The Mirror or the Mask: Liberating the Gospel from Literary Devices

$24.99

Lydia McGrew

Did the gospel authors invent stories about Jesus that never happened? Meticulous, well-informed, and accessible, The Mirror or the Mask is an important addition to the libraries of laymen, pastors, apologists, and scholars who want to know whether the Gospels are reliable.

Description

In recent years a number of evangelical scholars have claimed that the Gospel authors felt free to present events in one way even though they knew that the reality was different. Analytic philosopher Lydia McGrew brings her training in the evaluation of evidence to bear, investigates these theories about the evangelists’ literary standards in detail, and finds them wanting. At the same time she provides a nuanced, positive view of the Gospels that she dubs the reportage model. Clearing away misconceptions of this model, McGrew amasses objective evidence that the evangelists are honest, careful reporters who tell it like it is. Meticulous, well-informed, and accessible, The Mirror or the Mask is an important addition to the libraries of laymen, pastors, apologists, and scholars who want to know whether the Gospels are reliable.

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“In recent years some evangelical scholars have claimed that the gospel writers were allowed by contemporary literary conventions to present events one way even when the historical reality was different. … McGrew has done her homework and systematically considers the evidence for each convention, ultimately finding them all wanting. At the same time she amasses evidence that the gospels should be read in a way lay readers are likely to read them anyway. I am grateful for her knowledgeable contributions to Gospel studies.”

Peter J. Williams
Principal
Tyndale House, Cambridge

“The Mirror or the Mask is a massive piece of first-rate, rigorous scholarship that leaves no stone unturned. Replete with very careful distinctions, The Mirror or the Mask offers a precise analysis of the contemporary practice of employing “fictionalization” to exegete various Gospel texts. McGrew’s careful analysis finds such a practice wanting and dangerous and replaces this practice with an approach that treats the Gospels as honest historical reports based on eyewitness testimony. This book is a must read for all who are interested in the historical accuracy of our portraits of Jesus.”

J.P. Moreland
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Talbot School of Theology

“Lydia McGrew’s critique of the literary reductionism employed by many New Testament scholars, including some influential evangelicals, is the definitive refutation of this sad methodology, which dehistoricises the text, destroys any possible apologetic for its truth-value, and leaves the Christian in a position where he or she ends up with faith in the literary style of early church writers rather than faith in a historical Jesus. … The McGrew book is therefore a needed corrective to an approach that destroys both mind and soul.”

John Warwick Montgomery
Professor Emeritus of Law and Humanities
University of Bedfordshire
Director
International Academy of Apologetics

About the Author

Dr. Lydia McGrew is a widely published analytic philosopher, specializing in formal and classical theory of knowledge, testimony, and the philosophy of religion. She received her PhD in English from Vanderbilt University in 1995. She is the author of the widely acclaimed Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts, which defends the reliability of the New Testament using a long-neglected argument from incidental details. She and her husband, philosopher and apologist Timothy McGrew, live in southwest Michigan with their children.

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