While the public has easy access to religious literature on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, there is little opportunity for the general reader to assess the more skeptical works of biblical criticism.
In Jesus Outside the Gospels, Professor Hoffmann argues that very little is known about Jesus apart from the Gospels. He contends that the Gospels were intended to establish not the history of Jesus, but his divinity. The four books, attributed to men called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were written some two generations after the events they intended to describe.
Hoffmann analyzes and quotes extensively from non-biblical sources written 1,900 years ago, providing a picture of the man called Jesus that is quite different from the man portrayed in the Gospels. Sources analyzed at length are the Talmud, Josephus, and Tacitus, as well as Gnostic and Apocryphal Gospels. Hoffmann holds to a controversial view that the Gospels are in reality the missionary propaganda of a first-century messianic cult and are far from objective biographies or historical annals.
Hoffmann suggests that there is good reason to seek outside evidence for the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Outside the Gospels is essential reading for anyone desiring a careful and critical study of the New Testament.