Some years ago I went through a period of reading everything I could get my hands on in the field of contemporary Jesus scholarship. I learned a good deal but was left feeling vaguely unsatisfied...
Observe these interesting signs that contemporary Jesus Movement scholars are backing away from a strict emphasis on a truth/lies distinction in their analysis of the Gospels.
From The First Christmas by Borg and Crossan: "For a moment, we return to the truth of parable and the question of historical factuality. (...) In our judgment, there was no special star, no wise men, and no plot by Herod to kill Jesus. So is the story factually true? No. But as parable, is it true? For us as Christians, the answer is a robust affirmative. Is Jesus light shining in the darkness? Yes. Do the Herods of the world seek to extinguish the light? Yes. Does Jesus still shine in the darkness? Yes."
From The First Christmas, p. 184 (softcover): Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan (pubs. HarperCollins, 2009).
Neil L. Inglis, Editor, TSJ