In my defense, I would note that I am not pretending that I set out to prove that I was wrong about Strobel and that I was surprised when it turned out that I was right. Moreover, when I first read a book on apologetics, I did so as a professing born-again Christian who really wanted to believe that there was overwhelming powerful evidence for the view of Jesus and the Bible that Strobel argues for now. I was profoundly disappointed when I read Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict in my late teens because so many of his "proofs" of the literal accuracy of the Bible required the assumption that the details of the biblical accounts were literally accurate. I expected the same from Strobel and this time I was not disappointed.
I am not going to attempt a systematic review or refutation of The Case for the Real Jesus as there are many more knowledgeable individuals who have done so. However, I will comment on some of the inconsistencies that particularly struck me.
One of the most interesting inconsistencies is the relationship between the response to Challenge #4, "Christianity's Beliefs were Borrowed from Pagan Religions," and the response to Challenge #5, "Jesus Was an Impostor Who Failed to Fulfil the Messianic Prophecies." The response to #4 is that "[t]here are simply no examples of dying and rising gods that preceded Christianity and which have meaningful parallels to Jesus' resurrection." (TCFTRJ p.267) In short, the stories about Jesus could only have come from what Jesus said and did.
After having Edwin M. Yamauchi explain that the stories about Jesus could not have come from parallels in pagan religions, Strobel moves on to Michael L. Brown who explains that many of the stories about Jesus have parallels in the Old Testament.
For example, Israel in its infancy went into Egypt--Hosea 11:1 says when Israel was a child God loved him and called him out of Egypt. The Messiah as a child goes into Egypt and is called out of Egypt. As it happens to Israel, so it happens to him. David was betrayed by a close friend; the Messiah was betrayed by a close friend. As it happened to Moses, having to flee from his life from pharaoh, it happens to Messiah, having to flee for his life from Herod. (TCFTRJ p.201)
For some reason, the fact that the stories about Jesus cannot be traced to paganism proves that they must be true, but the fact that they can be traced to Judaism casts no doubt on their truth whatsoever.