Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig Blomberg has long been praised as one of the best resources available for a serious, well-rounded study of the subject. The first edition was highly acclaimed and received a Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. This second edition builds on the success of the prior edition by bringing updated and additional material on sociology and social-scientific criticism, literary criticism, the Gospel of John, the apocryphal and Gnostic Gospels, and issues related to the historicity of the Gospels. The footnotes and bibliography have also been substantially updated to reflect the most recent scholarship, debate, critical methods, as well as the ongoing quest of the historical Jesus.
Jesus and the Gospels is divided into five major sections: (1) Historical Background for Studying the Gospels, (2) Critical Methods for Studying the Gospels, (3) Introduction to the Four Gospels, (4) A Survey of the Life of Christ, and (5) Historical and Theological Syntheses. The reader is certain to appreciate Blomberg’s overall organization as it builds a foundation for the study therein. Section one guides the reader through the political, religious, and socioeconomic background of the Gospels. Blomberg is consistently helpful in this regard and has provided a number of charts and tables throughout to help the reader better grasp the timeline of events and material presented. Section two introduces the reader to historical and literary criticism of the Gospels. This is an excellent introduction for the reader to wrestle with the issues surrounding the Synoptic Problem, Markan Priority, Q-Hypothesis, Redaction Criticism, the formation of the canon, narrative criticism, etc. This section is fairly brief, but comprises some of the best material in the book—especially by way of introduction.
Section three begins the examination of the Four Gospel and provides the reader with the typical introductory material, such as authorship, structure, date, theology, etc. Section four delineates a survey of the life of Jesus. This section starts with an excellent treatment of the issues surrounding the quest for the historical Jesus and subsequently guides the reader through the life of Christ in the gospel narrative. Apart from referencing specific passages in the Gospels, Blomberg has also included the section numbers from the widely used Synopsis of the Four Gospels by Kurt Aland—making it helpful for the reader to cross-reference within the Synoptics and beyond. This section comprises the majority of the book and for good reason. Section five rounds out the investigation with a healthy discussion concerning the trustworthiness of the Gospels—a subject that Blomberg had published on between the first and second editions of this work—and the theology of Jesus found in the Gospels.
Even seven years after the second edition of Blomberg’s Jesus and the Gospels there is still good reason to praise this volume as one of the best resources available on the subject. The reader will consistently be helped by Blomberg’s keen ability to introduce and guide them through some of the murkiest of Gospel waters. This is a book that should be read cover-to-cover, but it is also an extremely useful reference work. The latter is seen most clearly in the abundance of helpful graphs, charts, and tables that are littered throughout, as well as the curated bibliographies that conclude each chapter for further study. Moreover, because of the unique accessibility of this volume, this is also a book that I foresee being useful for laity, and possibly even the basis for an Adult Education or Sunday school course.
If you are looking for an introduction to the Gospels and/or a survey of the life of Christ, I can’t think of a better place to look than Craig Blomberg’s Jesus and the Gospels. Blomberg will provide you with seasoned guidance and deliver the information that you need to know to better grasp the scholarly conversations and issues that surround the Gospels and Jesus, and thus comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.