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The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus: New Translation and Commentary


The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus: New Translation and Commentary Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

x Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah?
x Did he promise to return and usher in a new age?
x How did Jesus envision the kingdom of God?
x Did he commission his disciples to convert the world and establish a church?

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, a distinguished group of biblical scholars led by Robert W. Funk and John Dominic Crossan (co-chairs), embarked on a new assessment of the gospels, including the recently discovered Gospel of Thomas. In pursuit of the historical Jesus, they used their collective expertise to determine the authenticity of the more than 1,500 sayings attributed to him. Their remarkable findings appear in this book.

Each saying attributed to Jesus is color-coded and presented in a completely new translation of the Greek and Coptic texts. In the judgment of the Jesus Seminar:

x only those sayings that appear in red type are considered by the Seminar to be close to what Jesus actually said;

x the words in pink less certainly originated with Jesus;

x the words in gray are not his, though they contain ideas that are close to his own;

x the sayings that appear in black have been embellished or created by his followers, or borrowed from common lore.

According to the Seminar, no more than 20 percent of the sayings attributed to Jesus were uttered by him.

This book contains illuminating commentary and notes on the text of the gospels and rigorously explores the historical and literary factors behind the Seminar's findings. The enlightening introduction by Robert W. Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar, sums up two hundred years of gospel scholarship and provides a rare insight into the workings of the Seminar. The Five Gospels is a major work of biblical scholarship that gives new dimensions to the historical Jesus.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 538-541) and index.

About the Author

Robert W. Funk, a Guggenheim Fellow and Senior Fulbright Scholar, is the founder of the Jesus Seminar, based in Sonoma, California, at the Westar Institute.

Table of Contents



The Scholars Version Translation Panel

The Scholars Version


How to Use This Book


The Search for the Real Jesus: Darwin, Scopes, & All That
The Seven Pillars of Scholarly Wisdom
The Jesus of History & the Christ of Faith
Text Detectives & Manuscript Sleuths: The Gospels in Greek
A Map of Gospel Relationships
Rules of Written Evidence
From the Gospels to Jesus: The Rules of Oral Evidence
Beads & Boxes: The Jesus Seminar at Work

The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Luke

The Gospel of John

The Gospel of Thomas

Roster of the Fellows of the Jesus Seminar

Suggestions for Further Study

Dictionary of Terms & Sources

Index of Red & Pink Letter Sayings


Representation of a Greek Manuscript
Map of Palestine
1. Two Portraits of Jesus
2. The Synoptic Puzzle
3. The Mystery of the Double Tradition
4. The Two-Source Theory
5. The Four-Source Theory
6. Independent & Derivative Gospels
7. The Growth of the Jesus Tradition
8. How the Gospels Got Their Names
9. Stages in the Development of Early Christian Tradition

Cameo Essays & Texts

Feasting & Fasting: The Domestication of the Tradition
Son of Adam
Egerton Gospel 3:1-6
God's Imperial Rule: Present or Future?
Jesus of Jerusalem
Hard Saying Softened
Eleazar the Exorcist
I AM Sayings in the Gospel of John
The Resurrection of a Young Bride
The Greek Fragments of Thomas
The Discovery of the Gospel of Thomas
Thomas & Gnosticism

Product Details

The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus: New Translation and Commentary
Hoover, Roy W.
Funk, Robert W.
Hoover, Roy W.
Scribner Book Company
New York :
Bible - Commentaries - New Testament
Jesus christ
Bible - Criticism Interpretation - New Testament
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
N. t. gospels
Jesus Seminar
Gospel of Thomas
General Religion
Biblical Commentary - New Testament
Edition Number:
1st Scribner ed.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
December 1993
9.50x7.52x1.28 in. 2.35 lbs.

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