The list author says: "The explosion of books about the historical Jesus and how that history does or does not fit the gospel accounts has left us with fascinating insights, theories and a proliferation of Jesuses. Here are some of the highlights from my jaunt through the literature."
"There's no perfect place to start, so I recommend that you jump in with this simple & short work. Wills balances the Jesus of tradition and theology to put forward a Jesus that can't be understood apart from God and society, yet at the same time isn't speaking for YOUR politics and YOUR religion. This Jesus has more to do with social misfits than any mainstream political views."
"This verbal dig through texts and artifacts will introduce you to the historical windows that still allow us to peer into Jesus' world. More valuable for what it introduces than what it concludes about Jesus."
"Simultaneously full of modern religious conviction and a strong distaste for corrupt religious practice, MacArthur sees in Jesus a firebrand with strong words for the allies of empty traditions, self-righteous piety and unorthodox belief."
"The most demanding book I've recommended so far, this thick tome builds a case for the synoptic gospels as genuine histories. The authors take the time to carefully review many of the modern reconstructions of Jesus in the historical Jesus literature, which under their scrutiny are mainly debunked as creative fictions."
"This collection of articles from leading Jewish thinkers brings a modern perspective to discussions of Jesus' Jewishness. Some of the brief but tantalizing pieces open doors to topics that are worthy of a separate volume in their own right."
"This work sits among the favorites of historical Jesus scholarship on all sides. Sanders expressly puts away theological issues and sets his sights on the human side of Jesus. In this approachable book, he works his way to a compelling portrait."
"Father Meier thinks that, even among all this talk about a Jewish Jesus, scholars have yet to really take Jesus' Jewishness seriously. He sees in the literature grounds for a historically viable Jesus for everyone, who was a real Jew in first-century Palestine."
"Another collection of articles, this time centered around the historical concept of "Messiah" (or Greek "ChristÃ³s"). Various writers guide you through Tanakh, Dead Sea Scrolls and New Testament works to argue for different ideas and roles of a Messiah."
"A variety of controversies surround the historical Jesus and the gospel accounts - this book takes a balanced overview and contains some of the best introductory material for those new to New Testament history, the historical context of gospel passages and the close reading of texts. Among my favorites in the genre, but still a slightly demanding read."