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Religion Jesus, The Gospels & Acts

Whose Historical Jesus?

edited by William E. Arnal & Michel Desjardins

CCSR, Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2010
Jesus, the Gospels & Acts, Christology, Essays
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2010
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 1997
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The figure of Jesus has fascinated Western civilization for centuries. As the year 2000 approaches, eliciting connections with Jesus’ birth and return, excitement grows — as does the number of studies about Jesus. Cutting through this mass of material, Whose Historical Jesus? provides a collection of penetrating, jargon-free, intelligently organized essays that convey well both the centrality and the complexity of deciphering the historical Jesus.

Contributors include such eminent scholars as John Dominic Crossan, Burton L. Mack, Seán Freyne and Peter Richardson. Essays range from traditional to modern and postmodern and address both recent and enduring concerns. Introductions and reflections augment these lucid essays, provide context and help the reader focus on the issues at stake. Whose Historical Jesus? will be of interest to all who wish to understand the current controversies and historical debates, who want insightful critiques of those views or who would like guidance on the direction of future studies.

About the authors

William E. Arnal is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion and Classics at New York University.

Michel Desjardins is an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University.

William E. Arnal's profile page

Michel Desjardins is a professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Michel Desjardins' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The volume deserves careful reading by all Jesus scholars."

The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"There is hardly an unworthy essay in the lot and I should expect that Whose Historical Jesus? will soon win a place of distinction in the bibliography of historical Jesus scholarship. It is to the credit of the editors and contributors that the essays form a genuine conversation that is courteous, learned, and unmarked by the rancour that sometimes infects this field."

University of Toronto Quarterly

"William E. Arnal and Michel Desjardins have put together a valuable and substantive collection, providing essays from leading Canadian scholars, along with those from the U.S., Ireland, Scotland and Norway. It should be in every college, university and seminary library; anyone doing Jesus research needs to engage these fine contributions. I would also recommend it as a supplementary reader for advanced undergraduates, seminary and graduate courses on the ''Historical Jesus."

Toronto Journal of Theology

" collection of thought-provoking and at times amusing essays...."

Books in Canada

"The strength of this volume is its diversity of voice, topic and form which allows it to be at once representative and venturesome, accessible and learned, Canadian and international, etc. I have used many of the essays successfully with both graduate and undergraduate students, either as representative samples of Historical Jesus Research or as welcome challenges to the usual fare. Warmly recommended."


"What distinguishes Whose Historical Jesus? is not only its reliable and nuanced map of the avalanche area, but the remarkable level of theoretical sophistication of its analysis -- not only describing the various differences that exist, but trying to give an account of those differences that show what is at stake for humanistic scholarship. It is also a mark of distinction that the essays are edited so that they engage in a genuine internal conversation rather than talking past each other, a feature that is partly due to labour of the editors, Arnal and Desjardins, and partly to the collegial atmosphere cultivated in the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in its 1993 and 1994 meetings, where most of these papers were first presented....Arnal's retrospective ('Contemporary markings on the body of Christ') is practically worth the cost of the book itself....Throughout there is an effort to engage the best of Jesus scholarship with care and generosity and without the rancour that sometimes infects this field."

Studies in Religion

Other titles by Michel Desjardins