Jesus of Nazareth - divine and personal saviour of evangelical piety; radical social critic; philosopher of wise words; founder of the world’s greatest religion; or all-embracing welcomer of those who do not conform? The Jesus of history saw himself as none of these. This book demonstrates that Jesus must be understood within the context of first century Judaism. In particular, three factors shaped the historical Jesus: John the Baptist and his conviction that Israel’s God was about to intervene in history; Jesus’ early contacts with village based Essene communities; and his own eventual conviction that God had commissioned him to a central role in the unfolding destiny of Israel. Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Enigmatic Jew, shaped by his environment, but ultimately fitting into no neat categories.