Recently at one of our Research Seminars in Biblical Studies, I presented a paper on Jesus’ resurrection, my main point being that belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection stimulated earliest interest in the “historical” figure of Jesus. So, as indication of this, note that the intra-canonical Gospels, which all show strong interest in Jesus’ bodily resurrection are also devoted to presenting narrative portraits of Jesus’ ministry. By contrast, in a text such as the Gospel of Thomas, which shows no interest in a bodily resurrection, we also have scant interest in the historical figure of Jesus. Instead, we have a “talking head” Jesus, a strange visitor from another sphere who spouts various cryptic sayings, but about whom otherwise we learn very little.
The lecture was recorded, and colleagues in the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins have put the recording (and a separate recording of the Q&A period that followed the lecture) on the CSCO site: www.cscoedinburgh.wordpress.com.
(Sorry about the sound quality. This is a recording made by one of our students for his own purposes, which he then generously offered to CSCO.)