Robert W. Funk is founder of the Jesus Seminar and Director of the Westar Institute in Santa Rosa, California. He has been a distinguished leader in biblical scholorship for more than thirty years. A Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Senior Scholar, he is the author of a dozen books, including Honest to Jesus and The Five Gospels.
In their groundbreaking bestseller, The Five Gospels, Robert Funk and The Jesus Seminar offered their controversial analysis of what Jesus really said. Now, in The Acts of Jesus, these distinguished scholars reveal their startling assessment of what Jesus really did and didn't do. For over a decade, the Jesus Seminar, a group of more than 75 internationally recognized biblical scholarsexperts in such diverse fields as Greco-Roman history, archaeology, and linguistics has met twice yearly to conduct a painstaking search for the authentic Jesus. Through rigorous research and debate, they have combed the gospels for evidence of the man behind the myths. The figure they have discovered is very different from the icon of traditional Christianity. According to The Jesus Seminar: Jesus of Nazareth was born during the reign of Herod the Great. His mother's name was Mary, and he had a human father whose name may not have been Joseph. Jesus was born in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem. Jesus was an itinerant sage who shared meals with social outcasts. Jesus practiced healing without the use of ancient medicine or magic, relieving afflictions we now consider psychosomatic. He did not walk on water, feed the multitude with loaves and fishes, change water into wine or raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem and crucified by the Romans. He was executed as a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God. The empty tomb is a fiction Jesus did not raise bodily from the dead. Belief in the resurrection is based on the visionary experiences of Paul, Peter and Mary. An Easy-to-Use Guide to the Historical Jesus, The Acts of Jesus presents its findings by color-coding the gospel texts, providing a visual guide to the historical authenticity of the accounts of Jesus' life and deeds. Red: The authentic acts of Jesus; Pink: A close approximation of what Jesus did; Gray: Stories that show minimal historical traces; Black: Stories that are improbable or fiction. In lucid, engaging prose, The Acts of Jesus presents and illuminates the historical and literary evidence that led to the Seminar's often controversial conclusions. It provides the reader with immediate access to the latest scholarship in historical Jesus research today.
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