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Jesus Seminar, the

  1. Alvin J. Schmidt

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0659

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Schmidt, A. J. 2011. Jesus Seminar, the. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


The term “historical Jesus” refers to efforts trying to reconstruct Jesus of Nazareth. Those in this pursuit argue that the four Gospels do not necessarily give an accurate account of the life of Jesus because much of the Gospels present a Christ of faith, not as an historical figure. The search for the historical Jesus has its roots in the writings of men such as the German skeptic Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694–1768) and David Friedrich Strauss (1808–1874). As a disciple of the Enlightenment, a rationalist, and a deist, Reimarus rejected the historicity of the New Testament's four Gospels. And in 1835, Strauss published his book Leben Jesu (The Life of Jesus) in which he rejected all supernatural events and miracles in the four Gospels.


  • reconstructing Jesus of Nazareth;
  • reimarus, rejecting historicity of NT's four gospels;
  • the gospels, recording historically reliable facts