Audience in Historical Jesus Research

The Cases of Wright and Crossan

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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  • 1 Department of Communication Studies, University of Minnesota, Brooklyn, NY, USA,
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Scholars writing within the historical Jesus research paradigm often write different books on the same topic: heavy tomes for other scholars and shorter books on the same subject for lay readers. While the scholarly works have been reviewed by other scholars, the books for lay readers have not. This article analyzes works on the historical Jesus for lay readers authored by N.T. Wright and John Dominic Crossan, comparing the popular works to the scholarly ones. The analyses show that in Wright’s case the ontological norms of historical Jesus research are consistently compromised in his work for a lay audience (Simply Jesus). In Crossan’s case, the voice of the dispassionate scholar yields to the passionate denunciator in his popular Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography.

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