Barrie Wilson, PhD

scholar, educator, author, speaker.

Barrie Wilson

How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson

Barrie speaks about his book:


Searching for the Messiah by Barrie Wilson


SEARCHING FOR THE MESSIAH is an historical analysis of the concept of the messiah, from Bible to Batman with many stops along the way:

  • Why is King David, an adulterer and murderer, the prototypical messiah?
  • What must a person do to be a 'messiah'?
  • Was Jesus indeed the messiah?
  • Why did Jesus reject messiah-talk?
  • Is Paul's Christ figure the same as a messiah?
  • Why do people today yearn for political saviors?
  • Why are superhero saviors so prevalent in contemporary pop culture?

Special Feature

A neglected ancient writing from the 1st century BCE (BC) tells us clearly what Jews meant by ‘messiah’. Dubbed by scholars “The Psalms of Solomon,” this critical work gives us the “job description” of such a person. It’s a fascinating analysis written by a devout Jew in Jerusalem just before the birth of Jesus.



The US Publishers Weekly Writes ...

" [Wilson] works through a careful, close reading of Hebrew scripture to explore how the idea of a messiah – an anointed leader with fairly specific characteristics – came about through the anointing of Hebrew kings and priests. In one of the meatiest sections, he examines how messiahship became a global rather than a local concept before ending with a discussion of modern messiah figures: superheroes. Historians and lay readers alike will appreciate Wilson's ingenuity and deep scholarship."


What International Scholars Are Saying

Wilson recruits his wide-ranging knowledge of Christianity, its textual and historical sources, and admirable writing skills to lead us to a surprising conclusion. Through his analysis of the supposedly messianic biblical figures, showing they are just powerful political charismatic human beings; his engagement with the earthly King-Messiah in the Psalms of Solomon; his analysis of Peter’s claim that Jesus is “the Messiah;” as well as his discussion of modern political saviors and film super-heroes, he carries us to the book’s thought-provoking final sermon, calling each one of us to do good in creating a better world as an expression of our messianic being. This is the importance and relevance of the book. Especially now!”

-- Rivka Nir, PhD, Dept. of History, Philosophy and Judaic Studies, The Open University of Israel, Ra’anana, Israel. Author, The First Christian Believer: In Search of John the Baptist (2019).

Brimming with sharp insights, Barrie Wilson explores the philosophical and cultural differences between Messiahs as understood by first century Jews, apocalyptic saviors such as Jesus, modern demagogues, political cults, and fictional superheroes. The savior syndrome, he argues, has led to a modern world starting to spiral out of control. Is there a modern Messiah who can rise above the politics and turn things around? His answer might surprise you.”

-- Gary Greenberg, JD, author of The Judas Brief and The Case for a Proto-Gospel: Recovering the common written source behind Mark and John.

The book challenges us to think critically about what it means to be a messiah, how we would identify one should one appear. Wilson’s use of biblical evidence flows naturally and offers a comprehensive perspective of messianic expectations and demands. His cultural and temporal depictions are detailed and enjoyable. Of especial interest are the number of female saviors he identifies along the way, Esther, Judith and Wonder Woman among them. This work is full of insights, well written and serious readers will come away with a better understanding of who is – and who is not – a messiah. The ending is surprising…and shocking!”

-- Carla Ionescu, PhD, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario