Time magazine (August 15, 1988) devoted nine pages to discuss the controversy over Universal Picture’s new release “The Last Temptation of Christ,” while asking readers to answer the question on its front cover, “Who was Jesus?”
The majority of the Time article focused on the theological debate over the identity of Christ among theologians. Although the majority of those scholars interviewed were liberal seminarians who do not adhere to a literal interpretation of Scripture, several excellent comments were made by Bible-believing theologians.
Father James Swetnam of Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute, related that, thanks to historical and textual research, “We are much closer to the New Testament than scholars were 500 or 1,000 years ago.” Time reported that “archeological finds have also added to the knowledge of the New Testament … and brought new credence to Scripture. For example, an inscription unearthed in 1961 at Caesarea confirmed for the first time that Pilate was a 1st Century Roman governor, as the Bible reports.”
F.F. Bruce, an evangelical scholar at Manchester University in England, commented that there is no need to excuse the miracles of Jesus. “The historian has to take into account that Jesus’ opponents conceded that he did perform miracles.”
Father John P. Meier of the Catholic University of America related that existing copies of ancient New Testament manuscripts are far older and more numerous than those of any other ancient body of literature.