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.
Hyam Maccoby writes (8/5/01): "I write on Christian origins from the standpoint of a scholar of the ancient Jewish writings, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishnah, the Talmud, and the Midrashim. My view on Christian origins is that Jesus was a Jewish messiah-figure who had no intention of starting a new religion. The real founder of Christianity as a separate religion was Paul. Jesus died on a Roman cross because he was considered a threat to the Roman occupation of Judaea, not because he was regarded as heretical or blasphemous by the Jewish religious authorities, the Pharisees. His Jewish opponent was the High Priest, who was a Roman appointee, who acted for political, not religious motives, in arresting Jesus. Jesus was not a military figure, but, like Theudas, and some other contemporary messiah-figures, relied on the hope of divine intervention, which he thought would take place on the Mount of Olives." Maccoby has a book to be published in 2002 titled The Pharisee Jesus from SCM Press.
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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