U. Schnelle on North American Jesus Research

In some streams of North American Jesus research there was and is a clear tendency to promote real or postulated extra canonical tradition to a rank prior or parallel to the Jesus tradition of the Synoptics and the Johannine writings (H. Koester; J. M. Robinson; J. D. Crossan; B. L. Mack). The goal of such constructions is clearly to break the hold of the canonical gospels and to establish an alternative picture of Jesus based on other interpretations of the tradition. To do this, frequent use is made of the lust for sensationalism (Jesus and women; homosexual love; Jesus as prototype of alternative lifestyles; non theological, undogmatic beginnings of Christianity). Mere supposition and unproven postulates are asserted as stimulants for a debate intended to have public effects. Such constructions do not stand up to historical criticism, for neither the existence of a Secret Gospel of Mark nor a Signs Source can be made probable, and the Gospel of Thomas belongs to the second century.

Schnelle, U. (2009) Theology of the New Testament. Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, p. 65.