Jesus' life and teaching is important to every question we ask about what we believe and why we believe it. And yet there has never been common agreement about his identity, intentions, or teachings—even among first-century historians and scholars. Throughout history, different religious and philosophical traditions have attempted to claim Jesus and paint him in the cultural narratives of their heritage, creating a labyrinth of conflicting ideas.

From the evolution of orthodoxy and quests before Albert Schweitzer's famous “Old Quest,” to today's ongoing questions about criteria, methods, and sources, A History of the Quests for the Historical Jesus not only chronicles the developments but lays the groundwork for the way forward.

The late Colin Brown brings his scholarly prowess in both theology and biblical studies to bear on the subject, assessing not only the historical and exegetical nuts and bolts of the debate about Jesus of Nazareth but also its philosophical, sociological, and theological underpinnings. Instead of seeking a bedrock of “facts,” Brown stresses the role of hermeneutics in formulating questions and seeking answers.

Colin Brown was almost finished with the manuscript at the time of his passing in 2019. Brought to its final form by Craig A. Evans, this book promises to become the definitive history and assessment of the quests for the historical Jesus.

  • Volume One covers the period from the beginnings of Christianity to the end of World War II.
  • Volume Two covers the period from the post-War era through contemporary debates.

A History of the Quests for the Historical Jesus: Two-Volume Set: Brown, Colin, Evans, Craig A.: 9780310155560: Books

“Not since the grand survey of Albert Schweitzer at the beginning of the twentieth century have we seen—especially in English—such a vast review of academic (and at times popular) literature on the historical Jesus.”

—John P. Meier, University of Notre Dame

“In this comprehensive two-volume study, the late Colin Brown brings together the rich fruits of his lifelong studies on Jesus in Christian theology. . . . For future Jesus research, this thorough study is an indispensable tool.”

—Jens Schröter, Humboldt University