review we had to do for our religion midterm.
Ch 1 pp 1-11
The Quest of Historical Jesus
First came the criticism of the sources. The question here was whether everything in the Gospel accounts was historical or authentic.
To source criticism was added historical relativism. Even if we had a historically reliable picture of Jesus, the problem would remain that this figure was deeply embedded in history and was less singular and absolute than people believed.
Hermeneutical otherness: even if we had historically reliable reports and in them encountered and irreplaceable person – this Jesus, who was as close to many people in childhood as a good friend, removed himself into his past world which demons were driven out.
Where an existential decision is urgently called for, Jesus becomes the preacher of a call to decision who summons individuals from their forgetfulness of life. Where people advocate a humanism which emancipates itself from supervision by the church, Jesus becomes the one who challenges religious institutions.
Five Phases of the quest of the historical Jesus
First Phase: The critical impulse towards the question of the historical Jesus
Reimarus views the life of Jesus from a purely historical perspective.
Reimarus finds cause to separate completely what the apostles say in their own writings from that which Jesus himself actually said and taught.
Strauss' main achievement is to have applied to the Gospels the concept of myth which has already current in the OT scholarship of his time.
Strauss sees myth and says that traditions contradict each other, or motives widespread in the history of religion are transferred to Jesus.
Strauss was the first to recognize that the Gospel of John is historically less trustworthy than the Synoptics. Put forward the view that Matthew and Luke are the earliest Gospels, and that Mark is an excerpt from both of them . Therefore by clarifying the relationship b/w the sources through the two-source theory, liberal theology could hope to cope with the 'shock' caused by Strauss.
Second Phase: the optimism of the liberal quest of the historical Jesus
The methodological basis of the liberal study of Jesus is the literary-critical exploration of the earliest sources about Jesus. Mark, a source which hitherto had been overshadowed, and Q, a source first reconstructed by scholars, were not regarded as the earliest, largely reliable sources for the historical Jesus. An emancipation from the traditional church picture of Jesus seemed possible on his basis.
Third phase: the collapse of the quest of the historical Jesus
Three scholarly insights led to the collapse of the quest of the historical Jesus.
Schweitzer's book showed that the images of the lives of Jesus were projections. He demonstrated that each of the liberal pictures of Jesus displayed the personality structure which, in the eyes of its author, was the ethical ideal most worth striving for.
Wrede argued that the Gospel of Mark is an expression of community dogma. This destroyed the confidence that it was possible to distinguish between the history of Jesus and the image of Christ after Easter.
Bultmann – Dialectical theology – it was not what Jesus had said and done which was thought to be decisive but what God had said and done in the cross and resurrection.
Research into the history of religions made it clear that theologically Jesus belongs to Judaism and that Christianity begins only with Easter. From this Bultmann drew the conclusion that the teaching of Jesus is of no significance for a Christian theology.
Fourth phase: the 'new quest' of the historical Jesus
Because the conflict with the Jewish Law was no longer located at the center of Jesus' life, other possibilities of interpreting Jesus' violent death historically were considered. Was he perhaps a political rebel against the Romans? The three classical accounts of Jesus in Jewish research from the beginning of this century represent Jesus was a ethicists, prophet and rebel.
Jesus as ethicists – some would call him an extreme nationalist but with a 'new concept of God' which detached God from his bond to people and history.
Jesus as prophet – the old prophets did not yet have to grapple with the Law as a finished, completed entity. But in the time of Jesus this was limited to the Jerusalem temple.
Jesus was a rebel – Jesus had wanted to found a worldly kingdom – in the first half of his life Jesus had presented a non-violent teaching, but then seized and occupied the temple violently and finally came to grief in conflict with the Romans.
Fifth phase: the 'third quest' of the historical Jesus
A sociological interest replaced the theological interest, and the concern to find Jesus a place in Judaism replaced the demarcation of Jesus from Judaism; an openness to non-canonical (sometimes 'heretical') sources also replaced the preference for canonical sources.
There is a dispute over whether non-canonical sources are to be preferred to canonical sources.
Meantime the Jesus research within the 'third quest' has split into two different trends. The most important differentiation is that on the one hand there is a return to a 'non-eschatological picture of Jesus' in which Jesus becomes the advocate of a paradoxical existential wisdom influenced by Cynicism. On the other hand, as in previous research, Jesus is interpreted in the framework of his eschatology and placed at the center of Judaism, for the restoration of which he hoped.