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The plan of the Jesus Handbook came about through five phases of development. It began as an idea of arranging a conference (first phase). The conference would have discussed the various methodological approaches to the historical Jesus employed in research; for it is methodology where differences in understanding the historical figure of Jesus begin to flourish. After some consideration, the idea of gathering the leading historical Jesus scholars physically together was abandoned and a publication was drafted instead (second phase). The original idea materialized in another form in the first part of the first volume of the Handbook, where the contributors were all given one and the same task: to lay out their approach to the historical Jesus question. To couple this somewhat tautological task, originally planned to comprise one volume, another volume was outlined where different themes of methodology would be assigned to a group of people with particular expertise in them (third phase). After this, there was a sketch of a methodological enterprise of a considerable calibre, and balancing it with treatments illuminating even some other perspectives began to look something like a good idea. The methodological articles where then all incorporated  in one volume, and two further volumes, focusing on historical Jesus research and on the historical Jesus respectively, were added to the scheme (fourth phase). Finally, a fourth volume involving unsorted essays on the historical Jesus came along (fifth phase).