CRITICAL QUESTS OF JESUS, by Charles C. Anderson; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1969; 208 pp., $4.95.
In many respects, this is a very valuable book and a worthwhile additional to one’s reference library. The C author surveys the whole field of modern higher criticism from Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) to the present. He reviews the teachings of the Nineteenth Century critics, discusses the liberals who in this century discussed the problems of the history of Jesus, treats Bultmann and his ideas of form criticism along with critics of Bultmann on the “left,” the “right,” and within the circle of Bultmann. Hence, it is an excellent survey of the Hermeneutics of higher criticism.
The author treats all the higher critics from the viewpoint of six questions the answers to which give the teachings of these men in crucial areas of Biblical interpretation. These six questions are: 1) Is it possible to write a biography of Jesus? 2) What is the place of miracle in the life of Jesus? 3) How should the resurrection of Jesus be interpreted? Literally or in some other way? 4) What is the nature and place of mythology in the New Testament? 5) What is the historical value of John as compared with the Synoptics? 6) What is the central significance of Jesus?
It stands to reason that such a broad survey in such a vast field suffers from brevity and oversimplification. Nevertheless, for a student who is just beginning his work in this area, the book is a welcome and needed guide. The author does not offer his own evaluation of the views of the men he treats; he promises to give this in another volume to be published later. One looks forward to this volume with anticipation.
The book is well written, easy to understand and can be read with enjoyment and profit by anyone with an interest in this field. Without attempting to do so, the author clearly demonstrates how utterly destructive higher criticism is of Scripture and the faith of the Church and shows how liberal hermeneutics has deeply influenced many even within Reformed circles.