In writing about Jesus, I have depended most on the consensus of the most respected scholars, both believers and non-believers. The scholars I found most useful in maintaining a balanced view are listed first, followed by others I have read. I have used relatively few christian and sceptical “apologists”.
Books I found most useful
- Richard Bauckham: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. A thorough and fascinating study of the eyewitness basis of the gospels and how memories and important information are handed down in oral cultures. Jesus: a very short introduction – the best short summary I have read of the historical information about Jesus.
- Marcus Bockmuehl, Cambridge University: The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. A useful reference because it contains essays by a number of scholars on a variety of important topics.
- Maurice Casey, Emeritus Professor of New Testament, University of Nottingham: Jesus of Nazareth. A goldmine of information by an expert in the Aramaic language, which Jesus spoke.
- John Dickson: The Christ Files, A Spectator’s Guide to Jesus and Jesus: a short life. Good, simple and even-handed references by a historian and fair-minded christian on the evidence historians use to understand the life of Jesus.
- Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina: Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted, Did Jesus Exist?, How Jesus Became God and Forged. Popular books written for the layperson by a respected and sceptical scholar, whose conclusions sometimes slightly overstate his case.
- Craig Evans: Fabricating Jesus. A useful summary of the reasons why scholars generally don’t accept many novel approaches to Jesus and history.
- Michael Grant: Jesus: an historian’s review of the Gospels. A balanced account by a respected historian of the Roman Empire, who used the same historical methods in studying Jesus as he used in his other works.
- A M Hunter: The Work and Words of Jesus. An easy to read, scholarly and inspiring summary by a Scottish theologian. Also useful are his The Parables Then and Now and Bible and Gospel.
- Larry Hurtado, Edinburgh University: How on earth did Jesus become God?.
- M A Powell: The Jesus Debate. Powell is recognised as a fair-minded reviewer of current trends, and this book summarises the views of some of the most influential scholars in the field (the Jesus Seminar, J D Crossan, M Borg, E P Sanders, J Meier, N T Wright).
- Professor E P Sanders, Duke University Jesus and Judaism and The Historical Figure of Jesus. One of the most respected and influential New Testament scholars.
- NT Wright, Oxford & St Andrews Universities: Simply Jesus. A simple summary by a prodigious historian.
Other reference books
- Craig Blomberg: The historical reliability of the gospels.
- M Borg & J D Crossan: Last Week.
- M Borg & T Wright: The meaning of Jesus: Two visions.
- Dr J Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary (ed): Jesus and Archaeology and Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- Dr J Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary & Petr Pokorny, Univerzita Karlova (eds): Jesus Research: an international perspective.
- GW Clarke, The origins and spread of Christianity, in The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 10.
- WD Davies & EP Sanders, Jesus: from the Jewish Point of View, in The Cambridge History of Judaism Vol 3.
- Craig Evans and Tom Wright: Jesus: the final days.
- Prof P Fredriksen, Boston University: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews
- Robert Funk and the Jesus Seminar: The Acts of Jesus
- Emeritus Professor E A Judge, Macquarie University, foreword to The truth about Jesus by P Barnett.
- Craig Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary: The Historical Jesus of the Gospels.
- Prof G Stanton, Cambridge University: Message and Miracles. In M Bockmuehl.
- Lee Strobel: The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus.
- Prof P J Tomson, Protestant Theological Faculty, Brussels: Jesus and his Judaism. In M Bockmuehl.
- Robert Van Voorst: Jesus outside the New Testament.
- Prof Geza Vermes, formerly of Oxford University: The Changing Face of Jesus and The Nativity.
- Prof F Watson, University of Aberdeen: The Quest for the Real Jesus. In M Bockmuehl.
- John Wenham, Oxford University: Easter Enigma.
- L Michael White: From Jesus to Christianity
Source of quotes
- Prof M Borg, Oregon State University, is quoted in M A Powell.
- (Emeritus) Prof J Dunn, Durham University, is quoted in J Polkinghorne: Science and Christian Belief.
- H Koester is quoted in G Habermas.
- Prof J Meier, Notre Dame University, is quoted in M A Powell.
- J A T Robinson is quoted in G Habermas.
- A. N. Sherwin-White is quoted in Wikipedia.
- J Wenham is quoted in G Habermas.
- N T Wright is quoted in M A Powell.
- Bede’s Library – A comprehensive and useful site with information assembled by a historian who is also a fair-minded christian and includes a variety of viewpoints. His summary of literature on the Jesus myth and the historical Jesus are especially relevant here.
- Bart Ehrman Blog: Christianity in Antiquity
- G Habermas: Why I Believe The New Testament Is Historically Reliable and Recent Perspectives on the Reliability of the Gospels. Excellent summaries of the views of christian scholars.
- Larry Hurtado’s blog
- Secular web:
Richard Carrier: Did Jesus Exist? Earl Doherty and the Argument to Ahistoricity
J J Lowder: Independent Confirmation and the Historicity of Jesus
- Stephen Davis: Why the historical Jesus matters
- So Just What Do Classical Historians Make of the New Testament Documents?
- Butler University: Scholarly Approaches to and Perspectives on the Historical Study of Jesus. A useful reference list.
- Wikipedia: Historicity of Jesus and Historical Jesus.