Just saw this in The Atlantic Online - What Do Men Say That I Am? by Cullen Murphy:
"This is one of the most resonant questions in the whole of the New Testament. It is the question, it seems, of a man who wishes to disturb but who is also himself disturbed; of a man who has somehow found himself in deeper waters than anticipated; of a man at once baffled and intrigued by a destiny that he may have begun to glimpse but of which he is not fully aware. And thus, seeking guidance, seeking perhaps to ken the range of possibilities, Jesus put the question to his followers. It is an affecting and very human moment. Some of the disciples replied, "John the Baptist." Others said "Elijah" or "One of the prophets." Unmentioned by the disciples on this occasion were the many choicer and less admiring epithets for Jesus then current in Palestine—blasphemer, false prophet, madman. Jesus persisted: "But who do you say that I am?" Only Simon Peter ventured a reply: "Thou art the Christ." In the end Jesus declined to enlighten his followers. He simply bade them to hold their tongues.
Thomas Sheehan, whose discussions with the author feature extensively in this article, is an electrifying teacher. I took one of his evening courses at Stanford. If you have iTunes, click here for his "Historical Jesus" course (free, scroll down to "Arts and Humanities" section).
Here is an excerpt by Thomas Sheehan from the above article:
Merry Christmas and happy holidays...!