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BOOKS ABOUT
THE SEARCH FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS: 

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Sponsored link.


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Quotations:

bullet"...by the end of the first century Christianity had lost sight of the real Jesus and of the original meaning of his message...[The real Jesus, a] religious man with an irresistible charismatic charm [was replaced by] Jesus the Christ, the transcendent object of the Christian religion." Geza Vermes, "The Changing Faces of Jesus.
bullet"There are a myriad of scholarly quests for the historical Jesus, and each one finds the Jesus that the scholar goes looking for. Each one, however, can add texture to the student's own personal understanding of Jesus." George R. Dekle, Sr., Amazon.com book reviewer.

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Explanation:

The term "historical Jesus" refers to the life of Yeshua of Nazareth, from his birth in Palestine to his execution in Jerusalem. He is viewed, primarily by religious liberals, as a flesh and blood human, finite, and mortal; a devoutly Jewish peasant, healer, and charismatic teacher. 

The following is a list of books, both historical and modern, about the quest for the historical Jesus. They are primarily written by theologians and historians. 

We have marked a few books that we have found of particular interest.

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Novels & movies:

bulletLothaire Bluteau, "Jesus of Montreal" (1990). In French with English subtitles, available as VHS movie
bulletNikos Kazantzaki, "The Last Temptation of Christ," Touchstone Books, (Reprinted: 1998) Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store  Also available in VHS movie (1988)
bulletCharles Templeton, "Act of God?" Read reviews or order this book
bulletGerd Theissen, " The Shadow of the Galilean : The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form," Fortress Press, (1987). Review / order this book

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Review of the quest for the historical Jesus:

bulletCharlotte Allen, "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus," The Free Press, (1998)  Read reviews or order this book
bulletMarcus J. Borg, "Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship," Trinity Press, (1994). Read reviews or order this book
bulletGregory Dawes, Ed., "The Historical Jesus Quest : Landmarks in the Search for the Jesus of History," Westminister John Knox Press, (2000). Read reviews or order this book
bulletGerd Theissen, Annette Merz, "The Historical Jesus : A Comprehensive Guide," Fortress Press, (1998). Read reviews or order this book
bulletW. Barnes Tatum, "In Quest of Jesus," Abingdon Press, (1999). Read reviews or order this book

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Sponsored link:

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Useful reference material:

bulletRobert W. Funk, et al., "The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus," Harper San Francisco, (1997). Read reviews or order this book. This includes English translations of the four canonical gospels and the Gospel of Thomas. The Gospel of Thomas is a one of about 40 gospels that were widely accepted among early Christians, but which never made it into the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Each saying attributed to Jesus is rated as to its authenticity.
bulletR.A. Mayotte, "The complete Jesus: All the sayings of Jesus gathered from ancient sources," Steerforth Press, (1998). Read reviews or order this book
bulletRobert E. Van Voorst, "Jesus outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Studying the Historical Jesus)," (2000). Read reviews or order this book. References to Jesus from ancient texts other than the Bible are discussed.

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Older books (originally written prior to 1980):

bulletRudolf Bultmann, "The History of the Synoptic Tradition," Oxford, (1963). Read reviews or order this book This book is out of print. However, a used copy may be available.
bulletGünthur Bornkamm, "Jesus of Nazareth," Fortress Press (Reprinted 1995) Read reviews or order this book
bulletAlbert Schweitzer, "The Quest of the Historical Jesus : A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede," Johns Hopkins Univ, (Reprint: 1998). Read reviews or order this book
bulletDavid Strauss, "The life of Jesus, critically examined," Sigler Press, (Reprinted 1994). Read reviews or order this book

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Recent books by religious liberals:

bullet*** Donald Akenson, "Saint Saul: A skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus," Oxford University Press, (2000) Review / order this book
bulletDale C. Allison, " Jesus of Nazareth : Millenarian Prophet," Fortress Press, (1999). Review / order this book
bulletMarcus J. Borg:
bullet"Jesus : A New Vision : Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship," Harper San Francisco, (1991). Review / order this book
bullet"Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith," HarperCollins, (1995). Review / order this book. Out of print, but a used copy may be available.
bulletEd., "Jesus at 2000," Westview Press, (1997). Review / order this book
bullet*** John Dominic Crossan:
bullet"The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant," Harper San Francisco, (1993). Review / order this book
bullet"Jesus : A Revolutionary Biography," Harper San Francisco, (1995). Review / order this book
bulletBart D. Ehrman, " Jesus : Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium," Oxford University Press, (1999). Review / order this book
bulletPaula Fredriksen:
bullet"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews : A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity," Knopf, (1999). Review / order this book
bullet"From Jesus to Christ : The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus", Yale Univ Pr. (2000) Review / order this book
bulletRobert Funk, "Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium," HarperSanFrancisco, (1996). Review / order this book
bulletWilliam R. Herzog, "Jesus, Justice, and the Reign of God : A Ministry of Liberation," Westminster John Knox Press, (1999). Review / order this book
bulletGerd Lüdemann, "The Great Deception: and what Jesus Really Said and Did," Prometheus Books, (1999). Review / order this book
bullet*** M.R. McAteer & M.G. Steinhauser, "The man in the scarlet robe: Two thousand years of searching for Jesus," United Church Publishing House, (1996), Page 79. Review / order this book
bulletJohn P. Meier, "A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person," Doubleday, (1991). Review / order this book
bulletE. P. Sanders:
bullet"Jesus and Judaism," Fortress Press, (1987). Review / order this book
bullet"The Historical Figure of Jesus" Penguin USA, (Reprinted: 1996). Review / order this book
bulletJohn Spong, "This Hebrew Lord: A Bishop's Search for the Authentic Jesus," HarperCollins, (1993). Review / order this book
bulletG.A. Wells, "The Jesus Myth," Open Court, (1999). Review / order this book
bulletN. T. Wright, "Jesus and the Victory of God" (Volume 2 of the series "Christian Origins and the Question of God," Fortress Press, (1997). Review / order this book
bulletJohn Howard Yoder, "The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster," Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., (1994). Review / order this book
bulletGeza Vermes:
bullet"Jesus the Jew: A Historians Reading of the Gospels," Fortress Press, (1991). Read reviews or order this book
bullet"The Religion of Jesus the Jew," Fortress Press, (1993) Read reviews or order this book
bullet*** "The Changing Faces of Jesus," Viking Press, (2001). Read reviews or order this book

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Books by religious conservatives:

These conservative Christian authors, partly in reaction to the Quest, stress a traditional view of Jesus:

bulletLuke Johnson, "The Real Jesus : The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and Truth of the Traditional Gospels," Harper San Francisco, (1997)  Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
bulletTim LaHaye, "Jesus: Who is he?," Multnomah Books, (1996). Reviews / order this book
bulletErwin Lutzer, "Christ among other gods: A defense of Christ in an age of tolerance," Moody Press, (1994) Read reviews or order this book
bulletDonald Spoto, "The Hidden Jesus," St. Martin's Griffin, (1998) Reviews / order this book
bulletPhilip Yancey, "The Jesus I never knew," Zondervan, (1995). The author was awarded the Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year award for this book in 1996 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Read reviews or order this book

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Books that are difficult to classify:

bulletBruce Chilton, "Rabbi Jesus : An Intimate Biography," Doubleday, (2000). One possible account of the life of Jesus. Read reviews or order this book
bulletMorton Smith, "Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God," Barns & Noble, (1978). Portrays Jesus as a magician. Read reviews or order this book
bulletWillimam Craig & John Crossan, "Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?," Baker Book House, (1998). A debate between Craig (conservative Christian) and Crossan (liberal Christian) about the historical Jesus. This is a somewhat frustrating book to read because the main participants tend to talk past each other rather than engage in debate. But the number of real engagements between liberal and conservative Christians are so rare, that this book is definitely worth reading. Read reviews or order this book

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*** Books particularly recommended by the compiler of this list.

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Copyright © 2000 to 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-MAY-28
Latest update: 2004-NOV-03
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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