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    The Historical Jesus


    In recent years, there has been a renewed discussion as to who Jesus of Nazareth was. The general consensus among non evangelical scholars has been that the Jesus presented in the Bible, and the one who actually walked on the earth are two distinctly different people. The Bias of the Gospel and Epistles authors is often cited as the problem.
    Was Jesus the Messiah, God in the flesh, Savior, and Son of God as Christians proclaim Him to be?   Or was He just a teacher of wisdom who lived in first century Palestine? Does Jesus have relevance in our lives today? Though I am a Christian – some would say that this biases me – I will show that my faith, and my fellow believers' faith  in Jesus Christ is rooted in historical fact -- not on mythology.

    Past and Present Quests for the Historical Jesus  

    The Old Quest

    The Old Quest for the Historical Jesus spanned the years 1778-1906. Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) wrote an article entitled "On the Intention of Jesus and His Disciples", and it was published posthumously, ten years after his death most probably because the ideas were considered extremely controversial during his lifetime. On the Intention was one of the series of articles Reimarus wrote which later came to be known as the "Wolfenbuttel Fragments". The publication of Reimarus’ paper roughly marks the beginning of the Old Quest period. He proposed a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of Christian faith was proposed, and was probably one of the first such scholarly distinctions, modern scholars have since followed suit. Reimarus believed that one could know Jesus without having to believe in miracles. Reimaurs’ Jesus had eschatological – or end times – convictions, similar to those represented when Jesus said, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." According to Reimarus, Jesus’ death proved that he and his life’s work was a total failure, but the disciples didn’t want to accept this because then they would have to go back to their hard working fishermen jobs as opposed to the life of ease they enjoyed following after Jesus. They therefore stole Jesus’ body, and later proclaimed him to be risen from the dead, inventing stories of his Second Coming along the way.
    Reimarus’ reconstruction has no historical grounding whatsoever. His view of Jesus is founded on his presuppositions and what he believes is rational. This is not history. Jesus’ disciples did not have an easy life following him. They were harshly persecuted, often placing their very lives in danger. Making up stories of Jesus’ resurrection would then cause the disciples to suffer for their faith, and not only that, but to subject their families to torturous deaths as well. Very few people are willing to suffer for what they know is a lie. "And even if they didn’t have the courage to expose the lie, it is likely that they would have at least stopped preaching it when the suffering increased. But they didn’t, and Christianity spread like wildfire" (Ingolfsland 5).
    David Frederich Strauss (1808-1874) was a student of Georg William Hegel, who held to a view of history where each historical movement (thesis) is confronted by a counter-movement (antithesis). The thesis and antithesis are at some point resolved in a synthesis. This synthesis then becomes the new thesis, which produces another antithesis, and so on. Strauss believed that the thesis for Christianity was the tradition that the gospels were reliable concerning the person of Jesus, and the antithesis was the idea that the gospels were basically accurate, once the miracle accounts were removed or otherwise explained. The synthesis was provided by Strauss’ theory that the gospel events never happened. He saw the gospels as myths. "To Strauss, ‘myth’ was not a bad term. Myth is an idea expressed in historical form. The important thing was to get beyond the myth to the idea behind it" (Ingolfsland 7). Strauss believed that Jesus’ death caused the disciples to lose their faith entirely. They therefore returned to their old jobs in Galilee. Their faith was then revived, so much so that they began having visions of Jesus, and preached of his resurrection. The book The Life of Jesus Critically Examined written by Strauss in 1835 further explains his theory. This book was written at a popular level, and was one of the most influential books up until that time. Strauss’ book denied the historicity of the Gospels because the supernatural events described in the Gospels are judged by Strauss to be almost entirely mythical. Because the myths permeated the Gospel texts so thoroughly, the non-mythical portions cannot be trusted either.
    There are a few problems with Strauss’ theory. He places the gospels in the category of mythology. The gospels fit better into the category of ancient biography. "While ancient biographies in general may have contained some mythological elements, they were written to tell the reader about the subject and cannot simply be dismissed at ‘mythology’" (Ingolfsland 8). Strauss also dates the Gospels to the second century, contrary to the most critical scholarship. There is also no reason given for the disciples’ faith to suddenly return, and this is foundational for Strauss’ theory because the revived faith caused the visions.
    Up until the 1800’s it was widely accepted that Matthew was the first Gospel account to be written down. That changed in an 1835 essay by Karl Lachmann, who proposed that Mark wrote the first of the Synoptic Gospels. In 1838 two scholars C.G. Wilke and C.H. Weisse, took the theory of Markan priority further, proposing that Mark wrote 1st, and that his gospel was a common source for both Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke also used another common source – Q (Q stands for Quelle, which is a German word meaning source) according to Johannes Weiss, 1890. Q material is material common to Matthew and Luke but absent from Mark. The existence of a Q document is only a hypothesis; no such document has ever been recovered. The Q hypothesis is one way to explain the synoptic problem – the similarities between the three gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke. Theories using Q can be more or less elaborate depending on the scholar. One elaborate Q hypothesis is a triple layered stratification by John S. Kloppenborg. The earliest stratum according to this theory, is Q-1which contains sapiential material. Q-2 is slightly later than Q-1, and contains the addition of chreiai (wisdom sayings added to short narratives). Q-3 is the latest Q material, and has the temptation story added to it, which further developed the prevalent tendency toward narrative-biographical material. According to some more liberal scholars, Q functioned as a full-fledged gospel for it’s community, and from it we can derive what the Q community knew and what they did not know about Jesus.
    Bruno Bauer was the most anti-Christianity scholar up to this point in historical Jesus study. Bauer believed that Mark wrote first, and that Mark was a purely literary work, and an unreliable one at that. Since the other Gospel accounts were highly dependent on Mark, there is nothing historical about any of them. He believed that Christianity originally met a need within the people of that time, and the gospels had no foundation in history, Jesus never existed and therefore Christianity was a fairy tale with no historical foundation. His was by far the most radical viewpoint of his day. "Baur simply fails to deal with the evidence. There is simply too much historical evidence to deny Jesus’ existence. The only denials today generally come from hard core atheist groups more concerned with ideology than history or truth" (Ingolfsland 10).
    William Wrede (1859-1906) proposed that the Gospel of Mark was not written by Mark, but was created by the "Markan community" or the church. The early church gave Jesus His Messiah status. Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah, and His disciples never thought of Him as the Messiah either. The early church made up the portions in Mark where Jesus warned against speaking about Him and the things He had done, especially about Him being the Messiah. Wrede deemed this the "messianic secret". After Wrede’s theory, other liberal scholars started catching on, and saw the church as being behind the gospels, not the gospels as the foundation of the church. Evidence for Jesus’ view of himself will be presented later in this paper; there is plenty to negate Wrede’s attestation that Jesus never thought of himself as the Messiah.
    Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) became a pioneer in the use of form criticism, his methodology was based on existential philosophy, which believes that man has been thrown into the world, and is approaching death in an otherwise meaningless existence. He believes that the New Testament has the answer to man’s meaningless existence. We find our meaning in the saving cross of Christ preached. Bultmann believed that we could be sure that Jesus existed, and died on the cross, but that’s about all we can know about him. His existence and death are all that are required for Christian faith. ". . . people are not saved because Jesus died on the cross to pay for people’s sins. People, according to Bultmann, are saved because they make an existential decision to die to themselves and live for Christ (though we can’t know much of anything historically about Christ)" (Ingolfsland 20). Bultmann denied the possibility of miracles in the sense of the supernatural. Bultmann held to the idea that the historical Jesus did not matter, this is contrary to Paul’s affirmation that "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain" (I Corinthians 15:14). The person of Jesus Christ was very important to early church fathers and first generation Christians.
    Closing out the Old Quest period Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) wrote The Quest for the Historical Jesus in 1906. This book critiqued previous scholars’ theories about Jesus. "He argued that each new Testament scholar constructed a totally unhistorical view of Jesus, based not on the evidence, but on the scholar’s philosophical presuppositions" (Ingolfsland 18). Schwietzer then went on to construct his own theory regarding Jesus’ true identity. He believed that Jesus had an inner experience at his baptism, and after that experience, he began to think of himself as the Messiah. It wasn’t until he was on the cross, that he realized he had been wrong, and so he cried out, "it is finished" it total, utter despair. This account does not account for the spread of Christianity and founding of the church. "The death of a ‘messiah’ was usually understood as proof positive that the dead man was not a messiah at all! The Jesus’ movement not only continued, but mushroomed because the people were convinced that he had actually done miracles and had risen from the dead" (Ingolfsland 19). Jesus of Nazareth was exactly who He said He was.

    No Quest
    After the Old Quest came a brief No Quest period. The dates of these divisions are not generally agreed upon, and are approximations. According to one estimate, the No Quest period was from approximately 1892 to the 1950’s where the New Quest began (Boyd 38). The fact remains that there was a no quest period regardless of the dates associated with that period. Albert Schweitzer in his above-mentioned book wrote of some reasons why there may have been a no quest period. The first was that liberal scholars had a tendency to "find a Jesus after their own image." Much of the Old Quest was also optimistic in the reliability of Mark, scholars then moved toward less reliability of Mark, making it more theological than historical. William Wrede postulated just such a view in "The Messianic Secret", which describes Mark as a history of dogma, not historical record. Because Mark was so thoroughly discredited, the Old Quest was considered hopeless. Also, form criticism (attempts to investigate oral tradition behind the Gospels) focused on the process of oral transmission – oral Jesus tradition is a mixture of history and early Christian fabrications – and a naturalistic worldview which excludes miracles. Excluding miracles eliminates a great deal of material about Jesus. There was some doubt as to whether it was even necessary to have a historical quest for Jesus.

    The New Quest
    Despite questions of relevance, there was a second quest for the historical Jesus called the New Quest for the Historical Jesus (1959-1979). This second attempt was necessary because the Old Quest didn’t produce much actual historical information about the Jesus of history that scholars claimed to be searching for. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 also renewed scholarly interest in the historical person of Jesus, and thereby became a catalyst for the New Quest. This second significant quest for the historical Jesus was fairly short lived.
    German scholar, Earnst Kasemann who believed that the historical Jesus could be uncovered by using critical analysis, is generally credited with inaugurating the New Quest for the historical Jesus. Gunther Borkamm was another New Quest German scholar, who emphasized the importance of Jesus’ words and preaching. Borkamm believed that Jesus "brings people face to face with God, and therefore confronts them with the necessity of making an existential decision of what to do about the issue of God in their lives" (Ingolfsland 21). Then there was Earnst Fuchs, who suggested that the psychological motives behind Jesus’ actions be examined.
    One of the first products of the New Quest was a 1956 book entitled Jesus of Nazareth which was heavily dependent on redaction criticism, and attempted to discern how individual authors of the Gospel accounts influenced how oral traditions worked into their respective writings. In the United States, James Robinson published A New Quest for the Historical Jesus in 1959. He was less concerned with the Jesus of history, and more concerned with the Christ of faith. The New Quest was founded primarily in the existential philosophy, and the emphasis of the movement was to have an existential encounter with the Christ of faith. The Jesus of history and the Christ of faith were seen as being two distinct people.
    We are presently in a Third Quest for the historical Jesus. This began in about the mid 1980’s, and is characterized by a wide diversity as to who the Jesus of history was. Some scholars say that we can know little if anything about Jesus, while others say that there is a great deal about him we can know. "If there is a common denominator, however, it seems to be that all parties are making a conscious effort to locate the Jesus of history firmly in his cultural, religious, political and social environment" (Ingolfsland 23). The present quest can be divided into two camps, 3rd Questers and post-Bultmannians. Post-Bultmannians operate under a number of assumptions, outlined by Troeltsch’s "principle of analogy", which Third Questers say are defective. The assumptions are 1) that the universe is a closed system, and 2) the only way to judge the past is by the present (Boyd 48). Post-Bultmannians are also indebted to New Quest authenticity criteria, which is heavily existential in orientation.
    The Jesus Seminar has dominated the post-Bultmannian search for the historical Jesus. This group is comprised of mostly post-Bultmannian oriented scholars, who hold to the stratification of Q and generally deny supernatural elements of the Gospel accounts. An explanation of the group and their methods follows.

    The Jesus Seminar     
    Goals of the Jesus Seminar
    The Jesus Seminar is a group of about thirty scholars founded in 1985 by Robert Funk. Funk has authored a number of books, among them are, The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (1993) and The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds (1998) (both with the Jesus Seminar) and Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium (1996). In his inaugurating address on March 24, 1985 in Berkeley California, Funk proclaimed the mission of the group; "We are about to embark on a momentous enterprise. We are going to inquire simply, rigorously after the voice of Jesus, after what he really said. . .Our basic plan is simple. We intend to examine every fragment of the traditions attached to the name of Jesus in order to determine what he really said—not his literal words, perhaps, but the substance and style of his utterances" ( Funk also stated in an article in US News and World Report, that the goal of the Seminar is "to set Jesus free . . . from the scriptural and creedal and experiential prisons in which we have incarcerated him" (Sheler 55). The Jesus Seminar Website explains the methods used to rank authenticity of Jesus’ sayings. "The scholars of the Seminar analyzed the likely authenticity of the more than 1,500 sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels. The text of the sayings is color-coded red, pink, gray or black, according to the consensus of the scholars: red (Jesus undoubtedly said this or something like it), pink (Jesus probably said something like this), gray (Jesus did not say this, but the ideas are close to his own), black (Jesus did not say this; it represents the content of a later or different tradition)" (

    Methods and findings of the Jesus Seminar
    In 1993 the Jesus Seminar published a book of their findings titled The Five Gospels: the Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. The four New Testament canonical Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are included, as is the apocryphal and heavily Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. The introduction of this book states plainly "The Christ of creed and dogma, who had been firmly in place in the Middle Ages, can no longer command the assent of those who have seen the heavens through Galileo's telescope. The old deities and demons were swept from the skies by that remarkable glass. Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo have dismantled the mythological abodes of the gods and Satan, and bequeathed us secular heavens" (
    After The Five Gospels’ focus on the sayings of Jesus, the Jesus Seminar turned their attention to the acts of Jesus. They utilized the same voting method using different colored beads to determine authenticity. "For more than ten years, the Jesus Seminar has researched and debated the life and death of the historical Jesus. They have concluded that the Jesus of history is very different from the icon of traditional Christianity: Jesus did not walk on water, feed the multitude, change water into wine, or raise Lazarus from the dead. He was executed as a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God. And in the view of the Seminar, he did not rise bodily from the dead; the resurrection is based instead on visionary experiences of Peter, Paul, and Mary." (
    Regarding Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus Seminar has concluded 1) that Jesus was non-apocalyptic, and probably a Hellenized Galilean 2) he taught and lived "subversive forms of social behavior" 3) he had a quick aphoristic wit 4) he had no consciousness of being God incarnate, and he probably didn’t think of himself as Messiah 5) his concept of salvation was to share wisdom and knowledge that could usher one into the kingdom of God 6) it is clear that he never intended to form a following 7) his death was unfortunate, but neither he nor his followers saw any particular significance in it (Boyd 62). The Jesus Seminar has concluded in essence, that the Bible’s portrayal of Jesus is wrong. Christians have been worshipping a lie for 2,000 years.
    There are a number of faults in the methods of the Jesus Seminar. One of the most blaring is that the Seminar begins from a perspective of skepticism. The Gospels are assumed to be inauthentic, until they can prove themselves trustworthy at every point. "From the very start, then, we see that the agenda of the Seminar is not disinterested scholarship, but a social mission against the way in which the church controls the Bible . . ." (Johnson 6). Another problem is that the Jesus Seminar do not apply their own criteria for authenticity consistently. These criteria are multiple attestation, dissimilarity and embarrassment and only short aphorisms can accurately be remembered. The Good Samaritan parable received an 81% approval rating by the Seminar (Johnson 25). This parable is not a short aphorism, and it is found only in, so two of the three criteria do not apply to this particular saying of Jesus, yet is judged by a majority to be authentic. If the Jesus Seminar does not even utilize its own criteria consistently how can they be trusted to give us an accurate, unbiased picture of "the real Jesus"?

    Prominent Members of the Jesus Seminar examined
    Let’s examine some of the more outspoken members of the Jesus Seminar and their respective reconstructions of Jesus. First, John Dominic Crossan. Crossan concluded in his book The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, that Jesus was a peasant Jewish Cynic. He believes that there is a distinction between the real Jesus and the historical Jesus. The real Jesus is the Jesus of 2000 years of Christian faith, and the historical Jesus is an attempt to talk about the earthly Jesus, who lived in 1st century Palestine. Crossan uses metaphorical language to do a great deal of interpreting in his "scholarship", and he repeatedly uses non-canonical sources as opposed to canonical sources, consistently dating the non-canonical sources earlier than the canonical ones. He believes that the non-canonical sources are independent and early attestations of Jesus’ life, while the canonical sources are dependent on these earlier non-canonical sources. Crossan created a complex methodology to rate the reliability of a particular text. Similar to the rest of the Jesus Seminar, a major part of his criteria are date and multiple attestation. In other words, the earlier a source and the more an event or saying is attested to in other texts, the more reliable it can be considered. The problem with all this is that Crossan uses a number of hypothetical sources, such as Q, Secret Mark and the Cross-Gospel, as the basis for his reconstruction of Jesus. Crossan divides his sources into three strata classified by date. The first stratum is from 30-60AD and contains early Gospel of Thomas, triple redacted Q, Miracles Collection, Apocalyptic scenario, and the Cross-Gospel. These are all hypothetical sources. Hypothetical sources are sources for which no actual document has been recovered. The Q document is an example. The obvious disadvantage of using mainly hypothetical sources is that there is no original manuscript to refer back to, and there is little to no multiple attestation of the very existence of the hypothetical source in question. Crossan also includes 3 obscure fragments of papyrus texts, the Gospel of the Hebrews, I Thessalonians, Galatians, I Corinthians, and Romans, to complete his first stratum (Boyd 80). Cutting off the first strata at 60 AD excludes about half of Paul’s writings, Acts, John’s Gospel, and others. Basically, in order to agree with Crossan’s reconstruction, you must accept the existence and give priority to Q and early Gospel of Thomas and also accept that Paul, Mark and Acts are all unreliable sources. This is a lot to ask.
    Burton Mack spends a great deal of time and effort in trying to expose that the author of Mark’s Gospel (which may or may not have been John Mark as the Bible records) created Christianity as a result of the myths he created in his gospel. Mack explained this view in his book Myth of Innocence. After Jesus’ death, a number of Jesus movements preceded him, but none saw any particular significance in his death, they certainly had no resurrection beliefs, and they didn’t see Jesus as Lord. Kloppenborg’s triple redacted Q is in full swing as an important part of Mack’s theory, except Mack adds a pre Q-1 stage and a post Q-1/pre Q-2 stage. Once Q moves through to the third redaction, Mark transforms it into his mythmaking story – which is what we know as the Gospel According to Mark – after which Q ceases to exist as an independent document. For Mack, Mark is an example of high level mythmaking. Mack holds to Markan priority, so the implications for discrediting Mark should be obvious. The authorship and credibility of Mark is discussed in the next section of this paper under the origins of Christianity.
    Marcus Borg’s reconstruction of Jesus differs somewhat from Crossan and Mack. Borg believes that Jesus was just a man, a holy man, but just a man nonetheless. He does not believe in nature miracles, or a literal, bodily resurrection, yet he regularly attends church with his wife who is a priest in the Episcopalian church. He believes that Jesus had a deep relationship with God and invited his followers to have a similar relationship with God’s Spirit (conversation on historical Jesus with Borg and Wright).

    Origins of Christianity and the Synoptics      
    Authorship of Mark’s Gospel
    How do scholars account for the rapid and widespread growth of Christianity, if not for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth? First century manuscript evidence tells us that Christianity spread quickly throughout the Middle East and even into Rome. What do we really know about the birth of Christianity from Judaism?
    If Mark’s Gospel is entirely mythical, the other Gospels cannot be trusted either, since they relied heavily on Mark – well, that’s the theory anyway. According to Burton Mack, Mark had to create a new "myth of origins" to rationalize the social history of the Jesus movement (Boyd 206). What were Mark’s motives for doing this? Considering Mark’s Jewish background, it seems difficult to believe that he would do this. We have to remember that the disciples were thoroughly Jewish and living in a thoroughly Jewish setting. They were deeply monotheistic, and not easily influenced by mythology. Plus, first century people weren’t stupid or gullible. "What is even more difficult to understand, however, is how this fabrication could have been believed by the Jesus people in Mark’s own generation, . . . how could his contemporaries have failed to recognize this Gospel for being what is was" (Boyd 213-214).
    There are some scholars such as John Dominic Crossan and Burton Mack who believe that it was not John Mark at all who wrote Mark’s Gospel, it was an unknown author writing after 70 AD. This would serve to further discredit the accuracy and reliability of the Gospel of Mark. Establishing John Mark’s authorship lends credibility to the gospel that bears his name.
    Most obviously, the Gospel contains the title "the Gospel According to Mark". Titles would have been required in order to establish the authority of the Gospel, and anonymous Gospels would not have continued in circulation for long. The Gospels received their titles within a relatively short period of time after their writing. There are also 2nd century quotations from Mark in ancient manuscripts, which means that the Gospel would have had to been well circulated and accepted as authentic so that it could be quoted. Papias, thought to be a disciple of John, quotes from Mark in 120 and 130 AD. Papias is confirmed by Justin; Irenaeus, Origen, as well as by Clement of Alexandria. With such early and widespread acceptance of the authenticity of Mark’s Gospel, it is difficult to imagine such a work being penned by an anonymous author. Also, because Mark was not one of the original disciples, it seems implausible for anyone other than Mark himself to claim to write the Gospel bearing his name, after all, more prestigious, or authoritative persons such as Peter or John, could have been imitated. If someone was going to make up a Gospel account, why weren’t their names invoked?
    The authority of Mark’s Gospel lies in large portion behind the fact that his writing was largely dependent on Peter’s preaching and experiences as an original disciple of Jesus. There is some internal evidence for this, as Mark mentions Peter 25 times, more than any other Gospel author mentions him. In Mark’s Gospel, Peter is constantly portrayed as being in Jesus’ inner most circle, yet he is portrayed in a true to life manner, he is not perfect. For someone wanting to add authority and credibility to a mythical story, it is also difficult to understand why Mark would have included accounts of Jesus associating with women, especially ones with questionable purity and character. As far as mythmaking goes, the Gospel of Mark is not a prime example.

    Dating Mark’s Gospel
    Liberal scholars, if they do accept Mark’s authorship, will date his Gospel late, after 70 AD – the destruction of Jerusalem – since Jesus could not have predicted this event in advance. If Matthew and Luke were dependent on Mark, they must be dated ten to twenty years later, which places them in the 80’s to 90’s AD.
    There is no substantial evidence to support a late date for any of the Gospels, other than the assumption that Jesus could not have predicted the fall of Jerusalem prior to its occurrence. One cannot date a text merely based on personal worldview or presuppositions. It was also entirely possible that a first century Jewish prophet could have looked back to Old Testament prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and apply those prophecies to the present day. The prophecy mentioned in Luke’s Gospel is extremely vague, especially if the author is looking back at the event in retrospect. Josephus uses a great deal of detail in recounting the destruction of Jerusalem, whereas Luke does not mention the destruction at all in Acts. The destruction of Jerusalem also predicted in Mark’s Gospel, Mark 13:1 indicates that the temple is still standing at the writing of the Gospel. Jesus’ prophecy has been associated with the end times in Mark’s Gospel. Why would Mark have made this connection if he knew that this was not the case, and that Jesus was only speaking about the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem?
    Evidence for an earlier dating of Mark includes references to figures in authority. He refers to Pilate without stating that he was governor, and also refers to "the high priest" without naming Caiaphas. Pilate was the governor until 36AD and Caiaphas was high priest until 37 AD. The fact that Mark did not need to name them indicates that he is writing very soon after the events have taken place.

    Dating the book of Acts
    Most scholars agree that Mark and Luke were written prior to Acts, therefore, assigning Acts with a late date would necessitate assigning late dates to the other Synoptic Gospels as well. The book of Acts provides us with a picture of the early church, as having spread throughout the land, into the Mediterranean, through present day Syria and Turkey, straight into the heart of the Roman empire. There is simply no evidence to support a post-70 AD date for Acts. The book should be dated early, at about the mid to late 60’s AD for several reasons. First, there is no mention of Nero’s persecution of Christians, the Jewish revolt, Paul’s death, or the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple with it. All four would be significant to the author’s audience, and would be worthy of inclusion. Perhaps more substantial evidence, is given by Paul in I Timothy chapter six, who quotes from material found only in Luke’s Gospel, concerning greed and proper use of money. Paul also quotes Luke verbatim in the Greek in I Timothy 5:18 // Luke 10:7.  Paul's use of Luke makes perfect sense if Luke is in fact a companion of Paul.  Therefore if Luke wrote in the early sixties, it would have been entirely possible for Paul, who wrote I Timothy in the mid to late sixties, to quote from Luke’s Gospel.
    "We" sections in the book of Acts lend credence to the idea that the book was written by a companion of Paul. "Critics, however suggest that the "we" sections were simply a literary device used to liven up the story or to make the story more credible. If the writer, however, was trying to liven up the story or even the illusion of presenting a more credible eyewitness one might wonder why he chose to write himself into the picture in the middle of Paul’s second journey. By that time he’s already missed Pentecost, Paul’s presence at the stoning of Stephen, Paul’s conversion, his first missionary journey, the Jerusalem Council and part of the second missionary journey (Ingolfsland 84)! Paul’s conversion is detailed in the book of Acts, written by Luke. The detail in the account, and the fact that no other New Testament author – except Paul himself – mentions the conversion, leads one to believe that the author of Acts had personal access to Paul.

    The Historicity of the book of Acts
    The writer of Acts uses incredible detail to describe places he has visited, and he records with proven accuracy historical details in the time period he was to have lived. Sherwin-White, a leading authority on the subject of Greco-Roman history had this to say about the historical reliability of Acts, "For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Yet Acts is, in simple terms and judged externally, no less of a propaganda narrative than the Gospels, liable to similar distortions. But any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted" (Sherwin-White 189). Further evidence to support Luke’s reliability in the book of Acts is also evident in his knowledge of rulers in his time and location. "Among the New Testament writers only Luke ever names a Roman emperor. His references give us in outline a framework for the events of the Gospels and Acts. Jesus was born in the time of Augustus (Luke 2:1). The preaching of John the Baptist (Luke 3:1-2) and the ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus happened under Tiberius (AD 14-37). Paul’s journeys occupied much of the reigns of Claudius (AD 41-54; mentioned in Acts 11:28 and 18:2) and Nero (54-68), the Caesar to whom Paul appealed. Paul reached Rome about 60 AD" (Hemer 571). Luke briefly refers to Pontius Pilate in Acts 3:13; 4:27; and 13:28. Pilate’s existence also has been confirmed by archaeology. "In 1961 a stone slab was discovered at Caesarea bearing the name Pontius Pilatus" (Rowden 510). Still more archaeological evidence affirms Luke’s credibility and accent his attention to detail, "The record of Acts notes the various local institutions with minute correctness: the ‘town clerk’ at Ephesus, the ‘politarchs’ (Authorized Version ‘rulers of the city’) at Thessalonica, the court of ‘Areopagus’ or ‘Mars’ Hill’ at Athens. The pride of Philippi in its status as a ‘colony’ of Roman citizens comes over clearly and with an ironic humor (Acts 16:12, 20-21, 37-39; compare Philippians 3:20, Revised Version). The confirmation of many details of this kind is reserved for us on stone in contemporary inscriptions from these cities" (Hemer 573). The reliability of Acts and with it Luke as an author have both been firmly established. To call them into question is simply to ignore all evidence to the contrary.

    John’s Gospel     
    Differences in John’s theology
    John’s Gospel is often set apart from historical Jesus study by scholars. Because John was written later than the other gospels, probably about 85-90 AD, it is believed that his gospel was too heavily corrupted by Christian mythologizing and embellishment. John’s Jesus is much bolder in declaring Himself to be the Messiah, uttering such things as "Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58), and I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but through me" (John 14:6). Additionally, the order of events in Jesus’ life seems to be contradictory when compared to the Synoptics, and some of the strongest language referring to Jesus’ Deity is used. It is in John’s Gospel that Jesus is referred to as God in the flesh. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). It is because of this strong supernatural language that scholars all but ignore John’s Gospel. What accounts for these differences?

    Discrepancies between John’s Gospel and the Synoptics
    The Gospel of John emphasizes the last week of Jesus’ life, which he presents as chronology of that week. Other than a seemingly bolder Jesus, there are discrepancies when comparing John that seem to give contradicting accounts of events. Some of these discrepancies are contradictions in the chronological order of events when compared to the Synoptics, the feeding of 4,000 vs. 5,000, differences in the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple, the hour given for Jesus’ crucifixion, the day of the Passover, and the account of Judas’ death. While these may seem formidable obstacles to overcome, they are fairly easily dealt with, especially when examining the text in its proper context.
    Now we will examine the chronological order of events in the Gospels. Unfortunately, the Synoptic Gospels do not contain a great deal of information regarding chronology in Jesus’ ministry. Though we live in a very time-oriented society, the first century world was not like this, the Synoptic gospel accounts were not meant to be a chronological timeline of Jesus’ life, they predominately grouped information topically, this does not make them inaccurate. Given John’s omission of some significant events in Jesus’ life – Jesus’ baptism, the calling of the 12, transfiguration, and the Lord’s supper, – and his inclusion of events that are not in the Synoptics – Jesus turning water into wine, Lazarus’ raising, Jesus’ early ministry to Judea and Samaria, and His regular visits to Jerusalem – it is not surprising that we would find John dealing with the events in his gospel in a different order. The material that John deals with is simply much different than that covered by the Synoptics, probably due to the fact that John is writing later than the first three and so would not repeat much of what has already been said.
    John’s Gospel chronicles the feeding of 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:1-14), but then Mark cites the feeding of four thousand with seven loaves and a few fish Mark 8:1-10. Which was it, four or five thousand? The other Synoptics seem to confirm that it was 5,000, not 4,000. (Luke 9:10-17; Matt 14:1-21.) So it appears that Mark was mistaken. Or does it? Mark records two miraculous feedings, one with 4,000 present, and one with 5,000 present Mark 6:30-44. So it appears that there were two distinct feedings, not conflicting accounts of one.
    Did Jesus cleanse the Temple twice, or are there conflicting accounts of one event? "The Synoptists make it clear that Jesus’ cleansing the temple proved to be ‘the last straw’ for the Jewish authorities, sealing his imminent doom (Mk. 11:18), so a convincing harmonization would require John to be the evangelist who has relocated the passage. . . . John 2:13-25 is the only passage in the opening four chapters of John which is not linked to what precedes or follows it by an explicit reference to chronological sequence" (Blomberg 171). If this is so, the Synoptics place the cleansing of the temple at the end of Jesus’ ministry, and would see that event as a catalyst for Jesus’ crucifixion. John’s idea about Jesus’ cleansing the temple is different. "In John’s account the Jews reply with a reference to the rebuilding of the temple having begun 46 years ago (John 2:20), a figure which places this event in AD 27 or 28. But Jesus was probably not crucified until at least AD 30, and John would not have invented such an incidental confirmation of chronology if he were freely reshaping the Synoptic version with little concern for keeping the facts straight" (Blomberg 173). Gauging crowd reaction in the differing accounts, it is likely that there were two different incidents, one at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and then another at the end, which was a contributing factor in Jesus’ crucifixion. In Mark 11:15-18 for instance, the priests begin plotting to destroy Him, and the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching. In John’s account (2:14ff), the people ask for a sign of Jesus’ authority, which would have been firmly established at the end of His ministry. It does not take long when comparing the Synoptics account of events to John’s to conclude that two different events are being recounted.
    Exactly what time of day was Jesus’ crucifixion? "It was the third hour when they crucified Him" Mark 15:25. "it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King" (John 19:14)! Do John and Mark contradict each other? "When one recognizes that the widespread lack of precise timekeeping devices in the ancient world led to the practice of dividing the day into fourths so that people often did not worry about speaking any more specifically than this, it becomes plausible to interpret Mark’s ‘third hour’ to mean anywhere between and noon. John’s ‘about the sixth hour’ would also then refer to sometime before midday, perhaps within an hour or so" (Blomberg 180). There is enough overlap in the two different statements so that there is no contradiction. The crucifixion probably therefore began at sometime between 11 am and 12 noon.
    What day did Jesus celebrate the Passover with His disciples? The Synoptic Gospels recount that the Last Supper was a Passover meal, and that Passover fell on a Thursday, rather than Friday as John’s Gospel seems to recount. "Now before the Feast of the Passover, . . ." (John 13:1), and in the next verse, they are eating dinner. The implications being that the day before the Passover, Passover being on a Friday, they ate a Passover dinner together. "If Jesus was crucified on the fifteenth day of the Jewish month Nisan as this reconstruction requires, rather than on the fourteenth day, before the Passover had been eaten by most of the Jews, as the other proposed harmonizations require, then the only year close to the time of Christ’s ministry in which he could have been crucified would have been AD 30. In all other years immediately before and after, 15 Nisan did not fall on a Friday" (Blomberg 178).
    How did Judas Iscariot die? "(1) Judas hanged himself (Mt.), but the rope broke and his body was ruptured by the fall (possibly after he was already dead and beginning to decompose); (2) What the priests bought with Judas’s money (Mt.) could be regarded as his purchase by their agency (Acts); (3) the field bought by the priests (Mt.) was the one where Judas died (Acts)" (Blomberg 192).


    What can we know about Jesus from Paul?
    Many historical Jesus scholars do not give much attention to Paul’s writings as they consider who Jesus of Nazareth was. We must remember that the Gospels were for the most part in a narrative format, and Paul’s epistles were not meant to tell stories about Jesus’ life in quite the same way. They were written with the purpose of teaching or correcting something that was going on in those to whom Paul was writing. "And since most, if not all of Paul’s letters predate the composition of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the awareness of these details is a significant confirmation of the early existence of the traditions that went into the formation of the gospels" (Blomberg 222). What can we learn about Jesus from Paul?
    Paul provides us with a great deal of biographical information about Jesus.  We know that Jesus was a descendent of Abraham (Galatians 3:16, 29) and also of the line of David (Romans 1:3). He was a poor man (II Corinthians 8:9) who was born of a woman under the law (Galatians 4:4). Jesus had a brother, James (Galatians 1:19), and gathered together disciples including James, Cephas, and John (Galatians 2:9). Jesus, on the night that He was betrayed instituted the Lord’s Supper, which was to be done in remembrance until He returns again (I Corinthians 11:23ff). Jesus was remembered as a man of outstanding moral character, and led a life which showed this character (Philippians 2:6-8; Romans 15:3,8; Romans 5:19; I Cor. 11:1; I Timothy 1:16, 6:3 etc.).  He came as a suffering servant II Corinthians 1:5; II Cor. 10:1.   Pontius Pilate as Jesus’ judge is confirmed in I Timothy 6:13, as is His death by crucifixion under the Romans (I Corinthians 1:23; I Corinthians 2:2; I Corinthians 2:8; II Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:1), but Paul does not exonerate the Jews of Jesus’ death (I Thessalonians 2:15). There are also various details concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and subsequent resurrection (I Corinthians 15:4-8).
    Paul not only has a great deal of background information about Jesus’ life, he also demonstrates a great deal of knowledge regarding the teachings of Christ, especially in the book of Romans, which has come to be regarded as a kind of book of Christian doctrine. We can learn a great deal about Jesus from Paul’s writings.
    "Romans 12:14 commands one to ‘bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (cf. Lk. 6:27b-28a par.); 12:17, to ‘repay no evil for evil (cf. Mt. 5:39); and 13:7, to pay ‘tribute to whom tribute is due, tax to whom tax is due, reverence to whom reverence is due, honour to whom honour is due’ (cf. Mk. 12:17 pars.). In 13:8-9 Paul sums up the whole of the Law in the commandment to love one’s neighbour (cf. Gal. 5:14; Mk. 12:31 pars.); in 14:10 he condemns judging one’s brother since all will be judged (cf. Mt. 7:1-2a par.); and in 14:14 he declares, ‘I am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean by itself’ (cf. Lk. 11:41; Mk. 7:19b). Finally in 16:19 he encourages wisdom concerning the good and innocence as to evil, an apparent illusion to Matthew 10:16b" (Blomberg 223). Paul’s writings are saturated with Jesus’ teachings, and often echo His words as found in the Gospel accounts.
    It must have taken something rather dramatic in order for Paul to become a professing Christian. After all, Paul was a Pharisee who persecuted Christians. He was on his way to continue doing this when he was miraculously converted on the road to Damascus. Paul talks about his change in priorities, "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ" (Philippians 3:8).

    Who do you say that I am?       

    What did Jesus say about Himself?
    We have looked a great deal at what other people have said about who Jesus is, but what did Jesus say about Himself during His lifetime? Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your view) the New Testament is our best record of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The way in which He spoke about Himself is important, because we must understand what it was about this first century Jewish man that led some people who saw Him to believe He was Divine, and some to think that He was worthy of execution as a criminal. "The resurrection can only be understood as the Divine vindication of the man that was rejected as a blasphemer" (Craig; will the real Jesus stand up?). Jesus did make some extraordinary claims about himself, and He made the issue of His identity a very personal one, one that we must even ask ourselves today. Jesus asked His disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:13)
    One thing many scholars agree on, Jesus used parables a great deal in his teaching ministry. One particular piece of imagery Jesus came back to again and again was that of a shepherd. He said, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" John 10:11(see also verses following through verse 16). He talks of leaving 99 sheep behind to search for one, he tells Peter to feed his sheep, and so on. Shepherd imagery is prevalent throughout the Gospel accounts, and even other New Testament authors pick up on it in reference to Jesus (I Peter 5:4 and Hebrews 13:20 for example).
    The significance of the shepherd imagery lies in the parallels between this imagery Jesus uses of himself as a shepherd, and a prophecy in Ezekiel 34. Verses 11-31 describe the true shepherd as one who will care for the flock, feed them, bring them together when they are scattered, and judge between the sheep and the goats. Jesus fits this model perfectly, and the shepherd imagery he uses does parallel to this Ezekiel passage. The main significance of the Ezekiel passage is the fact that it is YHWH himself that is doing all of these things. In Jesus using this imagery, he is reminding the people that it is Israel’s God that has been prophesied to do these things. See also II Samuel 24:17, Zechariah 13:7, I Kings 22:17, Isaiah 44:28, Micah 5:4, and Isaiah 40:11 for similar Old Testament Shepherd imagery.
    Jesus places Himself in the position of speaking for God on numerous occasions. He commonly used the phrase, "You have heard it said to you (and would then quote from the Old Testament) but I say to you (and would then add something to His reference). A good example of this is Jesus’ preaching on divorce. "It was said, ‘whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces His wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery" (Matthew 5:31-32). This formula places Jesus’ words on an equal level with God’s words.
    Jesus refers to the things belonging to and referring to God as belonging and referring to Him. An example is in Matthew 13:41-42, where Jesus says, "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them in the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Jesus equates His kingdom with God’s kingdom, and His angels with God’s angels.

    What do first and second century sources say about Jesus?
    What can we know about Jesus from non-canonical Christian and even non-Christian sources? First, it is difficult to hold to a view that Jesus of Nazareth never existed. Even the some of the most liberal scholars have had to concede that much. Beginning with non-Christian sources, Tacitus, a historian from ancient Rome, wrote "Annals" in 115 AD,
    But neither human resources, nor imperial munificence, nor appeasement of the gods, eliminated sinister suspicions that the fire had been instigated. To suppress this rumour, Nero fabricated scapegoats – and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome. All degraded and shameful practices collect and flourish in the capital.
    First, Nero had self-acknowledged Christians arrested. Then, on their information, large numbers of others were condemned – not so much for incendiausin as for their anti-social tendencies. Their deaths were made farcical. Dressed in wild animals’ skins, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or crucified, or made into torches to be ignited after dark as a substitute for daylight (Grant 365).
    Suetonius and Pliny the younger refer to Christians in their respective writings. "Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from the city"(Graves 202).
    . . . that on a fixed day they were accustomed to come together before daylight and to sing by turns a hymn to Christ as a god, and that they bound themselves by oath, not for some crime but that they would not commit robbery, theft, or adultery, that they would not betray a trust nor deny a deposit when called upon. After this it was their custom to disperse and to come together again to partake of food, of an ordinary and harmless kind. . . (Translations and Reprints . . . 9).
    There is enough manuscript evidence to support early Christian gatherings, as well as Christ’s central role in worship. And this from non-Christians. First century Christian sources also confirm early Christian doctrine. Justin Martyr (100-163 A.D.) for example says that Jesus was, "crucified under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the times of Tiberius Caesar" (Donaldson and Roberts 166). Ignatius (50-100 A.D) talks of "God existing in the flesh", and coming from "both of Mary and of God" (Donaldson and Roberts 52). This is a very clear statement of Christ’s Deity, and it is within the first generation of Christianity. Such a statement in this early date dispels the idea that Christians over time mythologized Christ and He became elevated to the position of God over the centuries. Clement of Rome (writing in the 80’s and 90’s), has been linked to Paul through Philippians 4:3 ". . . together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life". He writes, "the apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God and the apostles by Christ"(Donaldson and Roberts 16).
    There is plenty of evidence to support the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was other than just a man, and that early Christians were concerned with the accuracy of their accounts.

    Resurrection of Jesus       
    The last topic to be dealt with is one of the most significant for the Christian faith; it is the issue concerning Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Was this resurrection literal or spiritual in nature? Paul’s theology, recorded in I Corinthians 15:17 indicates a literal, bodily resurrection "and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins". Paul affirms the resurrection elsewhere in his writings as well, (I Thessalonians 4:14, Romans 4:24; 6:4; 10:9 for example). This next section will is indebted to a debate between John Dominic Crossan and William Lane Craig titled "Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?" in which Dr. Craig presents evidence for a bodily, literal resurrection while Dr. Crossan argues the liberal position that has already been discussed thus far.
    Dr. Craig based the rest of the debate on two contentions. "1. The real Jesus rose from the dead in confirmation of his radical personal claims to divinity. 2. If #1 is false . . . then Christianity is a fairy tale which no rational person should believe" (Craig, will the real Jesus please stand up). That is a powerful set of statements which places a great deal of importance on the facts surrounding the resurrection. The four basic points he follows with are that Jesus was buried by Joseph of Aramethia in his own personal tomb, the Sunday following the crucifixion of Jesus, the tomb was found empty by a group of women followers, multiple occasions and different individuals and groups saw Jesus alive after His death, and the original disciples believed that Jesus had risen from the dead despite the fact that they had every reason not to.
    Breaking down each point into sub-points, the burial story is attested to by Paul in I Corinthians, and is found in old source material used by Mark. Joseph of Aramethia being a member of the Sandhedrin, which had condemned Jesus, would be unlikely to have been made up by later Christian authors. Lastly, quite simply, the story is simple, without legendary exaggerations, and there is no other burial story.
    Regarding the empty tomb, Paul cites this in I Corinthians, and the story is also part of Mark’s source material, the empty tomb explanation is simple and not embellished. Early rationalizations to counter the idea that Jesus was raised from the dead included stories that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body, which would presuppose that the tomb was empty. Lastly, women could not even testify in court as a witness, and so, for them to be the first at the tomb would lead one to believe that was the way the events actually unfolded.
    Multiple attestation of post-crucifixion sightings are listed in Paul’s writings as, appearances to the 500 brethren, Peter, James and the 12 disciples. Jesus was seen by multiple persons, and independently of each other. The sightings are also placed in proper historical settings; the disciples are fishing, when Jesus unexpectedly appears to them. Had the story been made up, further embellishment would be expected.
    Probably the most significant part of Craig’s argument comes in his dissection of his last point, which examines the worldview of the disciples of Jesus. He states that the disciples had every reason NOT to believe in a resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, yet they were STILL convinced. First, the Jews did not have a concept of a dying much less risen Messiah. The fact that having no frame of reference to draw from, they still witnessed appearances of Jesus. This refutes the idea that the disciples hallucinated seeing Jesus, because they would not have expected to see Him again. Second, "according to Jewish law, Jesus’ execution as a criminal showed Him out to be a heretic, a man literally under the curse of God." Why would the disciples believe that a man cursed by God could be then raised from the dead? This would explain why the disciples went back to their previous occupations, and were caught off guard when He appeared to them. Lastly, "Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone’s rising from the dead before the general resurrection at the end of the world." Plain and simple, the disciples’ Jewish worldview was hostile to the idea that Jesus would be raised from the dead. In hindsight, looking at the events surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, Paul and the disciples recognize the importance of this event, but before it actually happened, they did not understand.
    Jesus rose bodily from the dead on the third day, just as he foreshadowed in the Gospel accounts of His life. This is the simplest explanation and the one, which takes as much of the evidence as possible into consideration.

    This has by no means been an exhaustive study in the historical Jesus. Such a study would be impossible. Major points of contention have been addressed, and given various forms of evidence in order to back up a Biblical portrait of Jesus.

    Works Cited       
    Blomberg, Craig. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1987.
    Craig, William Lane and Crossan, John Dominic. Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up! Turner-Welninki Publishing.
    Borg, Marcus and Wright, N.T. A Conversation on the Historical Jesus. Part 4. Vancover BC: Regent College.
    Boyd, Gregory. Cynic Sage or Son of God. Wheaton: Victor, 1995.
    Donaldson, James and Roberts, Alexander. Ante-Nicene Fathers volume I: The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus. USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995.
    Grant, Michael. The Annals of Imperial Rome. Barnes and Nobles, Inc., 1993.
    Graves, Robert. Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars. Michael Grant Publications, 1979.
    Hemer, Colin. The Book of Act in the Setting of Hellenistic History. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990.
    _____. "The Historical and Political Background of the New Testament." Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible. Ed. David Alexander and Pat Alexander. Eerdman’s publishing company, 1992. 571-573.
    Ingolfsland, Dennis. An Introduction to Jesus Studies. Unpublished.
    Jesus Seminar website. ( Excerpt from the introduction to The Five Gospels: the Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus.
    _____. ( Review of The Five
    Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus.
    _____. ( Excerpt from the introduction to The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus.
    _____. ( Opening statement by Robert Funk, Jesus Seminar founder, at the first meeting March 21-24 1985 in Berkeley, California.
    Johnson, Timothy. The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels. Harper Collins, 1996.
    Rowden, Harold. "Pilate." Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible. Ed. David Alexander and Pat Alexander. Eerdman’s publishing company, 1992. 510.
    Sheler, Jeffery. "Bob Funk’s radical Reformation Roadshow: Taking a Controversial Gospel to the People." U.S. News and World Report. 4 August 1997: 55-56.
    Sherwin-White, A.N. Roman Law and Roman Society in the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992.
    Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History. Volume IV. Published for the department of History of the University of Pennsylvania.

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