What matters to me as a seeker is not this stuff per se, but the effects on me, on my path, of the Teachers and the Teachings that are in my path (that are my path?).
But still, as a person with an active brain (“I am Stefan, therefore I think” -- Stefan sum, ergo cogito), I confess this stuff does interest me. What actually happened back then? Who really was there? How do we know? As I have written elsewhere on TZF I am particularly interested in the Judas phenomenon, mostly because the story as it is presented to us in Sunday schools and from pulpits makes no sense at all.
Anyway, here is a brief selection from Price's book that caught my attention the other evening as I was reading before a night's sleep.
But if our goal is that of the historian striving to establish the facts of Jesus and Christian origins, we must admit there is precious little help for us in the Gospels. Among our pathmarks are Mark 12:35-37, which repudiates the Davidic descent of the Messiah. If Jesus was thought to have ever said that, then we can dismiss Matthew's and Luke's genealogies tracing Jesus back to David. If Jesus was thought to have spoken the words of Mark 8:11-12, “I tell you, no sign shall be given to this generation,” then we must reject all the stories in which he does supply miracles. If, as Rom. 1:4, Acts 2:36, 3:26 preserve, Christians once believed Jesus had become the Messiah as of his resurrection, then all passages that have him claiming messiahship during his ministry must be judged spurious. If Mark 16:1-8 rules out any resurrection appearances (had there been any resurrection appearances circulating in Mark's time, he would have used them), then the embellishments of Matthew, John, and Luke cannot be accepted. If Jesus was believed to have renounced all apocalyptic speculation (“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,” Luke 17:20), then the Olivet Discourse is someone else's. If the coast was clear even to pretend that Jesus said, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and set foot in no village of the Samaritans” (Matt. 10:5), then how can we credit the parable of the Good Samaritan to the historical Jesus? If the earliest known version of resurrection faith had Jesus raised as a spirit (1 Cor. 15:45, 50), then all the gospel tales of his physical resurrection must be dismissed.