In several recent writings,^2 G.A. Wells has explained his position that Jesus may be a historical personage, although an obscure one. He even asserts the possibility that Jesus never existed at all, but that New Testament authors patterned his story after the ancient mystery religions.
A central theme in Wells’ writings is the chronological order of the New Testament books, an arrangement that supposedly reveals much Christological development. Wells delineates four stages, the earliest being Paul’s epistles, all of which were written before AD 60. These are followed by the non-Pauline canonical epistles, then the pastoral epistles and non-canonical writings of Ignatius, with the fourth stage being the Gospels. With the exception of Paul’s epistles, Wells believes that the rest of these books are rather late. He dates the last three stages between AD 70 and 120.