Is Jesus History?

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An exploration of the historicity of Jesus and whether he is relevant today

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What can we really know for sure about the past? Can anything from ancient history be regarded as ‘fact’? In particular, how seriously can we take the historical sources for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth? Did he really even live in first-century Galilee and Judaea, or is he a figure of legend?

In this timely book, historian Dr John Dickson unpacks how the field of history works, giving readers the tools to evaluate for themselves what we can confidently say about figures like the Emperor Tiberius, Alexander the Great, Pontius Pilate, and, of course, Jesus of Nazareth.

He presents the evidence, methods, and conclusions of mainstream scholars—both Christian and not—and asks some pertinent contemporary questions, without offering any pushy answers: If Jesus really did exist, what are we to make of his own claims and those of his followers, and what would any of it mean for us today?

Product details


  • Introduction: Christianity’s Problem
  • 1. History And Reality
  • 2. “Faith” in History
  • 3. How To Make Me Eat My Bible
  • 4. Historical Quests For Jesus
  • 5. Liberal Prophet, Sacrificial Martyr
  • 6. What Alexander The Great Can Teach Us About History
  • 7. Scraps About Jesus
  • 8. Paul: Skeleton Key To Jesus
  • 9. Digging Stuff Up
  • 10. Raised Expectations
  • Epilogue: Is Jesus History?

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Author John Dickson
ISBN 9781784983659
Format Paperback
First published October 2019
Dimensions 129mm x 198mm x 12mm
Print size 11pt
Language English
Pages 160
Publisher The Good Book Company

Sam Allberry

Author and Speaker

John Dickson is one of our most reliable guides today to the historical background of the life of Jesus. He blends the scholarship of an academic with the down-to-earth accessibility of the best of teachers. This book is full of insights; it may well surprise many to know how much the historical record actually shows us about the man who stands at the centre of the faith of over two billion people today.

Alanna Nobbs

Professor Emerita, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney

As we have come to expect from John Dickson, this is a clear, down to earth, and readable historical justification for having faith in the Jesus of History. It is up to date with the latest scholarship but doesn’t blind the reader with unnecessary argument. I highly recommend it.

Dr Amy Orr-Ewing

Director, OCCA The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics

With characteristic clarity and excellence of scholarship John Dickson examines the historical evidences for Jesus. His accessible style and bang up to date sources make this a must read for anyone who is serious about investigating Jesus.

Independent reviews

Who is Jesus?

Alistair Chalmers, Chalmers, November 26th 2019

This question is a very important one for the entire world to ask. The person, identity and work of Jesus is a must for every person to wrestle with. There seems to be a growing misunderstanding of history and the facts that surround the life of Jesus.... continue reading


JONNY IVEY, Heirs Magazine, October 3rd 2019

In his book, Is Jesus History? Dickson doesn’t just aim to share information. Setting the gospels alongside other snippets from that period, he welcomes us into Jesus’ world.... continue reading

Customer reviews



IS JESUS HISTORY? by John Dickson has been shortlisted for the 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.

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Is Jesus History? | John Dickson | $16.99