Was there a person by the name of Jesus who lived in Palestine in the first century A.D.? Do the gospels and the letters of the New Testament really attest to the actual existence of a Messiah, or were these documents written by clever propagandists for the faith rather than by objective historians? These and other intriguing questions are explored in "Jesus in History and Myth", which emerged from a powerful symposium held in 1985 under the auspices of the Biblical Criticism Research Project of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER).The Project team, incorporating the work of biblical scholars, historians, archaeologists, and experts in the cognate fields of religious studies, is designed to make available to a wider public the results of the very best biblical criticism and religious studies scholarship. At this critical time, when the study of religion as an academic discipline is threatened by the twin dangers of parochialism and trendiness, the need for a serious and dispassionate review of religious truth-claims, scriptural traditions, and supernatural value systems is greater than ever before.
Gerald A. Larue (1916 -2014) was an American scholar of religion and professor emeritus of gerontology, a former ordained minister who became an agnostic, archeologist, debunker of biblical stories and accounts of miracles, and humanist. He was a professor of biblical history and archaeology at the University of Southern California and later a member of the gerontology faculty. He was on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine from its founding in 1992 to the time of his death.