Daily Archives: 2010-09-17 00:30:59 GMT+0000

The Clueless Search for the Historical Jesus

Who Is Jesus Christ?

It is impossible not to smile a little at the quaint, anonymous post Does no one love Jesus anymore? on the new Sheffield Biblical Studies blog.

The poster laments that “less (sic) people are interested in historical Jesus studies than in previous years” and asks what cultural factors might be at play to explain this. It links, by way of some assistant discussion starter, to Scot McKnight post in Christianity Today, originally posted April 2010. (My little discussion of this article for what it’s worth is kept here.)

2 points:

  1. That article addresses the truism that HJ studies have tended to produce a Jesus modeled after the personal interests and predilections of each scholar making the inquiry.
  2. The very idea of a quest for “the historical Jesus” is founded on a wish to find some evidence for something such a person supposedly ever did or said, even for what such a person indeed even was! How often do police start a search for someone when they don’t even know if they’re to look for a rabbi or a rebel, and have only anonymous and uncorroborated reports that the person even exists? read more »

Why Evolution Is True: And Reflections on Historical Jesus Scholars

Cover of "Why Evolution Is True"
Cover of Why Evolution Is True

Someone posted a link to a post on my blog on Jerry Coyne’s blog “Why Evolution Is True” (See his post: I get Christian email: more irreducible complexity)  — and wonderful, wonderful! I like reading books like his (I have referenced Coyne’s book twice here but never knew he also had a blog) — and I loved reading his summary explanation for the evolution of sex. He was giving a clearly reasoned, evidence-based response to a Creationist. I have read more detailed accounts of this topic, but what was refreshing was to see how real science, real argument, real logic, real evidence, really works. You don’t find arguments like that — or you certainly very rarely find them — when historical Jesus scholars respond to Jesus mythicist arguments. Actually that is misleading. Historical Jesus scholars very rarely in my experience ever respond to Christ myth arguments. They mostly pretend to, usually with a snicker or sneer, and demonstrate their ignorance or incomprehension of

  1. basic historical methodological ideals in nonbiblical studies,
  2. the arguments they think they are addressing,
  3. and the difference between logical fallacies and logical rigour. read more »