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In addition to the major historical approaches presented in the last chapter, many have attempted to write more-or-less popular lives of Jesus.
This is the major reason that these approaches are included in this book.
We will investigate several of the most popular recent attempts to present unorthodox pictures of Jesus' life.
Indeed, even Schonfield admits that much of his account "is an imaginative reconstruction."(8) Later he explains that "We are nowhere claiming for our reconstruction that it represents what actually happened."(9) According to John A. Robinson, The Passover Plot is an example of a popularistic book which is factually groundless enough that, if the public were not so interested in virtually anyone who writes on Christianity, it "would be laughed out of court."(10) Therefore, we assert that there is a very high improbability against Schonfield's reconstruction of Jesus' life. Templeton, Act of God; Irving Wallace, The Word (New York: Pocket Books, 1973); Og Mandino, The Christ Commission (New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1981). Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one mans cruelty, that they were being destroyed.(3) From this report we can learn several facts, both explicit and implicit, concerning Christ and the Christians who lived in Rome in the 60s A. Chronologically, we may ascertain the following information.
One other example of the swoon theory in popular literature is Donovan Joyce's The Jesus Scroll.(11) The thesis of this book, which contains an even more incredible string of improbabilities than Schonfield's, will be left for a later section of this chapter. Louis Cassels, Debunkers of Jesus Still Trying, The Detroit News, June 23, 1973, p. (1) Christians were named for their founder, Christus (from the Latin), (2) who was put to death by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilatus (also Latin), (3) during the reign of emperor Tiberius (14 37 A. (4) His death ended the superstition for a short time, (5) but it broke out again, (6) especially in Judaea, where the teaching had its origin. (8) When the great fire destroyed a large part of the city during the reign of Nero (54 68 A.
Before examining this view, it will be helpful to present an overview of two contemporary attempts to write similar lives of Jesus.