Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Current Projects

These days my reserach projects include:

1.Ph.D Thesis. Why did the Gentile mission begin? Why did it take on the shape and character that it did? And how does that relate to the aims and intentions of the historical Jesus? For a snap shot of what I’m doing see the next issue of Currents in Biblical Research on “Jesus and the Gentiles since Jeremias: Problems and Prospects”.

2. Jesus Tradition. When I started my Ph.D thesis I had to ask whether the Gospels are interested in preserving information about the historical Jesus? My conclusion, with qualification, is that they are. My research on this topic is disseminated in two forthcoming articles in Bulletin of Biblical Research and Westminster Theological Journal.

3. Mt. 8.11-12. This verse is ordinarily cited as proof that Jesus believed that the Gentiles would be included in the kingdom. However, the parallel passage in Lk. 13.28-29 does not occur in a context analogous to Matthew’s setting with the centurion. Thus, some think the logion originally referred to the regathering of the Diaspora (esp. Dale C. Allison). I argue that Mt. 8.11-12 is put in the Gentile context by Matthew but the reference to Abraham and the inter-textual echoes of ‘east and west’ do imply that Gentiles will participate in the kingdom.

4. Criterion of Greek language. As much as I like Stanley Porter, I really don’t think he has come up with a new criterion for authenticity. Porter has proposed a purported new criterion that endeavours to uncover the Greek words of Jesus in the Gospel texts. I’m writing an article where I try to point out (graciously) the problems with this criterion.

5. The Peril of Modernizing Jesus. I intend to critique two strands of Jesus research, viz., the ‘California Jesus’ and the ‘Big Tent Revival Jesus’ and look at a more balanced approach to pursuing historical Jesus studies without falling into the perils of modernizing.

6. Third Quest. Is There Really a Third Quest for the Historical Jesus? Despite the criticisms of several scholars (e.g. Porter, Allison, Brown etc) I want to argue that Wright’s taxonomy of Jesus research is valid and there really is, amidst all the muck, a distinguishable branch of scholarship that is appropriately labelled the ‘Third Quest’ for the historical Jesus.

For those interested, that is what I'm working on these days.

2 comments:

Sean du Toit said...

This looks like some exciting "Current Projects". I'm especially interested in: "The Peril of Modernizing Jesus. I intend to critique two strands of Jesus research, viz., the ‘California Jesus’ and the ‘Big Tent Revival Jesus’ and look at a more balanced approach to pursuing historical Jesus studies without falling into the perils of modernizing.:

Plan to blog some more on this?

Michael F. Bird said...

For Sean,

Maybe I'll blog on it later. I've just sent the MS to Evangelical Quarterly, so we'll how it goes. Basically I have a dig at the Jesus Seminar/Q-Thomas/Cynic-Jesus and also conservative portraits of Jesus that try make Jesus look like his only concern was biding time until Golgotha.

I then, boldly, try to do plot a "framework" for doing historical Jesus work that avoids the travails of modernizing.

At the end I came to realize that very little has changed since Henry Cadbury wrote "The Peril of Modernizing Jesus". Same scholarly sins, just different scholars.

Charis

MB