Book Series Judaïsme ancien et origines du christianisme, vol. 28

The Many Lives of Jesus

Scholarship, Religion, and the Nineteenth Century Imagination

Cristiana Facchini, Annelies Lannoy (eds)

  • Pages: approx. 330 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60256-1
  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming (Feb/24)


A broad comparative approach to the different national and confessional traditions in scholarship on Jesus


Cristiana Facchini teaches History of Christianity and Religious Studies at the University of Bologna. She has been a Fellow of the Max Weber Centre (Erfurt), and has published extensively on religious history, Jewish history of the early and modern period, Jewish-Christian relations, and Christian anti-Semitism.

Annelies Lannoy is Invited Lecturer at Ghent University and Chercheuse FNS Senior at the Université de Lausanne. She conducts research on Franz Cumont and Alfred Loisy, history of religions, and history of Christianity.


Since the nineteenth century, in many rapidly secularizing Western societies the study of the historical Jesus and early Christianity was at the very core of ongoing attempts to embrace modernity, and to define and develop a new sense of cultural belonging. In many political, religious and academic settings, historical Jesus scholarship was nothing short of a minefield, which brought about polemical strife. Jews, Catholics, Protestants, freethinkers, socialists, nationalists, liberals, in various combinations and degrees, were eager to construct their very own Jesus for both scientific and ideological purposes. The war-zone of scholarship on Jesus and early Christianity offers a fascinating insight into European and American intellectual history.


Introduction (Cristiana Facchini & Annelies Lannoy)

Section 1: Disentangling the Jesus of History from the Christ of Faith
Reimarus’ Dangerous Idea: Launching a Historical Research of Christian Origins in the German Enlightenment (Fernando Bermejo-Rubio)
Betwixt and Between: Fr. Schleiermacher’s and D. Fr. Strauss’s Contributions to the Paradigm of the ‘Historical Jesus’ in Early Nineteenth Century Theology as Prototypes of Post-Enlightenment Christology and Jesus Research (Eckart David Schmidt)

Section 2: The Historical Jesus between Academic Scholarship and Public Debate
‘One Cannot Be a Good Historian and a Good Controversialist at the Same Time’: The Politics of Historiography in Renan’s Histoire des Origines du Christianisme from Jesus to Paul, 1863-1869 (Robert Priest)
An Eastern Story: Claude Reignier Conder and the Oriental Jesus (Michael Ledger-Lomas)

Section 3: Jesus at the Crossroads of Disciplines
Early Christianity in the Framework of Roman Religion: Georg Wissowa (Elisabeth Begemann & Jörg Rüpke)
The Passion as Purim Ritual Sacrifice: Jesus and Comparative Religion in the Dialogue between James G. Frazer and Salomon Reinach (Annelies Lannoy)
The Sociological Gospel of Shailer Mathews (1863–1941) (C. J. T. Talar)

Section 4: The Comparative Jesus in Liberal Theology
‘Religionizing’ History, or ‘Historicizing’ Religion? Johann G. Droysen’s Hellenismus in Wilhelm Bousset’s works on Jesus and Early Christianity (Luca Arcari)
Danish Contributions to the Life of Jesus Literature (Mogens Müller)

Section 5: Cultural Myth Making on Jesus
Enlisting Religion: Franz Overbeck’s Criticism of the Socialist and Nationalist Mythmaking on Jesus and Early Christianity (Emiliano Rubens Urciuoli)
The Historical Jesus at the Battlefield: Scholarship and Politics in Italy, 1900s-1920s (Cristiana Facchini)