Every year, millions of dollars are spent by taxpayers and church goers paying for research into what Jesus said, what Jesus meant and whether Jesus performed miracles or experienced a miracle by being dead, coming back to life and then swooping up to heaven.
There have been couple of “team efforts” involving many scholars in recent years. The first was the Jesus Seminar in the 1980′s and 1990′s followed by the Jesus Project in 2007 and 2008. The second project was started because some thought the first was too biased toward the view there was no human Jesus. The second project fell apart after a few gatherings.
The idea of both unsuccessful efforts was to look at the Bible along side other information and agree on which parts were historical and which were meant to be metaphorical. The organizer of the second effort wrote an essay concluding it is not possible to have agreement on the Bible’s great issues like the resurrection and second coming because of one big problem. That is the ancient practice of treating as interchangable dreams/visions and actual events. Since the Bible’s authors did not differentiate between them today’s readers cannot know for certain either.
And, of course, there is the disconnect between events those who wrote about them. I read the Jesus Seminar estimated that only fifteen percent of the Bible’s Jesus quotations are accurate.
It appears there will always be a living for hundreds of people in the futile quest to discover the real Jesus.