11 episodes

Who was the historical Jesus of Nazareth? What did he actually say and do, as contrasted with what early Christians (e.g., Paul and the Gospel writers) believed that he said and did? What did the man Jesus actually think of himself and of his mission, as contrasted with the messianic and even divine claims that the New Testament makes about him? In short, what are the differences—and continuities—between the Jesus who lived and died in history and the Christ who lives on in believers’ faith?



Over the last four decades historical scholarship on Jesus and his times—whether conducted by Jews, Christians, or non-believers—has arrived at a strong consensus about what this undeniably historical figure (born ca. 4 BCE, died ca. 30 CE) said and did, and how he presented himself and his message to his Jewish audience. Often that historical evidence about Jesus does not easily dovetail with the traditional doctrines of Christianity. How then might one adjudicate those conflicting claims?


This is a course about history, not about faith or theology. It will examine the best available literary and historical evidence about Jesus and his times and will discuss methodologies for interpreting that evidence, in order to help participants make their own judgments and draw their own conclusions.


Presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.



Released with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.

Historical Jesus Stanford

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.2 • 14 Ratings

Who was the historical Jesus of Nazareth? What did he actually say and do, as contrasted with what early Christians (e.g., Paul and the Gospel writers) believed that he said and did? What did the man Jesus actually think of himself and of his mission, as contrasted with the messianic and even divine claims that the New Testament makes about him? In short, what are the differences—and continuities—between the Jesus who lived and died in history and the Christ who lives on in believers’ faith?



Over the last four decades historical scholarship on Jesus and his times—whether conducted by Jews, Christians, or non-believers—has arrived at a strong consensus about what this undeniably historical figure (born ca. 4 BCE, died ca. 30 CE) said and did, and how he presented himself and his message to his Jewish audience. Often that historical evidence about Jesus does not easily dovetail with the traditional doctrines of Christianity. How then might one adjudicate those conflicting claims?


This is a course about history, not about faith or theology. It will examine the best available literary and historical evidence about Jesus and his times and will discuss methodologies for interpreting that evidence, in order to help participants make their own judgments and draw their own conclusions.


Presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.



Released with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.

    Call Me Yeshua

    Call Me Yeshua

    Opening lecture of Thomas Sheehan's Continuing Studies course, The Historical Jesus.

    • 6 sec
    Kingdom and Catastrophe

    Kingdom and Catastrophe

    A history of Israel.

    • 5 sec
    Left Behind

    Left Behind

    The first century of Christianity.

    • 5 sec
    "Pealing" the Onion

    "Pealing" the Onion

    From the Gospels and Paul back to Yeshua.

    • 5 sec
    Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now

    From the Baptist to the Kingdom.

    • 5 sec
    Words and Wonders

    Words and Wonders

    The ways of a prophet.

    • 6 sec

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Anlondubh ,

Fascinating investigation

If you like early history then this is well worth a listen, as the impact of Judaism and Christianity has been immense on the course of western civilisation. The lecturer evaluates what is known of the life of Jesus (or Yeshua to his friends) using a scientific historical approach ( well, mainly!). As religious belief is something that is very important to many people be aware that if you hold your beliefs very surely, aspects of this series may be upsetting.

Patzi ,

Historical Jesus

Having listened to these lectures several times since I found them online, I can only say I wish I had discovered them at the beginning of my Theology Course! They were brilliant.

davehodgkins ,

love life love this

Great series. enjoyed every minute

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