The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of portraits of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions, which are distinct from the question of the existence of Jesus, are based on historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and cultural context in which he lived.
Since the 18th century, three separate scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and based on different research criteria, which were often developed during that phase. By the 21st century the "maximalist" approaches of the 19th century which accepted all the gospels and the "minimalist" trends of the early 20th century which totally rejected them were abandoned and scholars began to focus on what is historically probable and plausible about Jesus.
While there is widespread scholarly agreement on the existence of Jesus, the portraits of Jesus constructed in these quests have often differed from each other, and from the dogmatic image portrayed in the gospel accounts. The mainstream profiles in the third quest may be grouped together based on their primary theme as apocalyptic prophet, charismatic healer, Cynic philosopher, Jewish Messiah and prophet of social change. But there is little scholarly agreement on a single portrait, or the methods needed to construct it. There are, however, overlapping attributes among the portraits and pairs of scholars who differ on some attributes may agree on others. Yet, there is "a consensus of sorts" on the basic outline of Jesus' life in that most scholars agree that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, that he debated Jewish authorities on the subject of God, performed some healings, gathered followers, and was crucified by Roman prefect Pontius Pilate.
A number of scholars have criticized the various approaches used in the study of the historical Jesus—on one hand for the lack of rigor in research methods, on the other for being driven by "specific agendas" that interpret ancient sources to fit specific goals. These agendas range from those that strive to confirm the Christian view of Jesus, or discredit Christianity, or interpret the life and teachings of Jesus with the hope of causing social change.
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Quests for the historical Jesus 
Since the 18th century, scholars have taken part in three separate "quests" for the historical Jesus, attempting to reconstruct various portraits of his life using historical methods. Although textual criticism of Biblical sources had been practiced for centuries, these quests introduced new methods and specific methodologies to determine the historical validity of their conclusions.
The three quests have witnessed ebbs and flows between the 19th century "maximalist" approaches in which most of the gospels accounts were accepted as historical, to the early 20th century "minimalist" approaches in which hardly anything about the gospel accounts was accepted as historical other than Jesus' existence. In the 21st century, most scholars accept neither the maximalist view nor the minimalist view, and modern scholarly research on the historical Jesus focuses on identifying what is historically probable, or plausible about Jesus.
The first two quests 
The first quest which started in 1778 relied on biblical criticism as well as new modes of interpretation and extension of the gospels and by the end of the nineteenth century hundreds of books on the Lives of Jesus had been produced. Some of the stories of the Lives of Jesus were largely romanticized or included novel elements, e.g. Ernest Renan (1823–1892) extrapolated from Jesus riding a donkey in his Triumphal entry into Jerusalem to portray Jesus as carpenter who had a donkey in Galilee and traveled between different towns on it.
In his book The Quest of the Historical Jesus first published in 1906, Albert Schweitzer criticized the results of the first quest, and pointed out that the authors generally constructed portraits of Jesus as they wanted to see him, and not based on historical methods. The criticisms of Schweitzer and Martin Kahler reduced the enthusiasm of the first Quest. However, research continued in the background, with a new academic book on Jesus appearing every year except 1919.
However, by the end of the first quest the criterion for multiple attestation had been established based on the reasoning that as the number of independent sources that vouch for an event increases, confidence in the historical authenticity of the event rises. Later form criticism was introduced to trace the history of material before it was written down. Other criteria were developed early in the 20th century, e.g. "double dissimilarity" in 1913, "least distinctiveness" in 1919 and "coherence and consistency" in 1921. The criterion of double dissimilarity views a reported saying or action of Jesus as possibly authentic, if it is dissimilar from both the Judaism of his time and also from the traditions of the early Christianity that immediately followed him. The least distinctiveness criterion relies on the assumption that when stories are passed from person to person, the peripheral, least distinct elements may be distorted, but the central element remains unchanged. The criterion of "coherence and consistency" states that material can be used only when other material has been identified as authentic to corroborate it.
The second quest (known as the New Quest at the time) was launched in 1953 based on Ernst Käsemann's arguments that although the gospels may be interpreted for theological purposes, they still contain historical memories which can yield information about Jesus. Based on Käsemann's reasoning, a number of scholars produced new research to construct historical portraits of Jesus and distill the basic elements of his teachings. Along with the second quest the criterion of embarrassment was introduced in 1953. This criterion states that a group is unlikely to invent a story that would be embarrassing to themselves.
The third quest 
The second Quest reached a plateau in the 1970s and by the 1980s a third Quest had started and gained a formal following. Unlike the second Quest, the third Quest had no well defined beginning and emerged as a number of scholars presented new approaches within a relatively short time of each other. In 1992 N. T. Wright coined the term "third Quest" to refer to these new approaches.
A characteristic of the third Quest has been the emphasis on the study of intermediate and non-canonical texts, e.g. Q source documents, the possible impact of the Signs Gospels on the Gospel of John, and the analysis of possible common or distinct sources for gospel accounts. The criterion of "historical plausibility" was introduced in 1997. This principle analyzes the plausibility of an event in terms of two separate components: contextual plausibility and consequential plausibility, i.e., the historical context must be suitable, as well as the consequences. In recent research, the criterion of plausibility has found favor among scholars over the criterion of dissimilarity, and accounts that fit the historical context are viewed as more likely valid.
Although a new emphasis on historical Jesus research has emerged, Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter state that the third Quest has seen a fragmentation of the portraits of Jesus in which no unified picture of Jesus can be attained at all, and the differences among the portraits constructed by scholars involved in the third Quest are even greater than those in the second Quest. James H. Charlesworth also states that the scholarly consensus on the historical portrait of Jesus that seemed develop up to the 1980s has since "...collapsed into a chaos of opinions." Echoing the same scenario, Ben Witherington states that "there are now as many portraits of the historical Jesus as there are scholarly painters".
Thus although the reconstruction of portraits of the historical Jesus along with his life story has been the subject of wide ranging debate among modern scholars, no consensus on a portrait of Jesus has emerged. Amy-Jill Levine states that "no single picture of Jesus has convinced all, or even most scholars" and that all portraits of Jesus are subject to criticism by some group of scholars. However Levine adds that "there is a consensus of sorts on the basic outline of Jesus' life" in that most scholars agree that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, debated Jewish authorities on the subject of God, performed some healings, taught in parables, gathered followers, and was crucified by Roman prefect Pontius Pilate who reigned 26-36 AD.
The construction of specific portraits of Jesus or the analysis of the presentations of specific narratives of his life should thus be distinguished from the question of the existence of Jesus as a historical figure, and his approximate historical chronology. Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. Scholars differ on the reconstruction of specific episodes of the life of Jesus, but almost all modern scholars believe his baptism and crucifixion are historical facts.
Cultural background 
Judean background 
A number of scholars who study the historical Jesus believe that the life of Jesus must be viewed within the historical and cultural context of Roman Judea and the forces which were in play regarding the Jewish culture at that time, and the tensions, trends, and changes in the region under the influence of Hellenism and the Roman occupation must be considered.
Following the fall of earlier Jewish kingdoms, the partially Hellenized territory was under Roman imperial rule. Beginning in 6 CE, Roman prefects were appointed to the territory to maintain order through a political appointee, the High Priest. The conflict between the Jews' demand for religious independence and Rome's efforts to impose a common system of governance meant there was underlying tension in the area.
In the Judaic religion of Jesus' day, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two significant and opposing power groups. These groups emerged following discontent with John Hyrcanus in second century BCE. The Sadducees were generally high ranking priests with wealth and nobility who supported the approach of Hyrcanus, which often favored the upper classes and had a strict interpretation of the Torah. The Pharisees (who used a more flexible interpretation of the Torah) were formed as a "separatist" movement and had a somewhat more democratic approach which favored the common people.
The Sadducees had significant power based on their close association with the Jerusalem Temple and by virtue of the seats they held in the Sanhedrin, which was the governing council for the Jews. The underlying theological and philosophical tensions between the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the role of the Essenes were discussed by first century historian Flavius Josephus, e.g. in Antiquities of the Jews book 18. The Book of Acts (23:8) also refers to how the Pharisees believed in resurrection, angels or spirits, while the Sadducees rejected them.
Archaeological studies 
The 21st century has witnessed an increase in scholarly interest in the integrated use of archaeology as an additional research component in arriving at a better understanding of the historical Jesus by illuminating the socio-economic and political background of his age. James Charlesworth states that few modern scholars now want to overlook the archaeological discoveries that clarify the nature of life in Galilee and Judea during the time of Jesus.
Jonathan Reed states that chief contribution of archaeology to the study of the historical Jesus is the reconstruction of his social world. An example archaeological item that Reed mentions is the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, which mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified.
David Gowler states that an interdisciplinary scholarly study of archeology, textual analysis and historical context can shed light on Jesus and his teachings. An example is the archeological studies at Capernaum. Despite the frequent references to Capernaum in the New Testament, little is said about it there. However, recent archeological evidence show that unlike earlier assumptions, Capernaum was poor and small, without even a forum or agora. This archaeological discovery thus resonates well with the scholarly view that Jesus advocated reciprocal sharing among the destitute in that area of Galilee. Other archeological findings support the wealth of the ruling priests in Judea at the beginning of the first century.
Language, race and appearance 
Jesus grew up in Galilee and much of his ministry took place there. The languages spoken in Galilee and Judea during the 1st century include the Semitic Aramaic and Hebrew languages as well as Greek, with Aramaic being the predominant language. Most scholars agree that during the early part of 1st century Aramaic was the mother tongue of virtually all women in Galilee and Judea. Most scholars support the theory that Jesus spoke Aramaic and that he may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek. James D. G. Dunn states that there is "substantial consensus" that Jesus gave most of his teachings in Aramaic. In a review of the state of modern scholarship, Amy-Jill Levine stated: "Beyond recognizing that 'Jesus was Jewish' rarely does scholarship address what being 'Jewish' means."
The Galilean Jews had a different social, economic, and political matrix from people living in Judea. There was a difference in their calendar and measurement system, although their halakhic principles were substantially the same. The Galilean dialect was clearly distinguishable from the Judean dialect. The evidence from material culture appears almost identical. There was, however, a difference in social status, with Judeans looking down on Galileans, who were settled in the region predominantly during the Hasmonean period according to archaeological evidence, as poorer and lower status - this is also supported by archaeological evidence. Archaeologist, Jonathan L. Reed summarises: "In terms of ethnicity, they shared the same socialised patterns of behaviour, and they were conscious of mutual descent in Judea, dating to the Maccabean Revolt, the occupation of the Diadochoi, the rebuilding of the Temple, Babylonian exile, and beyond. To speak of Galilean Judaism and Galilean Jews is to add an important qualifier, a point Meyer's work on Galilean regionalism stressed, but to juxtapose Galileans with Judeans, and to stress geographical differences at the expense of their common ethnicity, skews their common heritage and obscures their historical connections."
Despite the lack of direct biblical or historical references, from the second century, various theories about the race of Jesus were advanced and debated. By the Middle Ages a number of documents, generally of unknown or questionable origin, had been composed and were circulating with details of the appearance of Jesus. Now these documents are mostly considered forgeries. While many people have a fixed mental image of Jesus, drawn from his artistic depictions, these images often conform to stereotypes which are not grounded in any serious research on the historical Jesus, but are based on second or third hand interpretations of spurious sources.
By the 19th century theories that Jesus was European, and in particular Aryan, were developed, as well as theories that he was of black African descent. However, as in other cases of the assignment of race to biblical individuals, these claims have been mostly subjective, based on cultural stereotypes and societal trends rather than on scientific analysis. For two millennia a wide range of artistic depictions of Jesus have appeared, often influenced by cultural settings, political circumstances and theological contexts. Beyond being Jewish, there is no general scholarly agreement on the ethnicity of Jesus.
Profession and literacy 
Jesus is identified in the Gospel of Matthew (13:55) as the son of a τέκτων (tekton) and the Gospel of Mark (6:3) states that Jesus was a tekton himself. Tekton has been traditionally translated into English as "carpenter", but is a rather general word (from the same root that gives us "technical" and "technology") that could cover makers of objects in various materials, even builders. But the specific association with woodworking was a constant in Early Christian writings; Justin Martyr (d. ca. 165) wrote that Jesus made yokes and ploughs, and there are similar early references.
Other scholars have argued that tekton could equally mean a highly-skilled craftsman in wood or the more prestigious metal, perhaps running a workshop with several employees, and noted sources recording the shortage of skilled artisans at the time.  Geza Vermes has stated that the terms 'carpenter' and 'son of a carpenter' are used in the Jewish Talmud to signify a very learned man, and he suggests that a description of Joseph as 'naggar' (a carpenter) could indicate that he was considered wise and highly literate in the Torah.
At the time of Joseph and Jesus, Nazareth was an obscure village in Galilee, about 65 km from the Holy City of Jerusalem, which is barely mentioned in surviving non-Christian texts and documents. Archaeology over most of the site is made very difficult by subsequent building, but from what has been excavated and tombs in the area around the village, it is estimated that the population was at most about 400. It was, however, only about 6 kilometres from the city of Tzippori (ancient "Sepphoris"), which was destroyed by the Romans in 4BCE, and thereafter was expensively rebuilt. Jonathan L. Reed states that the analysis of the landscape and other evidence suggest that in that Jesus and Joseph's lifetime Nazareth was "oriented towards" the nearby city.
There are strong indications of a high illiteracy rate among the lower socio-economic classes in the Roman Empire at large, with various scholars estimating 3% to 10% literacy rates. However, the Babylonian Talmud (which dates to 3rd-5th century) states that the Jews had schools in nearly every one of their towns.
Geoffrey Bromiley states that as a "religion of the book" Judaism emphasized reading and study, and people would read to themselves in a loud voice, rather than silently, a practice encouraged (Erubin 54a) by the Rabbis. James D. G. Dunn states that Second Temple Judaism placed a great deal of emphasis on the study of Torah, and the "writing prophets" of Judaism assumed that sections of the public could read. Dunn and separately Donahue and Harrington refer to the statement by first century historian Josephus in Against Apion (2.204) that the "law requires that they (children) be taught to read" as an indication of high literacy rate among some first century Jews. Richard A. Horsley, on the other hand, states that the Josephus reference to learn "grammata" may not necessarily refer to reading and may be about an oral tradition.
There are a number of passages from the Gospels which state or imply that Jesus could read. The Jesus Seminar stated that references in the Gospels to Jesus reading and writing may be fictions. John Dominic Crossan who views Jesus as a peasant states that he would not have been literate. Craig A. Evans states that it should not be assumed that Jesus was a peasant, and that his extended travels may indicate some measure of financial means. Evans states that existing data indicate that Jesus could read scripture, paraphrase and debate it, but that does not imply that he received formal scribal training, given the divergence of his views from the existing religious background of his time. James Dunn states that it is "quite credible" that Jesus could read. John P. Meier further concludes that the literacy of Jesus probably extended to the ability to read and comment on sophisticated theological and literary works.
Historical elements 
Two basic historical facts 
Despite divergent scholarly opinions on the construction of portraits of the historical Jesus, almost all modern scholars consider his baptism and crucifixion historically facts. James Dunn states that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent" and "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical facts" that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.
Scholarly agreement on the crucifixion of Jesus by Pontius Pilate is widespread, and most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable. Eddy and Boyd state that it is now "firmly established" that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus. Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him. John Dominic Crossan states that the crucifixion of Jesus is as certain as any historical fact can be. John P. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that based on the criterion of embarrassment Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader. Meier states that a number of other criteria, e.g. the criterion of multiple attestation (i.e. confirmation by more than one source), the criterion of coherence (i.e. that it fits with other historical elements) and the criterion of rejection (i.e. that it is not disputed by ancient sources) help establish the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical event.
Although scholars agree on the historicity of the crucifixion, they differ on the reason and context for it, e.g. both E. P. Sanders and Paula Fredriksen support the historicity of the crucifixion, but contend that Jesus did not foretell his own crucifixion, and that his prediction of the crucifixion is a Christian story. Geza Vermes also views the crucifixion as a historical event but provides his own explanation and background for it.
The existence of John the Baptist within the same time frame as Jesus, and his eventual execution by Herod Antipas is attested to by first century historian Josephus and the overwhelming majority of modern scholars view Josephus' accounts of the activities of John the Baptist as authentic. One of the arguments in favor of the historicity of the Baptism of Jesus by John is that it is a story which the early Christian Church would have never wanted to invent, typically referred to as the criterion of embarrassment in historical analysis. The four gospels are not the only references to the baptisms performed by John and in Acts 10:37-38, the apostle Peter refers to how the ministry of Jesus followed "the baptism which John preached". Another argument used in favour of the historicity of the baptism is that multiple accounts refer to it, usually called the criterion of multiple attestation. Technically, multiple attestation does not guarantee authenticity, but only determines antiquity. However, for most scholars, together with the criterion of embarrassment it lends credibility to the baptism of Jesus by John being a historical event.
Eight possibly historical elements 
Beyond the two elements of baptism and crucifixion, scholars attribute varying levels of certainty to other episodes in the life of Jesus. A well known list of eight possible facts has been widely discussed, but is not subject to universal agreement among scholars.
E.P. Sanders and separately Craig A. Evans state that there are two other incidents in the life of Jesus can be historical, one that Jesus called disciples, the other that he caused a controversy at the Temple. This extended view assumes that there are 8 elements about Jesus and his followers that can be viewed as historical facts, 4 episodes in the life of Jesus and 4 facts about him and his followers, namely:
But scholarly agreement on this extended list is not universal, and beyond the two basic facts of baptism and crucifixion, scholarly consensus begins to dilute. For instance, N. T. Wright accepts that there were twelve disciples, but holds that the list of their names can not be determined with certainty, while John Dominic Crossan disagrees with Wright, and believes that Jesus did not call disciples and had an "open to all" egalitarian approach, imposed no hierarchy and preached to all in equal terms. On the other hand John P. Meier sees the calling of disciples a natural consequence of the information available about Jesus.
The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist places him in the Baptist's era, whose chronology can be determined from Josephus' reference (Antiquities 18.5.2) to the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias and the subsequent defeat of Herod by Aretas IV of Nabatea in the AD 36. Most scholars date the marriage of Herod and Herodias, which Josephus relates to the execution of the Baptist by Herod, as AD 28-35, indicating a date somewhat earlier than that for the baptism of Jesus by John.
A number of approaches have been used to estimate the date of the crucifixion of Jesus. One approach relies on the dates of the prefecture of Pontius Pilate who was governor of Roman Judea from 26 AD until 36 AD, after which he was replaced by Marcellus, 36-37 AD. Another approach which provides an upper bound for the year of death of Jesus is working backwards from the chronology of Apostle Paul, which can be historically pegged to his trial in Corinth by Roman proconsul Gallio, the date of whose reign is confirmed in the Delphi Inscription discovered in the 20th century at the Temple of Apollo.  Two independent astronomical methods (one going back to Isaac Newton) have also been used, suggesting the same year, i.e. 33 AD. Scholars generally agree that Jesus died between 30-36 AD.
Portraits of the historical Jesus 
Diversity of portraits 
Scholars involved in the third Quest for the historical Jesus have constructed a variety of portraits and profiles for Jesus. However, there is little scholarly agreement on the portraits, or the methods used in constructing them.
Bart Ehrman and separately Andreas Köstenberger contend that given the scarcity of historical sources, it is generally difficult for any scholar to construct a portrait of Jesus that can be considered historically valid beyond the basic elements of his life. On the other hand, scholars such as N. T. Wright and Luke Timothy Johnson argue that the image of Jesus presented in the gospels is largely accurate, and that dissenting scholars are simply too cautious about what we can claim to know about the ancient period.
While in the 1980s and early 1990s scholars had hoped for an emerging consensus on a portrait of Jesus, not only has no consensus emerged, but the scholarly views have diverged and fragmented into a set of irreconcilable portraits. Dale Allison states that to an outsider the portraits of the historical Jesus seem to crisscross each other in a "maze of contradictions" partly because the scholars involved make different assumptions about the nature of the quest. And some previous collaborators have since presented differing portraits, e.g. while active in the 1990s, the Jesus Seminar constructed some portraits of Jesus, which were then superseded by the diverging portraits presented by some of the main scholars in that group, once the members of the seminar went their separate ways, e.g. Borg and Crossan's distinct individual portraits differing on whether Jesus made apocalyptic statements.
Since Albert Schweitzer's book The Quest of the Historical Jesus, scholars have for long stated that many of the portraits of Jesus are "pale reflections of the researchers" themselves. John Dominic Crossan summarized the recent situation by stating that many authors writing about the life of Jesus "...do autobiography and call it biography." Yet, scholars continue to criticize each other's work on the subject, e.g. N.T. Wright has presented a critique of the work of Crossan and discussed the inadequacy of his methods and assumptions in the form of a parody.
Mainstream views 
Despite the significant differences among scholars on what constitutes a suitable portrait for Jesus, the mainstream views supported by a number of scholars may be grouped together based on a number of distinct, primary themes. These groupings reflect the essential feature of each picture and the portraits often include overlapping elements, e.g. a number of scholars (e.g. Crossan and Wright who are otherwise critical of each other) whose portraits are not "primarily apocalyptic" still believe that Jesus preached such a message, while others (e.g. Borg and Mack) differ on that issue.
There are, however, differences among the portraits within each group, e.g. while both Bart Ehrman and Dale Allison's portraits of Jesus are primarily apocalyptic, they differ in that while Ehrman aligns himself with the century old view of Albert Schweitzer that Jesus expected an apocalypse during his own generation, Allison sees the apocalyptic teachings of Jesus as a form of asceticism. The subsections below present the main views (each supported by several mainstream scholars).
Apocalyptic prophet 
The apocalyptic prophet view primarily emphasizes Jesus preparing his fellow Jews for the End times. The works of Sanders and Casey place Jesus within the context of Jewish eschatological tradition. Allison, on the other hand, does not place Jesus within a specific apocalyptic movement, or as advocating specific timetables for the End Times, but sees him as preaching his own doctrine of "apocalyptic eschatology" derived from post-exilitic Jewish teachings. Ehrman bases some of his views on the argument that the earliest gospel sources (for which he assumes Markan priority) present Jesus as far more apocalyptic than other Christian sources produced towards the end of the first century, and contends that the apocalyptic messages were gradually toned down.
Charismatic healer 
The charismatic healer portrait positions Jesus as a pious and holy man in the view of Geza Vermes, whose profile draws on the Talmudic representations of Jewish figures such as Hanina ben Dosa and Honi the Circle Drawer and presents Jesus as a hasid. In Borg's view Jesus should be seen as a charismatic "man of the spirit", a mystic or visionary which acts as a conduit for the "Spirit of God". Borg sees this as a well defined religious personality type, whose actions often involve healing. Borg sees Jesus as a non-eschatological figure who did not intend to start a new religion, but his message set him at odds with the Jewish powers of his time based on the "politics of holiness".
Cynic philosopher 
This view is supported by scholars such as John Dominic Crossan, F. Gerald Downing and Burton Mack — at times reflecting elements of the perspectives held by some members of the Jesus Seminar when it was active.
In the Cynic philosopher profile, Jesus is presented as a traveling sage and philosopher preaching a cynical and radical message of change to abolish the existing hierarchical structure of the society of his time. This view presents Jesus as a Cynic who carries all he needs in a bag and travels as "one who has nothing and wants nothing" and is thus totally free. In Crossan's view Jesus was crucified not for religious reasons but because his social teachings challenged the seat of power held by the Jewish authorities.
Burton Mack also holds that Jesus was a Cynic whose teachings were so different from those of his time that shocked the audience and forced them to think. However, Mack differs from Crossan in that he does not see Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, and further views his death as accidental and not due to his challenge to Jewish authority.
Jewish Messiah 
The Jewish Messiah profile of N. T. Wright places Jesus within the Jewish context of "exile and return", a notion he uses to build on his view of the first century concept of hope. Wright, believes that Jesus was the Messiah and argues that the Resurrection of Jesus was a physical and historical event. Wright's portrait of Jesus is closer to the traditional Christian views than many other scholars, and when he departs from the Christian tradition, his views are still close to them.
Like Wright, Bockmuehl and Stuhlmacher support the view that Jesus came to announce the end of the Jewish spiritual exile and usher in a new messianic era in which God would improve this world through the faith of his people.
The prophet of social change portrait positions Jesus not as an eschatological prophet, but primarily as someone who challenged traditional social structures of his time. Thiessen sees three main elements to the activities of Jesus as he affected social change, his positioning as the Son of man, the core group of disciples that followed him, and his localized supporters as he journeyed through Galillee and Judea. Horsely goes further and presents Jesus as a more radical reformer who initiated a grassroots movement. Kyler's ideas are close to those of Hersely, but have a more religious focus and base the actions of Jesus on covenant theology and his desire for justice.
Non-controversial views 
Overtones of the main portraits are at times presented by individual scholars, e.g. Ben Witherington supports the "Wisdom Sage" view which avoids the term "prophet" and contends that Jesus never uses the classic forms of a prophet. For Witherington Jesus is best understood as a teacher of wisdom who saw himself as the embodiment or incarnation of God's Wisdom. Bruce Chilton, on the other hand, sees Jesus as a Galilean Rabbi.
John P. Meier's portrait of Jesus as the Marginal Jew is built on the view that Jesus knowingly marginalized himself in a number of ways, first by abandoning his profession as a carpenter and becoming a preacher with no means of support, then arguing against the teachings and traditions of the time while he had no formal rabbinic training.
Elisabeth Fiorenza has presented a feminist perspective which sees Jesus as a social reformer whose actions such as the acceptance of women followers resulted in the liberation of some women of his time. For S. G. F. Brandon Jesus is political revolutionary who challenged the existing socio-political structures of his time.
Controversial views 
Robert Eisenman proposed that James the Just was the Teacher of Righteousness mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and that the image of Jesus of the gospels was constructed by Apostle Paul as pro-Roman propaganda. Alvar Ellegård proposes a theory that is somewhat similar to that of Eisenman. He believes that the Jesus of the Pauline Epistles goes back to the Essene Teacher of Righteousness.
Hyam Maccoby proposed that Jesus was a Pharisee, that the positions ascribed to the Pharisees in the Gospels are very different from what we know of them, and in fact their opinions were very similar to those ascribed to Jesus. Harvey Falk sees Jesus as proto-Pharisee or Essene.
Morton Smith views Jesus as a magician, a view based on the presentation of Jesus in later Jewish sources. Leo Tolstoy saw Jesus as championing Christian anarchism; although Tolstoy never actually used the term "Christian anarchism" in The Kingdom of God Is Within You, reviews of this book following its publication in 1894 coined the term.
A paper suggested that Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Paul the Apostle may have had some psychiatric conditions associated with psychotic spectrum symptoms due to comparisons with experiences today, however, the paper admits that the study was not aimed to deny the supernatural and was not conclusive on any of them.
Criticism of historical Jesus research 
Critics variously characterize the historical reconstruction of Jesus as either an unwarranted a priori rejection of all supernatural elements in Jesus' true identity, or as ascribing historical status to a fictional character. John P. Meier wrote that in the past the quest for the historical Jesus has often been motivated more by a desire to produce an alternate Christology than a true historical search. The quest is also said to be too western, too white, too bourgeois, and too male.
The British Methodist scholar Clive Marsh has stated that the construction of the portraits of Jesus as part of various quests have often been driven by "specific agendas" and that historical components of the relevant biblical texts are often interpreted to fit specific goals. Marsh lists theological agendas that aim to confirm the divinity of Jesus, anti-ecclesiastical agendas that aim to discredit Christianity and political agendas that aim to interpret the teachings of Jesus with the hope of causing social change.
John Meier, a Catholic priest and a professor of theology at University of Notre Dame, has also said "...I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that people claim they are doing a quest for the historical Jesus when de facto they’re doing theology, albeit a theology that is indeed historically informed..." Dale Allison, a Presbyterian theologian and professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, too says, "...We wield our criteria to get what we want..." Biblical scholars have also been accused of having a strong disinclination towards communicating to the lay public things they know, but which would be unsettling to mainstream Christians. According to the historian of religion R. Joseph Hoffmann, a humanist, there has never been "a methodologically agnostic approach to the question of Jesus' historical existence."
The New Testament scholar Nicholas Perrin on the other hand has argued that since most biblical scholars are Christians, a certain bias is inevitable, but he does not see this as a major problem.
Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies, in the department of history at Queen's University, though he states that the man Jesus certainly existed, has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians attempting to reconstruct a biography of the man apart from the mere facts of his existence and crucifixion, have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions, which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also identifies a peculiar downward dating creep, and holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty. He says that, the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work. It is only through considerable individual heroism, that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.
The historian and philosopher C. Stephen Evans, a professor at the Baptist Baylor University, holds that the stories told by "scientific, critical historians" are based on faith convictions no less than is the account of Jesus as the Christ the Son of God, an account that he maintains can be reasonably accepted as historically true.
The linguist Alvar Ellegård argued that theologians have failed to question Jesus' existence because of a lack of communication between them and other scholars, causing some of the basic assumptions of Christianity to remain insulated from general scholarly debate. However, the Old Testament scholar Albrektson, while identifying some possible problems, says in response that a great many biblical scholars do practise their profession as an ordinary philological and historical subject, avoiding dogmatic assumptions and beliefs.
Albert Schweitzer accused early scholars of religious bias. Rudolf Bultmann argued that historical research could reveal very little about the historical Jesus. Some have argued that modern biblical scholarship is insufficiently critical and sometimes amounts to covert apologetics.
Denial of a historical Jesus 
Non-physical Jesus 
Greek philosophical and theological ideas - especially from Middle Platonism produced some radical re-interpretations of the Christian claims of the Incarnation, the Passion, and the Resurrection by assuming Jesus as divine in fact and human only in appearance. The earliest form of this was Docetism. Docetists held the view that Jesus Christ only seemed human (their name derives from the Greek verb dokein, meaning "to seem"), and his visible "body" was something other than crude matter. To them, Jesus was an incorporeal phantasm, a pure spirit. Hence, he could not physically suffer or die.
The Docetists were followed by the Gnostics in the 2nd Century. Valentinus and Basilides taught that Jesus was a divine being, an emanation of the Father, who took on a kind of physical body but of a different, incorruptible substance that was qualitatively different than the substance of mortal men. Basilides preserved the dignity and inviolability of this being by promoting the idea that Simon of Cyrene substituted for Jesus at the crucifixion, while Jesus himself took the form of Simon, standing by and laughing at them. Marcion of Sinope (c.100-c.160) promoted the doctrine that "Jesus did not really take human flesh. He was not even born, but simply appeared on earth during the reign of Tiberius. He was a celestial being with the appearance of a human body." 
Jesus as myth 
A few modern writers, such as Earl Doherty, G. A. Wells, Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price question whether Jesus ever existed, and whether attempts to use the Gospels to reconstruct his life give the Gospels too much credit. This position, put forward in works such as the movies Religulous and The God Who Wasn't There, is not held by most professional historians, nor the vast majority of New Testament scholars. Richard Dawkins wrote that while Jesus probably existed, it is "possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all." The philosopher Bertrand Russell doubted the existence of Jesus: and Peter Gandy argues that Jesus was derived from pagan gods like Dionysus. Although most established biblical scholars agree that Jesus did exist, R. Joseph Hoffmann has stated that the issue of historicity versus non-historicity of Jesus has been long ignored due to theological interests.
See also 
- Biblical archaeology (excavations and artifacts)
- Biblical manuscript
- Criterion of dissimilarity
- Cultural and historical background of Jesus
- Historicity of Jesus
- The Bible and history
- The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria by Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter (Aug 30, 2002) ISBN 0664225373 page 5
- Jesus Research: An International Perspective (Princeton-Prague Symposia Series on the Historical Jesus) by James H. Charlesworth and Petr Pokorny (Sep 15, 2009) ISBN 0802863531 pages 1-2
- Amy-Jill Levine in the The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. 2006 Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 1-2
- Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman (Sep 23, 1999) ISBN 0195124731 Oxford Univ Press pages ix-xi
- Jesus Remembered Volume 1, by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 pp. 125-127
- Ehrman, Bart. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-515462-2, chapters 13, 15
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 pages 9-13
- Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell (1 Jan 1999) ISBN 0664257038 pages 19-23
- The Historical Jesus of the Gospels by Craig S. Keener (Apr 13, 2012) ISBN 0802868886 page 163
- Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship by Marcus J. Borg (Aug 1, 1994) ISBN 1563380943 pages 4-6
- John P. Meier "Criteria: How do we decide what comes from Jesus?" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight (Jul 15, 2006) ISBN 1575061007 page 124 "Since in the quest for the historical Jesus almost anything is possible, the function of the criteria is to pass from the merely possible to the really probable, to inspect various probabilities, and to decide which candidate is most probable. Ordinarily the criteria can not hope to do more."
- In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (who is a secular agnostic) wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
- Michael Grant (a classicist) states that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels by Michael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
- "Historical Jesus, Quest of the." Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. pp 775
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 124-125
- The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1 by Margaret M. Mitchell and Frances M. Young (Feb 20, 2006) ISBN 0521812399 page 23
- Images of Christ (Academic Paperback) by Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes and David Tombs (Dec 19, 2004) ISBN 0567044602 T&T Clark page 74
- Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazereth by Michael James McClymond (Mar 22, 2004) ISBN 0802826806 pages 16-22
- Amy-Jill Levine in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 page 4: ""There is a consensus of sorts on a basic outline of Jesus' life. Most scholars agree that Jesus was baptized by John, debated with fellow Jews on how best to live according to God's will, engaged in healings and exorcisms, taught in parables, gathered male and female followers in Galilee, went to Jerusalem, and was crucified by Roman soldiers during the governorship of Pontius Pilate"
- Allison, Dale (2009-02). The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-8028-6262-4. Retrieved 2011-Jan-09. "We wield our criteria to get what we want."
- John P. Meier (26 May 2009). A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Law and Love. Yale University Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-300-14096-5. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
- Akenson, Donald (1998). Surpassing wonder: the invention of the Bible and the Talmuds. University of Chicago Press. pp. 539–555. ISBN 978-0-226-01073-1. Retrieved 2011-Jan-08. "...The point I shall argue below is that, the agreed evidentiary practices of the historians of Yeshua, despite their best efforts, have not been those of sound historical practice..."
- Clive Marsh, "Diverse Agendas at Work in the Jesus Quest" in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus by Tom Holmen and Stanley E. Porter (Jan 12, 2011) ISBN 9004163727 pages 986-1002
- Clive Marsh "Quests of the Historical Jesus in New Historicist Perspective" in Biblical Interpretation Journal Volume 5, Number 4, 1997 , pp. 403-437(35)
- The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria by Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter (Aug 30, 2002) ISBN 0664225373 pages 1-6
- Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 100-120
- Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research by Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans (Jun 1998) ISBN 9004111425 page 27
- The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria by Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter (Aug 30, 2002) ISBN 0664225373 pages 142-143
- John, Jesus, and History Volume 1 by Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just and Tom Thatcher (Nov 14, 2007) ISBN 1589832930 page 131
- Jesus and His World by Craig A. Evans (Feb 8, 2013) ISBN 0664239323 pages 4-5 states that no major historian or New Testament scholar follows the minimalist approaches such as those of Robert M. Price
- Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell (1 Jan 1999) ISBN 0664257038 pages 13-18
- Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 36-37
- John's Gospel and the History of Biblical Interpretation: Bk. 1 by Sean P. Kealy (Dec 2002) ISBN 077346980X page 426
- Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters by Dale C. Allison Jr. (Aug 18, 2005) ISBN 0567029107 pages 1-4
- The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology by Alan Richardson 1983 ISBN 0664227481 pages 215-216
- The Historical Jesus and the Final Judgment Sayings in Q by Brian Han Gregg (Jun 30, 2006) ISBN 3161487508 page 29
- Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 77-78
- Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 28-29
- John, Jesus, and History, Volume 1: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views by Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just and Tom Thatcher (Nov 14, 2007) ISBN 1589832930 page 127
- Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 2-6
- Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition). p. 11
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 77
- Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 pages 168–173
- Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: "biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted"
- Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339 states of baptism and crucifixion that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent".
- Jesus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39
- Fredriksen, Paula (1988). From Jesus to Christ ISBN 0-300-04864-5 pp. ix-xii
- Sanders, E.P. (1987). Jesus and Judaism, Fortress Press ISBN 0-8006-2061-5 pp. 1-9
- John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, v. 1, ch. 11; also H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-674-39731-2, page 251
- Chronicle of Jewish History from the Patriarchs to the 21st Century by Sol Scharfstein and Dorcas Gelabert (Oct 1997) ISBN 0881256064 page 85
- "Pharisees." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
- A Guide Through the New Testament by Celia B. Sinclair (May 1, 1994) ISBN 0664254845 page 21
- Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism by Jonathan Klawans (Oct 12, 2012) ISBN 0199928614 Oxford Univ Press page 11
- Resurrection in the New Testament ISBN 9042912146 by R Bieringer and V Koperski (Nov 1, 2002) page 112
- Texts and Traditions: A Source Reader for the Study of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism by Lawrence H. Schiffman (Nov 1997) ISBN 088125455X pages 269-270
- Jonathan L. Reed, "Archaeological contributions to the study of Jesus and the Gospels" in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press 2006 ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 40-47
- Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 pages xi-xii
- Craig A. Evans (Mar 26, 2012). The Archaeological Evidence For Jesus. The Huffington Post.
- "Jesus Research and Archaeology: A New Perspective" by James H. Charlesworth in Jesus and archaeology edited by James H. Charlesworth 2006 ISBN 0-8028-4880-X pages 11-15
- What are they saying about the historical Jesus? by David B. Gowler 2007 ISBN 0-8091-4445-X page 102
- Craig A. Evans (Mar 16, 2012). Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-23413-5.
- Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 page 18
- Historical Dictionary of Jesus by Daniel J. Harrington 2010 ISBN 0-8108-7667-1 page 32
- Studying the historical Jesus: evaluations of the state of current research by Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 90-04-11142-5 page 465
- "Jesus and Capernaum: Archeological and Gospel Stratigraohy" in Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence' by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 page 139-156
- Jesus and archaeology edited by James H. Charlesworth 2006 ISBN 0-8028-4880-X page 127
- Who Was Jesus? by Paul Copan and Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-664-22462-8 page 187
- Jesus: the complete guide by Leslie Houlden 2006 082648011X pages 63-100
- Teaching Christianity: a world religions approach by Clive Erricker 1987 ISBN 0-7188-2634-5 page 44
- Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (InterVarsity Press, 1992), page 442
- James Barr, Which language did Jesus speak, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1970; 53(1) pages 9–29 
- Handbook to exegesis of the New Testament by Stanley E. Porter 1997 ISBN 90-04-09921-2 pages 110–112
- Discovering the language of Jesus by Douglas Hamp 2005 ISBN 1-59751-017-3 page 3-4
- Jesus in history and myth by R. Joseph Hoffmann 1986 ISBN 0-87975-332-3 page 98
- James Barr's review article Which language did Jesus speak (referenced above) states that Aramaic has the widest support among scholars.
- Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 pages 313-315
- Amy-Jill Levine in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press 2006 ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 page 10
- Lawrence Schiffman, "Was there a Galilean Halakha?" in Galilee in Late Antiquity (Harvard University Press 1994), pages 143-156
- Jewish Encyclopedia: Galilee: Characteristics of Galileans: "But it is for their faulty pronunciation that the Galileans are especially remembered: 'ayin and alef, and the gutturals generally, were confounded, no distinction being made between words like '"amar" (= "ḥamor," uss), "ḥamar" (wine), "'amar" (a garment), "emar" (a lamb: 'Er. 53b); therefore Galileans were not permitted to act as readers of public prayers (Meg. 24b)."
- Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence, Jonathan L. Reed, (Continuum, 2002), page 55
- Racializing Jesus: Race, Ideology and the Formation of Modern Biblical Scholarship by Shawn Kelley 2002 ISBN 0-415-28373-6 pages 70-73
- The Oxford companion to the Bible 1993 ISBN 0-19-504645-5 page 41
- Making Sense of the New Testament by Craig L. Blomberg 2004 ISBN 0-8010-2747-0 pages 3-4
- Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5113-5 pages 6-9
- The forging of races: race and scripture in the Protestant Atlantic world by Colin Kidd 2006 ISBN 0-521-79324-6 pages 44-45
- The forging of races: race and scripture in the Protestant Atlantic world by Colin Kidd 2006 ISBN 0-521-79324-6 page 18
- The likeness of the king: a prehistory of portraiture in late medieval France by Stephen Perkinson 2009 ISBN 0-226-65879-1 page 30
- Dickson, John. Jesus: A Short Life, Lion Hudson, 2008, ISBN 0-8254-7802-2,page 47
- Fiensy, David A.; Jesus the Galilean: soundings in a first century life, Gorgias Press LLC, 2007, ISBN 1-59333-313-7 page 68
- Fiensy, David A.; Jesus the Galilean: soundings in a first century life, Gorgias Press LLC, 2007, ISBN 1-59333-313-7 pages 74-77
- Jesus the Jew: a historian's reading of the Gospels by Jeza Vermes 1983 ISBN SBN: 0961614846 page 21
- Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4
- Crossan, John Dominic. The essential Jesus. Edison: Castle Books. 1998. “Contexts,” p 1-24.
- Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition)
- Sanders terms it a "minor village." Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. p. 104
- Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-examination of the Evidence by Jonathan L. Reed (May 1, 2002) ISBN 1563383942 pages 131-134
- Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-examination of the Evidence by Jonathan L. Reed (May 1, 2002) ISBN 1563383942 pages 114-117
- The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Q-Z) by Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Jan 31, 1995) ISBN 0802837840 page 50
- The Gospel of Mark by John R. Donahue and Daniel J., S.J. Harrington (Jan 1, 2002) ISBN 0814659659 pages 60-61
- Whoever Hears You Hears Me: Prophets, Performance, and Tradition in Q by Richard A. Horsley and Jonathan A. Draper (Nov 1, 1999) ISBN 1563382725 page 127
- Theissen and Merz 1998, p. 354 (for example, Mark 1.39, 2.25, 12.10; Matt. 12.5, 19.4, 21.16; Luke 4.16; and John 7.15)
- Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "What do we really know about Jesus" p. 527-534.
- Crossan, John Dominic. The essential Jesus. Edison: Castle Books. 1998. p. 147
- In the The Cambridge Companion to Jesus edited by Markus Bockmuehl (Dec 3, 2001) ISBN 0521796784 page 14
- In the The Cambridge Companion to Jesus edited by Markus Bockmuehl (Dec 3, 2001) ISBN 0521796784 page 21
- John Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus 1991 ISBN 0300140185 page 278
- Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. "That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus...agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact."
- Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 211-214
- A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136
- John P. Meier "How do we decide what comes from Jesus" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 126-128 and 132-136
- Eddy & Boyd (2007) The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127 states that it is now "firmly established" that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus
- John P. Meier "How do we decide what comes from Jesus" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 132-136
- A Century of Theological and Religious Studies in Britain, 1902-2002 by Ernest Nicholson 2004 ISBN 0-19-726305-4 pages 125-126
- Craig Evans, 2006 "Josephus on John the Baptist" in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 55-58
- The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0-8254-2924-2 pages 662-663
- Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 47
- Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 31-32
- Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian's Account of His Life and Teaching by Maurice Casey 2010 ISBN 0-567-64517-7 page 35
- Who is Jesus?: an introduction to Christology by Thomas P. Rausch 2003 ISBN 978-0-8146-5078-3 page 77
- John the Baptist: prophet of purity for a new age by Catherine M. Murphy 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5933-0 pages 29-30
- Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 15
- An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 pages 247-248
- Who is Jesus? by Thomas P. Rausch 2003 ISBN 978-0-8146-5078-3 page 36
- The relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth: A Critical Study by Daniel S. Dapaah 2005 ISBN 0-7618-3109-6 page 91
- Authenticating the Activities of Jesus by Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans 2002 ISBN 0391041649 pages 3-7
- Prophet and Teacher: An Introduction to the Historical Jesus by William R. Herzog (Jul 4, 2005) ISBN 0664225284 pages 1-6
- Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell (Nov 1, 1998) ISBN 0664257038 page 117
- Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113-129
- The Lion and the Lamb by Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum and Charles L Quarles (Jul 15, 2012) ISBN 1433677083 page 40
- Herodias: at home in that fox's den by Florence Morgan Gillman 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5108-9 pages 25-30
- The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0825429242 pages 662-663
- Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0-310-42251-5 pages 125-127
- Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1-56338-347-0 pages 302-303
- Hoehner, Harold W (1978). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan. pp. 29–37. ISBN 0-310-26211-9.
- Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5113-5 pages 44-45
- The history of the Jews in the Greco-Roman world by Peter Schäfer 2003 ISBN 0-415-30585-3 page 108
- Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 416
- Craig S. Keener in The Blackwell Companion to Paul edited by Stephen Westerholm 2011 ISBN 1405188448 page 51
- Paul and His Letters by John B. Polhill 1999 ISBN 0-8054-1097-X pages 49-50
- The Cambridge Companion to St Paul by James D. G. Dunn (Nov 10, 2003) Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 0521786940 page 20
- Paul: his letters and his theology by Stanley B. Marrow 1986 ISBN 0-8091-2744-X pages 45-49
- Chronos, Kairos, Christos by Jerry Vardaman and Edwin M. Yamauchi (Aug 1989) ISBN 0931464501 page 211
- Pratt, J. P. (1991). "Newton's Date for the Crucifixion". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 32 (3): 301–304. Bibcode:1991QJRAS..32..301P.
- Humphreys, Colin J.; W. G. Waddington (December 1983). "Dating the Crucifixion". Nature 306 (5945): 743–746. Bibcode:1983Natur.306..743H. doi:10.1038/306743a0.
- Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-521-73200-0, page 13
- Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 pages 19-21
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
- Sanders (1993). pp. 11, 249.
- Prophet and Teacher: An Introduction to the Historical Jesus by William R. Herzog (Jul 4, 2005) ISBN 0664225284 page 8
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 117–125
- Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512473-1 pages 22–23
- Meier 1994 v.2 ch. 17; Ehrman 1999 p.227-8
- The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus by Dale C. Allison (Feb 1, 2009) ISBN 0802862624 pages 8-9
- Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham (Nov 9, 2006) ISBN 0802831621 page 3
- Dale Allison, Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History 2010, ISBN 0801035856 page 44
- Jesus the Christ by Walter Kasper (Nov 1976) ISBN page 31
- Theological Hermeneutics by Angus Paddison (Jun 6, 2005) ISBN 0521849837 Cambridge Univ Press page 43
- The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan (Feb 26, 1993) ISBN 0060616296 page xviii
- N. T. Wright, "Taking the Text with Her Pleasure: A Post-Post-Modernist Response to J. Dominic Crossan" Theology July 1993 vol. 96 no. 772 303-310 doi: 10.1177/0040571X9309600407 
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 116
- Dale Allison, Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History 2010, ISBN 0801035856 page 32
- Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman (Sep 23, 1999) ISBN 0195124731 Oxford Univ Press pages
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 136
- Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. Chapter 15, Jesus' view of his role in God's plan.
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 93
- Ben Witherington, The Jesus quest: the third search for the Jew of Nazareth. p.108; Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels, Minneapolis, Fortress Press 1973.
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 98
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 58
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 197
- This Jesus (Academic Paperback) by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl (Oct 27, 2004) ISBN 0567082962 pages 42-44
- Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Dr Craig L Blomberg (1 Aug 2009) ISBN 0805444823 page 213
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 page 137-138
- The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 pages 161-163
- Chilton, Bruce (2002), "Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography"
- Brandon, S.G.F. (1988), "The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth"
- James the Brother of Jesus, Penguin, 1997-98, pp. 51-153 and 647-816.
- Ellegård, Alvar. "Theologians as historians", Scandia, 2008, p. 171–172, 175ff.
- "Hyam Maccoby, Jesus the Pharisee (London: SCM Press, 2003) Reviewed by Robert M. Price".
- Falk, Harvey (2003) "Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus"
- Mark Allan Powell, Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee p.56; Morton Smith, Jesus the magician: charlatan or Son of God?
- William Thomas Stead, ed. (1894). The review of reviews, Volume 9, 1894, p.306. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Murray, ED.; Cunningham MG, Price BH. (1). "The role of psychotic disorders in religious history considered". J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neuroscience 24 (4): 410–26. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.11090214. PMID 23224447
- BOND, HELEN (2011). "The Quest for the Historical Jesus: An Appraisal". In Delbert Burkett. The Blackwell Companion to Jesus. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. p. 346. ISBN 978-1-4051-9362-7. "It is often said to be too western, too white, too bourgeois (Georgi 1992 ), and too male (aside from Schüssler Fiorenza, Fredriksen, and Corley 2002, very few women write “ Jesus books ” )."
- Schaberg, Jane (1997). "A Feminist Experience of Historical·Jesus Scholarship". In William E. Arnal and Michel Desjardins. WHOSE HISTORICAL JESUS?. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-88920-295-8. "...I wanted also to address the issue of what seems to me its present ineffectuality, its lack of contribution: that is, the ignoring, censoring, dismissing, silencing and trivializing of feminist scholarship, as well as its appropriation without attribution, which is a form of silencing..."
- ["http://www.unomaha.edu/jrf/AuthorBiosPhotos/marshbio.htm" "Biography Clive Marsh"].
- Meier, John. "Finding the Historical Jesus: An Interview With John P. Meier". St. Anthony Messenger. Retrieved 2011-Jan-06. "...I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that people claim they are doing a quest for the historical Jesus when de facto they’re doing theology, albeit a theology that is indeed historically informed. Go all the way back to Reimarus, through Schleiermacher, all the way down the line through Bultmann, Kasemann, Bornkamm. These are basically people who are theologians, doing a more modern type of Christology [a faith-based study of Jesus Christ]..."
- Miller, Robert (July 2003). "The jesus seminar and the public". Retrieved 2011-Jan-11. "...There seems to be a widespread assumption that academics who speak publicly about religion should keep their views to themselves if they might be unsettling to the beliefs of mainstream Christians..."
- Csillag, Ron. "For scholars, a combustible question: Was Christ real?", The Toronto Star, December 27, 2008. See the project's website at The Jesus Project, Center for Inquiry, accessed August 6, 2010.
- "Jesus is His Own Ideology: An Interview with Nick Perrin"."My point in the book is to disabuse readers of the notion that Jesus scholars are scientists wearing white lab coats. Like everyone else, they want certain things to be true about Jesus and equally want certain others not to be true of him. I’m included in this (I really hope that I am right in believing that Jesus is both Messiah and Lord.) Will this shape my scholarship? Absolutely. How can it not? We should be okay with that."
- McKnight, Scot (4/09/2010). "The Jesus We'll Never Know". Retrieved 2011-Jan-15. "One has to wonder if the driving force behind much historical Jesus scholarship is... a historian's genuine (and disinterested) interest in what really happened. The theological conclusions of those who pursue the historical Jesus simply correlate too strongly with their own theological predilections to suggest otherwise."
- "Queen's University:Department of History". Retrieved 2011-Jan-22. "Don Akenson: Professor Irish Studies"
- Mack, Burton (2001). The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 34–40. ISBN 978-0-8264-1543-1. Retrieved 2011-Jan-10.
- "Biography of C Stephen Evans". Baylor University. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
- Evans, C. Stephen. "The historical Christ and the Jesus of faith". Klaxo.net. Retrieved 2007-03-16. See C. Stephen Evans, The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. vi-vii.
- Hoffmann, Joseph. "Threnody: Rethinking the Thinking behind The Jesus Project". Retrieved 2011-01-05. "... And second, because I have often made the claim that it has been largely theological interests since Strauss’s time that ruled the historicity question out of court. ..."
- Albrektson, Bertil; Ellegard, et al (09 Jan 2011). "Theologians as historians". Retrieved 2011-01-09. "In fact a great many biblical scholars do practise their profession as an ordinary philological and historical subject, avoiding dogmatic assumptions and beliefs."
- "Introducing the Journal of Higher Criticism".
- Hendel, Ronald (June 2010). "Knowledge and Power in Biblical Scholarship". Retrieved 2011-01-06. "...The problem at hand is how to preserve the critical study of the Bible in a professional society that has lowered its standards to the degree that apologetics passes as scholarship..."
- Ed Hindson, Ergun Caner, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for The Truth of Christianity, page 179 (Harvest House Publishers, 2008). ISBN 978-0-7369-2084-1
- Ismo Dunderberg, Christopher Mark Tuckett, Kari Syreeni (editors), Fair Play: Diversity and Conflicts in Early Christianity: Essays in Honour of Heikki Räisänen, page 488 (Brill, Leyden; 2002). ISBN 90-04-12359-8
- Justo L. González, Essential Theological Terms, page 105 (Westminster John Knox Press, 2005). ISBN 978-0-664-22810-1
- Robert M. Price, Deconstructing Jesus, pp. 9, 16-17, quoted in Michael James McClymond, Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth, Eerdrmans (2004), page 163: 'Price ... calls his position "agnosticism" rather than "atheism" on the question of Jesus' existence',
- Richard A. Burridge states "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.” Burridge, R & Gould, G, Jesus Now and Then, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004, ISBN 0802809774 p.34.
- Michael James McClymond, Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth, ISBN 0802826806 Eerdmans (2004), page 24: most scholars regard the argument for Jesus' non-existence as unworthy of any response".
- "Van Voorst is quite right in saying that “mainstream scholarship today finds it unimportant” [p.6, n.9]. Most of their comment (such as those quoted by Michael Grant) are limited to expressions of contempt." - Earl Doherty, "Responses to Critiques of the Mythicist Case: Four: Alleged Scholarly Refutations of Jesus Mythicism", available , accessed 19 September 2012.
- Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. p. 122. ISBN 1-4303-1230-0.
- Barnett, Paul W. (1997). Jesus and the Logic of History (New Studies in Biblical Theology 3). Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-85111-512-8.
- Bauckham, Richard (2011). Jesus: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-957527-4.
- Brown, Raymond E. (1993). The Death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the Grave. New York: Anchor Bible. ISBN 0-385-49449-1.
- Brown, Raymond E. et al. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary Prentice Hall 1990 ISBN 0-13-614934-0
- Bock, Darrell L., Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods.. Baker Academic: 2002. ISBN 978-0-8010-2451-1.
- Craffert, Pieter F. and Botha, Pieter J. J. "Why Jesus Could Walk On The Sea But He Could Not Read And Write". Neotestamenica. 39.1, 2005.
- Crossan, John Dominic. Jesus : A Revolutionary Biography. Harpercollins: 1994. ISBN 0-06-061661-X.
- Dickson, John. Jesus: A Short Life, Lion Hudson plc, 2008, ISBN 0-8254-7802-2, ISBN 978-0-8254-7802-4, Google Books
- Ehrman, Bart D. (1999). Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-512473-1.
- Fiensy, David A.; Jesus the Galilean: soundings in a first century life, Gorgias Press LLC, 2007, ISBN 1-59333-313-7, ISBN 978-1-59333-313-3, Google books
- Fredriksen, Paula (2000). Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-679-76746-6.
- Gowler, David B.; What Are They Saying About the Historical Jesus?, Paulist Press, 2007,
- Grant, Michael. Jesus: A Historian's Review of the Gospels. Scribner's, 1977. ISBN 0-684-14889-7.
- Funk, Robert W. (1998). The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0-06-062978-9.
- Harris, by William V. Ancient Literacy. Harvard University Press: 1989. ISBN 0-674-03380-9.
- Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Doubleday,
- v. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person, 1991, ISBN 0-385-26425-9
- v. 2, Mentor, Message, and Miracles, 1994, ISBN 0-385-46992-6
- v. 3, Companions and Competitors, 2001, ISBN 0-385-46993-4
- O'Collins, G. Jesus: A Portrait. Darton, Longman and Todd: 2008. ISBN 978-0232527193
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- Sanders, E.P. Jesus and Judaism. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 1987.
- Sanders, E.P. The Historical Figure of Jesus. Lane The Penguin Press: 1993.
- Vermes, G. Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels. SCM Classics:2001, ISBN 0-334-02839-6
- Theissen, Gerd and Merz, Annette. The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide. Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 1998. ISBN 0-8006-3122-6.
- Witherington III, Ben. The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth. InterVarsity Press: 1997. ISBN 0-8308-1544-9.
- Wright, N.T. Christian Origins and the Question of God, a projected 6 volume series of which 3 have been published under:
- v. 1, The New Testament and the People of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 1992.;
- v. 2, Jesus and the Victory of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 1997.;
- v. 3, The Resurrection of the Son of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 2003.
- Wright, N.T. The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering who Jesus was and is. IVP 1996
- Yaghjian, Lucretia. "Ancient Reading", in Richard Rohrbaugh, ed., The Social Sciences in New Testament Interpretation. Hendrickson Publishers: 2004. ISBN 1-56563-410-1.
- "Jesus Christ". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2009. The first section, on Jesus' life and ministry