on the historical Jesus

Michael Debusk asks, “Is the Quest for the Historcal Jesus over?”  He notes Scot McKnight’s article in Christanity Today, and three rejoinders by N.T. Wright, Craig Keener, and Darrell Bock (the links are in his blog post).  In sum, McKnight contends:

 …that the Enlightenment project which sought to uncover the Jesus of history–that is, Jesus stripped of the theological baggage imposed on him by the church–has failed to produce any reliable portrait. Why? The inability to overcome a secular, naturalistic bias against the evidence.

Additionally, McKnight’s contention seems to be that attempts to reconstruct the histoical Jesus are just that reconstructions – and typically, they are all different.  So it leads to a key question McKnight asks of the discipline of historical Jesus studies:

We must be willing to ask, Whose Jesus will we trust? Will it be that of the evangelists and the apostles? Will it be the church’s orthodox Jesus? Or will it be the latest proposal from a brilliant historian?

I am sill processing what I think of it all but I do agree with Keener that “As long as the historical questions are being asked, then, it is important for the Tom Wrights, Ben Witheringtons, and the many other believing scholars engaged in the discussion to articulate their perspective….”  and that:

Used rightly, these methods can be friends rather than foes of faith. The academy’s ground rules are limited, not always fair, and themselves open to challenge. Some methods, such as the double dissimilarity criterion, are now widely rejected. But many of the principles provide a minimal basis for dialogue among scholars of different persuasions. Through that dialogue, we can establish at least some historical information on which most scholars can agree.

 So what do you all think?  Is the quest for the historical Jesus over?  What say you?


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