Via Andrew Sullivan, Camille Paglia writes about the historical Jesus:
This was a brilliant poet who was able to find simple, universal metaphors (a coin, a tree, a mustard seed) to convey spiritual truths to the masses. He was also a performing artist with startling improvisational gifts. Whether or not he himself thought he was the Messiah is unclear.Actually, if nothing else is clear, what is clear is that Jesus thought he was the Messiah.
We can debate whether he really was the Messiah. I'm a Christian, so by definition, I believe He was.
But "brilliant" would not even begin to describe a "performing artist" who was willing to die on a cross for the sake of his art. "Deranged" would come close.
No, I'm afraid there are only two possibilities: Jesus was a psychotic who thought He was the son of God; or He was the son of God.