Who On Earth Was Jesus?: The Modern Quest for the Jesus of History by David Boulton

Who On Earth Was Jesus?: The Modern Quest for the Jesus of History
ISBN 1846940184
  • Author:
    David Boulton
  • Title:
    Who On Earth Was Jesus?: The Modern Quest for the Jesus of History
  • Category:
  • Subcategory:
    Bible Study & Reference
  • ISBN13:
  • Publisher:
    Christian Alternative (February 4, 2008)
  • Pages:
  • Size PDF version
    1832 kb
  • Size FB2 version
    1465 kb
  • Size EPUB version
    1486 kb
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The first fully comprehensive account of the debate between modern scholars on the Jesus of history before he became the Christ of faith. David Boulton surveys all the major schools of historical Jesus scholarship in turn: the liberal Jesus Seminar, the conservative 'New Questers' and the radical skeptics, covering over 30 experts. He lays out the sources, biblical, 'heretical' and secular, taking in the most recent discoveries and explaining where historians agree and disagree in recovering a credible portrait of the man behind 'the greatest story ever told'.

I always wondered if Jesus was like a more `regular guy' before he became the divine Christ of faith. One man has taken on this challenge and written a one-volume, engrossing account on this often-controversial subject that has been the center of debates between contemporary scholars for years. If my research is correct this is the first one volume text since Albert Schweitzer's a century ago. In this book, the author David Boulton cuts through the mystery and hype and goes straight to the meat of the issues: the result, a book that is the most comprehensive study to date.

Everyone has a different opinion on this subject. This is evidenced by the countless books that have been written - everything from Christians writing about the Christ of faith to books by atheists proposing Jesus is a myth, or those proposing a married or gay Jesus. What really makes this book different is the fact that Boluton's informative and well-researched approach incorporates the actual experiences gained by serious scholars throughout history, delving into theories and conclusions of all the main competing schools of historical Jesus scholarship.
I read this book because of the enthusiastic suggestion by a fellow member of my book club. I am so glad I took the leap and read this volume, try it for yourself!!
With a background in journalism, Boulton's goal isn't to present his own opinions on Jesus but rather to offer a variety of viewpoints from recent research. One of the main perspectives is provided by the influential but controversial Jesus Seminar. They rely heavily on the Q manuscript that preceded the biblical Gospels and present a humanitarian, philosophical Jesus, one who is appealing to liberal West Coast academics such as themselves.

The other primary view dates to Albert Schweitzer and other 19th century scholars. But it also continues to be held by many doing contemporary research. This one focuses on an apocalyptic Jesus who believed he was heralding in the end days. This Jesus is placed more firmly within the Jewish tradition and is less influenced by the Hellenistic culture surrounding him.

I personally find the evidence for an apocalyptic Jesus to be more credible though less adaptable to modernist sensibilites, including my own. But one has to go where the facts lead. Still Boulton does an excellent job of covering all the angles, including many fringe theories that some readers may have an interest in. For those who want to learn more about who the historical Jesus really was this is an excellent choice.
I have read a lot of books about the quest for the historical Jesus. This book is a treasure in that it gives, without a doubt, the best overview of the 'historical Jesus' debates that I have ever seen. If you don't have time to read Schweitzer, the Jesus Seminar and all the others, but you still want to understand what all the hoopla is over the historical Jesus debates is about, this is your book.