The Historical Jesus

By Cooper, Ilene | American Libraries, March 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Historical Jesus

Cooper, Ilene, American Libraries

Throughout most of the life of Christianity, people have assumed that whatever they needed to know about Jesus could be found in the Bible. But the Gospels are neither histories nor biographies, and biblical scholars, at least since the Age of Enlightenment, have been asking one question over and over: Who was Jesus? What do we know about the man behind the Christ?

This fascination with the historical Jesus has spread recently from scholars to general readers, fueled by a recent spate of new books on the subject. Although there seem to be as many answers to the Jesus question as there are scholars, each adds a new piece to the puzzle and prepares readers to ask their own questions.

Armstrong, Karen. A History of God:

The 400-Year Quest of Judaism,

Christianity, and Islam. Knopf, 1993,

$27.50 (0-679-42600-0).

For anyone new to the history of religion, Armstrong is a good place to start. Eminently readable without compromising scholarship, this study of monotheism compares and contrasts the developments of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, offering numerous insights into who Jesus was and how he became God.

Borg, Marcus J. Meeting Jesus Again for

the First Time: The Historical Jesus &

the Heart of Contemporary Faith.

Harper, San Francisco, 1994, $16 (04)6 - 060916-8).

Borg, a member of the Jesus Seminar, a group of biblical scholars who study scripture to ascertain what Jesus really said (see below), is also concerned with how to keep Jesus's original message at the heart of contemporary faith. Fixed doctrines take a back seat here to a very personal interpretation of experiential Christianity.

Crossan, John Dominic. Jesus: A

Revolutionary Biography. Harper, San

Francisco, 1994, $18 (0-06-061661-X).

The way Crossan sees it, Jesus was a social

revolutionary. This cross-cultural mix of anthropology, Greco-Roman and Jewish history, and textual analysis is more theory than flesh and blood, but Crossan does a great job of capturing Jesus's milieu. At the end of the book, you still may not know if Jesus was a socialist or savior, but you will understand the dynamics that allowed him to step forward in that particular time and place.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Historical Jesus


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?