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Taken from other areas of study such as source criticism, the "criteria of authenticity" emerged gradually, becoming a distinct branch of methodology associated with life of Jesus research.

The Historical Figure of Jesus by E.P. Sanders

These criteria are primarily, though not exclusively, used to assess the sayings and actions of Jesus. In view of the skepticism produced in the mid-twentieth century by form criticism concerning the historical reliability of the gospels, the burden shifted in historical Jesus studies from attempting to identify an authentic life of Jesus to attempting to prove authenticity. The criteria developed within this framework, therefore, are tools that provide arguments solely for authenticity, not inauthenticity. It was often applied unevenly with a preconceived goal. Burkitt and B.

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Streeter provided the foundation for multiple attestation. The Second Quest introduced the criterion of embarrassment. By , D. Polkow lists 25 separate criteria being used by scholars to test for historical authenticity including the criterion of "historical plausibility". 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.

There is widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings. 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.

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.

Most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable, [13] [] [] [] as do Bart Ehrman , [] John Dominic Crossan [13] and James Dunn. 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. In addition to the two historical elements of baptism and crucifixion, scholars attribute varying levels of certainty to various other aspects of the life of Jesus, although there is no universal agreement among scholars on these items: [] [note 6].

Scholars involved in the third quest for the historical Jesus have constructed a variety of portraits and profiles for Jesus. Contemporary scholarship, representing the "third quest," places Jesus firmly in the Jewish tradition. Jesus was a Jewish preacher who taught that he was the path to salvation, everlasting life, and the Kingdom of God.

Contemporary scholars of the "third quest" include E. In contrast to the Schweitzerian view, certain North American scholars, such as Burton Mack , advocate for a non-eschatological Jesus, one who is more of a Cynic sage than an apocalyptic preacher. 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 certain distinct, primary themes.

The subsections below present the main portraits that are supported by multiple mainstream scholars. The apocalyptic prophet view primarily emphasizes Jesus preparing his fellow Jews for the End times. Sanders and Maurice Casey place Jesus within the context of Jewish eschatological tradition.

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. Borg sees this as a well-defined religious personality type, whose actions often involve healing. In the Cynic philosopher profile, Jesus is presented as a Cynic , 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.

The Jewish Messiah portrait of N. 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. The prophet of social change portrait positions Jesus primarily as someone who challenged the traditional social structures of his time. Richard A. Horsely goes further and presents Jesus as a more radical reformer who initiated a grassroots movement. Brandon Jesus was a political revolutionary who challenged the existing socio-political structures of his time.

The Christ myth theory is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth never existed, or if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels. For example, Earl Doherty has written that Jesus may have been a real person, but that the biblical accounts of him are almost entirely fictional. Since the s, various scholars such as Joachim Jeremias , E. Sanders and Gerd Thiessen have traced elements of Christianity to diversity in First-century Judaism and discarded nineteenth century views that Jesus was based on previous pagan deities.

Contemporary scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and biblical scholars and classical historians view the theories of his nonexistence as effectively refuted. Price an atheist who denies the existence of Jesus agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that anymore. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Historicity of Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth as a historical person.

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Jesus in Christianity. Jesus in Islam. Jesus in history. Perspectives on Jesus. Jesus in culture.

Was Jesus a Historical Figure? - Tales of Times Forgotten

Life in art Depiction Jesuism. Main article: Historicity of Jesus. Main articles: Sources for the historicity of Jesus and Historical reliability of the Gospels. Main article: Synoptic Gospels.

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Main articles: Josephus on Jesus and Tacitus on Christ. Main article: Mara bar Serapion on Jesus. Main articles: Historical criticism , Textual criticism , and Biblical hermeneutics. Main article: Historical reliability of the Gospels. Main article: Quest for the historical Jesus. Main articles: Criterion of multiple attestation , Criterion of embarrassment , Criterion of dissimilarity , and Koine Greek. See also: Baptism of Jesus and Crucifixion of Jesus.

See also: Scholarly interpretation of Gospel-elements. See also: Apocalypticism and Eschatology. See also: Cynicism philosophy. Main article: Christ myth theory. Livingstone The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. New York: Oxford University Press, Price an atheist who denies the existence of Jesus agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M.

Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, Lion Hudson , pp. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide.


Fortress Press. Mitchell and Frances M. Porter, Michael A. Price a Christian atheist who denies the existence of Jesus agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. New York: Collier Books. Eerdmans Publishing.

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The Historical Jesus.