Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Jeremias and Caird on the necessity of studying the Historical Jesus

"And those who believe that in the life and teaching of Jesus God has given a unique revelation of His character and purpose are committed by this belief, whether they like it or not, whether they admit it or not, to that quest. Without the Jesus of history the Christ of faith becomes a Docetic figure, a figment of pious imagination, who, like Alice’s Checshire cat, ultimately disappears from view."

G.B. Caird, New Testament Theology (ed. L.D. Hurst; Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), p. 347

“We must continually return to the historical Jesus and his message. The sources demand it; the kerygma, which refers us back away from itself, also demands it. To put it in theological terms, the incarnation implies that the story of Jesus is not only a possible subject for historical research, study, and criticism, but demands all of these. We need to know who the Jesus of history was, as well as the content of his message.”

Joachim Jeremias, “The Search for the Historical Jesus,” in Jesus and the Message of the New Testament (ed. K.C. Hanson; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002), p. 8


Quixie said...

And if that most imperative quest yield nothing but our own reflections at the bottom of a well, do we keep looking?. . . or do we accept the resulting doceticism?

In other words, if it is as essential for faith that we seek for the historical kernel behind the Jesus traditions as Prof. Caird claims, yet the evidence seems to deny us any real access to historical analysis, it is not unreasonable to infer that he could very possibly be just such a "Docetic figure, a figment of pious imagination, who, like Alice’s Cheshire cat, ultimately disappears from view."?

That sword cuts both ways.



Eric Sowell said...

Great quotes.