?
How did Jesus envision the Kingdom of God?

The Five Gospels answers these questions in a bold, dynamic work that will startle traditional readers of the Bible and rekindle interest in it among secular skeptics. In 1985 the Jesus Seminar, comprising a distinguished group of biblical scholars, w
Paperback, 576 pages
Published December 19th 1996 by HarperOne (first published December 17th 1993)
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Joao Azevedo
Oct 15, 2016 Joao Azevedo rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
This book is the result of the collective work of The Jesus Seminar, a group of leading scholars in the field of biblical criticism. It contains a new translation of the four canonical gospels and of the Gospel of Thomas. The latter is a non canonical gospel which contains 114 sayings attributed to Jesus; some parts of this gospel are believed to be as old as the oldest canonical gospels (Mark and Luke).

Each utterance attributed to Jesus in the five gospels is color coded to indicate the evaluat
Stephen Mettee
Dec 22, 2013 Stephen Mettee rated it it was amazing
This is the report of a study conducted by a group consisting of scores of credentialed Biblical scholars. The group spent six years analyzing the words attributed to Jesus in the five gospels--the four gospels included in the Bible as we know it and the recently-discovered Gospel of Thomas.

The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar cast color-coded votes on each word or phrase.

Red was employed for those words most probably spoken by Jesus. Pink was for words the scholars were less certain could be trace
Apr 25, 2008 Rita rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very controversial book, well, for starters it has that 5th Gospel in it. And, it talks a lot about the potential political and emotional persuasions that went into writing the New Testament. I found it fascinating though. I didn't take it all as...gospel, but it was a really interesting read.
Nov 29, 2010 Shad rated it really liked it
Really interesting. You really should read it if you haven't and you have any interest in Christianity.
Sep 06, 2009 Fathir rated it really liked it
must read!!!!!!!! it is very important to us hehe.... four thumbs up!!!
Feb 04, 2014 Rama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-testament, bible
Jesus seminar and the sayings of Jesus recorded in the five gospels

This is a major work of Jesus seminar, a group of academics of leading universities and colleges that evaluated the authenticity of the parables, aphorisms and sayings of Jesus recorded in five gospels; Mark, Matthew, Luke, John and Thomas. The gospel of Thomas is included in this analytical work because it is the only gospel that survived in full textual form. The other four gospels were derivatives and no original manuscripts w
Mar 02, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
Fascinating. An attempt by the Fellows of the Jesus seminar to apply historical research methods to the words attributed to Jesus in the 4 canonical gospels as well as the more recently discovered Gospel of Thomas (which has many parallels to the canonical gospels), to determine what he actually said or not. This is a bit dated, so it will be interesting to see where subsequent responses and further research may have led. Essentially the Fellows all voted, after discussion, on the likelihood of ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
This book was amazing. It goes through and looks at everything Jesus says in the Bible and tries to say how likely it is that he actually said it. The words are color coded and there is explanation of why they classified it the way the did. I really appreciate that they also included the Gospel of Thomas. After reading this book, however, I had a difficult time deciding how I felt about the Bible and especially the Gospel of John (the Jesus seminar doesn't think Jesus actually said anything that ...more
Matthew Klippenstein
An audacious, extensive multidisciplinary scholarly analysis of the canonical Christian gospels, in the order they were written (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John). The titular fifth gospel is the Gospel of Thomas, which receives its own assessment.

While providing the reader with scholarly context for the gospel stories, the book looks at *every quotation attributed to Jesus* and assesses how likely it is that He actually said such a thing.

As the analysis was done by the Jesus Seminar, literalists and
Doug Piero
Apr 21, 2011 Doug Piero rated it it was amazing
I always had trouble with the picture my old fundamentalist church put in my head of the way the evangelists wrote the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I had this kind of seance idea, where old Matthew would go into a semitrance with a pen in his hand, and out came the gospel. Like automatic writing during the heyday of spiritualism and mediums.

The Five Gospels does a superb job of explaining how you can peer through the familiar gospels in the New Testament and see line by line how th
David Olmsted
Apr 09, 2012 David Olmsted rated it liked it
Shelves: biblical
While this is a good resource book for listing similar Biblical passages in the margins it really shows the flaws of historical Jesus research. The aim of this book was to give the general consensus of Biblical scholars in the mid 1990s about whether various sayings attributed to Jesus really came from him. While this book does that it does not seek to justify the conclusions which in fact cannot be justified in any rigorous way without using the analytical methods of decision theory. Presently ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Burt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The Jesus Seminar's attempt to get closer to the words of the historic Jesus resulted in The Five Gospels. For people interested in the historicity of Jesus and the birth and growth of Christianity, this book is absolutely fascinating. The book's introduction is key to the Seminar's approach to historicity and authenticity--it lays the groundwork for understanding the times and cultures of the world during the first and second centuries CE.

I cannot recommend this book to highly for thoughtful Ch
This is effectively the result of a panel of experts, assembled by Funk, to determine the 'authentic' teachings of Jesus by voting on each one with coloured beads. This book contains both their own translation (the "Scholar's Translation") of the four canonical gospels and the Gospel of Thomas, coloured sayings of Jesus, and a guide to their methodology. Incredibly controversial, both within and without the field, the Jesus Seminar's work is best appreciated when compared to the work of others i ...more
David Tan
May 12, 2010 David Tan rated it it was amazing
This is a great source book for figuring out what quotations in the gospels that are attributed to Jesus actually are his real words. A group of linguists looked at some original documents (the best we have, we obviously don't have the originals) and tried to see if the words in red really should be in red. For example much of the synoptic gospels are likely to contain sayings from Jesus, but most of the Gospel of John is more of a Christian attribution to Jesus rather than the historical Jesus ...more
Carl Williams
The historic slide through two thousand years toward the beginnings really resonates with me. Each layer interesting and important in its own way, and the educated guessing of Jesus' original words is inspiring and thought provoking. Cool stuff.
Jan 05, 2008 Nikki rated it really liked it
I haven't read every word of this, but used it in Bible study. It can be controversial but is a useful springboard for discussion.
Lisa Ambrose
Jun 21, 2007 Lisa Ambrose rated it it was amazing
very interesting...i like how they used different color fonts as a quasi-lichert scale to show the "authenticity" of what was said.
May 23, 2011 Joy-Ellen rated it really liked it
A real eye opener as to what the best theologians and religious historians believe were the actual sayings of Jesus from the Christian scripture and "why".
Steve Watson
Steve Watson rated it liked it
Mar 07, 2012
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Mar 21, 2008
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Wiliam Redfield
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Nov 02, 2014
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Feb 16, 2010
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Nov 09, 2014
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Jul 28, 2015
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Robert Walter Funk (July 18, 1926 – September 3, 2005), was an American biblical scholar, founder of the controversial Jesus Seminar and the non-profit Westar Institute in Santa Rosa, California. Funk, an academic, sought to promote research and education on what he called biblical literacy. His approach to hermeneutics was historical-critical, with a strongly sceptical view of orthodox Christian ...more
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