Jesus Christ, Plain and Simple

A trinity of new, scholarly books tries to strip away the traditional Gospel accounts of the man from Nazareth

"Who do you say that I am?"

When Jesus posed this question to his disciples in Matthew's Gospel, Peter emphatically and faithfully replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And what might the answer be today? Three newly published scholarly books put forward a startlingly revisionist reply. While Jesus may have been a carpenter, that probably meant he was illiterate and belonged to a low caste of artisans. He did not preach salvation from sin through sacrifice; he never said "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God"; neither did he say "Blessed...

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