It is widely recognized by New Testament scholars that many of the sayings and actions attributed to Jesus in the gospels cannot be factually traced to him. The gospels, written many decades after the death of Jesus, are composites of hearsay, legends, and theological interpolations, reflecting the hopes and beliefs of the early Christian community more than the actual teachings of the Galilean prophet.
Despite these difficulties, Gerd Lüdemann shows in this fascinating analysis of early Christian documents that the tools of historical research can succeed in reaching at least a close approximation of some of the original words and deeds of Jesus. Unique in its comprehensiveness, Jesus After 2000 Years covers the canonical gospels, as well as the more recently discovered Gospel of Thomas and apocryphal Jesus traditions. Lüdemann concludes with a short life of Jesus in which he pieces together in narrative form what can be known about Jesus based on the historical evidence. Also included is an index of all authentic sayings and actions of Jesus. For all those with an interest in Christian origins, this volume is an invaluable resource.