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The object of this book is to present in compendious form a sketch of the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, viewed from a purely historical standpoint.
As such a treatment of the matter requires that some explanation of the conditions out of which he arose should be substituted for the
pre-natal legends concerning him, the story of his, race is traced from the dawn of history to the time of his birth. In ordinary manuals on this subject, which are seldom other than summaries of the Scripture record, no account is taken of the foreign influences which from
very early periods so deeply affected the religious development of the Jews, and in according the needful space to these, the first part of this work has run to greater length than was intended, I hope, however, that the abiding
interest which attaches to all that can be
learned concerning that remarkable people will suffice as excuse for this.
The book, which is neither a simple history for children nor an exhaustive treatise, will probably be found of service to those who, unable to follow in detail the methods of modern criticism, are eager to know what it has to offer as a consistent and adequate explanation of the career of Jesus. Moreover, the present work is constructive in its aim, being a serious endeavour to show that reverence for his character and sympathy with his teaching are unaffected by the rejection of the mythical
and speculative elements which have mingled with the narratives of his life, and from which supernatural theories about him have been
Its preparation has involved the reading and consulting of books too numerous and varied to catalogue, but the foot-notes indicate generally the authorities to whom I am under obligation. My indebtedness should, however, be specially acknowledged to Kuenen's great work on the Religion of Israel, and, despite its prolixity, to Keim's Fesus of Nazara, while the material gathered in Hausrath's New Testament Times has been of service in the account given of the circumstances surrounding Jesus. I take advantage of this opportunity to commend to persons interested in the subject Knappert's excellent summary of Kuenen's volumes, and also the more important and often suggestive