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The Human Christ

The Search for the Historical Jesus


Charlotte Allen (View Bio)
Hardcover: Free Press, 1998.

The Human Christ

Efforts to uncover the real Christ — the man Jesus without divine attributes — began during the Enlightenment and have never ceased. Our obsession with locating the man in God, and the God in man, speaks volumes about ourselves. This rigorous, engaging, and beautifully written history definitively examines the many portrayals of Christ over the last several hundred years of popular and theological historicizing. Ms. Allen examines the motives and the historical context of each of the chroniclers and theologians — from Albert Schweitzer to contemporary members of the Jesus Seminar.

Anne Rice gives high praise to Charlotte Allen's The Human Christ in her novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.

"She has provided the most comprehensive one-volume history of the quest for the historical Jesus that is available in English." — Christian Century

"It is a remarkable book.... Charlotte Allen controls an enormous amount of learning and she displays great understanding of the nuances and the many opinions in modern thought in the last few centuries." — Arthur Hertzberg

"For more than 250 years, Western intellectuals from Spinoza to Mailer have been demonstrating their brilliance by describing the Jesus hidden behind Christian dogma. [Allen] demonstrates that those who would rescue Jesus from myth have merely delivered him up to the latest short-lived orthodoxy — deism or anticlericalism in the eighteenth century; nationalism or liberalism in the nineteenth; Marxism or feminism in the twentieth. Although Jesus's biographers have often invoked modern science as justification for their rejection of the supernatural, Allen exposes quite unscientific biases guiding their biographical methods. [She] writes with a breadth of perspective and a clarity of style that will be applauded.... A shrewd and reliable critique of more than 300 years of religious controversy." — Booklist

"Fast-paced and entertaining.... Allen writes cleanly and simply.... THE HUMAN CHRIST offers superb intellectual entertainment.... Once I started, I couldn't stop reading." — Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

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