George Albert Wells

English atheist

1926   -   2017

country of citizenship: United Kingdom
occupation: historian, linguist, university teacher

George Albert Wells (22 May 1926–23 January 2017), usually known as G. A. Wells, was a Professor of German at Birkbeck, University of London. After writing books about famous European intellectuals, such as Johann Gottfried Herder and Franz Grillparzer, he turned to the study of the historicity of Jesus, starting with his book The Jesus of the Early Christians in 1971. He is best known as an advocate of the thesis that Jesus is essentially a mythical rather than a historical figure, a theory that was pioneered by German biblical scholars such as Bruno Bauer and Arthur Drews. Since the late 1990s, Wells said that the hypothetical Q document, which is proposed as a source used in some of the gospels, may "contain a core of reminiscences" of an itinerant Galilean miracle-worker/Cynic-sage type preacher. This new stance has been interpreted as Wells changing his position to accept the existence of a historical Jesus. In 2003 Wells stated that he disagreed with Robert M. Price on the information about Jesus being "all mythical". Wells believes that the Jesus of the gospels is obtained by attributing the supernatural traits of the Pauline epistles to the human preacher of Q.Wells was Chairman of the Rationalist Press Association. He was married and lived in St. Albans, near London. He studied at the University of London and Bern, and holds degrees in German, philosophy, and natural science. He taught German at London University from 1949, and was Professor of German at Birkbeck College from 1968.
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