Written by Ruth Marie Paterson
Canadian author Jared Brock has created an important resource with his book, A God Named Josh: Uncovering the Human Life of Jesus Christ (Bethany House Publishers, 2023). It’s a biography of Jesus based on historical evidence both within the Bible and without. Rich with detail, you are sure to learn something new from this book, no matter how much you know biblical history.
The title refers to the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yehoshua—or in English, Joshua. The English Jesus stems from the Greek translation of His name.
The book starts exploring Jesus’ genealogy and the history of His ancestors. It describes the Jewish culture Jesus was raised in and different aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. Topics include His reputation as a rabbi, His relationship with the disciples, how His teachings compare to the philosophies of His time, His teachings on economics and politics, and finally, it ends with His claims to be God and the miracle of the resurrection.
Brock quotes Josephus, Early Church Fathers, Jewish literature, and many other historical sources. He also sticks close to Scripture, referencing over 1,000 passages throughout the book (according to him, I certainly did not count!).
Brock blends a narrative retelling of the Gospels with historical context, thus providing extensive research and detail, while creating a work that’s nothing like the dry and distant style of some commentaries. The book is engaging, vivid, and imaginative.
Time spent studying Jesus and understanding Him more is always worth it. For this book in particular, the focus on the Jewish context Jesus lived in makes it a worthwhile and helpful read, and for that reason I would recommend it. The book might be a bit long and include too much detail for someone looking for a light, easy read. However, for a pastor, teacher, or someone who wants to dive deeper into the history around the life of Jesus, this is a great resource.