Perhaps he was a bit of both. Clearly, his primary association among the canonical Gospels is that of being a traitor, although the "handing over" of Jesus to the authorities is not necessarily to be rendered as a "betrayal" in the Greek.
While the Shroud of Turin will be of little help in the finding of Jesus, personally or historically, the CNN documentary and the book behind it remind us of the problem of Jesus' being relatively lost to recent modern audiences.
Few Christians today have even heard of the Didache, but this text allows us a glimpse into a largely forgotten form of early Christianity, one that stands in rather stark contrast to the Christianity developed by the Apostle Paul some decades after the death of Jesus.
In the Great Commission, he called for the making of disciples -- people who followed a teacher in order to bring about his or her vision of the world. So I say, if you're going to bring them to Jesus, then actually bring them to Jesus!
I often wonder, given sufficient whisky and irony and time: Has there ever been a more delightfully inept, wince-inducing oxymoron in the tortured American lexicon than 'conservative Christian?'
I am almost completely serious.
I love this picture. I've been showing it in my classes for more than a decade. But why in the world would I -- an activist committed to consistent nonviolence -- appreciate a portrayal of Jesus that is blended with Che Guevara?
Allow me to address the common complaint that as a Muslim Aslan has no business writing a Jesus book. Aslan clearly respects and admires Jesus. That some Christians might find his claims unsettling is, well, tough, because Aslan is doing serious intellectual work.
John 20:1-10 is a precious glimpse into a most plausible historical scenario as to what happened after Jesus' death, and why the temporary tomb into which Jesus was placed was indeed empty, before the various theological presentations involving "sightings" of Jesus began to accrue to the story.
The historical trajectory of theological development ending with the Gospels but beginning with the Jesus of history is rather easy to trace and even more recoverable than the Historical Jesus. Perhaps this could tell us something about the real Jesus.
Christian dogma and devotion, as sincere as it might be, robs the mother who bore Jesus of her humanity. The very concept of an asexual "mother of God" is alien and foreign to Jewish culture and to the Hebrew Bible.
"In the Footsteps of Jesus" is the culmination of a very personal 15-year quest for the historical Jesus. I spent part of that time trying to retrace the footsteps of Jesus and those who followed in his wake.
One may well choose to resonate with the concerns of our post-modern despisers of established religion. But surely the best way to promote any such agenda is not to deny what virtually every sane historian on the planet has come to conclude.