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The Historical Jesus: Five Views

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  11 reviews
2011 Christianity Today Book Award winner!

The scholarly quest for the historical Jesus has a distinguished pedigree in modern Western religious and historical scholarship, with names such as Strauss, Schweitzer and Bultmann highlighting the story. Since the early 1990s, when the Jesus quest was reawakened for a third run, numerous significant books have emerged. And the pu
Paperback, 312 pages
Published October 8th 2009 by IVP Academic (first published January 1st 2009)
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Lee Harmon
Five noted scholars discuss what we can determine about the historical Jesus: Robert Price, Dominic Crossan, Luke Timothy Johnson, James Dunn, and Darrell Bock. It’s a wide range, from confirmed believers to one who argues that no historical Jesus existed at all.

Jesus scholarship continues to evolve, but it seems to me to be spiraling the target instead of zeroing in. For example, virtually all scholars now accept that Jesus was recognized by his contemporaries as a miracle worker and healer, wh
Jud Kossum
Just a heads up: This one is pretty academic and may not be for everyone. I actually wrote it for a seminary class but thought I'd share it with all of you.

Bethel University professors James K. Bielby and Paul Rhodes Eddy have put together a volume in The Historical Jesus: Five Views that provides a glimpse into the broad range of perspectives found among those who quest for the historical Jesus. Robert M. Price, a professor at Johnny Coleman Theological Seminary, begins the book with the most r
Arthur George
This was an interesting read because it offered essays on this controversial subject (the historicity of Jesus and of what he said and did) from the perspectives of 5 established New Testament scholars having various views, right from believing that Jesus did not exist at all (Price) to an evangelical (albeit a responsible one) view (Bock), with the other 3 in between. The manner of presentation was helpful, because each contributor had the chance to respond to the others' essays, so that each e ...more
Very good introduction to the history of the quest for the "Historical Jesus", and a presentation of and responses to 5 views. In my opinion, James Dunn presents the most fruitful and reasonable perspective. In a book like this, no contributor has the space to write an exhaustive methodology, but James Dunn manages to argue for his historical methods like none of the other contributors does. Luke Timothy Johnson also presents a quite reasonable perspective and spends some time on methodology, bu ...more
J. K. Beilby and P. R. Eddy’s edit of The Historical Jesus: Five Views fleshes out five views of five interesting facets of Jesus according to history. I will first go over the views and then respond to several resonating quotations in the work. Robert M. Price begins by stating several perspectives about the existence of the biblical Jesus. His view is mythicistic because he seems to believe that the Jesus we read about in the Bible never really existed. John Dominic Crossan responds to Price b ...more
We are onto the third quest for the historical Jesus the first two failed dismally.

Minimally I can say that the Evangelical take on the Bible merits a seat at the table of historical Jesus scholarship. It is not simply an anti-intellectual reaction to critical scholarship.

In spite of deep disagreements between the various methodologies and conclusions of historical Jesus studies not all needs to be dismissed. There have been some valuable contributions from the scholars like James Dunn, particul
Brian Leport
Overall, very good introduction to the subject. Really enjoyed James Dunn's chapter.
Justin Tibbels
"The Historical Jesus: Five Views" is an excellent overview of the range of opinions in the field today – from the Jesus-myth theory to the Jesus-God theory and everything in between.

Read the rest of my review at
Mrs N
This book consists of five essays by leading scholars on the historical Jesus. After each essay, the other four scholars have a brief chance to respond. I enjoyed the essays (some more than others) and appreciated that a variety of view points were represented. Recommended to anyone who has some knowledge of textual criticism and an interest in the subject.
Did not think much of Price - his comments where a waste of space. I enjoyed all the other views, especially the contribution put forward by James Dunn. I also liked the contributions by Luke Timothy Johnson and John Crossan. Crossan's emphasis upon eschatology is very interesting - I enjoyed his insight and his historical/critical perspective.
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James K. Beilby (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of systematic and philosophical theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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