I like the idea of blog comments being threaded to enable replies to specific comments to be kept together, but a few times (not often) the comments do get quite numerous and it can be easy to miss someone’s latest contribution if it is nested in the middle of a long series of posts. The alternative is get rid of nesting altogether and have all comments listed in chronological sequence. I am in two minds about it, so am soliciting other views.
If interested do register an opinion in the poll I have set at the top of the left margin or here:
The first essential step in any historical inquiry
This is a heartening introduction to the essential basics of valid historical methodology that has been very fudgy in the field of historical Jesus studies. The first thing any historian needs to grapple with when undertaking any inquiry is the nature of his or her sources. While probably most biblical scholars have acknowledged that the Gospels are theological narratives that depict a “Christ of faith” rather than a “Jesus of history”, there has at the same time been an assumption that that theological layer has been created to portray what the “historical Jesus” meant to the authors and their readers. Given this assumption, it has been believed that it might be possible to uncover some facts about the historical Jesus nonetheless. Historical Jesus studies have in this way been confused with the question of Christian origins.
The contributions in this book are from a diverse range of scholars. The introduction explains the purpose of the volume:
The essays collected in this volume have a modest purpose. Neither establishing the historicity of an historical Jesus nor possessing an adequate warrant for dismissing it, our purpose is to clarify our engagement with critical historical and exegetical methods in the hopes of enabling the central question regarding the function of New Testament literature to resist the endless production of works on the historical Jesus. Our hope is to open a direct discussion of the question of historicity much in the spirit of the more than decade-long discourse and debate by the European Seminar on Methodology in Israel’s History, which has been so profitably engaged in regard to the historicity of figures and narratives of the Hebrew Bible and the related construction of a history of ancient Palestine.
This sounds a little like an approach I have been suggesting on this blog and elsewhere for some time, so I find such a statement personally encouraging.