September 23, 2009
It is often said in our editorial halls that IVP’s multiple-view books are a signature item, representative of our editorial ethos. As they would say in the world of tweets, “They are just so-o-o IVP.”
I want to do a blog on this soon, exploring why they fit us so well and the advantage of the format. But two characteristics spring immediately to mind—our broadly evangelical, nondenominational character and our university orientation. And this leads us in some of our publishing to “teach the controversy” rather than “teach the solution.” We think it’s important for our readers to understand the issues involved in a particular question, and how better to do that than allow proponents of views to speak and respond to each other?
Viewed from afar, a mountain peak might appear monolithic, a silhouette chiseled into the skyline. But as we draw near, we find the mountain consists of a complex pattern of ridges, faces, bowls and buttresses. So it is (so often) with theological or philosophical or historical questions.
Well, I’m starting to write that future blog. That’s not my intent at the moment. I want to introduce a multiview book about to be published, The Historical Jesus: Five Views, edited by James Beilby and Paul Eddy. While our multiple-view books usually deal with viewpoints within traditional evangelicalism or orthodoxy, this one deals with a scope of views extending beyond, into the wider university world. In fact, we think it would serve well as a text in a wide variety of academic settings, from Christian colleges to public and private colleges and universities with no church affiliation.
The book has contributions from a wide range of viewpoints, starting off with Robert Price (who maintains that the probability of Jesus’ existence has reached the “vanishing point,”) and concluding with Darrell Bock, who ably argues that while critical method yields only a “gist” of Jesus, it nonetheless takes us in the direction of the Gospel portraits themselves. In between we find discussions from noted New Testament scholars Dominic Crossan, Luke Johnson and James Dunn. With that lineup, you would expect some interesting interaction. And you won’t be disappointed.
You might be disappointed that the book won’t be available till mid-October or so. Usually I try not to raise anticipation levels too high, but I could not resist offering a tantalizing word in advance. You may, however, assuage your suspense a bit by reserving your copy here at IVP or here at Amazon.com. (Of course, you’ll get your copy from us a bit sooner!)
Next week I’ll give you a “trailer” of the book, a redacted dialogue between these questers of the historical Jesus.