Saturday, April 10, 2010

Historical Jesus We Never Knew

Over at CT is a spate of intriguing articles on the historical Jesus. First, there is Scot McKnight on The Jesus We'll Never Know, which basically argues that the quest for the historical Jesus is over and it does not give us anything of value any ways. Then there are responses by N.T. Wright (No, We Need History), Craig Keener (No, Jesus Studies Matter), and Darrell Bock (No, We Need Context). Then there is also a poll about the question!

In recent years I've gained a greater appreciation for the canonical Jesus as providing the bricks and mortar of the Christian faith. Yet at the same time, I'm convinced that the Gospels are pressing us to look back to something that we call the "Historical Jesus", i.e., an actual figure and what he said and did, but in the context of early church's proclamation about him. So for me the big the question is not a historical vs. a non-historical Jesus, but whether we will examine the history through the lens of a kergymatic or non-kergymatic way of looking at him. Do we sympathize with the Gospels as we read about Jesus, or do we read against the grain to find the "real" Jesus? Ultimately, I think the historical Jesus and canonical Jesus are different domains of discourse, but ultimately they are complimentary and necessary for an understanding of Jesus.

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