Luke Clossey

Published On


Page Range

pp. 57–78


  • English

Print Length

22 pages

4. The Many Lives of Jesus

  • Luke Clossey (author)
This chapter examines some of the sources of the Jesus information available in 1400. We begin with the Qur'an, to explain both its special nature and its importance for the Jesus cult. Turning beyond canon, we then consider four unusual kinds of Jesus-related written documents: charters that spoke in legal language, gospel harmonies that blended the four canonical Gospels into a single narrative, a passage from Mirkhvand's paracanonical expansion of the Qur'an, and the Toledot Jesu, a hostile retelling of the Jesus life from a Jewish perspective. These elaborations and elisions of the canonical material reveal the priorities and values of the societies that first created and then repeated them. They also employ a range of approaches, from the poetic and deep-ken recognition that those who choose not to see were literally blind, to the fifteenth-century discovery or manufacture of a first-century Jewish apologetic speaking directly to an imagined audience that thought with the plain ken.


Luke Clossey

Associate Professor of Global History at Simon Fraser University

Luke Clossey is an associate professor of global history at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. His first book, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions (Cambridge UP, 2008), won the Canadian Historical Association's Ferguson Prize for best work of non-Canadian history; a chapter from it won a paper prize from the World History Association. His writings on global religion, the history of ideas, and history methodology have appeared in the Journal of World History, the Journal of Global History, the Journal of Early Modern History, the Sixteenth Century Journal, Global History Review 全球史评 论 , History Compass, the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature, and The Cambridge World History.