DOES THE EVANGELICAL SEARCH FOR THE "HISTORICAL JESUS" DEMONSTRATE THE MODERNIST FUNDAMENTALIST BATTLE OF HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?. THE LESSONS OF HISTORY DOOMED TO REPEAT?.
DOES THE EVANGELICAL SEARCH FOR THE "HISTORICAL JESUS" DEMONSTRATE THE MODERNIST FUNDAMENTALIST BATTLE OF HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF? THE LESSONS OF HISTORY DOOMED TO REPEAT?
"Beware of finding a Jesus that is entirely congenial to you." Funk, Hoover and The Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels, 5.
The essence of all searching . . . . The searchers DO NOT accept the biblical account in its entirety or in its implications so . . . THEY SEEK TO FIND A “JESUS” WHOLLY ACCEPTABLE TO THEIR PRESUPPOSITIONS & CULTURAL LEANINGS . . . Someone Palatable to them! So long as its not the “Jesus of the Gospels”
QUIZ 1 WHO OR WHAT IS THE “HISTORICAL JESUS”?
ANSWER! NO ONE KNOWS ! Can’t be defined or agreed upon by any group Over 300+ existing portraits of what scholars think is the “historical Jesus” emphasizes the acute subjectivity of the endeavor.
WHAT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF SEARCHERS WOULD AGREE UPON: JESUS OF THE GOSPELS ≠ THE HISTORICAL JESUS
QUIZ 2- QUESTION: WHAT IS “THE SEARCH FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS”?
ANSWER! a philosophically-motivated, historical-critical construct that the Jesus as presented in the Gospels is not the same or not to be identified fully with the Jesus who actually lived in history. Underlying the questing is the assumption that "scientific" research showed that the Jesus of history was different from the Christ of Scripture, the creeds, orthodox theology and Christian piety.
“A Text without a Context is a Pretext” PLEASE NOTE: THIS EFFORT, by both liberals as well as evangelicals, IS THE PRODUCT OF HOSTILE, ALIEN PHILOSOPHIES THAT WERE DESIGNED TO UNDERMINE CONFIDENCE IN THE BIBLICAL TEXT
FATHER OF SEARCH as well as ALL Modern Biblical Criticism JEWISH APOSTATE BARUCH “BENITO” SPINOZA
Heinrich Heine, famous German Philosopher and theologian, said . . . "All of our contemporary philosophers, perhaps often without knowing it, see through the lenses ground by Baruch Spinoza." For the tremendous influence of Spinoza on subsequent philosophers in Germany, see Heinrich Heine, Onthe History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany and Other Writings. Ed. Terry Pinkard (Cambridge: University Press, 2007) xx, 50-54, 59, 99, 108, 110 (quote from p. 187).
David Laird Dungan well said . . . Spinoza set in motion the modern nature of biblical criticism "as a weapon to destroy or at least discredit the traditional metaphysics of Christianity and Judaism" [italics in original]. Dungan, A History of the Synoptic Problem (1999), 199.
Dungan also noted something strategic in the intent of Spinoza’s method: Spinoza and his followers multiplied questions about the physical history of the text to the point that the traditional theological task could never get off the ground. That, however, was precisely the intended effect of the first step: to create an endless "nominalist barrage" if you will, an infinitely extendable list of questions directed at the physical history of the text, to the point where the clergy and the political officials allied with them could never bring to bear their own theological interpretations of the Bible. In other words, Spinoza switched the focus from the referent of the biblical text (e.g., God's activity, Jesus Christ) to the history of the text. In doing so, he effectively eviscerated the Bible of all traditional theological meaning and moral teaching. Dungan History of the Synoptic Problem, 172.
QUIZ 3 WHICH GROUP BELOW UTILIZES THE FOLLOWING ELEMENTS IN THE SEARCH FOR “THE HISTORICAL JESUS?” • The Jesus Seminar • The German liberals • Current British Theologians • American and British Evangelicals • All of the above
? Categorizing Gospel content according to a classification scheme of certainty, probability, possibility, etc.
? SEES 12 EVENTS IN JESUS LIFE AS PROBABLY AUTHENTIC-(one sees 8) Question: What about the 100’s of other items recorded in the gospels?
Answer to Quiz 3: E. ALL OF THE ABOVE—Yes, even EVANGELICALS! Even many of today’s leading evangelicals are “searching for the historical Jesus!”
WHERE’S WALDO? QUIZ #4— What is the difference between “searching for Waldo” and “searching for the ‘historical Jesus.’”
Answer to Quiz 4- You CAN find Waldo . . . No one has found “the historical Jesus”!
THREE SEARCHES The “search for the historical Jesus” has been going on for over 250 years SUCH AN ENDEAVOR IS A REALLY ONE UNIFIED EFFORT, i.e. the same old, same old historical-critical effort
FIRST SEARCH FOR THE “HISTORICAL JESUS”THE FIRST OR OLD QUEST (1778-1906) Led by Germans NEVER FOUND HIM! ACTIVITY DECLARED “DEAD”
)THE SECOND SEARCH FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUSTHE NEW OR SECOND QUEST (1953-1988) Led again by Germans ACTIVITY DECLARED DEAD! FAILED TO FIND HIM
THIRD SEARCH FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS THE MOST RECENT QUEST: THE THIRD QUEST (1988-) STARTED BY BRITISH in 1982!
ALREADY DECLARED DEAD! One theologian has termed it “embarrassing” that they have so many conflicting views on what the ‘historical Jesus’ is in this third search
SAME IMPETUS & PEOPLE THAT GAVE US THE NEW PERSPECTIVE ON PAUL HAVE GIVEN NEW PERSPECTIVE ON JESUS or THIRD SEARCH
ED PARISH SANDERS(1937-) ED PARISH SANDERS (1937-)
Sanders: Arts & Sciences Professor of Religion -Duke University (since 1990) Teaching Specialty is New Testament & Christian Origins Th.D. (1966) from Union Seminary in New York D. Litt. (1990) from University of Oxford D. Theology (1990) University of Helsinki, Finland Fellow of the British Academy. He came to Duke from Oxford University where he taught from 1984-1990 as the Dean Ireland’s Professor of Exegesis and also fellow of the Queen’s College
The Right Reverend *Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved (2006) *Currently, Bishop of Durham, one of the highest ranking bishops in the church of England (2003) *Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey. *Formerly Dean of Lichfield Cathedral in England. *B. A.; M.A.; Ph.D.— Oxford *He taught for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities.
JAMES D. G. DUNN “Jimmy” to his friends (1939-)
DUNN *Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, England M.A. & B.D. University of Glasgow Ph.D. & B.D. from University of Cambridge
James H. Charlesworth James H. Charlesworth is Princeton Seminary’s George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature director and editor of the Seminary’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project. Duke Divinity School-B.D. Duke University Graduate School-Ph.D E.T. (EleveTitulaire) from the EcoleBiblique de Jerusalem. He is a Fellow of the Norwegian Royal Academy. An ordained Methodist minister Active in the United Methodist Church Greek Orthodox and Methodist Symposia and directs the SyrusSinaiticus Project at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai
Charlesworth gives us his “essential guide”for the latest search Charlesworth says that discovery today of Second Temple Jewish literature can give a more reliable guide than the gospels themselves! "Jesus' story was told by writers that we called the Evangelists in the first century C. E., less than one hundred years after his death. Two thousand years later, in some significant ways, we may more accurately retell the story of Jesus." Charlesworth, The Historical Jesus An Essential Guide, xiii.
One young evangelical writes, "this Third Quest for the historical Jesus . . . provides the greatest possible hope for a more sympathetic reading of the gospels as historical sources and is likely to provide a reasonable answer as to why the church began, and why it believed what it did and acted how it did." Michael Bird, "Shouldn't Evangelicals Participate in the 'Third Quest for the Historical Jesus?,'" Themelios 29/2 (1994): 8.
Five Views on the historical Jesus”-IVP 2009 • “Darrell L. Bock, who offers “an evangelical view” which suggests that while critical method yields only a “gist” of Jesus, it does take us in the direction of the Gospel portraits. Bock is research professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) from 2000 to 2001.” • IVP Academics, “Book Details.”
Lion & the Lamb? • One evangelical writes: • “Can the lion and the lamb lay down together? For many people, the idea of an evangelical engaging in a historical Jesus discussion is oxymoronic. For many critics, the evangelical view of Scripture is said to skew evangelicals' discussion of Jesus issues . . . . So can there be evangelical approaches to the historical Jesus? • I believe the answer is yes. To get there, however, one must appreciate the nature of what historical Jesus work seeks to achieve as well as the limitations under which such a historically oriented study operates when it seeks to cross thousands of years to do its work.” • Darrell L. Bock, "The Historical Jesus, An Evangelical View," in The Historical Jesus: Five Views, 249-281.
12 Events of 100’s in gospels? • Similar to Sanders list of 8 Gospel events that are considered historically certain, the evangelical Institute for Biblical Research Jesus Group sees 12 events having certainty: • The IBR Jesus Group has been meeting annually since 1999 to consider twelve key events in Jesus' life for which the group thought it could show core authenticity and the combination of which made a case for what Jesus' mission was about. The project also has introductory and concluding essays that were discussed . . . The twelve events and the authors: John the Baptist and Jesus (Robert Webb), Choosing the Twelve (Scot McKnight), Exorcisms and Jesus' Kingdom Teaching (Craig Evans), Sabbath Healings (Donald Hagner), Jesus' Table Fellowship with Sinners (Craig Blomberg), Peter's Declaration at Caesarea Philippi (Michael Wilkins), Entry into Jerusalem (Brent Kinman), The Temple Act (Klyne Snodgrass), The Last Supper (Howard Marshall), Jesus' Examination by the Jewish Leadership (Darrell Bock), Jesus before Pilate and Crucifixion (Robert Webb), and Resurrection (Grant Osborne). Bob did the introductory essay, and I have the conclusion]. • Darrell L. Bock, "IBR Jesus Group Report, IBR News" (December 8, 2008) on the website: http://www.ibr-bbr.org/IBRNews/IBRJesusGroup_12_08.htm.
Color Coding vs. Scale of Probability? • Evangelicals have developed their own scheme of certainty, probability, etc. on their evaluation of events in Jesus' life, noting: “Jesus Group does not vote on the specific sayings or events from the life of Jesus. Rather, each event is assessed as a complete unit. It is examined to determine the evidence for the event in question, as well as the elements that make up this event. Then, given these results, the examiner develops the event's significance for understanding Jesus' life and ministry. Sometimes ratings assessing the possibility or probability of an event or a detail within it are used as a way of expressing what can be demonstrated historically. In other cases, alternative configurations of the sequencing of events are assessed. Judgments like these belong to the author of the article, not necessarily to the entire group, but they are made after interaction with the group.” Darrell L. Bock and Robert L. Webb, "Introduction of the IBR Jesus Group,"Bulletin for Biblical Research 10.2 (2000) 259-260.
That they use a scale of "certainty, probability, possibility" • “ Jesus Group does not vote on the specific sayings or events from the life of Jesus. Rather, each event is assessed as a complete unit. It is examined to determine the evidence for the event in question, as well as the elements that make up this event. Then, given these results, the examiner develops the event's significance for understanding Jesus' life and ministry. Sometimes ratings assessing the possibility or probability of an event or a detail within it are used as a way of expressing what can be demonstrated historically. In other cases, alternative configurations of the sequencing of events are assessed. Judgments like these belong to the author of the article, not necessarily to the entire group, but they are made after interaction with the group.” • Darrell L. Bock and Robert L. Webb, "Introduction of the IBR Jesus Group,"Bulletin for Biblical Research 10.2 (2000) 259-260.
Certainty . . . Probable . . . Possibly • Robert L. Webb, "The historicity of Jesus' baptism by John is virtually certain. The historicity of the theophany (the Spirit's descent and divine voice) is probable, but its timing as contemporaneous with the baptism is open to question. As a prophetic call-vision, the theophany quite possibly happened at a later time." •  Robert L. Webb, "Jesus' Baptism: Its Historicity and Implications," Bulletin for Biblical Research 10.2 (2000) 261-309 (361).