Mary Evans Picture Library, London

David Friedrich Strauss (1808–1874)—a tutor in theology and philosophy at the University of Tübingen, in Germany—published in 1835 his massive Life of Jesus, in which he rejected both supernatural and rationalistic explanations of Jesus’ miracles. Instead he argued that the stories were mythical narratives created by Jesus’ followers. The public outcry against his book cost Strauss his academic career.