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Historical Jesus Theories: Luke Timothy Johnson

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.

Luke Timothy Johnson

The Real Jesus:  Buy at! Luke Timothy Johnson criticizes the Jesus Seminar and scholars such as Burton Mack for what he considers to be unchecked optimism (or pessimism, depending on your feelings about the Jesus Seminar) about what can be known about early Christianity and about the historical Jesus. Johnson calls for a more cautious approach to history that states what few facts that can be known - for example, the baptism and the crucifixion - and does not venture to speculate about what cannot be known. In place of such speculation, Johnson advocates a fideism in which we accept any additional items - for example, the resurrection - on the basis of the tradition and the authority of the church. Johnson believes that Jesus is who the New Testament and the creeds say he is: the Son of God who came to suffer willingly and die for our sins.

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. <>.