2006-12-14

The search for an “historical core” in Christian origins??

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by Neil Godfrey

I have held off posting on IIDB’s thread on the search for an historical core to Christian/Jesus origins until just now when I asked how one might define “historical core” and how one might know when one has found it. The whole question seems to me to be making assumptions about the methods of historical investigation that cannot be justified. But I need time to collect my thoughts on it more thoroughly before posting on it, if I ever do. The term seems to suggest that the way historians interpret and evaluate evidence can establish something that really is beyond that evidence and the constructs of the historians.

I fail to understand how starting at a later point and working back is any more likely to arrive at such a historical core — If the root reasons for not establishing some common understanding of Christian origins has more to do with unscientific approaches to historical method in so much of what passes for biblical scholarship and the paucity of evidence, then aren’t we just going to end up reaching the same impasse only from the opposite direction?

(But I don’t want to go the way of being absurdly post-modernistic on this or sounding that way. Some constructs can be more than just theoretical. A person shot another person may be a construct but it’s also a reality beyond the construct. )

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Neil Godfrey

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