Russell Shorto

Gospel Truth

The modern era of inquiry into the historical Jesus–that is, the first century Palestinian Jew as opposed to the second person of the Christian trinity–centered on a wealth of scholarly books that were published in the 1980s and 1990s.  I wrote an article in GQ about the work of the Jesus Seminar, which I then expanded into this, my first book.  I realized that erudite scholars of every persuasion tended to come up with a portrait of Jesus that mirrors their own beliefs and proclivities. So my idea was to do a journalistic composite portrait, examining the Jesuses of major figures across the spectrum, and see where the circles intersected.  This, then, could be considered the more or less undisputed image of the historical Jesus.

“Russell Shorto does a crackerjack job of summing up the latest research on the historical Jesus. Without taking sides, Shorto draws a fascinating picture of Jesus the man by approaching the topic from all available angles”

“A captivating book…It adds mightily to the task of bringing the Jesus search out of the academy and planting it on Main Street” — Bishop John Shelby Spong

“An up-to-date survey and smart lay analysis”  Time

“Shorto brings together results from the study of archaeological finds, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the extra-canonical gospels to show a Jesus stripped of the unhistorical. Shorto’s skills as a journalist are evident in this well-written book. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal


About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar