What has always been wrong with historical Jesus scholarship

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

First, the background . . .

Earl Doherty had written:

Titus 1:2-3 — “…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but (now) at the proper time, he has revealed his word [NEB: openly declared himself] through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior.”

Step One: God promised eternal life long ages ago (lit., before the beginning of time)…

Step Two: God has now revealed that word and fulfilled his age-old promise, through the gospel being preached by Paul. (The writer represents himself as Paul, reflecting the Pauline tradition, as all of the pseudo-Pauline forgeries do.)

God’s promise…then the revelation of that promise in Paul’s gospel.

Where is Jesus in this pattern, Bernard? Where is Step One and a Half? God’s promise wasn’t fulfilled in Jesus? Jesus himself didn’t preach the fulfillment of God’s promise? The “proper time” is identified with Paul’s time and preaching with not the slightest glance at Jesus himself, his life and preaching? The same void exists in other (genuine) Pauline passages, such as 2 Cor. 3:5-6, 3:7-11 and 5:5, Romans 3:21-25, 1 Cor. 10:11. I’m not twisting these passages to eliminate some obvious HJ. He simply isn’t there, and all your sputtering and forced doctoring of them, especially in ignorance of the original Greek texts, won’t put him there. (Some translations do their best to supplement various Greek passages in order to insert him. The NEB is particularly guilty in that regard.)

Mike Wilson replied:

I’m not sure how you conclude there is “no room here for a human Jesus between God and Paul in the course of salvation history”. We can presume Jesus’ actions are part of the promised hope of eternal life without disrupting the meaning of the sentence. I don’t think this line has been a source of any particular trouble for commentators. It reads perfectly well if one supposes the hope of eternal life was accomplished by some action in time on the part of Jesus. That pseudo-Paul did not specify “the promised fulfilled by God gouging out Jesus’ eyes” or whatever they believed, is outside or knowledge. I’m not sure why he doesn’t explain how rebirth and the holy spirit are being poured out through Jesus, but I have to presume the author has an idea of how. While not mentioning the historical deeds or sayings of Jesus, it is not incompatible with such as you believe and little different in its lack of Historical Jesus material as many works by known Historical Jesus authors.

“All that is wrong with historicist scholarship”

Doherty responds Continue reading “What has always been wrong with historical Jesus scholarship”