Are the gospels found within the New Testament superior to others? Has the church unfairly chosen Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John while leaving out many others? Are there truly lost Christianities that would enrich our understanding of Jesus? Would modern-day seekers as well as followers of Jesus be better served by including gospels outside of the New Testament in their understanding of Jesus? Jesus Tried and True answers these questions by examining the date, source, and reception of the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and then comparing this data with the other gospels. It assesses this information by looking within these gospels and also evaluating early church history, examining the writings of early church writers such as Papias, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Eusebius. It then compares these findings with the date, source, and reception of the non-canonical gospels that have received the most attention lately such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Philip, and Gospel of Peter. There is also a brief survey of thirteen of the most important non-canonical gospels. The survey provides an opinion on the dependence of these upon the gospels within the New Testament. JJesus Tried and True affirms the superiority of the New Testament gospels. It concludes by addressing whether non-canonical gospels are "lost Christianities" and also whether the designation "apocryphal" is appropriate for other gospels.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, New Testament Apocrypha, Early Christian Literature, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, Literary Approaches
Review by Richard A. Burridge
Citation: Richard A. Burridge, review of H. H. Drake Williams III, Jesus Tried and True: Why the Four Canonical Gospels Provide the Best Picture of Jesus, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).
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