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The Historical Jesus for Beginners, A Primer of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship

The last few decades have seen a resurgence of the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus–for the words and deeds that probably can be attributed to the human Jesus who walked the hills of Galilee some two thousand years ago. You might not be aware of the recent scholarship, and the reason is simple. For the most part, many scholars write for and talk to other scholars, using their own technical language. This leaves huge numbers of Christians unaware of their discoveries. So even though you may have studied the Bible for years, you still may be a historical Jesus beginner.

After the life of Jesus, his followers began to develop their memory of his sayings and actions. Then, year after year, and century after century, the tradition grew until it became Christianity as it is known in the twenty-first century. What if we could go back in time and delve under all the layers to find what Christianity would be if it were based upon the historical Jesus? If you are a person who would like to begin to be informed, this book is for you.

“This very helpful book delivers what it promises and more. It combines a lucid introduction to the basics of historical Jesus scholarship with extended excerpts from several of todays’ scholars, thus putting the reader in touch with a number of voices. And more: it explores the implications of Jesus scholarship for those to whom it matters most, namely, Christians and churches in our time. Recommended not only for beginners, but also for those who already have some familiarity with this fascinating and important subject.”
– Marcus J. Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture, Oregon State University

“Among the cacophony of voices surrounding the latest phase in the quest for the historical Jesus, Bill Linden is the thinking-person’s guide to the heart of the matter. He knows the literature, the personalities, and the issues, and he knows how to focus our attention on what really counts in the larger scheme of things. If you’re interested in the historical Jesus, but  don’t know where to start, start here.”
—Stephen Patterson
Professor of New Testament, Eden Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri

Review & Commentary