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Quests of the Historical Jesus

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Lesson

What is the resulting picture that we find of Jesus? For those who find only a small portion of the Gospels reliable, their picture of Jesus that results from the  limited sections of the gospels will be somewhat different from those who find a large portion as reliable.

Outline

I. “OLD” QUEST” (ALBERT SCHWEITZER)

A. Shows how people created a Jesus in line with their beliefs

B. Schweitzer concluded that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet

II. “NO QUEST” (RUDOLF BULTMANN)

Concluded all we can know about Jesus is that he existed

III. “NEW” QUEST (ERNST KÄSEMANN AND JAMES M. ROBINSON)

A. Recognized a transcendent element in Jesus

B. Jesus was not seen as strongly Jewish

C. New criteria of historical inquiry

IV. THE THIRD QUEST OF TODAY

A. Took Jesus’ Jewishness seriously

B. Looked at all the historical texts

C. Emphasis on synthesis

V. PROBLEMS WITH THIS SCHEMATIZATION

Challenges of generalizations

VI. DIVERSITY OF OPINION

A. Prioritizing Jesus’ Deeds

1. Eschatological prophet

2. Charismatic holy man

3. Social reformer

4. Proactive peacemaker

5. Failed zealot

6. Marginalized messiah

B. Prioritizing Jesus’ Teachings

1. Incarnation of Divine Wisdom

2. Sociopolitical liberator

3. Cynic sage

4. Oriental guru

5. Messianic herald of the Kingdom