Tuesday, August 28, 2007

John Webster on the Historical Jesus

I am in Edinburgh for the Dogmatics Conference (Dorothy, we ain't in biblical exegesis-land anymore!). John Webster's paper, "The Eternal Begetting of the Son" finished with this statement:

"The only historical Jesus there is is the one who has his being in union with the Son of God who is eternally begotten of the Father. Those who pore over the gospels searching for another Jesus (whether their motives be apologetic or critical) pierce their hearts with many pangs, for they study a matter which does not exist."


Bob Webb said...

It seems to me that this comment betrays little appreciation for the distinction between "history" and "theology", and the role that this distinction plays in "historical" Jesus research.
Bob Webb

WTM said...

What is the distinction? Is 'history' that which actually occurred in the temporal past or that which we can know occurred in the temporal past on the basis of our human capabilities? If 'history' is the former, there need be no sharp division between it and 'theology' on this point; if it is the latter, then a division may be called for. Webster's point, I take it, is that the Jesus who lived and walked around Galilee cannot be properly understood in either sense of 'history' without understanding him in light of who he was, namely, the eternal Son of God incarnate.

Huzzah for Webster!