Monday, December 08, 2008

Koester on the Historical Jesus

I am very happy to quote Koester on the current state of the study of the Historical Jesus from the preface of his book From Jesus to the Gospels:
Isolating particular types of traditions as belonging to Jesus of Nazareth--no matter how critical or how conservative this approach is--has proven to be a dead-end road . . . The question of the historical Jesus of Nazareth . . . should be laid to rest for the time being.

But I have no idea what he means by this very amorphous statement: 
The historian can be liberated from such presuppositions and prejudices only by the establishment of a historical trajectory. In such a trajectory it is necessary to consider the totality of the historical, religious, theological political, and social components of the entire history that reaches from the prophetic tradition of Israel (rarely considered in modern studies of the historical Jesus!) and the Roman imperial eschatology to the reception of the tradition about Jesus in the surviving Gospel materials.


Bill said...

Does the last statement perhaps mean that 'HJ' scholars are doomed to fail because they typically not holistic enough? The writer makes an awfully ecclectic list, but as it seems to include faith-based AND liberal elements, it sounds like he's attempting an even handed rebuke of both camps. Am I close?

Yirmeyahu said...

It means that HJ "scholars" have consistently denied the historical Judaic context in order to maintain their Hellenist Greek immage.