[ch 4. concerns the New Testament. It is more than 2x as long as the chaps on jew-hostiles and pagans talking about Jesus. So, most of the 'evidence,' if you want to call it that, for what we know about Jesus comes from his fan club.]
Professional scholars approach the New Testament as they would any other first century text. They do not treat it as the Word of God, as the Christian Church does, but they do accord it the status of a valuable historical text. p. 34
t is no exaggeration to say that historians...universally regard the New Testament writings as the earliest,most plentiful and most reliable sources of information about the Jesus of history. p. 34
[To me, this is more good reason to believe Jesus didn't exist: he was barely mentioned by anyone who wasn't a christian. Enemies and neutrals barely took notice of him, and that mostly dismissive. They didn't agree on details about him, evidently because either they were mixing stories/people or they just flat didn't care because it didn't matter. Fictional or footnote, I'm not sure which Jesus was, although I lean to the former, but the bottom line is it doesn't matter. Apart from his cult's warping a section of our race's mind, Jesus is irrelevant to our concerns.]
...[T]he New Testament is not a single source at all; it is a collection of sources. [. . .] In historical research...the New Testament is analyzed as a compilation of independent traditions with common convictions about Jesus of Nazareth. Christians need to remember that, although our sacred documents were composed and circulated in the first century, they were not brought together into a single volume...until the fourth century. p. 35
Last edited by Alex Linder; September 8th, 2010 at 04:46 PM.