Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hoskyns & Davey on Criteria for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Perhaps this just shows just how little I know about 1930's historical Jesus scholarship, but these final two quotes from Hoskyns and Davey strike me as another instance of being ahead of their time.

This one reminds me of the reasonable insistence by recent scholars that one's reconstruction of the historical Jesus must be able to explain the existence of the church:
The life of Jesus "must be described in such a manner that the emergence of the primitive church is also intelligible on the basis of the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. For any historical reconsturction which leaves an unbridgeable gulf between the faith of the primitive church and the historical Jesus must be both inadequate and uncritical: inadequate, because it leaves the origin of the church unexplained; and uncritical, because a critical sifting of the evidence of the New Testament points towards the life and death of Jesus as the groudn of primitive Christian faith, and points in no other direction." (170)
Their concern for the big picture reminds me of N.T. Wright:
"An historical reconstruction is possible only when the uniform nature of the whole material at our disposal is perceived, so that each fragment is seen not only to be part of the whole, but to contain the whole; or, to put it differently, so that each fragment of it not only rests upon a common background, but expresses it. To lay bare this uniform nature, this background, is to discover the Jesus of history" (172).

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