DALLAS, Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In a provocative book that challenges two centuries' worth of skeptical New Testament scholarship, author Robert J. Hutchinson argues that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was very close to being just as the Gospels describe him -- a fiery, courageous, charismatic populist who drew crowds by the tens of thousands and electrified all of Palestine with his announcement of God's kingdom in their midst.
In "Searching for Jesus," Hutchinson draws together recent scholarship and archaeological discoveries to show that many negative ideas about Jesus paraded in the media every Christmas – for example, that Jesus was a violent revolutionary – are now being rejected by leading secular scholars.
Among the developments Hutchinson highlights are:
- The 2009 discovery of a first-century house in Nazareth that refutes those who say the village didn't exist in biblical times;
- The recently discovered Hebrew-language tablet dating to the early first century that speaks about a messiah who would suffer, die, and perhaps rise again;
- A secular scholar in the UK who argues that the Gospel of Mark was written, not 40 or 50 years after Jesus' death as many scholars have claimed for at least a century, but more like five or ten;
- New research that suggests the Gospel accounts are based on eyewitness, possibly written, sources, not on anonymous legends as scholars thought a century ago;
- New archaeological proof for figures mentioned in the New Testament, including the high priest Caiaphas and possibly James, the "brother of the Lord;"
- The discovery in 2012 of seven New Testament papyri – one of which, from the Gospel of Mark, that may date to the first century; and
- Jewish experts who say the Gospel texts reveal that Jesus was a trained rabbi, not an illiterate peasant, as some revisionists have claimed.
"Many of the 'scientific' or scholarly ideas about Jesus you hear in the media are literally a century old and are no longer taken seriously by leading experts," Hutchinson says.
As an example, he cites the idea that Jesus' early followers saw him only as a powerful rabbi, noting that recent scientific analysis of the texts shows that the earliest sources of the New Testament spoke of Jesus "standing at the right hand of God."
CONTACT: To interview Robert J. Hutchinson, contact Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or [email protected].
SOURCE A. Larry Ross Communications