Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture
An Encyclopedia
by Leslie Houlden, Editor
December 2003, 984pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-856-3
$175, £135, 153€, A240
eBook Available: 978-1-57607-857-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

As a historical figure, there are no absolutes about Jesus. Each religious tradition, from Catholic to Quaker to Pentecostal to Buddhist, perceives him differently. Scholars have seen him as hero, king, martyr, and rebel. These countless varying images of Jesus have all influenced history, the arts, culture, and social and political thought.

This unique multidisciplinary study views Jesus as one of the most central figures in history with a wide-ranging impact on society, literature, art, and philosophy.

Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture distills 2,000 years of thinking about Jesus into two intriguing volumes. In more than 200 A–Z entries, internationally recognized scholars summarize views of Jesus from the Gospel writers to contemporary theologians. Not only does the book explore Christian liturgy and worship—including the long-lasting 4th- and 5th-century schisms over whether Jesus is human or divine—but it examines the position of Jesus in the traditions of other world religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.

Even outside religion, little has been untouched by Jesus’s influence. Jesus affected social and political theory in his time and continues to do so today. The encyclopedia also explores his changing image in art, sculpture, music, and literature, pulling disparate fields of study into one powerful resource. Scholars, students of theology and world religions, and other interested readers will all welcome this unique resource.


  • Over 200 wide-ranging A–Z entries on the religious and secular influence of Jesus
  • Over 100 contributors, including distinguished international scholars from many religious traditions
  • 80 photos, including key works of devotional art from 2,000 years of religious painting and sculpture
  • Numerous bibliographic references covering a wide variety of writing about Jesus
Leslie Houlden is a fellow and professor emeritus at King's College London, London, England. He is the author of a number of highly regarded works on the subject of Jesus.


Independent Publisher Book Award 2004—Independent Publisher Association, May 20, 2004


"This encyclopedia contains nearly 200 entries, unfolds from the scholarly contributions of more than 100 scholars worldwide, yet fascinates and intrigues like the finest fiction. This is not only a one-stop reference guide to a major figure in culture and history but a monument to the career of its editor Holden, the author of a number of highly regarded works on Jesus . . . Highly recommended for reference collections in both large and small public and academic libraries."—Library Journal, March 15, 2004

"[U]tilizes the expertise of some 100 leading authorities across the globe to clearly articulate the unique position of Jesus Christ in world civilization . . . In its entirety, almost every aspect of the historical Jesus, subsequent theologizing, and cultural interpretation is given a fair and balanced treatment . . . Recommended for academic libraries and large public libraries as well as for appropriate smaller collections."—Booklist, March 15, 2004

"[T]his encyclopedia offers a well planned and well written overview . . . Students, scholars, and lay readers with an interest in the life and impact of Jesus will turn to it repeatedly."—Against the Grain, February 1, 2004

"Recommended. Academic libraries."—Choice, May 1, 2004

"This work is recommended for collections in religious studies and philosophy."—American Reference Books Annual, March 1, 2005
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