Introduction to the Quest for the Historical Jesus

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    Achtemeier, Paul J.


    Is the New Quest Docetic?

    "The past ten years have witnessed, especially within German New Testament scholarship, the growth of a renewed 'quest of the historical Jesus.' Since many have been nursed on the idea that such a quest is both historically impossible and theologically illegitimate, it is well to look at the direction this renewed quest is taking, so that some evaluation of it may be attempted. Before it can be evaluated properly, however, something must be understood of the development of that course of New Testament scholarship which made the present quest inevitable."
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    Allison, Dale C.


    The Secularizing of the Historical Jesus

    "The modern world has, according to the current wisdom, witnessed three quests for the historical Jesus. The first was the nineteenth century German endeavor so ingeniously and memorably reported by Albert Schweitzer. The second was the new quest, inaugurated by Ernst Käsemann’s famous 1953 lecture in Marburg and then carried on by some of Rudolf Bultmann’s students and a few others. The so-called third quest, christened such by N. T. Wright, is the name now often attached to the labors of the present moment."
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    Bird, Michael F.


    Shouldn’t Evangelicals Participate in the ‘Third Quest for the Historical Jesus’?

    "In recent times there are literally shelf loads of books out purporting to give the real story on the ‘historical Jesus’. It has almost reached the stage where religious studies libraries need to offer a ‘Jesus the ...’ section with titles such as Jesus the Exorcist, Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Miracle Worker, Jesus the Sage, Jesus the Seer, Jesus the Jewish Theologian, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Man, Jesus the Magician, Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Jew and Jesus the Messiah to name but a few. If that is not enough it has now reached the point where there are also a plethora of books being written about the scholarly accounts of Jesus. So if you are not reading the books about Jesus you could be reading the books about Jesus. In this labyrinth of scholarship what is an evangelical to make of it? In particular, how should evangelicals react towards what has commonly become known as the ‘Third Quest for the Historical Jesus’? Should any historical quest be rejected out of hand as ‘dangerous’ to orthodoxy or can it be embraced at least in part? It is in the midst of such turbulent questions that I will attempt to steer a course that is hopefully acceptable to evangelical faith and scholarship."
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    Burer, Michael H.


    A Survey of Historical Jesus Studies: From Reimarus to Wright

    "The study of the life, ministry, and person of Jesus Christ has been at the center of the Church’s thinking since its inception, but the last two hundred years have seen a marked change in how those within the Church and those without have examined Jesus and the Church’s conceptions about him. The Enlightenment brought sweeping change to the world, and religious studies were no exception. Everything, even Jesus himself, fell prey to critical method and examination, and the current state of Jesus studies and Christology can be traced back to this fundamental change in the world’s way of thinking. The period of time covered in this study dates from the Enlightenment to the present day, with two respective scholars being used as bookends."
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    Evans, C. Stephen


    Can the New Jesus Save Us?

    "...Christ’s church does not stand or fall with the changing fashions of a contemporary academic field. My Christian beliefs are not primarily grounded in historical scholarship but in the testimony of Christ’s church and the work of Christ’s Spirit, as they witness to the truth of God’s revelation. Do my convictions continue to be reasonable when challenged by historical scholarship? In this situation, the uncertainties of critical historical scholarship undermine any pretension that the field has a sure authority for the layperson. They leave the original ground for Christian belief undefeated. Christians can certainly learn from this quest, and they can be grateful for the believing scholars among the questers. Christians should not, however, think that their own pilgrimage from death to life requires a detour down this particular scholarly trail. ."
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    Evans, Craig A.


    Assessing Progress in the Third Quest of the Historical Jesus

    "Although historical Jesus research in the last three decades has produced a great deal of divergence of results, one is able to discern several important areas of progress. Perhaps the most important gain is in a renewed appreciation of the Judaic character of Jesus, his mission, and his world. New source material and more nuanced, contextual methodology have sharpened Jesus’ profile as a Galilean Jew, standing in the tradition of Israel’s redemption and restoration."
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    Kee, Howard Clark


    A Century of Quests for the Culturally Compatible Jesus

    "The Jesus Seminar has been receiving nationwide publicity, culminating in the recent publication of books by its two leaders, Robert Funk and Dominic Crossan,1 and the popular press has hailed its approach as innovative and academically significant. Despite all this, these reconstructions of Jesus have clear antecedents, both in strategy and substance, in studies that have appeared over the past hundred years. Like the earlier analyses of the Jesus traditions, the conclusions reached by these scholars are inherent in the presuppositions and methods they have chosen to adopt from the outset...In order to evaluate the work of Funk and Crossan (and others using similar methods), it is essential first to examine the methods and aims of some of these precursors."
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    Longenecker, Richard N.


    The Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith: Some Contemporary Reflections

    "The title for our lecture, 'The Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith,' was coined over a hundred years ago, in 1892, by Martin Kähler to distinguish between the historical Jesus...and the Christ whom the church proclaimed in its Gospels...Christians have always asked the question: How are we to understand relations between the historical Jesus and the Christ proclaimed in the New Testament? The question includes issues regarding the relationship of an academic study of Jesus and a confessional affirmation of Jesus. It is also part of the larger question regarding how to understand the humanity of Jesus and the divinity of Jesus in speaking about Jesus as the God-man."
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    Meier, John P.


    The Present State of the ‘Third Quest’ for the Historical Jesus: Loss and Gain

    "Amid the thrust and parry of mutually exclusive positions, often presented in sensationalistic fashion in the American media, one might well ask: has anything positive emerged from the third quest, or has the whole movement of the last decade been a total fiasco and loss, as some conservative Catholics have claimed? It is the contention of this article that, despite the questionable use of the media to popularize highly dubious theses, and despite the consequent loss of academic credibility on the part of some scholars, seven notable gains for serious research have been achieved by the third quest."
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    Pahl, Michael


    Is Jesus Lost?: Evangelicals and the Search for the Historical Jesus

    "Evangelicals can enter the deep waters of historical Jesus scholarship with confidence. Indeed, one can argue that evangelicals should be at the forefront of critical historical Jesus scholarship. Evangelicals can bring to the table a healthy blend of historical and theological concerns, both critically conceived and employed. Thus many of the questions of current historical Jesus research are within their rightful purview: What exactly did Jesus say? What did he mean by what he said? What exactly did Jesus do, and when? What was the original significance he or others at that time saw in what he did?...Given the fully divine, fully human nature of both our sources and our subject, evangelicals can and should direct a critical eye to these sorts of questions, while maintaining a sympathetic ear to the faith of the Gospel authors and a receptive heart to the person they proclaim."
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    Wright, N.T.


    Jesus and the Quest

    "I believe that the historical quest for Jesus is a necessary and non-negotiable aspect of Christian discipleship; that we in our generation have a chance to be renewed in discipleship and mission precisely by means of this quest; and, even, that we in the Anglican Communion may have a chance to play a significant role in this quest. I want to explain and justify each of these beliefs to you this evening. There are, however, huge problems and even dangers within the quest, as you would expect from anything that is heavy with potential for the kingdom of God, and I shall of necessity say some- thing about these as well."