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13. The Historical Jesus

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13. The Historical Jesus

Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152)

It is obvious that certain narratives in the New Testament contradict each other and cannot be woven into a historically coherent whole. How, then, do scholars construct who the historical Jesus was? There are several principles that historical Jesus researchers follow, which include considering data that 1) has multiple attestations and 2) is dissimilar to a text's theological tendencies as more likely to be historical. Using the modern methods of historical research, it becomes possible to construct a historical Jesus.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Contradictory Accounts in the New Testament
13:25 - Chapter 2. Finding History in the New Testament
26:27 - Chapter 3. Methods of Historical Jesus Research
47:53 - Chapter 4. Who Was the Historical Jesus?

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

The Historical Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman: 13. Jesus & the Roman Rule

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3 Quests for the Historical Jesus

Over the centuries, numerous Bible scholars have suggested that the gospel accounts can’t be trusted. These scholars argue that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written too long after the life of Jesus, and they came from communities of later Christians, not eyewitnesses.

According to these scholars, the gospels turned a real man into a false god. The Jesus portrayed in the gospels is not the “historical Jesus” but the “Christ of faith,” exalted and deified by later Christians.

This argument launched a series of “quests” to identify the “real,” historical Jesus—which to some, were quests to explain away his divinity.

The debate has evolved over time, and the movement contains four main phases driven by numerous scholars and works.

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Learn more about the life of Jesus:

The Historical Jesus - 13

Prof. Robert Eisenman's university course on the historicity of Jesus.

Lecture 13 of 30
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The Historical Jesus 13: Olivet Discourse

Did Jesus predict the destruction of the Temple in a.d. 70? Did he predict the end of the world? Learn about Jesus' Olivet Discourse and discover what he said about false Christs, persecution, the abomination of desolation, and the coming of the son of man.

Course Notes:

This is lecture 13 of 16 from The Historical Jesus: What the Bible Says about the Life of Christ.

This class will help you answer the question: Who is Jesus? Join Sean Finnegan as he teaches through the Gospels to help you understand the biblical life of Christ. This class will inspire you to love Jesus, teach you to follow Jesus, help you to understand Jesus, and empower you to navigate the Gospels on your own.

For more information about this class or to access other lectures and articles by Sean Finnegan, visit

[official] Who was Jesus, Really? Searching for the Historical Jesus - William Lane Craig

- For the past two thousand years, Christians have claimed that Jesus is the Son of God. But over the years, critics have raised many challenges to these claims. Are the Biblical accounts of Jesus historically accurate? Has too much been corrupted over time or lost in translation? What do we make of the contradictions between gospels? Can we ignore the supernatural events in the gospels, especially Jesus' resurrection? Who did Jesus himself claim to be? Can we answer these questions with any certainty? Senior Scholar Dr. Peter Pazzaglini facilitates questions as Dr. William Lane Craig unpacks these controversial issues. Listen, and explore the debate surrounding the identity of a figure who has shaped the course of western civilization.

Full library available AD FREE at

Over the past two decades, The Veritas Forum has been hosting vibrant discussions on life's hardest questions and engaging the world's leading colleges and universities with Christian perspectives and the relevance of Jesus. Learn more at with upcoming events and over 600 pieces of media on topics including science, philosophy, music, business, medicine, and more!
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Lecture 13 - The Historical Jesus

Overview

It is obvious that certain narratives in the New Testament contradict each other and cannot be woven into a historically coherent whole. How, then, do scholars construct who the historical Jesus was? There are several principles that historical Jesus researchers follow, which include considering data that 1) has multiple attestations and 2) is dissimilar to a text's theological tendencies as more likely to be historical. Using the modern methods of historical research, it becomes possible to construct a historical Jesus.

Assignment

Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, pp. 224-290

Bart Ehrman on the historical Jesus contra Jesus mythicism

Segment from Bart Ehrman's debate with Robert Price. Learn more about Ehrman here:

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Historical Jesus 12/13

Historical Jesus vs. Biblical Jesus

The Real Jesus vs. the Historical Jesus

This video examines the difference between the real and the historical Jesus and discusses which Jesus the Bible is about.
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Why Study the Historical Jesus? (N. T. Wright Q&A)

Why should anyone bother to study the historical Jesus⁠—especially if one already believes the Gospels? Here, author and scholar N. T. Wright presents some key benefits of doing fresh historical study. Learn more in THE NEW TESTAMENT IN ITS WORLD:

The Historical Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman: 20. Last Days of Jesus

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The Historical Jesus - John Dominic Crossan

In the last forty years he has written twenty-seven books on the historical Jesus, the apostle Paul, and earliest Christianity. Five of them have been national religious bestsellers for a combined total of twenty-four months. The scholarly core of his work is the trilogy from The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (1991) through The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus (1998), to In Search of Paul: How Jesus's Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom, co-authored with the archaeologist Jonathan L. Reed (2004). His work has also been translated into thirteen foreign languages, including Polish, Hungarian, Russian, as well as Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.

He has lectured to lay and scholarly audiences across the United States as well as in Ireland and England, Scandinavia and Finland, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, and South Africa. He has been interviewed on 200 radio stations, including four times on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He has been interviewed on television networks in England--such as Weekend TV, Channel 4 and the BBC; also in the United States--such as ABC's PrimeTime, Peter Jennings Reporting, and Nightline, CBS' Early Show and 48 Hours, NBC's Dateline, and Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, as well as on cable programs such as A&E, History, Discovery, and the National Geographic Channel.

Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan have co-authored a series of books with HarperOne, San Francisco: The Last Week: A Day by Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem (2006); The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about the Birth of Jesus (2007); and The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon (2009).

His most recent books are The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer (published by HarperOne, San Francisco, on September 7, 2010, followed by The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became Fiction about Jesus (published by HarperOne on March 6, 2012). He was elected Vice President of the Society of Biblical Literature for 2010-2011 and President for 2011-2012.

The Historical Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman: 16. Other Teachings of Jesus in their Apocalyptic Context

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus. Randall Niles investigates the evidence for Jesus outside the Bible.

Visit for more extra-biblical accounts of Jesus of Nazareth.

Also, go to to watch more videos about the historical Jesus!
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The Historical Jesus: Four Views

A round-table discussion on Jesus of Nazareth featuring Gabriele Boccaccini, Saeed Ahmed Khan, Charles Mabee and Robert M. Price. Moderated by Scott DeGregorio.

The Historical Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman: 21. Last Hours of Jesus

Historical Jesus 1/13

Historical Jesus vs. Biblical Jesus

The 'Jesus of history' -- Memory or Myth?

Historians and theologians have postulated a 'Jesus of history' in a hundred guises, many mutually exclusive and all assembled from the inadequate testimony of the gospel stories. But there is a simpler truth: the gospels record not a fragmentary memory of a man but a much redacted fable.
Read more: jesusneverexisted.com/ehrman.html
jesusneverexisted.com/newapologists.html

The Historical Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman: 09. Historical Criteria - Getting Back to Jesus

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