John Dickson

Australian writer, speaker, and academic. Public advocate for the Christian Faith



A Doubter's Guide to Jesus is an introduction to the major portraits of Jesus found in the earliest historical sources. Portraits because our best information points not to a tidy, monolithic Jesus, but to a complex, multi-layered and, at times, contradictory figure. While some might be troubled by this, fearing that plurality equals incomprehensibility or unreliability, others take it as an invitation to do some rearranging for themselves, trying to make Jesus neater, more systematic and digestible.

After two millennia of spiritual devotion and more than two centuries of modern critical research, we still cannot fit Jesus into a box. He is destined to stretch our imaginations, confront our beliefs, and challenge our lifestyles for many years to come. 

In A Doubter's Guide to Jesus readers will find themselves both disturbed and intrigued by the images of Jesus found in the first sources.

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The only biblical laws to be “written with the finger of God,” the Ten Commandments are perhaps one of the most well-known and vexed verses of the whole Bible. They have found their way into our art, monuments, literature, and culture—even into Richard Dawkins famed “Ten Atheist Commandments.” 

In A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments, John Dickson explores how these ten ancient instructions have not only changed our world but show us what the Good Life looks like as well. Whether or not one believes in the Bible, these instructions open up a window to the Western world and on our own souls. 

Skeptics and believers alike will find fresh insights and new topics of discussion, and, quite possibly, renewed bones of contention as they take a deeper look at the Ten Commandments that have helped shape our world.

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John Dickson provides a readable guide to the main themes in the Bible, and suggests that the whole of the Bible as an account of God’s promise to restore humanity to himself, to restore humanity to one another and to creation. Dickson offers believers and skeptics keen insight into why the Bible continues to be a life-changing and best-selling book. 

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Speaker and historian John Dickson shows how the virtue of humility was an important character trait for the “greats” of history and figures prominently in the findings of psychology and sociology.

Developing humility can transform your personal relationships and professional dealings.

Read the Introduction to ‘Humilitas‘ (pdf)

Find in the Amazon on-line store in English and Spanish

Investigating Jesus: A Historians Quest


How much can we really know about Jesus of Nazareth? How reliable are the Gospels and other sources and how widely have historians and theologians agreed on them? And how much does the historical record really matter?
In this popular illustrated book, Australian scholar and TV documentary presenter, John Dickson, sets out to answer these questions. By reviewing ancient evidence, interviewing leading experts and setting out a robust historical method, he establishes clearly the reliability or unreliability of different sources, interpretations and arguments. Christianity prides itself on being a historical religion. John Dickson subjects this to very close scrutiny and shows both how vital this is and yet how different Jesus was from the way he is so often portrayed today.

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Jesus: a Short Life


Rooted in scholarship and the Gospels, this straightforward account of Jesus draws upon reliable sources and dispels conspiracy theories as well as unfounded evidence to reveal the true man.

The mists of speculation and fantasy surrounding each of the topics addressed—which include the historicity of the New Testament; Jesus’ birth and family; and his teachings, miracles, death, resurrection, and subsequent appearances—are cleared away, revealing the founder of Christianity in sharp focus.

The closing chapters also address the impact of Jesus’ teaching and life on Christianity today. Beautifully illustrated with some of the best-loved images of Christ, this is a reliable and readable biography.

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Life of Jesus: who he is and why he matters

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What really happened back in the first century, in Jerusalem and around the Sea of Galilee, that changed the shape of world history? Who is this figure that emerges from history to have a profound impact on culture, ethics, politics, and philosophy? Join historian John Dickson on this journey through the life of Jesus.
This book, which features a self-contained discussion guide for use with the Life of Jesus DVD, will help you and your friends dig deeper into what is known about Jesus' life and why it matters.

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The Christ Files: how historians know what they know about Jesus

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Uniquely among the world’s religions, the central claims of Christianity concern tangible historical events.  In this book, writing as a historian, John highlights sources and historical methods used to study Christianity’s claims. He shows how historians assess the reliability of available data, and provides an honest and informed perspective on where historical issues are clear-cut and where personal faith comes into play.

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Hearing her Voice: a biblical INVITATION for women to preach

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"This provocative book challenges an understanding of Paul on women’s ministry that many have long thought to be beyond question. But historical cross-examination confirms Dickson’s case in a way that makes appropriate a rethinking of practice."  J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College

 "The testimony of this gifted expositor convincingly discloses the lost meaning of Paul’s “teaching”. "   Edwin Judge, Emeritus Professor of History, Macquarie University.

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Read John Dickson's reply to a major published criticism of his book.  

A Spectator's Guide to World Religions: An introduction to the ‘big five’

The award-winning volume outlining the history and beliefs of the world’s five major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Designed for believers and sceptics alike, this book urges readers to confront the similarities and differences between the great faiths and to work for greater understanding and compassion among all.

Read a sample Chapters 1-3 (pdf)

Find in the CEP on-line store

If I Were God, I’d End all the Pain: Struggling with Evil, Suffering and Faith

No question has plagued the minds of thinking men and women more than the problem of pain: if there is a Creator, how could so much evil and suffering exist? While freely acknowledging the limitations of philosophy, science and religion to provide ultimate answers, John tentatively points to some ancient ideas that have provided a comfort to millions throughout history.Read an

Read an excerpt (pdf)

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If I Were God, I’d Make Myself Clearer
searching for clarity in a world full of claims

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In this book, John Dickson considers the vast array of spiritual claims made by different religions and individuals and asks whether any clarity can be found. Written from a Christian perspective, this books struggles honestly with a dilemma facing ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’ alike: With so many religions on offer, can one of them be considered true? Or are they different paths up the same spiritual mountain? And how can any one person sort their way through the maze of claims?

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A Sneaking Suspicion

A Sneaking Suspicion is a book about things that matter – life, death, relationships, sex, science, fashion, meaning and the quest for God. We all have a hunch, a sneaking suspicion, there is more to life than meets the eye. Here, Dickson tries to put into words things we often contemplate but rarely discuss in public.

Read an excerpt (pdf)

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Hanging in There

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Hanging in there is a book about God, you, the Bible, prayer, church, relationships, sex, feelings, doubts, love and, above all, ‘hanging in there’ as a Christian. Updated in January 2019.

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Simply Christianity: a modern guide to the ancient faith

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One of the reasons people sometimes avoid looking into Christianity is the there are so many versions on offer, each with its own spin on things, its own rituals and practices, its own religious package.

But just imagine we were able to get beyond this - to strip back all the rituals, myths and dogma; to put to one side the hair-splitting and disagreements; to get beyond all the trappings of 'religion' - what would we find? If we were to go back to Jesus himself, to the biographies about him contained in the New Testament, what would we discover Christianity to be about?
That is the project of this book. It aims to present simply Christianity, by reading and reflecting upon the ancient biography of Jesus written by Luke.

Read a chapter (pdf) 

Find in the Matthias Media (Australia) or  Mathias Media (USA) on-line store



This practical guide to the biblical art of sharing your faith offers refreshing insight into the many ways, spoken and silent, that all Christians can be involved in spreading the good news about Jesus.

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Mission-Commitment in Ancient Judaism and in the Pauline Communities

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This is the published version of John’s doctoral dissertation and offers a wide-ranging historical and philological examination of Second Temple Jewish literature and the epistles of St Paul. It contributes to the vexing historical question, How did early Christianity spread throughout the early Roman empire?

Read the Introduction (pdf), Chapter 1 Winning the Gentiles (pdf), Chapter 2 Promoting the Torah (pdf)

Read an academic review (pdf) in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament.

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Click here for more information about the rest of John's books, his DVDs, and where to purchase them.