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"The primary purpose of this book is neither faith nor history. It can be read and is designed to be read without faith. Nothing about Jesus will be presupposed or assumed. The reader is invited to take a serious and honest look at a man who lived in first-century Palestine and to try to see him through the eyes of his contemporaries. My interest is in the man as he was before he became the object of Christian faith.

"Faith in Jesus is not our starting-point, but it will be, I hope, our conclusion. However, this does not mean that the book was written for the apologetic purpose of defending the Christian faith. No attempt has been made to save Jesus or the Christian faith. Jesus does not need me or anyone else to save him. He can look after himself, because the truth can look after itself. If our search for the truth leads us to faith in Jesus, then it will not be because we have tried to save this faith at all costs, but because we have rediscovered it as the only way in which we can be "saved" or liberated. Only the truth can make us free (Jn 8:32).

"We will be searching for the historical truth about Jesus, but even this is not our primary purpose. The method is historical, but the purpose is not. Despite the onsistent use of strict historical criticism and methods of research, our interest is not the academic pursuit of history for the sake of history.

"This book has an urgent and practical purpose. I am concerned about people, the daily sufferings of so many millions of people, and the prospect of much greater suffering in the near future. My purpose is to find out what can be done about it." - from the Introduction.

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