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Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels
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Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  239 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Modern historical study of the Gospels seems to give us a new portrait of Jesus every spring--just in time for Easter. The more unusual the portrait, the more it departs from the traditional view of Jesus, the more attention it gets in the popular media. Why are scholars so prone to fabricate a new Jesus? Why is the public so eager to accept such claims without question? W ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by IVP Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Fabricating Jesus is written for a wide audience, from anyone who has been confused by much of the popular writing on Jesus recently (e.g. Da Vinci Code) to skeptics to scholars. After reading it I would highly recommend it to people who have not read much in historical Jesus scholarship for it provides a good entry into that realm.

The first four chapters are the very best. In chapter one Evans shows examples of both old and new skeptics, illustrating how their theories on Jesus fall short. Then
Rafael Gomez
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Isn't it incredible how anything about Jesus sells! So it's never a surprise when, just in time, every Easter, scholars roll out new "portraits" of Jesus. Time and Newsweek are always eager to comply - dousing their front pages with claims of "new finds" that change everything. There's a predictability to this - The kinkier and weirder the portrait, the more it departs from the historical, traditional view of Jesus, the more attention it gets in the popular media.

This book gets into a lot of "wh
Mark Samuel
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book (had to read this for a seminary class I'm taking this fall)! For those who question the rationale behind the Christian exclusion of ancient texts like The Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Phillip from the canon of scripture, this is a must-read. Many recent scholars have placed the wish before the evidence in arguing for the use of books like those I mentioned in establishing the historic portrait of Jesus. Evans clearly and rationally deals with their arguments and (sometimes non- ...more
J. Wallace
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Good book that discusses the assumptions and dubious sources account for some of the theories and tactics that have been employed by skeptics. I also discuss this topic in my book, “Cold Case Christianity” (Chapter 10: Prepare for an Attack)

Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
Stephen Bedard
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not only a fantastic look at the historical Jesus and a response to some recent critical theories, this book is a model on how to do apologetics.
May 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Fabricating Jesus - How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. By Craig A. Evans. InterVarsity Press, 2006. 290 pages. Hardback

"Fabricating Jesus", a book written by Craig A. Evans and published by InterVarsity Press, is a helpful and thoughtful summary of the distortion of the Gospels by modern authors, and a well-reasoned defense of the historical Jesus.

Written for the “non-expert” (p. 14), Evans’ book does a sound job of explaining the current academic and popular discussion of the person of Je
Joe Fogarty
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: rbc-books, gospels
Fabricating Jesus is a popular level book written to address “some of the sloppy scholarship and misguided theories that have been advanced in recent years” (p. 14). Dr. Craig Evans writes to address the many false arguments presented in contemporary books by modern scholars. The book shows how these modern-day “specialists” try to argue that it’s necessary to rely on second- and third-century sources, as opposed to the reliable first-century New Testament Gospels. In eleven chapters, Dr. Evans ...more
Nov 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: jesus
Proving anything about Jesus is a bit like proving anything about gravity: sure, you can point to evidence, but when it comes to hard and fast proof, well, at some point you just need to believe. Thus, Fabricating Jesus is a tough book to write. How do you respond to people who have been critical of the historical Jesus? Indeed, how does one do that when most of the evidence comes from the Bible, and most of the people who try to poke holes in the Biblical Jesus are doing so because they don't b ...more
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been holding off a while in writing this review. I was hoping to read the whole book again. There's some seriously amazing stuff in here. Craig A. Evans is my new hero. (and I just found out he used to live near me, and teach near me - can't believe I missed out on chatting with him daily).

All Christians should be aware that all Biblical truth is being quickly done away with by bad scholars and media hoopla. We must defend our Biblical beliefs with the best research and science that is avai
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great work by a truly well-rounded New Testament scholar. He is well acquainted with Semitic languages as well as the Greek and Roman influences on 2nd Temple Judaism. His work exposes wild speculations and ill-founded conclusions reached by some scholars on the person of Jesus and the nature of the gospels. An antidote to anyone curious about The DaVinci Code, alternate Jesus theories and Gospel criticism.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a useful read exposing and debunking many of the modern attempts to reconstruct an "historical Jesus" in antithesis to the New Testament Gospels' presentation of Jesus. My only critique would be that at times Evans appears to give more weight to what historical research reveals about Jesus than the Scriptures as God's infallible revelation of Jesus. But he is certainly not in the same school as the critics whose work he deconstructs.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very readable and Evans responds to so many of the weak arguments of sceptical scholars and the rubbish published by some popular authors. And Evans is so much more of an authority in this important area of Jesus scholarship and research. Well recommended for anyone who enjoys apologetics and wants to know more about the wealth of evidence for the historical Jesus.
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Not always engaging, but it does provide material and analysis which is helpful for combating the Jesus of the Jesus Seminar and similar radical contemporary scholars, as well as non-scholars like Dan Brown. As such, I recommend owning it for at least the reference materials.
Adam Godbold
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very solid. However, in my estimation, he unnecessarily concedes too much regarding inerrancy.
Adam Sanchez
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biblical-studies
Maybe I’m still in recovery from my former evangelicalism, but I still think Evans’ work is a great work of Bible apologetics and a reliable reporting of the scholarship.

Evans is writing ‘to defend the witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus’ and he asserts that, ‘[w]hen put to the test, the original documents hold up quite well’ (17). The first chapter deals with the situation that some people have undertaken biblical studies in university and have lost their faith because their
Chuck Engelhardt
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fabricating Jesus, by Craig A. Evans is a solid refutation of some popular speculations about who the “real” Jesus is. The author addresses the theories themselves as well as pointing out the problems with “newly discovered” texts being used to support the extra-biblical views. I found it interesting that he attributes this “Real Jesus” craze with people’s desire to know more, to find out something new. I really hadn’t thought of it that way, and honestly considered him generous in his attributi ...more
Noah Schumacher
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Craig Evans does a great job clearing the fray regarding who Jesus is, was, or could be. He lines up many of the claims such as cynic, magician, Essene, etc and evaluates all of the criteria and lays out a practical and nonsense understanding of why Jesus most likely was NOT these things. He backs it all up very well with history, dating, and archaeological data. The guy did his homework for this one. He takes MANY areas surrounding the study of the Historical Jesus and simply puts them under th ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Excellent, non-technical introduction to historical Jesus studies. Evans does a very good job of explaining the complicated textual, historical, and archaeological issues surrounding Jesus studies. Published in 2006, Fabricating Jesus came out during the Davinci Code hype. But Dan Brown is only the popular version of the target that Evans' book has in mind.

As the title makes clear, Evans spends much of his book rebutting what he takes to be bad scholarship concerning Jesus studies. Though he int
Lewis Smith
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sometimes one wonders how modern scholars justify completely denying the narrative core of the Gospels, or dismissing them as mythology, when the New Testament was written while Jesus' followers were still alive, and the modern works of critics some twenty centuries later! How can they claim to know the "real" Jesus better than authors who knew Him, or at least, knew the men who knew Him?
Craig Evans takes on this question in a fascinating book that should be in the library of every person who e
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In clear and concise fashion the author presents an accessible argument against the various alternative views of Jesus put forward in the last century or so. Engaging with the source materials and relevant archeological discoveries the author builds a case against the use of extra-canonical Gospels in the study of the historical Jesus. When one looks further into the outrageous claims by various scholars it becomes evident in light of the evidence that they are making connections where they ough ...more
J. Rutherford
Nov 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Typical fare from a classical apologist, it demonstrates the impotency of secular methodology and the anemic faith that results from a dependence on secular methods and academic credibility in our society. Rejecting the need for inerrant Scripture, Evans is left with vastly inadequate view of Jesus, and even what he claims we can know is couched in uncertainty (it is probable, likely, possible, that Jesus did such and such or believed such and such). He demonstrates a superb grasp of historical ...more
Oli May
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Whether this books helps make sense of some of the silliness out there rather depends on which silliness you're grappling with. Craig Evans is a highly respected scholar, who makes short work of the likes of the Jesus Seminar, Barbara Theiring and the Dan Brown-era counterknowledge (to borrow Damian Thompson's word).

What he doesn't do to any great extent (though tantalisingly touches on this, all too briefly) is critique the actual tools and procedures used by scholars who analyse the New Testam
Aug 20, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: jesus
Before you read this book, be advised to discern the following statement of the author in one of his debates with Bart Ehrman:

"We scholars are concerned with details .. we love to find new manuscripts, we actually revel over the discovery of a new variant, it gives us an opportunity to write another learned article at a refereed journal .. nothing I like more than to find another manuscript, and I'd be terribly disappointed if it was just the same old samo without one variant .. ah! .. give me
Kip Johnston
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Ostensibly a book written on the popular level yet still fairly technical in content. Evans presents convincing arguments against false "gospels" while showing why the synoptic gospels are the most compelling documents available.

A couple of my favorite quotes:
"Some scholars seem to think that the more skeptical they are, the more critical they are. But adopting an excessive and unwarranted skeptical stance is no more critical than gullible accepting whatever comes along."

"Jesus taught and mini
Matt Lawrence
A book that truly matters to anyone looking honestly for the historical Jesus. Craig A Evans doesn't look at every detail and aspect of the Gospels or even the rest of the New Testament, instead evaluates the far-left liberal claims of the what the 'true' Jesus was and compares it to standard criteria of New Testament studies. Craig A. Evans does a excellent job explaining and refuting some of the most bizarre claims as well as pop claims which have become nothing more than a media sensations bu ...more
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who questions biblical authenticity
This book is by far the most informed and technically driven response to critics of the biblical Jesus that I've read. It responds to the teachings of the Jesus Seminar and other similar liberal academics with well supported logical arguments and does so without constant reliance upon dogma. This book, among many other things, provides a well-reasoned, comprehensive response to "The Da Vinci Code" and provides a more convincing case than some of the other responses I've read.

If you are a skeptic
Brian Watson
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a solid book aimed at debunking various claims made by the Jesus Seminar and Bart Ehrman, among others. Evans is at his best when he shows that the Gospel of Thomas and other so-called "lost Gospels" were written at the end of the second century, and were not edited out of Christianity. I think he yields too much to liberal scholarship in a few areas (such as the dates of the Gospels), but there is useful information in this book.

Unfortunately, the book is hampered by a strange system of
Chris Wood
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
While Evans provides a number of valuable data points for navigating the field of History of Jesus scholarship, his work lacks a cohesive, unifying rubric for grasping what Evans considers to be poor scholarship in the field. His attempt to expose the scholarly fallacies are scattered; one is left uncertain if Evans has in fact offered a comprehensive criticism.

Read this if you want to get a quick overview of the field of history of Jesus scholarship. If you are looking for a framework, this is
Demetrius Rogers
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: bible-theology
Really good solid stuff here. But, the work suffered from a lack of cohesiveness. The book came out in 2006 when everything written seemed to be a response to Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. So instead of presenting a unified product, Evans spends his time shooting clay pigeons out of the sky. We jumped from topic to topic to topic as Evans took aim and handily dispelled of each misguided notion. Not the most engaging read, but a good book to keep for quick reference.
Frank Peters
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book is excellent. Evan's shows how dangerous it is to take an extreme fundamentalist or literalist view. His analysis of some of the modern sceptics and their roots in extreme fundamentalism was very eye opening. This has many implications for the teaching of origins in our churches, and this is highly worrying. Through the majority of the book Evans analyses and demolishes the arguments that are used to fabricate a different Jesus than is seen in the Gospels.
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Craig A. Evans (PhD, Claremont Graduate University) is Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and the author or editor of numerous publications.
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“Radical skepticism is no more critical than is credulity.” 2 likes
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