While accepting a historical Jesus, the scholarship also tends to suggest that the search for him is a little like the search for the historical Sherlock Holmes: there were intellectual-minded detectives around, and Conan Doyle had one in mind in the eighteen-eighties, but the really interesting bits — Watson, Irene Adler, Moriarty, and the Reichenbach Falls — were, even if they all had remote real-life sources, shaped by the needs of storytelling, not by traces of truth. Holmes dies because heroes must, and returns from the dead, like Jesus, because the audience demanded it.
From Adam Gopnik's essay What Did Jesus Do? Reading and unreading the Gospels in The New Yorker.
Spotted at TaborBlog.