Friday, January 02, 2009

Francis Watson on the Historical Jesus

I've just finished reading Francis Watson's article "Veritas Christi: How to Get from the Jesus of History to the Chrsit of Faith without Losing One's Way" in Seeking the Identity of Jesus, eds. R.B. Hays and B. R. Gaventa. (You can see how it has stirred my thinking on the post below). One of the highlights of the volume so far. Watson purpose is to show, "how the scholarly constructed known as the 'historical Jesus' can be reintegrated into the canonical image of the historic, biblical Christ" (p. 101). He believes that: The Theologically significant Jesus (the Christ of faith) is the Jesus whose reception by his first followers is definitively articulated in the fourfold Gospel narrative (p. 105). In particular I liked this quote from the conclusion: "Even from a historical point of view, however, it is not at all easy to detach Jesus from his first followers. Their reception of him is also his impact on them. The concrete details of the historical Jesus belong within an account of the 'historical, biblical Christ' and should not be allowed to take on an independent life of their own. The distinction is inevitable, but it exists only in order to be transcended" (p.114).

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