November 2, 2019
As Thomas Kuhn pointed out long ago, it is often someone from a different discipline who has the epistemic distance and objectivity to evaluate a widely accepted paradigm/methodology in another discipline, because practitioners in the latter tend to look at things the way they were trained and, thus, cannot see things accurately. Kuhn’s remarks are right on target when it comes to philosopher Lydia McGrew’s critique of widespread methodological practices in New Testament studies. While The Mirror or the Mask is very easy to read, it is also 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.
Lydia's book is a must read for all who are interested in the historical accuracy of our portraits of Jesus. I highly recommend it.
Interested readers may also enjoy her 2018 book, Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts.