In a book that is as daring and unconventional as it is scholarly, A. N. Wilson, the celebrated biographer of Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis, searches for the elusive historical reality in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. What are the facts about the life of Jesus, as opposed to the myths, or unprovable tenets of faith surrounding the miracles, death, and resurrection? How and when did Christianity become a separate religion from the Judaism into which Jesus was born? To what extent was his power over contemporaries political rather than religious? Wilson's answers to these questions will fascinate readers of every shade of faith or skepticism. His starting point is an explanation of how one may sift through the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus to find the sort of eyewitness details that have the ring of everyday reality. He uses archaeological evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the most recent findings of New Testament scholarship to shed new light on the tumultuous religious and political situation in Israel that so influenced the life and teachings of Jesus. And, finally, he weaves all these strands into a gripping narrative leading to the crucifixion, a narrative that for all its learning contains strong elements of the literary detective story and the psychological novel. Wilson's inquiry is not meant to validate any particular creed or version of Jesus Christ. Instead, he enables us to discover the man who became the central figure in western civilization, whose teachings survive in spite of the logical impossibilities of the religion, and whose words, reverberating still, contain a wisdom that has never ceased to trouble the world.