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Historical Jesus Article

#1 User is offline   AmyLong 

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:28 PM

Historical Jesus

Dateline: September 13, 2000

Was there or was there not some sort of historical Jesus behind all of the stories in the Christian New Testament? Conservative Christians assume that all of the information in the gospels is accurate. More liberal Christians accept that some details may be incorrect, but nevertheless believe that the basic and important information is all correct.

Even more liberal Christians and some non-believers have argued that just about everything we read in the New Testament about Jesus probably represents later additions and mythologization, but still believe that there had to be some sort of real, historical figure behind it all. And here is where the inquiry usually stops - it is uncommon to find acknowledgment of the fact that there are scholars who doubt that there was any historical Jesus in the first place.

Now, it is true that there aren't many who make such a case, but that there are as many as there are would come as a surprise to a lot of people. We still read in contemporary apologetics that no serious scholars question the idea that Jesus really lived - and with this, the apologists fail present a fair case. The fact of the matter is, there are serious scholars who raise such questions - and fortunately for us, there are two recent books about that very topic.

One is Deconstructing Jesus by Robert M. Price and the second is The Jesus Mysteries: Was the 'Original Jesus' a Pagan God? by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. These are different, but complimentary books. Price is a member of the Jesus Seminar and a professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. His is a more traditional examination of Jesus from the perspective of a scholar of Christianity.

Freke and Gandy, however, have very different perspectives to bring to the table. Timothy Freke is an authority on mysticism around the world, while Gandy is a researcher in classical civilization and pagan mystery religions. Their experience allows them to approach Christianity and Jesus from the outside, making connections with pagan religions that might otherwise go unnoticed.

They are definitely different books - Freke and Gandy's book seems to have been written with a more general audience in mind and is easy to read, with summaries of basic information at the end of each chapter. Price's book takes a bit more concentration to read, but for that is more densely packed with detailed information; and while some of the information is the same as contained in The Jesus Mysteries, there is also a lot more.
I have been ordained through the Universal Life Church , and I post spiritual articles at ULC and at the Universal Life Church Seminary course listings. I'm also a martial artist and I teach Sacramento Martial Arts. I support the Universal Life Church Article Directory, and have blogs that contain ULC Seminary Essays and Wedding Ceremonies.
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