Of Love and Chairs

Lazarus

A longer version of “The Importance of the Historical Jesus,” excerpted from my book The Sources of the Jesus Tradition (due out this summer) is at Bible and Interpretation: http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/love3141509.shtml

In the case of the “Jesus-question,” there is no point at which the theological imagination does not shape the subject matter. Love comes before the chair, feelings and impressions before the “facts” have been put into place, and interpretation before detail. No matter what element of the Jesus tradition comes first, that element—as scholars for the most part today are willing to acknowledge—comes to us as an act in a religious drama, not as a scene in an ordinary life….

Adapted from: The Sources of the Jesus Tradition, to be published in August 2010 (New York: Prometheus Books,ISBN-10: 1616141891)

3 thoughts on “Of Love and Chairs

  1. Admittedly it is the nature of the N.T. writings which give rise to the level of skepticism evident in the statements: “there is no point at which the theological imagination does not shape the subject matter – no matter what element of the Jesus tradition comes first it comes as an act of religious drama, not as a scene in an ordiary life”.
    I must challenge this to be a bias – non-historical – a tendency to let the problem inherent in the writings of the N.T. shape the entire Jesus tradition.
    The earlist stratum of the tradition’s claim that the key disciples, after fleeing to Gailiee, returned to Jerusalem to again take up the teaching of Jesus, can indisputably be taken “as a scene in ordinary life”. All that history reveals of what followed this act arguably remains “as a scene in ordinary life” – if one can but grant the historical reality of religious inspiration in some form. My March 24, 2009 letter constitutes an argument for such a convinction.

    • The letter is contained in the 10 Comments associated with the essay: “The Importance of the Historical Jesus”, the fourth essay listed below.

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