Q is a collection comprising mostly sayings and parables of Jesus that was used as a source by the authors of both Matthew and Luke. Though the source (German Quelle, thus the name “Q”) is lost, it may be reconstructed in some approximation by comparing the passages shared by Matthew and Luke that are not found in Mark, their other source.


The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of sayings and parables attributed to Jesus organized as a simple list, each item introduced with the words, “Jesus said.” Though its contents overlap those of Q and the synoptic tradition generally speaking, the Gospel of Thomas is not Q, but rather drew on the same oral traditions known to the synoptic authors. The first saying in the collection promises eternal life to anyone who discovers the meaning of the sayings there collected.



Gunther Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960 [German original published 1956]).


Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1948 [German original published 1906]).


H.G. Paulus’s book, Das Leben Jesu (The Life of Jesus), published in 1828, ran to over a thousand pages.


See Marcus Borg, “A Renaissance in Historical Jesus Studies,” Theology Today 45 (1988), pp. 280-292; reprinted in Borg, Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship (Valley Forge: Trinity, 1994), pp. 3-17; see p. 10 (in the reprint edition).


John Meier, A Marginal Jew, vol. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person (New York: Doubleday, 1991), p. 7.


See esp. Richard Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987).


Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew: An Historian’s Reading of the Gospels (London: Collins, 1973).


E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985).


Marcus Borg, “Portraits of Jesus in Contemporary North American Scholarship,” Harvard Theological Review 84 (1991), pp. 1-22; reprinted with “Addendum” in Jesus and Contemporary Scholarship, pp. 18-43; see p. 20 (in the reprint edition).


Martin Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974).


The original idea is perhaps to be credited to the German exegete, Gerd Theissen (in Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978], pp. 14-15; earlier: “Wanderradikalismus: Literarsoziologische Aspekte der Überlieferung von Worten Jesus im Urchristentum,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 70 (1973), pp. 255-256). It has also been pursued vigorously by Gerald Downing (in Christ and the Cynics [Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1988], among other titles) in the U.K. But in American circles it is Burton Mack (A Myth of Innocence [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988], pp. 53-77) who has made the claim stick, amid great controversy.


The best-known examples of Christian/Cynic rapprochement, Peregrinus (second century C.E.) and Maximus (fourth century C.E.) are discussed by D.R. Dudley, A History of Cynicism (London: Methuen, 1937) pp. 170-182 and 203-207, respectively.


Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “The Basileia Vision of Jesus as the Praxis of Inclusive Wholeness,” in In Memory of Her (New York: Crossroad, 1983), pp. 118-130.


Judith Plaskow, “Anti-Judaism in Christian Feminist Interpretation,” in Schüssler Fiorenza, ed., Searching the Scriptures (New York: Crossroad, 1993), vol. 1, pp. 117-129.


Kathleen Corley, Women and the Historical Jesus (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge, 2002).


Most have been introduced to this work by Bruce Malina’s The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology (Louisville: W/JKP, 1981).


Bruce Malina, The Social Gospel of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001).


Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus.


Borg, “A Temperate Case for a Non-Eschatological Jesus,” was published originally in Forum 2 (1981), pp. 81-102; reprinted in Borg, Jesus and Contemporary Scholarship, pp. 47-68.


Stephen J. Patterson, “The End of Apocalypse: Rethinking the Eschatological Jesus,” Theology Today 52 (1995), pp. 29-48; reprinted as ch. 5: “The Empire of God Is Now,” in Patterson, The God of Jesus (Harrisburg: Trinity, 1998), pp. 163-184.


Dale Allison, Jesus of Nazareth, Millenarian Prophet (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998).


Meier, A Marginal Jew.


N.T. Wright, Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 1, The New Testament and the People of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), vol. 2, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), and vol. 3, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003).


Especially, Borg, Jesus, the New Vision (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987), and the more popular Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1994).


The report of the Jesus Seminar came in two volumes: Robert W. Funk and Roy Hoover, eds., The Five Gospels (New York: Macmillan, 1993), and Funk, The Acts of Jesus (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1998).


John Dominic Crossan, The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991); see also Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1993).