unknown years" of Jesus. I've been aware for a while of several fictions (false claims, hoaxes) about Jesus' globetrotting activities. You might have heard a few of these: Jesus visited England; Jesus visited Tibet; Jesus visited India; Jesus hosted a show for the Food Network. Because I don't watch the History Channel, my interest in popular fiction often leads me to Wikipedia as a second-best option.
During my fun-filled visit to Wikipedia I encountered a curious phrase: "mainstream scholarship." The author of this particular page uses this label several times. Sometimes a variation is used: "mainstream Christian scholarship." Examples include Marcus Borg, Dom Crossan, etc. Interestingly, this umbrella category also covers Bart Ehrman and Paula Fredriksen. I doubt very seriously that either of these fine scholars would welcome the label "Christian." Moreover, I wonder if the late Dr. Borg would have counted himself as "mainstream" in his final years.
But I have a bigger problem in mind. Does the phrase "mainstream scholars" assume the existence of disenfranchised scholars? One thinks of the standard disaster-movie cliché where a lone-wolf Ivy Leaguer predicts the end of the world but nobody listens until it's too late. Is this what the author has in mind? Or consider Dan Brown's sexpot symbolist (itself a fictional field of study) who jumps out of airplanes when he's not lecturing at Harvard. Because in my experience, the folks who get the most headlines, documentaries, and magazine covers are the ones with the theories that don't hold up to historical scrutiny. I.e. the Hollywood cliché is [...drum roll...] a fiction. There is no better way to get published than to come up with an idea that departs from the "mainstream." But - simply put - these folks who discover the Lost Ark or the secret history of Jesus as the Prince of Siam, etc. are not scholars. So I see very little value to the qualifier "mainstream"; indeed, it may be misleading.