THE JESUS BLOG: Richard Bauckham Responds.
For background see my earlier post: Eyewitness accounts. A couple of other past posts that seem relevant to the discussion are here and here.
My view at present? The Gospels may well reflect a large amount of eyewitness testimony, although, as I have said before, I am happier drawing generalizations from them than relying on any specific story as historical. Jesus was a healer and an exorcist who taught about the Kingdom of God and perhaps about the Son of Man — not to say that it is particularly clear what he meant about either subject. Also, he was reputed to have had a special, divinely attended birth and some of his disciples reported that he remained in contact with them after his death. I accept that something like this account of him probably goes back to his lifetime and the lifetimes of his closest followers. That said, what these eyewitnesses experienced was embedded in a cultural framework very, indeed nearly unimaginably, different from ours. For them, Jesus was an intermediary with the divine and did the things such intermediaries do. If we obtained time-travel 3-D stereophonic videos of the events, they might look rather different to us.
Some more or less relevant past posts concerning or touching on the historical Jesus are here, here, here, here, here, and here.
UPDATE: I should add that my view as summarized above is much influenced by Pieter Craffert's book The Life of a Galilean Shaman (Cascade/Matrix, 2008).