Originally posted by ivanhoe
"A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis."
Vatican Information Service (VIS)
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE POPE'S PATH TOWARDS JESUS
VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2007 (VIS) - "Jesus of Nazareth," a book written by Benedict XVI will be on sale in Italian, German, and Polish bookshops from Monday, April 16, which is also the Pope's 80th birthday. The volume, 448 pages long, is to be translated into 20 languag ...[text shortened]... 413 (1000)
I would add form criticism, literary criticism and textual criticism as well—and I doubt the Holy Father would disagree. Nevertheless, that’s all “heresy” in some quarters.
According to Amazon.com, the English version will be available May 15th.
Albert Schweitzer said: “Of the historical Jesus, we can little know.”
Rudolph Bultmann said: “Of the historical Jesus, we can nothing know.”
Geza Vermes might say: “Of the historical Jesus, we can surely something know.”
John Dominic Crossan might say: “Of the historical Jesus, we can say he was a Jewish Cynic.”
Vermes, author of Jesus the Jew
, himself Jewish, is one of those who have been involved in the huge amount of “historical Jesus” scholarship in recent years. He takes a minimalist view, which makes him a great deal more cautious than some others, but does see layers of historical information regarding the man Jesus in the Gospel accounts.
Crossan’s scholarship is immense, and his methodology consistent (and pretty much, I think, unchallenged): nevertheless, his conclusion did seem to me to be a bit like the elephant laboring to bring forth a mouse.
Now, it might be somewhat fatuous of me to say that, in Buddhism, the historical Gautama “doesn’t matter.” But the “matter” is not his historical life per se, but (1) his perceived embodiment of the Buddha-nature, and as the tathagata
(the “thus-come-one” ), of the tathata
; and (2) his teachings.
I’m not trying to state an equation here, or do some religious syncretism—just to say that, within a different paradigm, I’ve always thought there were some parallels here that might be germane to all the historical Jesus research. Valid, yes. Important, yes. Christologically critical? Not really. There what matters is Jesus’ perceived embodiment of the logos
, which is what makes Jesus ho Christos
, “the Christ”; and his teachings.
A number of years ago, I read several of the “Jesus scholars”: including Crossan, Vermes, Luke Timothy Johnson, Marcus Borg, N.T. Wright... I’ll likely read some more.
But even if Bultmann was right (and in his time, he might have been), the critical theological core of Christianity would remain intact (theology, Christology and soteriology, all). Some particular theories might fall, but the theological core of such churches as the RCC, Orthodox, Anglicans, etc. (despite their differences) would not be at all shattered.
Otherwise, not only historical Jesus scholarship, but historical-critical exegesis and textual criticism would pose as great a risk.