Several indicators have long been familiar. For one thing, it has long been recognized that the historian needs to envisage a Jesus who is 'big' enough to explain the beginnings of Christianity.7 For another, the first followers of Jesus were
3. For convenience I use the title ofDodd, Founder, similarly B. F. Meyer, 'Jesus Christ', ABD 3.795, though of course, the use of 'Christianity' as a term for what Jesus 'founded' is anachronistic.
5. The attitude was typified by the second quest's criteria of double dissimilarity which set the distinctiveness of Jesus over against both Judaism and church (see above §5.4 at n. 68). T. Holmen, 'Doubts about Double Dissimilarity: Restructuring the Main Criterion of Jesus-of-History Research', in Chilton and Evans, eds., Authenticating the Words ofJesus 47-80, argues that 'dissimilarity to Christianity alone suffices as an argument for authenticity' (74-75).
6. Cf. Wright's argument for a criterion of double similarity (above chapter 5 n. 132).
7. Sanders put the point well by referring to the second half of 'Klausner's test': a good hypothesis regarding Jesus will explain why the movement initiated by him eventually broke known as 'Nazarenes' (Acts 24.5), which can be explained only by the fact that they saw themselves and were seen as followers of 'Jesus the and then as 'Christians' (Acts which again must be because they were known to be followers of the one they called the 'Christ'. Moreover, Jesus is explicitly referred to once or twice in the early tradition as the 'foundation' (themelion), which Paul laid (including Jesus tradition?),10 and on which the Corinthians were to build their discipleship (1 Cor. 3.10-14); or as the 'corner stone' (akrogdniaios) which began the building and established its orientation (Eph. 2.20; 1 Pet.
Sociological reflection on what this self-identification on the part of the Christians would have involved yields further fruit. Here, after all, were small house groups who designated themselves by reference to Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus. Sociology and social anthropology teach us that such groups would almost certainly have required a foundation story (or stories) to explain, to themselves as well as to others, why they had formed distinct social groupings, why they were designated as 'Nazarenes' and 'Christians'. It is hardly likely that a bare kerygmatic formula like 1 Cor. 15.3-8 would have provided sufficient material for self-identification.12 Even the initiatory myths of the mystery cults told more elaborate stories.13 Stories of such diverse figures as Jeremiah and Diogenes were preserved by their disciples as part of the legitimation for their own commitment.14 And if Moses is to be regarded as the nearest equivalent (as founder of the religion of Israel), then we need simply recall that Exodus to Deuteronomy are framed and interspersed by the story of Moses' life. Of course, counter-examples can be named: we know very little of Teacher of
Righteousness. On the other hand, the Teacher of Righteousness never gave his with Judaism Jesus 18). Wright reiterates the point in his own terms: e.g., 'Jesus must be understood as a comprehensible and yet, so to speak, crucifiable first-century Jew, whatever the theological or hermeneutical consequences' (Jesus 86).
8. See below chapter 9 n. 272.
11. The term akmgöniaios designates 'the foundation stone at its farthest corner, with which a building is begun — it firmly fixes its site and determines its direction' (H. Krämer, EDNT1.268).
12. Against those who assume that the kerygma of cross and resurrection not only overshadowed the traditions of Jesus' pre-Good Friday ministry but also in effect expunged them from the corporate memory.
13. See, e.g., Plutarch's treatment of the myth of Isis and Osiris, J. G. Griffiths, Plutarch's delside etOsiride (Cardiff: University of Wales, 1970).
14. Jeremiah, e.g., 1.1-10 (dates and call): 19.14-20.6; 28; 32; 36-42. Dio Chrysostom, Sixth Discourse: Diogenes, oron Tyranny (Loeb 1.250-83); Diogenes Laertius, Lives6.20-81.
15. The basic treatment is still G. Jeremias, Der Lehrer der Gerechtigkeit (SUNT 2; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1963).
name to the movement he initiated, whereas the first Christians could explain themselves only by reference to him whom they called '(the) Christ'. But if the Gospels us anything they surely us that the first Christians felt the need to explain themselves by telling stories about Jesus, what he said and what he did.16
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