The Birth of the Radical Historical Jesus

David Burns

in The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199929504
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315963 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

The Birth of the Radical Historical Jesus

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines how the development of biblical criticism in Europe and criticisms of slavery in America contributed to the creation of the radical historical Jesus. It devotes most of its attention to Ernest Renan and Robert Ingersoll and the premium that each thinker placed on the imagination. The discussion of Renan focuses on his Life of Jesus because the biography provided radical religionists in America with the inspiration and freedom to embellish and expand on the material contained in the Gospels. The exploration of Ingersoll’s thought is more wide-ranging because he was a rational religious activist who created a climate conducive to the growth of the radical historical Jesus by providing support and encouragement to secular-minded religionists and unconventional Christians.

Keywords: Europe; America; slavery; Ernest Renan; Robert Ingersoll; imagination; rational; freedom; secular; Christians

Chapter.  13295 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.