“Recently one theologian who teaches an undergraduate historical Jesus class recommended to me two works on historiographical methods. When I quoted back to him key sections that contradicted the most fundamental processes of historical Jesus scholars he was enraged. I was misrepresenting them. It turned out that he was the one who had simply failed to grasp the clear, black and white points that these texts made about the need for establishing provenance and external controls — and that as a consequence the whole historical Jesus model of these scholars rests on circularity and mere assumption that there was a historical Jesus to study at all. This pitfall does not face the historical studies in other areas of history simply because historians have long established their foundations with documentary resources that are grounded in the stability of known provenance and external controls.”
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