Historical Jesus studies is a complex field. Scholars from different camps can create vastly different reconstructions of Jesus as a historical figure, and yet these diverse reconstructions can also overlap in many ways. Nothing is straightforward.
The first three paradigms presented in this series: the Conservative/Orthodox Jesus, the Liberal Jesus, and the Apocalyptic Jesus are, in my opinion, the major options in the field and can at least potentially provide a springboard for your own personal study.
One primary question, I think the primary question, in the field is: What did Jesus mean by “the kingdom of God is at hand”? Your answer to that question will go a long way in determining what camp you fall into.
This is a deeply personal field of study for many, including myself. The conclusion one reaches is not a trivial matter; it has the ability to change the nature of one's faith in a profound way.
Jesus, and the spirit that flows forth from him, has had a monumental impact on human life and thought for over 2,000 years. His impact is ongoing in my own life, and the lives of others, in unique ways, and this impact will continue through time. His Spirit will continue to work, in both orthodox and non-orthodox ways, oblivious to the arguments of the scholars.