Since I published my historical Jesus novel, "The Dead Sea Gospel," I have met with several local groups to discuss it and I’m discovering that there are many who feel a hunger to find out more about the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, there seems to be a need to form what I would call “Jeshuan study groups” both within and outside of churches.

What is a Jeshuan? (Don't look for that word in any dictionary — it’s my own coinage.) A Jeshuan can be anyone interested in honestly studying Jesus (Jeshua, Yeshua) using the best historical research methods available.

That’s all it takes to be a Jeshuan — that kind of interest in Jesus!

Can a Jeshuan be a Christian? Yes. Must a Jeshuan be a Christian? No. A Jeshuan can be a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, or a member of any of the world’s other great religions. Jeshuans may also include skeptics, agnostics, and atheists, as long as they are willing to engage with other Jeshuans in polite discussions regarding honest research.

Some Jeshuans may have strong anti-Christian or anti-church feelings. Some may be convinced that Jesus never even existed. Others may be firm Christian believers. All opinions should be welcome in Jeshuan discussion groups, as long as honest, objective scholarship is civilly pursued.

If you are interested in participating in such a group, I have scheduled an open meeting titled “The Exciting Search for the Historical Jesus” at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Bloomington Public Library, 205 E. Olive St., Bloomington, in the Community Room (lower level).

In these turbulent, uncertain times, questioning minds are seeking clearer insights into the historical realities concerning Jesus. Although historical study can be challenging, it may also be intensely exciting and rewarding.

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Boswell is a retired pastor of the Disciples of Christ. Contact him at jamezbozwel@aol.com. Details about his book are at www.TheDeadSeaGospel.com


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