Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture's Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ

Dethroning Jesus Released Nov 27

For those of you who are interested, my most recent book, written with Dan Wallace is now out. Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Cultures Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ examines six ideas that have made the best seller list about Jesus or that have made a cultural impact about him.

For those of you who are interested, my most recent book, written with Dan Wallace is now out. Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Cultures Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ examines six ideas that have made the best seller list about Jesus or that have made a cultural impact about him. We examine all six ideas one at a time as well as discussion how what we call Jesusanity has made its impact on the public square. The ideas examined include claims (1) about the unreliability of the NT text, (2 and 3) the roles of the gospels of Judas and Thomas, (4) the idea that Jesus was a political figure challenging Rome, (5) the claim that Paul distorted the faith of Jesus, Peter, James and Matthew, and (6) the issue of the "Jesus" tomb. The book closes with a positive discussion of how the theology of the church was passed on before there was a functioning New Testament.

The book is written for a popular audience and should be available at any book store or online at amazon or Barnes and Noble as well as various Christian outlets. Among the writers whose views we examine are Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and James Tabor. If you have friends with questions in these areas or have children who are in university and are asking historical questions, then this book should be of help to you.


Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ

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  • Craig Thompson

    Good Read so far
    I ordered mine from Amazon and it showed up Saturday. Only on page 7 of the introduction but its great so far. Really looking forward to the rest.


      • Michael Reagor

        Dethroning Borg and Crossan
        Dr. Bock:

        Since I am not trained as a theologian, I am careful to discourse about methods and tools where I have limited training. But I will try a bit here. Dethroning ensures that the debate over “who is this Jesus” is kept highly professional and civil, consistent with our biblical obligations (e.g., 1 Peter 3:15a AND b). Your book was my current update on the Jesus Seminar though in the past I had read from some of the “scholars” within that group, including Yoder and other liberation theologians. Credible scholars are careful not to engage in ad hominem attacks of others, even when such criticism is seemingly warranted (e.g., claim 6 in Dethroning). However, I am highly concerned with the approach of Borg and Crossan (he especially) and feel that the damage he has done and can do is understated in Dethroning, and I feel that particuarly with Crossan “kid gloves” were used. I recognize that you and Dr. Wallace will run into he and other Jesus Seminar scholars in the future, and that you may find yourselves in a further debate with such folks over hearts and minds in the future. However, I would like to understand what is motivating Crossan to reach his conclusions, since they are inconsistent with the evidence. It is helpful to track and debate his work point by point, but it might be helpful to see what we can learn about his motivations, hopefull without engaging in a psychological examination. Sometimes, the evidence is so overwhelming that we simply conclude that an agenda precedes the consideration of the evidence.

        I was introduced to your work by Dr. Ryrie’s Dispensationalism, and I am looking forward to reading your work in this area, including Progressive Disp and the Three Views book.

        Thanks for your important and outstanding work, with Dr. Wallace, in Dethroning. I have used it in a Sunday School class and have recommended it to many. I find the book timely, and read it in the context of the thoughts, for instance, of Dr. Caneday’s article on multiculturalism in volume 3 of 2007 Christian Research Journal. The ability of the six views you review in Dethroning to gain a footing are tied, at least in part, to the continuing decline of the acceptance of the view that there is absolute truth.

        Keep up the great work!

        • bock

          Dethroning Crossan dlb



          Thank you for the thoughtful note. What makes dealing with Crossan so hard is that there is a substantial portion of what he says that is correct. However what is wrong is really wrong–and the emphases he gives the correct material produces a significant distortion. The danger of taking off "the kid gloves" is that the necessary nuancing could be lost in the directness of the response, because that direct response will be all people will see. Critiques should teach as well as assess. That was the goal of our book and thus the tone of that chapter.



  • Jonathan Webb

    Can’t wait to read it
    Dr. Bock,
    I have ordered and can’t wait to read your new book. I continue to enjoy your commentary on Luke from the Baker Exegetical series. Just wanted to thank you for the blessings your work has given me.

  • Steve Bedard

    Good Work!
    I’m glad that you are doing this. Too many scholars are too caught up in the academic world, without seeing the need of teaching the church. This was the heart of what Stan Porter and I did a couple of years ago and I hope to do more projects like this. Keep up the good work!

  • bock

    Good work! dlb



    Many thanks. I hope many others will write in these kinds of areas, not ony for the church but for the public.



  • Leslie Jebaraj

    Thank you!
    Dear Dr. Bock:

    I am an Indian Christian, living in Chennai, S. India. I have not yet read your book, but my brother-in-law is bringing it for me from the States next week. (He lives in MD.) I am excited about reading it. I am sure most of my questions/doubts/uncertainties would be addressed, and I would become more strengthened a Christian as a result of my reading. I shall write another post once I devour the book.

    Thanks in advance for your much-needed book.

  • James McGrath

    Blog Review of Dethroning Jesus
    I wanted to let you know that I’ve posted a (fairly critical) review of Dethroning Jesus on my blog. I really appreciated the openness to acknowledging the points of your dialogue-partners with which you agreed, and many of your criticisms of unbalanced claims of various sorts. On the whole, however, I still felt that this was more of a repudiation of a wide range of different approaches (ranging from the scholarly to the sensationalist) which were unhelpfully lumped together. And as someone who no longer shares at least some of the authors’ presuppositions, I found some of the cases made to be unpersuasive for those who don’t already share certain key presuppositions. Nevertheless, I appreciate the dialogue the book reflects, and hope that the discussion of these important topics in many circles will be done in a better-informed way as a result of your book!

    Best wishes,

    James McGrath
    Assistant Professor of Religion
    Butler University, Indianapolis

    • bock

      Blog Review Response

      Thanks for taking the time to make the review and setting forth your response so clearly, as well as letting me know about it. Alas, there is much to respond to in your response.

      What you claim is assumed in the presentation actually is not.

      (1) The issue of oral transmission is now well treated in Eddy and Boyd’s work on The Jesus Legend, complete with examples of care in transmission involving long units. The NT sources noted in the book were already going down this trail which Eddy and Boyd develop.

      (2) The issue of dating of works does not assume conservative dates and view of authorship; for the case, is made, I believe, speaking only of apostolic connections, a view looser than many conservative takes. You are right to ask for more here in terms of detail. That actually is another book on its own. In addition, the argument made at the end of Dethroning for how Christianity can be connected to the earliest roots, back to the thirties, does not assume any conservative dates but works with generally accepted results in NT studies about authors, forms and dates.

      (3)The suggested uneven linkage between scholarly stuff and more popular stuff is because of the use popular approaches makes of approaches out of the results from many university contexts. In my view.this means that the combinations of looks at contemporary claims is not artificial, especially when the criteria was the public square penetration of these ideas which themselves are a mix of these kinds of materials.

      (4) The claim that we deny that Gnosticism of the second century variety could emerge out of Judaism actually misses the point of the argument being made in the book. I have argued that Gnosticism emerged out of Judaism myself in The Missing Gospels. A denial of the Gnostic-Jewish connection was not the summary of our point, but that the kind of view of creation in the second century material would not have come out of the Jewish roots of Jesus and his followers. I see Gnosticism as emerging from a disappointed Judaism after the fall of Jerusalem and the Roman crushing of the Jewish rebellion in Egypt, not the context of the Judaism Jesus and his disciples reflect on in early first century Galilee.

      (5) The exact point was that this Gnostic story of Creation does not match with the ideas of an early Christian movement that accepted the Hebrew Scripture as canon, a point Bart Ehrman accepts about what canon the earliest church had. Therefore there was an incompatibility between these materials that meant the Gnostic material could not be rooted in the original Jesus movement. In other words, a Jew embracing the account of Genesis and God as THE Creator and the material world as redeemable (as Jesus take on resurrection hope appears to deal with and so is something Jesus appears to have endorsed), is something the Gnostic story of creation rejects.

      (6) The entire point of engaging Borg and Crossan on whether the Bible is metaphor or history (or better in my view history AND metaphor- not an excluded middle option) was the burden of our chapter critiquing them. You are correct to see this as differing reference points about the Bible between us. We are arguing that the case for simple metaphor as the only alternative is not ultimately so persuasive.

      (7) Finally, the idea that the Bible is contradictory within itself is precisely why the leftovers of the F. C. Baur theory in Jim Tabor’s work was addressed in detail– and not simply assumed.

      In sum, I make these points simply to suggest that there is more precision in the arguments of Dethroning Jesus than your review suggests. I do not believe there is as much assumed as your review suggests. You have noted there are many issues to raise in this discussion. The points just noted above are just a few.

      Thanks again for the time and interaction.

      Darrell Bock