Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Study the Historical Jesus?

This week my class on the Gospels is looking at the Quest for the Historical Jesus. So I was quite pleased to see that Mark Goodacre posted his latest installment of the NT Pod in which he addresses the question, Why Study the Historical Jesus?

Mark notes, helpfully, that what we are doing is looking at the historian's Jesus, that is, a Jesus constructed by historians using critical analysis.

Whatever you may think of such studies, Mark's overview provides a good explanation for why we do it. You can listen to his 11 minute podcast here.


  1. That we often project ourselves onto others, it is not surprising that historians have made Jesus in their image rather than we in His image. Denise Abston

  2. Professor Goodacre shares a good word and it is certainly encouraging. I appreciated that the NT text invites us to study the history of Jesus and that non-canonical texts raise questions that send us on a search as well. As historians (which may certainly all who are interested in studying history), we find ourselves comparing and contrasting in our own search. It can be fascinating. I enjoyed hearing him say, "constructing," "re-creating," and "capture," and listened to this combination of words twice. History is indeed all these words. But, why study beyond the reasons given? For cultural significance to us; for understanding in the Jewish as well as Muslim context, and to realize that Jesus is the Christ of faith - God in the flesh who came to dwell among us. He is not just man, but God.