Daily Archives: 2010-09-18 13:57:24 GMT+0000

Dunn on Price (4)

Continuing with a few more comments on Dunn’s response to Price in The Historical Jesus: Five Views . . .

Dunn attempts to rebut Price’s assertion that there is “no mention of a miracle-working Jesus in secular sources” (p. 62):

Now to make this claim, [Price] must dismiss the evidence that Josephus gives as well as the Jewish tradition, which marked Jesus as a sorcerer — evidence he does not discuss but that shows up in major second-century sources that debate Jesus. (p. 101)

The two sources footnoted are the Babylonian Talmud‘s Sandhedrin tractate folio 43 (3 separate links here) and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, 69.

I don’t know how Dunn defines “secular sources” but I thought secular refers to something nonreligious. I would not have thought of the Babylonian Talmud or Justin Martyr’s writings as “secular”. But leaving that aside, I fail to see how anyone could be impressed by Dunn’s reply to Price here. read more »

Jesus Christ: Maybe BOTH names are titular? (Dunn on Price, again, too)

Disney - Snow White And Seven Dwarfs Mural
Image by Express Monorail via Flickr

Christ, meaning Messiah, is, of course, not a proper name but a title, like King or High Priest.

Yet Paul’s letters use Christ as if it is a proper name for Jesus.

Dunn writes in response to Price (The Historical Jesus: Five Views) what is well known to all scholars:

As often noted, the fact that Christ was more or less a proper name (Jesus Christ) by the time of Paul (within twenty to twenty-five years of Jesus’ death) must indicate that messianic status had already been ascribed to this Jesus for such a long time that the titular significance of Christ (Messiah) had largely faded. (p. 96)

What is more rarely discussed is the possibility that Jesus, meaning Saviour, is also a personal name that originated as a title. (I know Jesus/Joshua is a common personal name; this post is addressing the happy coincidence that it was bestowed on the one who epitomized its meaning in the Christian myth and narrative.)

Reading the gospel narratives entitles us to be reminded sometimes of Walt Disney’s seven dwarfs. All of their names are “titular” or at least character-role labels: Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey. read more »