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Historical Jesus Theories: G. A. Wells

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.

G. A. Wells

The Jesus Myth:  Buy at! Wells argues that most of what is said of Jesus in the canonical gospels is put in question by the fact that it is not confirmed by extant Christian documents which are either earlier than the gospels or early enough to have been written independently of them, i.e. composed before they or the traditions underlying them had become generally known in Christian circles. Paul, for instance, wrote before any gospel existed, and his Jesus lived on earth as a shadowy figure of the indefinite past. Such early Christians developed their beliefs in the tradition of Jewish Wisdom speculation about a supernatural personage who sought an abode on earth but was rejected by man and who then returned to heaven.

However, in his latest books, Wells allows that such a complex of tradition as we have in the synoptic gospels could not have developed so quickly (by the end of the first century) without some historical basis; and so some elements ascribed there to the life of Jesus presumably derive ultimately from the life of a first century Galilean preacher. The essential point, as Wells sees it, is that this personage is not to be identified with the dying and rising Christ of the Pauline and other early documents, and that the two have quite separate origins. The Jesus of the earliest Christians did not, on this view, preach and work miracles (or what were taken for such) in Galilee, and was not crucified by Pilate in Jerusalem.

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. <>.