The Historical Jesus: Four Theses by Anthony Le Donne

I just stumbled upon a help short piece by Dr. Anthony Le Donne on four theses on the the historical Jesus. Below is simply a highlight of the points I found most interesting.

I. The Historical Jesus is not …

  • The untheological Jesus
  • A fifth gospel
  • A harmony of the Gospels
  • A conflation of the Gospels

II. The Historical Jesus is Faith Seeking Historical Understanding

  • The Gospels themselves claim to have a historical character and invite critical scrutiny (e.g., Luke 1.1-4).
  •  The “historical Jesus” is the narratives that emerges when the Evangelists invite sociologists, archaeologists, Talmudic scholars, and Graeco-Roman historians to work on seminar project about Jesus.
  • Study of the historical Jesus is a necessary question since sooner or later Christians are bound to ask, who is the kyrios [the Lord] how did he become ho stauromenos [the crucified]?

III. The Canonical Jesus is Faith seeking Narratival Understanding

  • The task of the Gospels is to narrate the gospel of Jesus as part of Israel’s history and religious literature and in light of the church’s witness to Jesus and worship of Jesus.

IV. Jesus: Historical and Canonical

  • The “Jesus” part of a New Testament Theology should have the following tasks: (1) To answer the question of “Who is Jesus?” in light of historic testimony; (2) to postulate how the historical Jesus impacted the formation of the Four Gospels; (3) To define the literary, rhetorical, social, and theological fabric of the Four Gospels in their own right; and (4) To summarize what the Four Gospels and their reception in the church have to say about Jesus as a whole.

As I said, these are only summaries. Most of these points are fleshed out in the article. The whole piece is worth reading. Le Donne is the author of The Historical Jesus: What Can We Know And How Can We Know It?

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Posted on September 22, 2012, in Jesus Christ and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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