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  • Writer's picture Peter Kupisz

Bias in “Historical Jesus” Research and Lack of Consensus

For several centuries, certain scholars have been labouring to try and find out who the real “historical Jesus” was. They often write books claiming to have discovered who Jesus “really was” and thereby to have seen through the "Jesus of faith" that the early Christian church "created." What they often fail to mention is just how subjective their own views are; there are many different views of Jesus and each scholar claims he or she has got it right. But the truth is that the scholars who work in this area often “discover” a Jesus that just fits with their preferences and ideals. It is often the case that the "historical Jesus" they "discover" is very similar to an idealized version of themselves. John Dominic Crossan, a skeptical left-wing scholar who rejects much of what is written in the Bible, admits as much. In his book, Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant he states,

Historical Jesus research is becoming something of a scholarly bad joke . . . [and the] stunning diversity is an academic embarrassment. It is impossible to avoid the suspicion that historical Jesus research is a very safe place to do theology and call it history, to do autobiography and call it biography.

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John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (New York: HarperCollins, 1998), xxvii, xxviii.



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