Historical Jesus references

This page last updated February 14th, 2023

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: Is Jesus history?, 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.
  • Elijah Hixson & Peter Gurry (eds). Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism. Up-to-date and accurate information on manuscripts, copies and errors in the NT text.
  • 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? Authoritative analysis of the growth of the christian understanding of the divinity of Jesus.
  • 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

  • Dale Allison: The Resurrection of Jesus: Apologetics, Polemics, History.
  • Jonathan Bernier: Re-thinking the dates of the New Testament.
  • 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.
  • Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory Boyd: The Jesus Legend.
  • 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.
  • Anthony Le Donne. Historical Jesus: What can we know and how can we know it?
  • 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.


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