I stopped looking for the historical Jesus years ago. Here is a list of all we “know” about Jesus from sources outside the Bible:
1. There was a man named Jesus.
2. Jesus had a brother named James.
3. A man named Jesus was crucified.
4. Jesus was later called “Christ” by his followers.
The rest of what we know about the historical Jesus comes from the devotional writings of his followers, most of whom never met him. When scholars say they are studying the historical Jesus, what they really mean is they are studying the historical background of the literature of scripture. Looking for the historical Jesus by studying the Bible is like looking for the historical Achilles based on the writings of Homer.
This is not to say Jesus has been lost to us. Scripture is a witness, but it is witness to truths of the human condition, not a witness to history. Perhaps that is why the four gospel writers made no attempt to correct the discrepancies in their historical narratives. The historical Jesus must die for the living Christ to be born. The truth of the gospel is as stark as the verdict of history: if we do not find Christ in the face of our neighbor, we do not find Christ at all.
This entire posting, down to the last two sentences, is contextural. The last two sentences need to be emblazoned in bold letters across the retinas of our eyes and made a part of our daily life.
Thank you, Vershall.
It’s the search for the historical Jesus that provides the support some of us may need to reach the conclusion you have reached because it helps to free us from the illusion of well founded “authority” of the tradition in which we grew up, 8/28/13, 08:09 CDT
Bob, that’s true. My frustration is the cottage industry that never moves past the search.
I understand, and I realize that your post is on a different plane than where my point lies. At some point we all have to come to the realization of the danger of losing our way if we focus on a factual, logical substantiation of our faith rather than trusting our own compass.
I think the “cottage industry,” as you call it, is helpful, but, in accordance with your concerns, it runs the same danger of becoming established as the institutional church in biasing our own compasses rather than just helping to free them from other biases. 8/29/13, 08:09 CDT
Bob, that’s well said. Any religious path has its dangers as well as it’s helpfulness.