As a Paul researcher, I am bewildered and intimidated by ‘Jesus’ research. Where do I begin? What is the lay of the land? It would take many years to answer the second question sufficiently, but I found a book that might be a good place to start. Actually, it is not out yet (forthcoming Oct. 2009; IVP). I am excited to see it, though:
The Historical Jesus: Five Views.
Who might be good representatives of five different views? IVP did a great job getting leading scholars: Robert Price, John Dominic Crossan, Luke Timothy Johnson, James D.G. Dunn, and Darrell Bock. My only wish would have been if the good bishop had thrown in his own two cents. But these five will do!
What are the views? I don’t know! But, according to the table of contents:
Price: Jesus at the Vanishing Point
JD Crossan: Jesus and the Challenge of Collaborative Eschatology
LTJ: Learning the Human Jesus: Historical Criticism and Literary Criticism
Dunn: Remembering Jesus: How the Quest of the HJ Lost its Way
Bock: The Historical Jesus: An Evangelical View
It seems that this book takes the format of the famous Zondervan Counterpoint series with pitches from the representatives and immediate responses per chapter.
Without having actually read it, assuming it is clear and accessible, I think this would be a good textbook for a Jesus course. We will see!