Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gosepels
by Craig Evans
How reliable are the Gospels? Not very, say some scholars. Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies, believes otherwise. But in this work, he asks a different question: how reliable are these scholars? Not very, he argues.
While we assume that these scholars are highly objective, in truth they have as many preconceived notions as believers. If they think that most of the writings in the Gospels are unreliable, they are bound to conclude that Jesus never claimed he was God. But Evans shows that even if there are errors in the early Christian manuscripts that we have, they are minor and have no overall bearing on the meaning of the texts.
Evans continues to show in later chapters that the non-canonical "gospels" such as the "gospel" of Thomas was written later than the canonical Gospels. The same is true for all of the Gnostic "gospels."
Like the scholars, Evans accepts that there were conflicts in the early Christian Church. But these conflicts were about discipline, not doctrine.
Apart from taking on the relatively serious scholars such as those belonging to the Jesus Seminar group and Bart Ehrman, Evans entertains us with a look at the likes of Dan Brown. They are quickly dismissed.
Evans has done an excellent job showing us how unreliable some of the modern scholars are, and why.