Augsburg Fortress

The Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form

The Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form

First published in 1987 by Fortress Press, this 20th anniversary edition of this classic bestseller includes a new Afterword from the author. Here, in narrative form, is an account of the activity of Jesus of Nazareth, scrupulously constructed so that it does not undercut the insights of New Testament scholarship. What makes it different from other such attempts is that Jesus never actually appears. What we find everywhere is his shadow, his effect.

Such an approach avoids the usual pitfalls of the genre and lends this story – attributed to a fictitious narrator – an attraction, freshness, and power all its own. Tension and interest are maintained to the end, even for those sated with books about Jesus. Careful documentation in the footnotes shows how much of the narrative is based on ancient sources.

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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800639006
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date May 1, 2007


"An achievement in 'narrative theology,' illuminating the social world of Jesus from rich sources and imaginative reconstruction, Theissen's book combines scholarship and story. The author supplements his fictional creations with letters to a professorial colleague, Dr. Kratzinger, illuminating methodology. The book should be a boon to preachers on the Gospels."
– John Reumann, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia