by Paula Fredriksen
Paula Fredriksen, renowned historian and author of From Christ to Jesus, begins this inquiry into the historic Jesus with a fact that may be the only undisputed thing we know about him: his crucifixion.
Rome reserved this means of execution particularly for political insurrectionists; and the Roman charge posted at the head of the cross indicted Jesus for claiming to be King of the Jews. To reconstruct the Jesus who provoked this punishment, Fredriksen takes us into the religious worlds, Jewish and pagan, of Mediterranean antiquity, through the labyrinth of Galilean and Judean politics, and on into the ancient narratives of Paul's letters, the gospels, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus' histories. The result is a profound contribution both to our understanding of the social and religious contexts within which Jesus of Nazareth moved, and to our appreciation of the mission and message that ended in the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah.