The Gospels record that Jesus purported to forgive sins. What significance would such a claim have had for his contemporaries and what would the implications have been for his identity as a first-century popular prophet? Tobias Haegerland answers these questions and more as he investigates the forgiveness of sins in the mission of the historical Jesus. The Gospels are interpreted within the context of first-century Judaism as part of a broader reconstruction of Jesus' career as a healer and prophet, and rhetorical criticism is introduced as a tool for explaining how the gospel tradition about Jesus and forgiveness developed. Haegerland combines detailed exegesis and rigorous methodology with a holistic view of the historical Jesus, evaluating recent scholarship about first-century Jewish prophets and utilizing previously neglected textual evidence to present a thorough investigation of the theology of forgiveness in early Judaism and primitive Christianity.