HOW MANY HISTORICAL JESUSES HAVE BEEN FOUND? HUNDREDS! BUT NOT ONE IS JESUS IN THE GOSPELS!

HOW MANY “HISTORICAL JESUSES HAVE BEEN FOUND BY RECENT BRITISH INFLUENCED CRITICAL SCHOLARSHIP?

Using historical-critical ideologies . . .

HUNDREDS OF JESUSES have been found!

All, of course, except the Gospels’ Jesus–they’re not looking for Him! 

The Gospels’ Jesus is not in the “picture”

John Dominic Crossan–Searching has become a “scholarly bad joke”

The current situation of widely conflicting views on whom the “historical Jesus” was has prompted Jesus Seminar participant John Dominic Crossan to comment that “Historical Jesus research today is becoming something of a scholarly bad joke” and “an academic embarrassment” as well as giving the “impression of acute scholarly subjectivity in historical research.” He goes on to note, however, something he deems positive, “the number of competent and even eminent scholars producing pictures of Jesus at wide variance with one another.”

 John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus, The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (San Francisco: Harper, 1991)  xxvii-xxviii.

“THE EXISTENIAL JESUS”–find the Jesus most pleasing to you!

As a result, the term “historical Jesus” is best perhaps termed the “existential Jesus,” for, as will be seen, a close examination of the questing reveals that the “historical Jesus” is whatever the quester a priori determines Jesus to be or wants him as somehow significantly in distinction from the biblical documents.   This subjectivity is highlighted in reviewing terms used today in the “third search” to define the “historical Jesus”: an eschatological prophet, a Galilean holy man, an occult magician, an innovative rabbi, a trance-inducing psychotherapist, a Jewish sage, a political revolutionary, an Essene conspirator, an itinerant exorcist, an historicized myth, a protoliberation theologian, a peasant artisan, a Torah-observant Pharisee, a Cynic-like philosopher, a self-conscious eschatological agent, and the list would go on and on.[1]  No one embraces all of these images but they are presented by their advocates as the most reasonable reconstruction of “the historical Jesus.”



[1] For these various portraits of what or whom the “historical Jesus” has been in the search since its beginnings to the present day, consult  Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus.  Translated by W. Montgomery from the first German edition, Von Reimarus zu Wrede (1906).  Introduction by James M. Robinson (New York: MacMillan, 1968); Walter P. Weaver, The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century 1900-1950 (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity International, 1999);  John K. Riches, A Century of New Testament Study (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity International, 1993); Eds. James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy, The Historical Jesus: Five Views (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009).

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