Many scholars (e.g., Scot McKnight) are now pushing back on the whole historical Jesus project because it entails a rejection of the Gospel story of Jesus in favor of the Scholar’s Jesus as a kind of fifth and definitive Gospel. In terms of what they are objecting to, consider the following quote:
The church, by claiming faith in Jesus as the unique occasion of divine revelation, thus lays upon itself the obligation to do history. And to “do history” means to undertake, with as much information, sympathy, and realistic imagination as possible, the reconstruction of the religious, social, political, and cultural context in which Jesus of Nazareth lived an died. It entails, further, the renunciation of a simplistic reading of the identity-confirming narratives, even if these are the ones offered by the gospels. Such a reading can only result in bad history. But bad history, for the church, results in bad theology, the subtle Docetism of anachronism. It marks the retreat from a fully and truly human Jesus, one who acted meaningfully and coherently at a particular moment of human time. If history, for the church, is important, then undistorted history is very important. Only by meeting this obligation with intellectual integrity can the church, with integrity, continue to witness to that message proclaimed by the first apostles, expounded by Paul, and reflected in the gospels: that the horizontal plane of the human and the vertical plane of the divine met at the cross of Jesus of Nazareth.
Paul Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ, pp. 214-15.
As I read this quote, I was nodding my head in agreement with the first three sentences. Yes, history is important to the church, its testimony, and theology. But then comes the sucker punch from Fredriksen. History requires renouncing the Gospel narratives because they commit a docetic anachronism! Really?
So many objections to make: Is there any “undistorted history”? Do the Gospels have to be history or theology, why not history through theology? Is the scholar’s history less ideologically loaded than a theologically freighted Gospel? Is a secular history more valuable to the church than a revealed history? And so forth.
I teach at North Park University. I love where I teach. I love where I teach mostly because of the colleagues alongside whom I have the privilege of serving. One of them is Bradley Nassif. Brad is one of the most humble men you’ll ever meet. But Brad is also an extremely courageous man. A man with strong convictions. Brad is an Orthodox Evangelical Christian. He is Syrian by ethnicity (man he knows his Middle-Eastern food! Go with him some time to a Middle-Eastern restaurant – there are a … [Read More...]
I'm continuing my paraphrase of Romans, here is the latest part on Rom 5.1-11: Therefore, since we’ve are declared to be righteous by faith, let us have peace with God through the peace-making work of the Lord Jesus the Messiah. Through him we have acquired a backstage pass by this faith into … [Read More...]
The Theological Engagement with Californian Culture Project is having its next symposium on 24-25 April 2014 at UC Berkley. There is a call for papers until 15 December. Sounds like a cool place to go cowabunga for Jesus! … [Read More...]
Part Scholarships for PhD Studies Highland Theological College UHI The Highland Theological College UHI (www.htc.uhi.ac.uk) is pleased to offer two part-scholarships for applicants from outwith the EU applying for full-time, residential PhD studies at the College. These scholarships offer a 50% … [Read More...]
Candida Moss (University of Notre Dame) created a bit of furor with her book The Myth of Persecution- see my earlier blog post here - where she claimed that many persecution stories, both ancient and modern, were entirely fictive. Moss' concern is principally the martyr complex and martyr rhetoric … [Read More...]
I've been preparing a lecture on Paul and Women the last couple of days and I told Karla that I'm now definitely in the “Mutuality” (Egalitarian) camp. I’m finally willing to come out and nail my flag on the mast of the “Mutuality” (Egalitarian) position. This has been a direction … [Read More...]
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and … [Read More...]
David A. deSilva Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation's Warnings Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2013. Available at Amazon.com According to the blurb: Amid the fervor of popular apocalyptic "end-time" speculation, David deSilva invites readers to encounter Revelation as a word written to seven … [Read More...]
In the new volume of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Works, Vol. 14: Theological Education at Finkenwalde: 1935-37, there are some very interesting (to me) observations made by Jürgen Henkys in the “Editor’s Afterward to the German Edition”. In particular, I note five particularly interesting … [Read More...]
I had a wonderful time at ETS/IBR/SBL in Baltimore. Many highlights for me, but I thought I'd reflect on the conference theme of ETS. The panel discussion on the book Five Views of Biblical Inerrancy was an absolute hoot! Sadly, Kevin Vanhoozer couldn't be there, but he gave a pre-recorded video … [Read More...]
For the third year now our family will be celebrating Advent. A couple of years ago we decided to make this a family tradition. Beginning Sunday we will gather around the Advent wreath every night for four weeks leading up to Christmas. We've not done very well at establishing a consistent family … [Read More...]
A while back Zondervan interviewed me and asked me to offer advice to someone considering a Ph.D. and a life in the academy. Here's what I said: You can also read a summary here at the Koinoniablog. … [Read More...]