Jesus Remembered By Whom?

I am no Jesus scholar. That is to say, I am a novice in the field of historical Jesus studies. But as of late I have begun to dabble a bit in some of the literature in the field, and I feel like the so-called quest for the historical Jesus is more like a quest for Atlantis, a never ending quest for a non-existent country. This is how I have felt in my reading of James Dunn’s “Jesus Remembered.” I cannot help but feel cheated in some way. While I understand the methodological procedure that Dunn undertakes to get to the “historical” Jesus, his skepticism of sources and their reliability seem to leave me skeptical of his conclusions. On the one hand, he labors to show that what is written is all we can know about Jesus—Jesus remembered. But this affirmation of the reliability and accuracy of the sources quickly sinks beneath the quicksand of skepticism and doubt. Dunn’s confidence in and affirmation of Q only seem to weaken his argument for a Remembered Jesus. If we cannot fully trust the written accounts of Jesus as he is remembered by the evangelists, how can we have anything more than a Jesus partially remembered, if not forgotten?

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2 thoughts on “Jesus Remembered By Whom?

  1. I was just reading Ladd today on the quest for the Historical Jesus, and talking about this guy Kähler, he said, “The historische Jesus is the creation of the historical-critical method — a Holzweg, a road that leads nowhere. ” He goes on to say that the historical Jesus cannot explain the pheomenon of the rise of Christian faith. I thought that was a good point.

    Dunn may be overly pessimistic about the reliability of the Gospels, but I do appreciate how he demonstrates difference among them that can show different interpretations (even if only slightly) of Jesus tradition.

  2. Pingback: Week in Review: 02.26.2011 | Near Emmaus

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