Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 1, Ch. 2, Jesus Christ” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1479-2858).
§14. “Sources and Literature” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1479).Jesus’ life is recorded by multiple authors. Schaff discounts some apocryphal records but affirms the canonical Gospels which, he says, “exhibit essentially the same divine-human life and character of Christ, which stand out in sharp contrast with the fictitious Christ of the Apocryphal Gospels” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1484). The Acts, the Apostolic Epistles, and John’s Apocalypse confirm the same view of Jesus (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1488). Schaff goes on to list numerous apocryphal Gospels which seem almost intended to mock the earlier accounts. Schaff also observes that Jewish writings, including Josephus, provide a picture of life very similar to that of the New Testament (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1517). He goes on to discuss the authenticity of the Josephus account of Jesus. Additionally, Schaff cites secular Roman testimonies (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1570). As usual, Schaff provides a wealth of bibliographic references. Schaff moves on to some theological discussion of Jesus as the culmination of God’s revelation (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1689), discussing his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection in almost sermonic style.
§16. “Chronology of the Life of Christ” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1855). Schaff places Jesus’ birth on December 25, probably as early as B.C. 4 (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1858). He discusses at length the political history around Herod as well as astronomical data which could date the work of the Magi. The account of Luke 3 and the dating of entry into ministry is also consistent with this view of birth (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1960). This places the completion of the temple in Jerusalem as a current event when Jesus discusses its completion. The birth in December also bears discussion (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2033). Schaff here seems undecided counter to his earlier statements. As to the duration of Jesus, ministry Schaff considers it at least two years and probably not four in duration (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2084). The death of Christ was on Friday, either the 14th or 15th of Nisan. While the Synoptics point to the 15th, John may point to the 14th (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2098). This leads to the year 30 or 33.
§17. “The Land and the People” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2115). Schaff considers the New Testament account to be borne out by historical considerations. The places and people are consistent with what we now know of the time and culture. Schaff writes a brief guide to the places and life in New Testament Palestine. Schaff then moves to discuss the schools of Hebraic thought under the rabbis Hillel and Shammai (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2317).
§18. “Apocryphal Traditions” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2476). Schaff surveys the legendary acts and sayings of Jesus from outside the canonical Gospels. He continues to give many bibliographic references.
§19. “The Resurrection of Christ” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 2679). The Resurrection is a central tenet of Christianity. Without his death and resurrection we do not have the Christian faith. Schaff discusses contrary views and concludes that a real resurrection is the only valid option.