37 Although this argument cannot be pursued here, see Habermas, The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic.
38 Hugh Schonfield, Those Incredible Christians(New York: Bantam, 1969), pp. IX, 50–
51. 39 Ibid., p. 67. 40 Ibid., pp. 135–155. 41 Ibid., pp. 136–149. 42 Ibid., pp. 149, 211, 230. 43 Ibid., pp. XVII, 170. 44 Ibid., pp. 142–146, 259–272.
traditional Christianity believes about him. The problem here is actually twofold. Initially, Schonfield is opposed by all of the evidence for the authenticity and trustworthiness of the Gospels (and the New Testament). Additionally, and more specifically, how can one rule out the Gospels’ testimony and still have a basis on which to assert that the original teachings of Jesus were different? How can Schonfield know that Jesus did not present the message of the Gospels? What is his basis of comparison between Jesus and what the earliest sources say about him? It becomes apparent that there are no grounds of distinction between Jesus and the Gospels.
Schonfield might respond that Jesus could not have taught the message that traditional Christianity affirms, since it was contrary to what first century Jews believed. Yet Schonfield uses the Gospels to establish this response,^45 a basis which he rejects. And since it is not proper hermeneutical method to pick and choose the verses which one will accept and those which one will reject, he is again left without any valid basis for his position.
For those who contend that the Gospels are dependable sources that reveal a non-divine Jesus and that Paul (and others) perverted this message, it should be mentioned here that even the synoptic Gospels reveal that Jesus claimed deity for himself. For example, he referred to himself as “Son of God” and “Son of Man,” he taught that salvation was found only in himself and claimed that only he had the power to forgive sin.^46 He certainly claimed to be in a privileged relationship with God; his usage of “Abba” (Aramaic for “Daddy”) is a very unusual name for God and is an indication of his unique sonship, as many critical scholars admit.^47