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Historical Jesus Theories: Alvar Ellegård

The purpose of this web page is to explain and explore some of the theories offered up by contemporary scholars on the historical Jesus and the origins of the Christian religion. Issues include the nature of the historical Jesus, the nature of the early Christian documents, and the origins of the Christian faith in a risen Jesus Christ.

Alvar Ellegård

Jesus, One Hundred Years Before Christ:  Buy at! Ellegård believes that first century Christianity developed within the Jewish matrix of the Essene Church of God: "Thanks to the 'evangelisation' carried out by the earliest apostles, Paul and his contemporaries, the communities were made to realise that the great teacher and prophet whom they took to be the founder of their Church, and who they believed had been dead for over a hundred years, had now been seen in Heaven, and should be regarded as the Messiah, their Saviour. In the Qumran texts - largely unknown to the Diaspora communities - he was never named, but referred to by the title Teacher of Righteousness. But after the apostles had been overwhelmed by the experience of seeing him in Heaven, they began to use instead, exclusively, the name Jesus, a name meaning, roughly, Salvation, and therefore very appropriate for somebody they had now come to look upon primarily as their Saviour. The designation Teacher of Righteousness disappears completely." (Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ, p. 120)

In addition to arguing that the earliest Christians believed their Jesus to have lived in the past (the time of the Teacher of Righteousness depicted in the Dead Sea Scrolls), Ellegård argues for a redating of several Christian documents. Ellegård argues that 1 Clement, the Pastor of Hermas, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Revelation of John were contemporary to Paul. Ellegård argues that Ignatius (c. 110 CE) represents a halfway point between Paul and the Gospels, which were written well into the second century. Ellegård concludes that the story of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified by Pilate, was a fictional construction.

Please enjoy exploring the varied Historical Jesus Theories offered by these authors through the links below.

Jesus the Myth: Heavenly Christ

Jesus the Myth: Man of the Indefinite Past

Jesus the Hellenistic Hero

Jesus the Revolutionary

Jesus the Wisdom Sage

Jesus the Man of the Spirit

Jesus the Prophet of Social Change

Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet

Jesus the Savior

For more information on the debate over the historical Jesus, visit the Christian Origins web site.

Go to the Chronological List of all Early Christian Writings

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Early Christian Writings is copyright © Peter Kirby <E-Mail>.

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Kirby, Peter. "Historical Jesus Theories." Early Christian Writings. <>.