Powerfully challenging the scholarship of the media-hungry Jesus Seminar, respected New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson argues that Christian faith is founded not upon a historical Jesus that scholarship can reconstruct, but on the resurrected Jesus proclaimed by the New Testament and Christian tradition. He states, "The real Jesus is not simply a figure of the past but very much and above all a figure in the present." Provocative and timely, The Real Jesus exposes the fundamentally misguided quest for the historical Jesus by the Jeus Seminar -- actually a small group of mostly marginal scholars -- and by such scholars as John Dominic Crossan, Burton Mack, and Marcus Borg.

"Johnson exposes the Jesus Seminar for what it is: self-promotion resting on tendentious scholarship. This book is a clarion call for a hard look at much of contemporary biblical scholarship. Provocative and clear-headed polemics -- a must read."

Lawrence S. Cunningham, Professor of Theology
University of Notre Dame

"Luke Timothy Johnson calls the bluff of the Jesus Seminar and other purveyors of trendy 'historical Jesus' marketing hype. This timely book offers an engaging account of what serious historical scholarship can -- and cannot -- say about the Jesus of history. Johnson refocuses the debate by posing fundamental questions about the relation between history, tradition, and faith."

Richard B. Hays, Professor of New Testament
Duke Divinity School

"The Jesus of cheap scholarship, the Jesus-as-I-personally-like-to-imagine-him, has been zealously promoted through the past decade like a fizzy new drink. Thank goodness, then, for a cool, clear glass of sober scholarship from Luke Johnson, who clearly exposes the dubious techniques of the Jesus Seminar and reminds us of the limitations of what historians can demonstrate and claim."

Dr. James D. G. Dunn, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity
University of Durham

"Hurrah! At a time when confusion abounds about who the 'real Jesus' is, Johnson sounds a clarion note: The 'real Jesus' is not the reconstructed Jesus of a scholarship become unself-critical, but the Jesus who confronts persons in the texts of the New Testament as the resurrected Lord. A welcome guide to the contemporary discussion of the quest for the historical Jesus!"

Jack Dean Kingsbury, Aubrey Lee Brooks Professor of Biblical Theology
Union Theological Seminary in Virginia


The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus
and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels

Luke Timothy Johnson

HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022

Copyright 1996

ISBN 0=06-064177-0 (cloth)
ISBN 0-06-064166-5 (pbk.)