A The Historical Stature of John

Initially at any rate, John seems to have had as great a claim to historical significance as Jesus, if not greater. He receives favourable mention by Josephus, who introduces him as 'John, the one called Baptist and goes on to speak of him at some length (Ant. 18.116-19), beginning thus He was a good man and had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous lives, to practise justice towards their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing to join in baptism. In his view this was a necessary preliminary...

C Witnessing and Remembering

Two important motifs in the NT also confirm the importance for the first Christians of retelling the story of Jesus and of taking steps actively to recall what Jesus said and did. One is the motif of 'bearing witness'. The motif is particularly prominent in Acts and John. In Acts it is stressed that the role of the first disciples (or apostles in particular) was to be 'witnesses' (martyres) of Jesus (1.8). Particularly in mind were the events of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection (2.32 3.15...

Two Corollaries

Finally, two corollaries which emerge from the preceding discussions are of interest at least to Christian scholarship. a. One is the issue of norms. At various points I have indicated that the interpreter of the Jesus tradition has to acknowledge a degree of normativity to particular forms of that tradition the Greek text is normative for translations and thus also interpretations of that text the 'plain meaning' of the text (as defined earlier) has primary claim to be the voice of the text in...

Thesis and Method

In sum, the basic argument of this book can be summed up in a number of propositions. (1) The only realistic objective for any 'quest of the historical Jesus' is Jesus remembered. (2) The Jesus tradition of the Gospels confirms that there was a concern within earliest Christianity to remember Jesus. (3) The Jesus tradition shows us how Jesus was remembered its character strongly suggests again and again a tradition given its essential shape by regular use and reuse in oral mode. (4) This...

The Synoptic Tradition as Oral Tradition Narratives

We certainly do not know enough about oral traditioning in the ancient world to draw from that knowledge clear guidelines for our understanding of how the Jesus tradition was passed down in its oral stage. Any inquiry on this subject is bound to turn to the Jesus tradition itself to ask whether there is sufficient evidence of oral transmission and what the tradition itself tells us about the traditioning process. We need to bear in mind, of course, that the only evidence we have is already...

Postmodernism

'Postmodernism' is the term coined to indicate a paradigm shift in Western thinking, like the paradigm shifts of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, a transformation in intellectual conceptualisation and ways of thinking which, again like the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, is amorphous and diffuse in character but all too real in its influence. In a major epistemological revolution earlier in the twentieth century the older subject-object antithesis and discontinuity had already come...

Info

I have already indicated the character of resurrection hope in the Judaism of Jesus' day.193 Also that the predominant expression of that hope was in terms of the general or final resurrection, prior to the final judgment. That might seem to rule out the category as relevant to understanding what had happened to Jesus.194 In contrast, however, it seems to have been just this category, with its 'final' connotations, which provided the earliest articulation of resurrection...

Consulting-it-science-engineering-and-technical

(1) and (2) The appearance(s) to the women Matt. 28.8-10 John 20.1118. 8 So they (the women) left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to his disciples. 9 And look, Jesus met them and said, 'Greetings ' And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the...

How Did Jesus See His Own Role

We have already begun to explore this question in asking how Jesus is remembered as responding to the categories his contemporaries would most likely have fitted him into the division between chapters 15 and 16 is as much a matter of convenience as of substance. Two further categories are suggested by the Jesus tradition itself, son of God and son of man, and these will be the principal focus of this chapter. But it also makes sense to begin by drawing together the threads of chapter insofar as...

Hermeneutical Principles

The 'linguistic turn' of postmodernism has refocused the historian's task on 'text' rather than 'event'. Besides which, any attempt to recover the historical figure of Jesus is more or less exclusively a matter of dealing with ancient texts. So questions about history elide almost imperceptibly into questions about interpre 47. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God 31-4 6 (here 35 Wright's emphasis) . 48. Telling the Truth 251, 254, 259, 285. 49. Telling the Truth 254-61 (here 254)....

Hachlili R 303nn219220 305n228

Haenchen, E., 216n.203, 783n.l03 Hagner, D. A., 14n.9, 88n.ll4, 565n.99, 666n.244 Hahn, F., 87n.235, 330-31n.4, 345n.34, 620n.27, 645n.l49, 667n.246, 710n.21, 715n.44, 720n.66, 735n.l21, 744n.l61, 795n.l72, 801n.l92, 810n.220, 814n.235, 862n.l66 Haider, J., 103n.8 Haight, G., 30n.l6 Halpern, B., 474n.424 Halpem-Amaru, B 474n.429 Hamerton-Kelly, K 548n.30, 594n.226, 595n.229, 596n.238 Hampel, V 511n,105, 512n.lll, 633n.l00, 665n.237, 729n.96, 731n.l06, 736n.l27, 740nn.l44,146, 741n,151,...

DInheriting the Land

In 12.4c we observed that Matthew's third beatitude ('Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the land earth') clearly alludes to Ps. 37.11 ('The meek shall possess the land'). More to the point here, the allusion is clearly a play on the ancient covenant promise that Abraham's descendants would inherit the land.114 Although Matthew probably took the beatitude's promise in a spiritual sense we should at least be aware of the underlying strand of thought in some sense 'the meek' would enjoy...

D The One to Come

Least clear of all is the only other important feature of John's message his expectation of who was to come. 'There comes after me one who is stronger than me. I am not worthy to untie the thongs of his sandals. . . . He will baptize you with Holy Spirit . . ,'.149 Whom did John expect Of the main solutions offered, none is wholly satisfactory. (1) God is a possibility not to be lightly discarded.151 In Mai. 3.1, a passage which is thoroughly bound up with the Baptist tradition (Mark 1.2 Matt....

C A Baptism of Preparation

One of the most constant features in John's preaching is the promise of a future baptism which John contrasts with his own. The constant elements are common to all four Gospels, and probably also Q T baptize you with water he will baptize you with Holy Spirit'.108 The implication is that reception of John's baptism was a way to prepare for the future baptism. Later Christian interpretation assumed that 'baptize' in both cases means 'baptize in water' and that the future baptism is (or proved to...

B An Option Canvassed in regard to Jesus

Little doubt need be entertained that Jesus was seen in the role of a prophet during his mission. The testimony of the Jesus tradition is both quite widespread and consistent across its breadth. (1) We have already noted Mark 6.15 pars, and 8.28 pars., which report the rumours speculation that Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, or a prophet. Such reports are certainly part of the developed form in which these stories were told in the one case they are attributed to Herod Antipas in the other...

D The Absence of Any Tomb Veneration

One of the most striking factors to be considered is that we have no record in the early decades of Christianity of any tomb being venerated as the place where Jesus had been laid to rest. Despite theories to the contrary, Luke, who shared the very physical understanding of Jesus' resurrection body (Luke 24.39), never gives the slightest hint of worship or prayer on the site of Jesus' burial in his account of Christianity's beginnings in Jerusalem (Acts 2-5). Nor does Paul ever as much as hint...

Women

The tradition as a whole makes little effort to focus on the success or otherwise of Jesus' mission with women in particular. As was the case well into the twentieth century in western countries, there was no differentiation within the community as community between men and women. If the question had been posed, Christian women would not have felt themselves excluded even when the preacher addressed his (sic) congregation as 'brethren'. However, the newer sensitivities of the last generation...

C Jesus Messiahship as a Post Easter Affirmation

Other scholars are equally convinced that the issue of royal messiahship did not arise during Jesus' mission he was first designated as Messiah after Easter, in consequence of his resurrection as Acts 2.36 and 13.33 imply. Messiahship was then read back into the life of Jesus but wherever it arises in the Gospels, the motif of messiahship is redactional. This view emerged only with Wrede's thesis of 'the messianic secret' at the beginning of the twentieth century (see above Prior to that the...

The Centrality of the Kingdom of

The centrality of the kingdom1 of God (basileia theou) in Jesus' preaching is one of the least disputable, or disputed, facts about Jesus.2 If we are looking for features which are characteristic of the Jesus tradition and relatively distinctive to the Jesus tradition, then the kingdom of God has to be one of the first to be considered. In this we follow Mark's lead. In opening his account of Jesus' mission, Mark sets out a kind of summary statement or headline 'After John had been handed over,...

The Syrophoenician Woman

21 Jesus left that place and went off to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, Have mercy on me, lord, son of David my daughter is tormented by a demon. 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, Send her away, for she keeps shouting afler us. 24 He answered, 1 was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 He...

G Was Jesus a Magician

The question has been hotlv debated since Morton Smith proposed a straightforward Yes But the debate remains confused and not reallv capable of delivering a satisfactorv answer. A kev problem is the definition of 'magic' and the range of practices covered bv the term 342 in particular, is the attempt to manipulate and coerce spiritual powers a defining feature of magic A correlated problem is that the overlap of religion, ritual, and magic343 means that anv attempt to interact with the...

D Again Why Resurrection

So. once again. why 'resurrection' It remains a question which we cannot answer with great confidence. But presumably there was something in what the first witnesses saw which they could bring to expression only with this term 'resurrection' . There seems to have been something about these Easter experiences which impacted in a determinative and decisive way in the affirmation. 'God has raised Jesus from the dead ' (1) The most obvious alternative is in terms of hallucination. the projection of...

The Search for an Invulnerable Area for Faith

However we may now evaluate the fundamental statements about historical method by Lessing and Troeltsch, the fact is that the strict application of historical method became a major problem for those who wished to maintain some sort of faith standpoint. The response was a flight from history, less trumpeted than the Enlightenment's flight from dogma, but just as critical for the understanding and expression of faith. Lessing's (or the Enlightenment) solution, as we have seen, was to postulate an...

B Matt 54348Luke 62728 3236

More striking still is the passage preserved in the Sermon on the Mount Plain More striking still is the passage preserved in the Sermon on the Mount Plain 43 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy'. 44 But I sav to Love vour enemies 27 But I say to you that Love vour enemies, do good to those prav for those who persecute vou, 45 so that vou may be sons of your Father in heaven for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on...

D Cleansing the Temple Mark 111517 pars

The likelihood that Jesus' dictum regarding the Temple's future provided the grounds for his arrest naturallv draws attention to the event which the Svnoptics report as having taken place a few davs earlier traditionallv known as 'the cleansing of the Temple' Mark 11.15-17 pars. .113 111. Funk, Five Gospels 102 Acts of Jesus 125-26 Ludemann, Jesus 83. 112. See also W. Horburv, 'The Temple Tax', in Bammel and Moul e, Jesus and Politics 265-86. The specific mention of Herodians onlv here in...

A Jesus Trial and Condemnation Mark 15139 pars68

One of the clearest and most striking facts regarding Jesus is that he was executed as a messianic pretender. 1 He was condemned for claiming to be 'the king of the Jews', as all four canonical Gospels agree Mark 15.26 pars. . 'King of the Jews' was never a Christian title, so the only reason for its appearance in the account of Jesus' execution is that it summed up the charge on which he was executed.69 That is, he could be credibly or mockingly treated as an aspirant to the throne of Herod...

A Historical Text as Historical Text

If the Renaissance and Reformation recognition of the distance and difference of the past continues to provide a fundamental perspective for historical inquiry, so too their reappropriation of the fact that the original texts of the NT were not first composed in the lingua franca of western Europe Latin likewise continues to provide a fundamental hermeneutical principle. In other words, the necessity and character of translation become a basic factor in any contemporary use of these texts to...

The Collapse of the Liberal Quest

The assumption that historical and source criticism were uncovering the 'historical Jesus', a Jesus attractive to the Liberal sentiments of the late nineteenth century, was rudely shattered in the decades spanning the turn of the century. Two principal causes have been identified as undermining the quest. One was the reintroduction of eschatology into the picture.94 The point of entry was Jesus' teaching on the kingdom of God. In late-nineteenth-century Liberal Protestantism the kingdom had...

A Who Were the Sinners

One of the more spicey controversies of recent historical Jesus scholarship was occasioned by the swingeing criticism levelled by Sanders against Jeremias's answer to the question. Jeremias had confused the issue by defining 'sinners' as 'a specific term for those engaged in despised trades' and by lumping them together with 'the amme-ha-aretz people of the land , the uneducated, the ignorant, whose religious ignorance and moral behaviour stood in the way of their access to salvation, according...

Crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato

From very early days the Apostles' Creed jumped at once from Jesus' birth to his suffering and death natus ex Maria virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus 'born from the Virgin Mary. suffered under Pontius Pilate. was crucified. dead. and buried' . Whatever the richer theological reasoning behind the huge gap between Jesus' birth and death. the gap self reflected the difficulty of pinning down hard historical data to times and places within that gap. The same...

C Other Metaphors

One point which I did not follow up in the analysis of the metaphors of baptism and fire above 17.4d was that Jesus applied these metaphors to his own expected suffering. This in fact is the most striking feature of Jesus' usage he evidently took up the Baptist's metaphor baptism and fire and applied it to himself. The Baptist had predicted one to come who would baptize others in fire or fiery spirit 11.4c . Jesus affirmed the Baptist's expectation where else could just this metaphor have come...

C Other Judaisms

For the sake of completeness some mention ought to be made of other groupings known to us either in the land or in the period of our concern. 1 Of those who exercised some degree of political power, along with the Sadducees, we should note the 'elders' presbyteroi . 'The elders of the congregation' and 'the elders of the city' were a long established feature of Israel's life. And 'elders' appear frequently in the NT, often with 'high priests' 17 times , 'rulers' Acts 4.5, 8 , or 'scribes' 12...

D What Kind of Eschatology

What kind of 'end' does the Jesus tradition envisage The earlier discussion noted that the term 'end' was used more flexibly than discussions of Jesus' eschatology have usually allowed for. Since 'end' could denote the end of an epoch, and 'the end of days' did not necessarily envisage the end of time 12.3b , the idea of Jesus claiming in some sense to have fulfilled expectations for the age to come in his mission is less problematic than might at first appear.448 Similarly, the issues posed by...

B The Choice of Twelve

Despite some more idiosyncratic than persuasive , few questers have doubted that Jesus drew a circle of twelve disciples round him, a more intimate group than the larger ill-defined group of disciples. John Meier has recently reviewed the whole question thoroughly and little more needs to be added.85 The key arguments are as they have always been. 1 'The twelve' as a description of a group of disciples close to Jesus is firmly rooted and widespread in the Jesus tradition.86 The degree of...

D Expectations of Suffering

The various strands of the reversal theme are evident apart from the theme itself. First the expectation of suffering. As we have already seen 12.4b , the Lord's Prayer included a petition to escape the peirasmos Matt. 6.13a Luke 11.4b . And the final beatitude Matt. 6.22-23 certainly assumes that dis ciples of Jesus should expect suffering. The latter was no doubt much pondered on and reused as the many textual variants also indicate and the divergent forms of the Matthean and Lukan forms...

A Gerd Theissen

To Gerd Theissen must go the credit for making the first effective attempt to study NT texts from a sociological perspective.131 With regard to Jesus, he argued that 'The sayings tradition is characterized by an ethical radicalism that is shown most noticeably in the renunciation of a home, family, and possessions'.132 In a larger sequel he broadened his perspective from a sociology of literature to a study of the sociology of the Jesus movement, whose objective he defined as 'to describe...

E Jesus the Healer

Mark again provides a good range of examples of the range of healings which were credited to Jesus during his mission. no doubt in marketplace gossip as well as disciple gatherings. To draw from them the conclusion that stories like these must have circulated during his mission is to toy again with the idea that we should try to uncover a historical Jesus who was similar to but somehow different from the Jesus of the Synoptics. These were the stories which were being circulated during his...

D Jesus the Exorcist

Two of the exorcism narratives are of particular interest the demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum Mark 1.23-28 Luke 4.33-37 and the Gerasene demoniac Mark 5.1-20 pars. . It will suffice to cite only Mark in both cases, since Luke follows Mark closely in the first case, and despite the improvements introduced by the others in the second.278 immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit he cried out, 'What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth Have you come to...

F Reward and Heavenly Banquet

Another strand of the eschatological reversal theme is the prospect of reward or vindication held out to those who responded to Jesus' message. This too is a feature of the beatitudes Matt. 5.3-6, 10-12 Luke 6.20-23 see above 12.4c, d . The warning against being ashamed of Jesus Mark 8.38 pars. has a counterpart in the balanced antithesis, 'Those who confess me will be spoken for, those who deny me will be denied' Matt. 10.32-33 Luke 12.8-9 .228 Faithful servants will be rewarded.229 Triply...

C C F D Moule

Did not focus his attention on the character or processes of oral tradition, so his contribution is somewhat tangential to the present concerns. Nevertheless, his insights into the formation of the Gospels are of considerable relevance two in particular. First, he observed that the Gospels retain a clear distinction between pre-Easter and post-Easter perceptions of Jesus.120 His pupil, Eugene Lemcio, has elaborated the point. The Synoptic Gospels particularly retain a clear sense of before and...

B Teachers and Tradition

This a priori logic is supported by the evidence that the passing on of tradition was part of church founding from the first. Paul was careful to refer his churches back to such foundation traditions on several occasions 17 the evidence is hardly to be explained as references solely to kerygmatic or confessional formulae. Rather, we find that it includes community tradition 1 Cor. 23 , teaching on how the new converts should live e.g., Phil. 4.9 1 Thess. 4.1 2 Thess. 3.6 , and traditions of...

Hungering for What Is Right

The high evaluation accorded to the Torah in Jewish tradition has always been one of the distinguishing marks of Judaism 9.5d and one of the fundamental points of differentiation with Christianity. The attitude of Jesus to the law of Israel has therefore been one of the key issues for questers, not least with the question in view whether subsequent Christian rejection of the law can be traced back to Jesus himself, or can at least find validation in what he taught and in the way he conducted...

B Jesus the Revolutionary

One end of the spectrum is confident that Jesus intended to lead a revolution against Rome's overlordship. Starting with Reimarus this thesis has been offered at various times during the past two hundred years.33 Particularly in the 1960s, the portrayal of Jesus as equivalent to the modern freedom fighter proved to be very influential in Liberation theology.34 But the most scholarly statement of the thesis has been that of S. G. F. Brandon. Brandon's argument is basically that the Gospels'...

C Markan Narratives

I have already given examples of where Synoptic analysis points to the firm conclusion of Matthean and Lukan dependency on Mark 7.3 . But in other cases the variation in detail is such that the straightforward hypothesis of literary dependence on Mark becomes very strained. Consider the following narratives the stilling of the storm Mark 4.35-41 Matt. 8.23-27 Luke 8.22-25 the Syro-phoenician woman Mark 7,24-30 Matt. 15.21-28 the healing of the possessed boy Mark 9.14-27 Matt. 17.14-18 Luke...

The Widows Pence

41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched how the crowd gut money into the Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper looked up and saw rich people putting into the treasury their gifts 2 he also saw a needy widow putting in two small copper which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, Truly I this poor widow has put in more than all 3 He said, Of a truth Ltell this poor widow has put in more than all of those who...

A The Four Sects

The usual starting point has been Josephus' 'four philosophies' or 'sects' haireseis 44 not unnaturally since Josephus' way of introducing them seems to imply that these were the only groupings among the Jews worthy of attention on the part of his readers War 2.119-166 Ant. 18.11-25 . To begin with 43. The objective is limited I have no intention of attempting a full description of the groups and elements which made up Second Temple Judaism. 44. Note the various discussions on the use of terms...

A The Time Has Been Fulfilled

Mark's headline statement at the beginning of Mark's account of Jesus' mission, already quoted 12.1 , has a double emphasis. Not only does Jesus proclaim the kingdom's nearness equally thematic is the note of fulfilment. The headline is introduced by the information that the Baptist had been removed from the scene Mark 1.14a and begins with the words, 'The time has been fulfilled peplerotai 273. Characteristic of the ambiguity is Matthew's use of palingenesia 'rebirth' in his version of the...

A Who Were the Poor

Behind the Greek termptochoi135 stands a number of Hebrew terms, particularly 'aniyyim.136 The Hebrew terms denote material poverty in its various aspects and consequences. Of these consequences the most important were the social responsibilities thereby laid upon the Israelite community to relieve poverty and what today would be called 'God's option for the poor'.137 1 In the agricultural economies of the ancient Near East ownership of land was the basis of economic security. Material poverty...

C The Beginning of the Gospel

The conclusion just reached is all the more striking in view of the fact that the Baptist is remembered in all strands of the Gospel tradition as 'the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ' Mark 1.1 . Mark is most explicit 1.2-8 makes it clear that it is John who marks or even constitutes that 'beginning' just as, later, John's martyr-like death prefigures that of Jesus 6.14-29 . But the fact that Q, by general consent, begins with the preaching of John Matt. 17 carries the same...

The Influence of Prophecy

The picture which is emerging from the above survey is of church-founding apostles passing on Jesus tradition, of teachers reinforcing their church's corporate memory of Jesus tradition, and of early letter writers alluding to and evoking that Jesus tradition in their paraenesis. This picture is most seriously challenged by the common assumption that prophetic utterances in the early churches were often added to the Jesus tradition. The claim is not simply that earlier tradition was modified,...

Third Quest

In the closing decades of the twentieth century the most hopeful advance in life of Jesus research was the recognition that the quest must primarily have in view Jesus the Jew and a clearer and firmer grasp of the consequences. What distinguishes this 'third quest of the historical Jesus'10 is the conviction that any attempt to build up 99. Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus ch, 4. 100. The title was introduced by N. T. Wright in his updating of Stephen Neill's The Interpretation of the New...

Oral Transmission

In the light of the above we can begin to sketch in the likely process of traditioning in the case of the Jesus tradition. The fact that it coheres so well with the 'in principle' sketch of 6.5 and the a priori considerations of 8.1-2 is significant. 263. Draper also argues that the thesis of some of Jesus' sayings 'created entirely de novo . . . conflicts with the processes of oral transmission. Such entirely innovative words of the Risen Jesus are inherently unlikely' Horsley and Draper,...

Oligopistos Aramaic Equivalent

According to Mark Jesus called his hearers not simply to repent convert, but also to believe Mark has put the call in the language of later mis sionaries to 'believe in the gospel'. But talk of 'faith' is no stranger to the 46. Goppelt gives particular emphasis to the call for repentance Theology chs. 3-4 'Each of Jesus' demands was after nothing less than a transformation of the person from the very core, i.e., total repentance' 118 . 47. Despite their sole attestation by Luke, it is widely...

The Political Context

In setting out the historical context we must remember, of course, that the land of Israel Palestine was under Roman rule during the period of our interest. The Romans had conquered the territory under Pompey in 63 BCE, and established their rule most effectively through the client king Herod the Great 37-4 BCE . The united kingdom was then broken up among Herod's surviving sons, with Herod Antipas being given Galilee and Perea. Judea, after a spell under the unpopular Archelaus 4 BCE-6 CE ,...

A The Kingdom Has Drawn Near

We have already indicated the headline and summary with which Mark introduces his account of Jesus' mission 'the kingdom of God has drawn near engiken ' Mark 1.15 . Matthew follows him Matt. 4.17 . We also observed that the parallel accounts of the sending out of the disciples on mission Q have them instructed by Jesus to deliver precisely the same message 'The kingdom of God heaven has drawn near' Matt. 10.7 Luke 10.9 Luke 10.11 .124 This is a notable fact and one not to be lightly discounted,...

Why Not Beginning from Bethlehem

If John's baptism of Jesus is a possible starting point, why not follow Matthew and Luke in pushing back to Jesus' birth A 'life', whether conceived as a modern or an ancient biography, should at least say what is known of the subject's origins. There are several reasons why we do not follow that option. a. Our whole procedure is based on the recognition that Jesus made an impact on those who became his disciples, an impact which is still evident in the traditions which have come down to us. We...

Misleading Presuppositions about Judaism

The description of Judaism at the time of Jesus is beset with problems of definition, not least those of anachronistic definition. If we are to gain a clear perspective on the Judaism of the time of Jesus, these problems need to be faced squarely, since otherwise the historical context within which we locate Jesus may be seriously distorted, and we may be led up a number of false trails. An older generation of scholarship, both Jewish and Christian, thought in 1. What Renan famously called 'a...

B What Do We Mean by Eschatological

A second issue raised by this inventory of Second Temple Jewish expectation is the extent to which or sense in which we can speak of this expectation as 'escha-tological'. This term has bewitched and befuddled the quest of the historical Jesus for a century. The Greek word eschaton clearly denotes 'end'. But end of what The assumption since Schweitzer has been that what was in view was 'the end of time, the end of history, the end of the world'. That would be fine, if the expectation were...

The Second Quest

Despite the huge influence of Bultmann, it was his pupils who most effectively raised again the question whether some sort of quest of the Jesus ought to be resumed. The old quest had been effectively declared both impossible and illegitimate.46 It was impossible because 'the Gospels are primary sources for the history of the early Church, and only secondarily sources for the history of Jesus' 'the twentieth century presupposes the kerygmatic nature of the Gospels, and feels really confident in...

B The Centurions Servant

Within the Gospel tradition itself, one of the most intriguing episodes is the one recorded in Matt. 8.5-13 and Luke 7.1-10 with a likely parallel in John 4.46b-54 . The first point of interest is that the pericope is usually credited to Q, despite it being a narrative and despite there being no parallel to such an episode being 192. Note the echoes of Isa. 42.6, 16 and 49.6. included within other sayings Gospels.193 But why should a pericope be attributed to the document Q simply because it...

A J G Herder

Within the history reviewed above, J. G. Herder 1744-1803 is usually given the credit for first raising the issue. Herder was unhappy with Lessing's idea that behind the Synoptic Gospels lay an original Aramaic gospel of the Nazarenes 'Neither apostolic nor church history knows of any such Primal Gospel'. What 105. W. Schmithals is a lone voice in his highly implausible view, recently repeated, that the Synoptic tradition was literary from the first 'Vom Ursprung der synoptischen Tradition',...

In Summary

This has been a lengthy chapter, so let me sum up what has emerged about the Jesus tradition prior to its being written down. First 8.1 , I noted the strong circumstantial case for the view that, from the beginning, new converts would have wanted to know about Jesus, that no church would have been established without its store of foundation including Jesus tradition, and that the churches were organised to maintain and to pass on that tradition. The importance of remembering Jesus and learning...

ReEnter the Neo Liberal Jesus

One of the most surprising facts of recent 'life of Jesus' research is that after about seventy years of silence, the old Liberal Jesus has revived or should we say, returned from exile . Despite having had the last rites pronounced over him at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Liberal Jesus has risen again, apparently hale and hearty. That this should have happened in North America makes it more understandable, since the church-state division there has encouraged a self-conscious and...