Historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the life of Jesus, based on critical 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. These reconstructions accept that Jesus existed, although scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the accounts of his life, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.
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. The portraits of Jesus that have been constructed in these processes 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 scholars who differ on some attributes may agree on others.
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. 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.
|Part of a series on|
- 1 Historical elements
- 2 Portraits of the historical Jesus
- 3 Methods of research
- 4 Criticism of historical Jesus research
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Most contemporary scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted. We have no indication that writers in antiquity who opposed Christianity questioned the existence of Jesus. There is, however, widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings. Scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.
Robert E. Van Voorst states that the idea of the non-historicity of the existence of Jesus has always been controversial, and has consistently failed to convince virtually all scholars of many disciplines. Geoffrey Blainey notes that a few scholars have argued that Jesus did not exist, but writes that Jesus' life was in fact "astonishingly documented" by the standards of the time - more so than any of his contemporaries - with numerous books, stories and memoirs written about him. The problem for the historian, wrote Blainey, is not therefore, determining whether Jesus actually existed, but rather in considering the "sheer multitude of detail and its inconsistencies and contradictions". Although a very small number of modern scholars argue that Jesus never existed, that view is a distinct minority and virtually all scholars consider theories that Jesus' existence was a Christian invention as implausible. This is different from supernatural or miraculous claims about Jesus, which historians tend to look on as questions of faith, rather than historical fact.
The sources for the historicity of Jesus are mainly Christian sources, but there are some mentions also in a few non-Christian Jewish and Greco-Roman sources, which have been used in historical analyses of the existence of Jesus. These include the works of 1st-century Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus.
Jesus as myth
The Christ myth theory (also known as the "Jesus myth theory" or "Jesus mythicism") is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament was mythical, although others define it more strictly that Jesus never existed in any form. The thesis that Jesus was invented by the Christian community after 100 CE was first put forward in the late 18th century and then popularised in the 19th century by German philosopher Bruno Bauer who proposed a three-fold argument still used by many myth proponents today:
- The New Testament has no historical value,
- Non-Christian writers of the first century failed to mention Jesus, and
- Christianity had pagan and mythical beginnings.
Although the question of the historicity of Jesus was the subject of 20th century books by British professor G.A. Wells and others, the suggestion that there was no historical Jesus has seen a "massive upsurge" in recent years. A number of books and documentaries promote different perspectives. For example, former Anglican priest Tom Harpur argues that Jesus was not a man, but his spirit lives within us. In his book, On the Historicity of Jesus, historian Richard Carrier presents the evidence for and against the historicity of Jesus. He states that both sides lack a coherent methodology and that historicists have conflated "conjectures with demonstrable facts almost as often as mythicists do."  In his conclusion he proposes that Jesus was a pre-Christian, Jewish celestial being, which was later represented "rhetorically and symbolically in overtly historical narratives" by "some Christian congregations".  Most writers, like former Baptist pastor Robert M. Price, however, are more "agnostic" about the existence of Jesus arguing that events in the Gospels are almost certainly mythical, but allowing that Christianity may have been based on an individual whose followers believed he was the son of God. For example, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in 2006 it is "possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all," and "although Jesus probably existed, reputable biblical scholars do not in general regard the New Testament (and obviously not the Old Testament) as reliable record of what actually happened in history."  In 2012, he added "the evidence (Jesus) existed is surprisingly shaky."  Similarly, the late Christopher Hitchens stated there is "little or no evidence for the life of Jesus," arguing "the gospels are most certainly not literal truth," their multiple authors "cannot agree on anything of importance," and the "contradictions and illiteracies of the New Testament have filled up many books by eminent scholars."  While not going so far as to say that a Jesus figure did not exist, Hitchens argues the best argument for the "highly questionable existence of Jesus" are the biblical inconsistencies themselves, explaining the "very attempts to bend and stretch the story may be inverse proof that someone of later significance was indeed born." 
Despite the debate in popular culture and on the Internet, the position that Jesus did not exist is not held by most professional historians, nor the vast majority of New Testament scholars. Classical historian Michael Grant states that, "Modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory...[It has] again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars."  Other scholars, mostly based in Europe, however, argue their colleagues should remain more open to this possibility and that the debate on the historicity of Jesus is not over.
Two widely accepted historical facts
Despite divergent scholarly opinions on the construction of portraits of the historical Jesus, almost all modern scholars consider his baptism and crucifixion to be historical 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 1st-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, another criterion of embarrassment. 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 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 eight elements about Jesus and his followers that can be viewed as historical facts, four episodes in the life of Jesus and four facts about him and his followers, namely:
Scholarly agreement on this extended list is not universal. N. T. Wright accepts that there were twelve disciples, but holds that the list of their names can not be determined with certainty. John Dominic Crossan disagrees, stating that Jesus did not call disciples and had an "open to all" egalitarian approach, imposed no hierarchy and preached to all in equal terms. John P. Meier sees the calling of disciples a natural consequence of the information available about Jesus.
Scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born between 7 and 2 BC and died 30–36 AD. Blainey writes that Jesus was Jewish in race, culture and religion - the name "Jew" being derived from "Judah", a narrow strip of land along the Eastern Mediterranean, long known as Palestine. Jews, unlike many other peoples of the epoch, believed in only one God, and their Temple in Jerusalem was considered his only shrine. Jerusalem had been captured for the Hebrews around 1000 BCE, but Palestine was invaded by the Romans in 63 BCE, thus by Jesus' time, the Jewish kingdom was under Roman occupation. Despite the presence of a small Roman army, the Jews maintained their unusual culture, traditions and religion: a distinct Jewish world, operating inside the Roman Empire.
Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea. The Talmud refers to "Jesus the Nazarene" several times and scholars such as Andreas Kostenberger and Robert Van Voorst hold that some of these references are to Jesus. Nazareth is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian gospels portray it as an insignificant village, John 1:46 asking "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Craig S. Keener states that it is rarely disputed that Jesus was from Nazareth, an obscure small village not worthy of invention. Gerd Theissen concurs with that conclusion. Jerome indicates that Nazareth was used in reference to Old Testament verses using the Hebrew word ne'tser (branch), specifically citing Isaiah 11:1. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that, "The etymology of Nazara is neser, which means 'a shoot'. The Vulgate renders this word by flos, 'flower', in the Prophecy of Isaias (11:1), which is applied to the Saviour. St. Jerome (Epist., xlvi, 'Ad Marcellam') gives the same interpretation to the name of the town."
The Qur'an mentions "Jesus son of Mary" fourteen times, and depicts him as a distinguished prophet, though not the "Son of God", nor does it refer to Nazareth.
Most scholars support the theory that Jesus spoke Aramaic and that he may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek. 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 the 1st century, Aramaic was the mother tongue of virtually all women in Galilee and Judea.
Most scholars reject that there is any evidence that an adult Jesus traveled or studied outside Galilee and Judea. Robert Van Voorst states that modern scholarship has "almost unanimously agreed" that claims of the travels of Jesus to Tibet, Kashmir or India contain "nothing of value".
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 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.
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 under Ptolemy, from 63 BCE, must be considered. Following the successful Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucids, there was a growth of an apocalyptic view that the world was either in or approaching the End Times, when a messianic saviour would restore the Kingdom of David.
Following the fall of earlier Jewish kingdoms, the partially Hellenized territory was under Roman imperial rule. Beginning in 6 CE, with the confiscation of the territory of the Herodean king Archelaus, Roman prefects were appointed to the territory to maintain order and collect taxes and through a political appointee, the High Priest, control Jerusalem. The imposition of a Roman system of taxation and conflict between the Jews' demand for religious independence and Rome's efforts to impose a common system of governance meant there was continuous underlying tension in the area.
In the Judaic religion of Jesus' day (Second Temple Judaism), the Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two significant and opposing power groups. These groups emerged following discontent with John Hyrcanus in the 2nd 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 1st-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.
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 1st century.
Language, race and appearance
Jesus grew up in Galilee and much of his ministry took place there. The language spoken in Galilee and Judea during the 1st century amongst the common people was most frequently the Semitic Aramaic tongue. The Hebrew language was spoken by those educated in the scriptures and Greek was spoken by the upper class. Aramaic was 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 perhaps had some fluency in Greek. James D. G. Dunn states that there is "substantial consensus" that Jesus gave 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 of Aramaic 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 2nd 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.
Jesus is identified  as the son of a τέκτων (tekton) and in a crowd surmises 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, including builders. But the specific association with woodworking was a constant in Early Christian writings; Justin Martyr (died c. 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.
Debate exists about the existence of Nazareth at the time of Joseph and Jesus, as it was not mentioned in any contemporary source. At best it was an obscure village in Galilee, about 65 km from the Holy City of Jerusalem, which is only later 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 six 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 from the 3rd to 5th centuries) 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 1st-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 1st-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.
Portraits of the historical Jesus
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.
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 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. The subsections below present the main views (each supported by several mainstream scholars).
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 1st century, and contends that the apocalyptic messages were gradually toned down.
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 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".
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. Mack does not see Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, and views his death as accidental and not due to his challenge to Jewish authority.
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 1st-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.
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 was a political revolutionary who challenged the existing socio-political structures of his time.
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.
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.
Psychiatrists George de Loosten, William Hirsch, William Sargant and chief medical officer of Paris, psychologist Charles Binet-Sanglé, claimed that Jesus had a mental disorder. In August 2012, the Church of England in collaboration with the Time to Change mental health campaign prepared a document arguing that both Jesus and some of the Apostles and Saints may have suffered from mental health problems. The Gospel of Mark (Mk 3,21) reports the opinion of members of Jesus’ family who believe that Jesus "is insane.": When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, "He is insane.".
Władysław Witwicki, a rationalist philosopher and psychologist, claims in the comments to his own translation of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark ("Dobra Nowina według Mateusza i Marka") that Jesus had difficulties communicating with the outside world and suffered from multiple personality disorder, which made him a schizothymic or even schizophrenic type. In 1998-2000 Pole Leszek Nowak from Poznań authored a study in which, based on his own history of delusions of mission and overvalued ideas, and information communicated in the Gospels, made an attempt at reconstructing Jesus’ psyche.
Methods of research
In the early church, there were already tendencies to portray Jesus as a verifiable demonstration of the extraordinary. 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.
While textual criticism (or lower criticism) had been practiced for centuries, a number of approaches to historical analysis and a number of criteria for evaluating the historicity of events emerged as of the 18th century, as a series of "Quests for the historical Jesus" took place. At each stage of development, scholars suggested specific forms and methodologies of analysis and specific criteria to be used to determine historical validity.
The first Quest, which started in 1778, was almost entirely based on biblical criticism. This was supplemented with form criticism in 1919 and redaction criticism in 1948. Form criticism began as an attempt to trace the history of the biblical material before it was written down, and may thus be seen as starting when textual criticism ends. Form criticism looks for patterns within units of biblical text and attempts to trace their origin based on the patterns. Redaction criticism may be viewed as the child of text criticism and form criticism. This approach views an author as a "redactor" i.e. someone preparing a report, and tries to understand how the redactor(s) has molded the narrative to express their own perspectives.
At the end of the first Quest (c. 1906) the criterion for multiple attestation was used and was the major additional element up to 1950s. The concept behind multiple attestation is simple: as the number of independent sources that vouch for an event increases, confidence in the historical authenticity of the event rises.
Other criteria were being developed at the same time, 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 was launched in 1953, and along with it the criterion of embarrassment was introduced. This criterion states that a group is unlikely to invent a story that would be embarrassing to themselves. The criterion of "historical plausibility" was introduced in 1997, after the start of the third Quest in 1988. This principle analyzes the plausibility of an event in two separate components: contextual plausibility and consequential plausibility, i.e. the historical context needs to be suitable, as well as the consequences.
While the first quest was dominated by "maximalist" approaches in which most of the gospels accounts were accepted, by the beginning of the 20th century under the influence of Rudolph Bultmann a "minimalist" period began in which beyond his existence, hardly anything about Jesus was accepted as historical. From the 1950s onwards, in the second quest the minimalist approaches faded away, and many scholars held that various elements of Jesus' life can be known as "historically probable" beyond the minimal facts which are historically certain. In the 21st century, although no totally maximalist view is accepted, minimalists such as Price are a very small minority with no academic following and modern scholarly research on the historical Jesus focuses on what is historically probable, or plausible about Jesus.
More recently historicists have focussed their attention on the historical writings associated with the period in which Jesus lived or on the evidence concerning his family. The redaction of these documents through early Christian sources till the 3rd or 4th centuries has also been a rich source of new information.
Criticism of historical Jesus research
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.
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, 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.
- The Bible and history
- Biblical archaeology (excavations and artifacts)
- Biblical manuscript
- Census of Quirinius, the enrollment of the Roman provinces of Syria and Judaea for tax purposes taken in the year 6/7.
- Christ myth theory
- Criterion of dissimilarity
- Cultural and historical background of Jesus
- Historical reliability of the Gospels
- Historicity of Jesus
- Jesus Seminar
- Quest for the historical Jesus
- Sources for the Historicity of Jesus
- 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
- In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (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
- Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies the existence of Jesus) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61
- 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 Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
- 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." in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
- 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".
- Prophet and Teacher: An Introduction to the Historical Jesus by William R. Herzog (4 Jul 2005) ISBN 0664225284 pages 1-6
- 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 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
- 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
- "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 Nazareth by Michael James McClymond (Mar 22, 2004) ISBN 0802826806 pages 16-22
- Allison, Dale (February 2009). The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-8028-6262-4. Retrieved Jan 9, 2011. "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 Jan 8, 2011. "... 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 Historical Jesus of the Gospels by Craig S. Keener (13 Apr 2012) ISBN 0802868886 page 163
- Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship by Marcus J. Borg (1 Aug 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."
- 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"
- James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are "a thoroughly dead thesis"
- The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : "Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed".
- Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 pages 730-731
- Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9-page 15
- Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.xix-xx
- Christopher M. Tuckett In The Cambridge Companion to Jesus edited by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0521796784 pages 122-126
- "What about the resurrection? ... Some people believe it did, some believe it didn't. ... But if you do believe it, it is not as a historian" Ehrman, B. Jesus, Interrupted, pg 176 HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (2 February 2010)
- Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 431-436
- The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512639-4-page 248
- Van Voorst, pp. 8-16
- Maurice Casey, "Mythicism: A Story of Bias, Incompetence and Falsehood", New Oxonian, May 22, 2012
- Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus. Sheffield Phoenix Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2.
- Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus. Sheffield Phoenix Press. pp. 607–608. ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2.
- 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 Dawkins. The God Delusion. p. 122. ISBN 1-4303-1230-0.
- Playboy Interview; Richard Dawkins by Chip Rowe, August 20, 2012.
- Christopher Hitchens, 2007, God is Not Great Twelve Books, Chapter 8, ISBN=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/978-0-446-57980-3
- 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.
- Is This Not the Carpenter?: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus, Ed. By Thomas L. Thompson and Thomas S. Verenna, 2012
- http://www.bibleinterp.com/opeds/dav368029.shtml Davies' article Does Jesus Exist? at bibleinterp.com
- Jesus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39
- 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
- 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 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
- Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.3
- Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; pp. 3-5
- Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (InterVarsity Press, 1992), page 442
- The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 page 303
- Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 28-29
- Kostenberger, Andreas J.; Kellum, L. Scott; Quarles, Charles L. (2009). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament ISBN 0-8054-4365-7. pages 107-109
- Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 177-118
- The Life and Ministry of Jesus by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4-page 32
- The Historical Jesus of the Gospels by Craig S. Keener 2012 ISBN 0802868886 page 182
- Theissen, Gerd; Merz, Annette (1998). The historical Jesus : a comprehensive guide ISBN 0-8006-3122-6. page 165 states: "Our conclusion must be that Jesus came from Nazareth."
- Jerome, "Letter 57—To Pammachius on the Best Method of Translating": "Once more it is written in the pages of the same evangelist, And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. Let these word fanciers and nice critics of all composition tell us where they have read the words; and if they cannot, let me tell them that they are in Isaiah. For in the place where we read and translate, [Isaiah 11:1] There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots, in the Hebrew idiom it is written thus, There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a Nazarene shall grow from his root."
- Catholic Encyclopedia, "Nazareth"
- 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
- 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.
- Discovering the language of Jesus by Douglas Hamp 2005 ISBN 1-59751-017-3 page 3-4
- In The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7-page 303 Marcus Borg states that the suggestions that an adult Jesus traveled to Egypt of India are "without historical foundation"
- InWho Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 28-29 John Dominic Crossan states that none of the theories presented to fill the 15-18-year gap between the early life of Jesus and the start of [his ministry have been supported by modern scholarship.
- Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9-page 17
- 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
- Sanders (1993). pp. 11, 249.
- 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
- 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
- Matthew 13:55
- 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
- Prophet and Teacher: An Introduction to the Historical Jesus by William R. Herzog (Jul 4, 2005) ISBN 0664225284 page 8
- 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 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
- 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
- Brandon, S.G.F. (1988), "The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth"
- Chilton, Bruce (2002), "Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography"
- 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
- "Jesus Christus vom Standpunkt des Psychiaters" (Handelsdruckerei, Bamberg, 1905).
- "Religion and Civilization: The Conclusions of a Psychiatrist" (Truth Seeker, New York, 1912).
- Times, 22 August 1974, 14
- "La Folie de Jesus" (Vols. 1-4. A. Maloine, Paris, 1908-15)
- Ted Jeory (express.co.uk): "Jesus Christ 'may have suffered from mental health problems', claims Church of England" (English)
- World English Bible
- Karina Jarzyńska (racjonalista.pl): "Jezus jako egocentryczny schizotymik" (Polish)
- Leszek Nowak: Prywatna Witryna Internetowa Leszka Nowaka (Polish)
- Georgi, Dieter (1986). The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress.
- Georgi, Dieter (1991). Theocracy in Paul's Praxis and Theology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress.
- 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
- The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology by Alan Richardson 1983 ISBN 0664227481 pages 215-216
- Interpreting the New Testament by Daniel J. Harrington (Jun 1990) ISBN 0814651240 pages 96-98
- The Historical Jesus and the Final Judgment Sayings in Q by Brian Han Gregg (30 Jun 2006) ISBN 3161487508 page 29
- Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 77-78
- 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 (30 Aug 2002) ISBN 0664225373 pages 142-143
- Jesus and His World by Craig A. Evans (8 Feb 2013) ISBN 0664239323 pages 4-5 "No major historian or New Testament scholar follows Price"
- Price acknowledges that his views are not supported by scholars at large. Price, Robert M. (2009). "Jesus at the Vanishing Point". In Beilby, James K.; Eddy, Paul R. The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity. ISBN 0-281-06329-X page 61.
- John, Jesus, and History Volume 1 by Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just and Tom Thatcher (14 Nov 2007) ISBN 1589832930 page 131
- 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 (15 Jul 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."
- Mason, Steve (2002), "Josephus and the New Testament" (Baker Academic)
- Tabor, James (2012)"Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity" (Simon & Schuster)
- Eisenman, Robert (1998), "James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls" (Watkins)
- Butz, Jeffrey "The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity" (Inner Traditions)
- Tabor, James (2007), "The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity"
- 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 
- 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 ..."
- "Biography Clive Marsh".
- Meier, John. "Finding the Historical Jesus: An Interview With John P. Meier". St. Anthony Messenger. Retrieved Jan 6, 2011. "... 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 Jan 11, 2011. "... 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 Jan 15, 2011. "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 Jan 22, 2011. "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 Jan 10, 2011.
- "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 (9 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 ..."
- 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.
- Gnilka, Joachim.; Jesus of Nazareth: Message and History, Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.
- 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
- v. 4, Law and Love, 2009, ISBN 978-0-300-14096-5
- O'Collins, G. Jesus: A Portrait. Darton, Longman and Todd: 2008. ISBN 978-0232527193
- O'Collins, G. Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus. OUP: 2009. ISBN 978-0199557875
- 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.
- Van Voorst, Robert E., Jesus Outside the New Testament, 2000, Eerdmans, google books
- 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 six volume series of which three 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