Behold the Man: Essays on the Historical Jesus (Forthcoming from Wipf and Stock, 2024)

After a substantial new essay examining the nature of a properly skeptical historical inquiry into Jesus of Nazareth in the context of contemporary worldviews, from premodernism to metamodernism, Behold the Man presents revised essays on an eclectic range of issues: from how the Epistle of James treats Jesus as Divine within decades of the crucifixion, and an evaluation of recent arguments about the dating of the fourth gospel, to debunking claims about Jesus and “ancient aliens,” and furthering debate about the resurrection. With a foreword by eminent New Testament scholar Craig L. Blomberg, and extensive recommended resources, Behold the Man: Essays on the Historical Jesus represents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary engagement with historical Jesus studies.

 

Contents

Foreword by Craig L. Blomberg

Author’s Preface

Chapter One: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Historical Jesus

Chapter Two: The Epistle of St. James vs. Evolutionary Christology

Chapter Three: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into Dating the Fourth Gospel, Part I: John 5:2 and Papyrus 52

Chapter Four: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into Dating the Fourth Gospel, Part II: Other Evidence

Chapter Five: Resurrection: Faith or Fact? Miracle Not Required?

Chapter Six: Scientific Rebuttals to “Ancient Aliens’ as Popular Alternatives to Biblical History

Appendix I: Addendum to Getting at Jesus (Wipf & Stock, 2019): The Deceptive Demon or Daemon Hypothesis

Appendix II: How Far Can we Trust the Gospels?

Recommended Resources

Bibliography

 

 

Praise for Behold the Man

“For those who care about evidence, Peter S. Williams here offers us some impressive arguments for the historical reliability of the New Testament account of Jesus. The treatments of the Epistle of James and the Fourth Gospel offered fresh and original points, and Williams summarizes a large swathe of evidence in a clear and responsible manner. Highly recommended.” – C. Stephen Evans, Emeritus University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University.

“Peter S. Williams is a quintessential researcher on the historical Jesus, and Behold the Man is the sort of high-quality, rigorous, and fascinating treatise we have come to expect from him. However, what makes this book absolutely unique is Williams’ expertise in philosophy and the deft way he interweaves the two disciplines. The result is a tour de force on the interplay between worldview assumptions and the task of explaining and interpreting historical facts in an objective way. This alone is worth the price of the book. But there’s more that is unique to Behold the Man. For example, in arguing for an early high Christology, Williams shows that James (the earliest book in the New Testament, rooted in a Jewish milieu) has a high Christology. And his focus on the historicity of John’s gospel is a complementary approach to the traditional focus on Paul and the Synoptics. Finally, Williams shows he has in mind a general audience ensconced in popular culture by critiquing theories about ‘ancient aliens’ and powerfully responding to the writings of Bart Ehrman. Honestly, there is nothing like this book. Get it and buy copies for your friends!” – J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and co-author (with Brandon Rickabaugh) of The Substance of Consciousness: A Comprehensive Defense of Contemporary Substance Dualism (Wiley Blackwell, 2023).

“In this impressive and richly documented volume, Peter S. Williams reexamines the historical Jesus. He draws on archaeological and textual evidence, but also shows time and again how we need rigorous philosophical theorizing to assess the arguments in this debate. His lucid work provides an important contribution to a conversation that merits attention from all those interested in the philosophy of religion and the tenability of the Christian faith.” – Rik Peels, Professor of Analytical and Interdisciplinary Philosophy of Religion in the University Research Chair at the Faculty of Religion & Theology and the Faculty of Humanities, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and author of Life Without God: An Outsider’s View of Atheism (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

“Just when I thought that it was virtually impossible to say anything truly unique about the historical Jesus, Peter S. Williams’s book, Behold the Man: Essays on the Historical Jesus made its way to me. This is an insightful book that not only demands reading but also rewards re-reading. At points, I thought to myself, “This is obviously true, why have I never seen anyone make this point?” At other points, I thought, “That was very well argued.” If you have become jaded about the Quest of the Historical Jesus – as many of us have – I encourage you not only to buy Williams’s collection of essays, but also to read them! You don’t have to agree with Williams on each and every point to benefit from his research; but you will conclude that his positions are at the very least plausible. I highly recommend this unique book.” – Robert B. Stewart, Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Greer-Heard Chair of Faith and Culture, and Director, Christian Apologetics Program, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Resources

Listen

Christian Spirituality at the Cutting Edge of Contemporary Culture (L’Abri, May 2024)

ELF 2022: Dating the Fourth Gospel: An Interdisciplinary Approach

ELF 2022: New Testament Archaeology 

ELF 2021: Archaeological Evidence for Jesus

ELF 2020: Ancient Aliens? Rebutting Alien Conspiracy Theories as Popular Alternatives to Biblical History

Learning about Jesus with the New Atheists (May 2020)

Read

Carl Stecher & Craig L. Blomberg, with Richard Carrier and Peter S. Williams, Resurrection: Faith or Fact? (Pickwick, 2019)

Peter S. Williams, Getting at Jesus: A Comprehensive Critique of Neo-Atheist Nonsense About the Jesus of History (Wipf and Stock, 2019)

Peter S. Williams, Digging For Evidence (Christian Evidence Society)

Peter S. Williams, Understanding Jesus: Five Ways to Spiritual Enlightenment (Paternoster, 2011)

Watch

YouTube Playlists

Understanding Culture

The Historical Jesus

Textual Reliability of the New Testament

The Reliability of the New Testament

The ‘Lunatic, Liar or Lord’ Argument

The Resurrection of Jesus

Debating the Resurrection

Aliens & UFOs

Videos featuring Peter S. Williams: