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Historical Jesus

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Historical Jesus studies, Rosenstock-Huessy claims, attempt to reduce the four gospels to a single unified story, turning the gospels into "material for our reconstruction of the life of Jesus from all the material." Or, historical Jesus studies attempt to place Jesus among the ancients: "He belonged with antiquity. He was speaking, thinking, praying, teaching like many men of ancient times." The whole purpose was to find the Jesus "behind" the sources.

This is impossible, since the sources are eyewitnesses or based on eyewitnesses. It's also impossible because we have been formed by the gospels, and can't go back beyond them.

But it's not only impossible. It's worse than impossible. If Jesus is just another ancient man, "there is no reason to fuss about this man, the little man from the 'Orient.'"

posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, February 09, 2007 at 08:37 AM

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