Many New Testament scholars have presented their personal reconstruction of the historical Jesus, laboring to painstakingly separate fact from myth. Unfortunately, in the absence of a rigorous methodology, religious beliefs have doggedly militated against their best efforts, and E. P. Sanders' The Historical Figure of Jesus is no exception to this tendency. In this review, Jacob Aliet outlines what he takes to be the five main weaknesses of Sanders' scholarship, some philosophical, some methodological, as revealed in The Historical Figure of Jesus.
Well written in an artistic but critical style, Günther Bornkamm's Paul attempts to outline Paul's life and work before finally turning to his theology and gospel. While drawing on the work of several New Testament scholars, Bornkamm largely relies on his own interpretation of the Pauline epistles, Acts, and the interplay between them, leaving the reader to evaluate his arguments primarily on their own merits. Against source-critical methods, Bornkamm occasionally uses the texts he has judged as inauthentic as reliable sources of information without recourse to any clear criteria, and dismisses uncomfortable passages attributed to Paul as inauthentic without offering any supportive arguments. This ad hoc pick-and-choose methodology leaves his presumptions open to criticism where the texts are silent or in conflict. But otherwise Paul is a great book, generally utilizing critical evaluation of the sources to unravel Paul's ingenious and enigmatic character.