Onto New Testament background now...
Imagine a liberal socialist theologian, of the kind who might write this about the Resurrection:
There can be no doubt about the subjective authenticity of the appearances tradition.
Imagine him writing a novel to introduce people to the idea of the quest for the historical Jesus and the background to the gospels.
This is that novel. It follows a character who is give the task of investigating Jesus (and some others) to see to what extent they pose a threat to the Romans.
As an introduction to the social background, it's pretty good. I think it assumes too much on a liberal and anti-miraculous front, too much in terms of the extent of socialist theory and too much in terms of which liberal theories of what actually happened were circulating that early.
It also has the advantage that it's short and easy to read...