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Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels
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Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Michael Grant, author of St Paul & numerous earlier works on the ancient Mediterranean world, set out to write a secular historian's account of Jesus using "methods that make belief & unbelief irrelevant." Any such study is something of an imaginative reconstruction. This one comes across as very middle-of-the-road, skeptical of the sources & of the skeptics, t ...more
Hardcover, 267 pages
Published May 1st 1977 by Charles Scribner's Sons (NY)
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A classical scholar and distinguished numismatist, Grant during his long life also wrote scores of popular books on topics related to ancient and imperial Rome, including this one in 1977, though I don’t believe it was one of his bigger sellers. Unlike the much more recent book by Reza Aslan this is not a biography of Jesus but, as the subtitle states, an historian’s take on the Christian Gospels. Still there is overlap and points of agreement, despite over three additional decades of scholarshi ...more
David Withun
To be completely honest, I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. I came in with no preconceptions whatsoever. I had never heard of Michael Grant at all, much less this specific book. I simply happened to come across it while looking for some new reading material in my local library and decided to give it a read.

It had amazing and insightful high points but when there were low points they were very, very low. Unfortunately for my review, this boils down and averages out to mediocre.

Mar 01, 2010 Marfita rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: christians and non-xians alike
Recommended to Marfita by: Michael Grant's cute knees
Shelves: religion-atheism
Grant makes Jesus' failed ministry sound much more interesting than I had ever thought possible. His failure makes his triumph after his death that much more amazing. There's nothing new in this book to anyone who has read any biblical criticism, but it is cogently argued and logically arranged. Every now and then I demanded to know his source for his assertions and have made note of them for further review, but I think Grant knows his onions here. And besides, he looked really cute in those sho ...more
Kelly Shull
I thought this was a really interesting perspective, and made a lot of sense, although it does feel a little outdated in places.
Erik Graff
Sep 05, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Erik by: Janny Marie Willis
Shelves: biography
While Michael Grant was certainly a competent scholar and writer, his popular works have been usually unsatisfying, probably because they repeat so much that is already familiar. This is particularly the case with his biographies of ancient persons.

Jesus is such a case. At best, it was a refresher. There was nothing new to it either in terms of evidences or in terms of interpretation. A Christian might find this book helpful, however, in that it does treat the historical Jesus much as a normal b
I very much enjoyed reading this book with it's emphasis on the historical aspects of the life and times of Jesus. These aspects were unfortunately ignored or rather skewed in my upbringing. I felt the book needed to provide a little more investigation and analysis of the resurrection stories. Otherwise a rigorous treatment of the subject matter.
Very good book, but it is difficult to read for vocabulary. Moreover, I strong recommend to have knowledge about gospels. I dont recommend this book to people whose dont like to thinking about your religion or about real story of Jesus.
Grant does an admirable job of applying historical methods to a reading of the gospels. This is a brief but fairly convincing account of the man Jesus might have been, had we only historical tools in order to understand him.
Carl Williams

Though perhaps a bit dated in some of the research presented and interpenetration of traditional points of view, this book remains a good dock to jump from in considering the significance and work of the historical Jesus.
Barry Parham
Nothing personal, anyone, but nothing here for me.
Mike Anderson
Valuable as a historian's perspective.
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Michael Grant was an English classisist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus’s Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. He once described himself as "one of the very few freelances in the field of ancient history: a rare phenomenon". As a popularizer, his hallmarks were his prolific output and his unwillingness to ove ...more
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