Chapter 8 begins with the authors again dangling a carrot before us. There is a small amount of historical truth regarding the scene we think is familiar. I mean, people did go to the Temple during Passover.
This time, instead of Luke, the authors decide to begin with John’s Gospel wherein the s0-called cleansing of the Temple takes place at the beginning of the Gospel. The authors, ignoring everything else in John and the Synoptics, call this the beginning of Jesus’s ministry — rather than the wedding feast in Capernaum. The picture of Jesus is, the authors assure us, one contrary to how Jesus usually is. After all, he never really gets angry, but “exudes a powerful serenity.”
In the footnote to this passage, the authors mention the “discrepancies” between John and the Synoptics, citing oral tradition (gone are the written documents mentioned previously in connection with the authority of the Gospels). They even go so far as to say, passively, that Jesus performed the Temple cleansing twice.
While my review is not an attempt at correcting their poor interpretation of Scripture, I must note they tend to go with minority views. For instance, Jesus doesn’t speak about being born again, but born from above. Confusingly, the authors fail to note Nicodemus’s answer to this statement, an answer that includes the idea of being born again.
Chapter 9 is based in Matthew, as the we see in the inclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, the content of which is lost upon the authors. Much of the message of the New Testament is lost on these authors. Suddenly, everyone is a follower of Jesus, even the Centurion in Matthew 8, or he is according to the authors. Where they were once hesitant to conflate historical personas, they now conflate Mary in Matthew 26.6–13 with Mary Magdalene, conflating history, Scripture and Tradition into an awful mess.
Perhaps it is just me, but the amount of anachronisms are rather laughable. John, not yet forty, is called a young man. I am sure this is the case today, but then he was considered old age.
As far as historical errors in this chapter, I want to focus on two. First, the authors create an odd history by conflating disciple and apostle (footnote 2). Secondly, they state in footnote 6, “In fact, women were treated better in the time of Jesus than they are in a great many places in the modern world.” Again, this is provided with absolutely zero evidence, and flies in the face of scholarly consensus regarding the fate of women in the ancient world.
Chapter 10 pulls from various Gospels stories about the challenges to Jesus from the Pharisees, but is clear the authors do not know much about their content. For instance, they charge the Pharisees with “strictly interpreting the laws of Moses” while addings hundreds of commands to it. Yes, a bit odd. Further, they go with with usual Christian line that the Pharisees were “arrogant, self-righteous.”
Chapter 11 is nothing really.