I’m joining the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus blog tour. Which is basically a Baker promo of Bruce N. Fisk’s new book called, of course, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus. There is a chance to win some cool Baker books on Jesus too (see the link). Other people who will be posting about the book include Tim Gombis, Michael Gorman, John Byron, Nijay Gupta, & James McGrath.
I have to confess that this really is a clever and cute little introduction to Jesus. Intro’s to Jesus/Gospels are fairly bountiful, so it takes a bit of straining of the grey matter to come up with something new. Fisk has done just that in this book. It is written as the travel diary of a post-college student called norm in his “faith seeking understanding” through his hitchhiking through Israel. The book is filled with the type of questions an undergrad would have in encountering biblical criticism for the first time, engagement with non-biblical sources like Tacitus, Josephus, and Qumran, emails with his old Bible professor, intermittent movie quotes such as Life of Brian, commentary on visiting ancient sits, mock interviews with scholars (like meeting John Meier at Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, Scot McKnight and Jimmy Dunn in a dream, and the ghost of Ben Meyer!), and discussions of synoptic texts. So it’s an intro to Jesus and the Gospels in the genre of a fictive travel diary. I liked the ending where Norm reflects on the resurrection. Wherever Jesus is, he’s on the other side of the door of the Tomb of the Holy Sepulcher, following Donald Juel, Jesus is on the loose!
The good thing about this book is that it’s both educational and entertaining, clearly written by a Gen-Xer, and tackles the genre of the Introduction in a refreshing way. I hope Fisk writes a sequel Hitchhikers Guide to Paul! I’m taking a group of students to Israel in 2012 and will very probably make this book the textbook for the course associated with the tour.