The Jesus Process: A Consultation on the Historical Jesus

Republishing here essays from the special issue of N.O., The Jesus Process

The New Oxonian


Controversy, Mythicism, and the Historical Jesus

© 2012 R. Joseph Hoffmann

Framework

While the New Testament offers the most extensive evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus, the writings are subject to a number of conditions that have dictated both the form and content of the traditions they have preserved.  These conditions did not disappear with the writing of the first gospel, nor even with the eventual formation of the New Testament canon.  They were expressly addressed by Christian writers in the second and third century who saw an incipient mythicism as a threat to the integrity of the message about Jesus.  The history of this controversy is long, complex, and decisive with respect to the “question” of Jesus.

The process through which the memory of Jesus was preserved was a reflexive attempt to relay what was known and what was believed about him, while at the same time…

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One thought on “The Jesus Process: A Consultation on the Historical Jesus

  1. “While the New Testament offers the most extensive (authentic) evidence of the historical Jesus”, this evidence is not located in the writings of the NT, the letters of Paul, the Gospels, as well as the later writings of the NT. This evidence is located in Matthew 5:3 – 7:27 which is not a writing of the author Matthew but of an early redactor of the Jerusalem Jesus Movement, pre Gospel, partly pre Pauline, the alternative to Christianity based on the writings of the NT. Herein lies the key to a true understanding of the search for the historical Jesus.

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