Jesus of Faith or Jesus of Histroy

6) Who is Jesus? The “Jesus of history” or the “Jesus of the church”? Yesterday I listened to an interesting discussion of this topic called Der Mann aus Nazareth. It’s not surprising that this is a hot topic in Germany. And it was good to hear scholars calling us back to the biblical, core revelation about Jesus that is found in the Gospels. All too often German scholarship has concluded that the Gospels enshrine merely the kerygma of the early church. They are neither historical nor literary, but dogmatic and cultic – legends in which the Hellenistic mythological interpretation of Christ has been superimposed on the historical Jesus. I plan on returning to this subject in my book Godworld. In any event, I am convinced that it is unnecessary to separate the theological from the historical. The circumstances of the origin of the fourfold gospel will always be a matter of speculation, but historical evidence is not lacking (see my Why Four Gospels?).

(From Dave Black Online. Used by Permission)

External Evidence and the Synoptic Problem

2:36 PM I continue to be fascinated by the synoptic problem. My book Why Four Gospels? examines different elements that play an essential role in resolving this question.

My position is based on two foundational pillars: the external evidence provided by the earliest fathers that Matthew was the first of the canonical Gospels, and the internal evidence that suggests Mark is a conflation of Matthew and Luke (Orchard called this the “zigzagging effect”). I have yet to see a refutation of the external evidence. Most scholars reject the patristic testimony as being of little or no value for source-critical research. Since the internal evidence can never be probative (it can never prove anything about the sequence or interrelationships of the Gospels), it would seem that Gospel scholars would be all the more willing to take the external evidence into account. Whatever option is ultimately preferred, the internal evidence ought to be supplemented by considerations about the empirical circumstances under which the traditions about Jesus were developed in the earliest church. It may be that future generations of New Testament students will perform this task. If they don’t, I predict very little progress in this great area of research. I would dare to hope that my re-examination of the leading church fathers will offer some helpful suggestions for the next generation of scholars.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by Permission)

Embellishing Stories

4:45 PM If you are a Civil War buff (as I am you) have probably seen the movie Gettysburg starring Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee and Jeff Daniels as Joshua Chamberlain. There’s an unforgettable scene that takes place on the first day of battle. Union cavalry General John Reynolds is in the copula of the Lutheran Theological Seminary when General John Reynolds of the Union I Corps rides up. “Thank God,” says a tearful Buford. “What goes, John?” asks Reynolds. “There’s a devil to pay,” replies Buford. “Can you hold?” inquires Reynolds. “I reckon I can,” says Buford. At this point, Buford descends from the copula and the two generals ride off toward the sound of battle on McPherson’s Ridge.

Continue reading “Embellishing Stories”

Motivation for Matthew

10:12 AM On the original motivation for Matthew:

As soon as the first wave of converts had been baptized and their instruction organized by the Twelve, the apostles’ thoughts turned to the practical question of how to unify and consolidate their teaching about Jesus. The apostles realized that they somehow needed to promulgate those passages of the Holy Scriptures from “Moses and all the prophets” (Luke 24:27) that Jesus had explained to Cleopas on the road to Emmaus. It also became clear to them that their main apologetic task was to demonstrate to the Jewish authorities that Jesus had literally fulfilled all the prophecies about the Messiah. These considerations were the original motivation for the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.

From Why Four Gospels?

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)

Dave Black on Textual Criticism

Dave Black has written a new essay on textual criticism.   Here’s an extract:

In textual criticism, one enters a discipline that is as much art as it is science, so that what is all too clear to one scholar may be opaque to another. My friend Dan Wallace — who, incidentally, also took Harry Sturz’s textual criticism class at Biola — has explained how he left the Sturzian fold and returned to the camp of the Critical Text — much to the joy, I surmise, of the coaching staff.

I have never changed my mind.

You can read the rest at Dave Black Online.

Mark Presents Peter

7:47 AM Mark as the interpres of Peter:

Indeed, it is the modern critics, blinded by their conviction of the priority of Mark, who have failed to accept the obvious message of the patristic evidence. That is why they have misunderstood the significance of the texts that always describe the disciple Mark as the go-between or agent of Peter and never as the author; yet the critics ignore this and make him out to be a writer who remembers what Peter said and not simply the agent for the recording of Peter’s lectures.

From Why Four Gospels?

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)

Mark as an Enabling Document

6:57 PM Mark as an enabling document:

Matthew is the fundamental Gospel and the most important, but each was written and published in response to a particular need of the church in a particular historical situation. The real significance of Mark lies in Peter’s guarantee that Luke was fit to be read beside Matthew in the churches of both Peter and Paul. Mark is therefore to be viewed as the bridge between Matthew and Luke, that is, as a document enabling Luke’s Gospel to be used freely in all the churches to which the authority of Peter, the chief eyewitness, extended; and it stands as a recognition of the equality of the Gentiles in all the churches.

From Why Four Gospels?

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)