The Quest for the Historical Jesus
Arguably the classical historical enterprise in New Testament studies over the past 200 years has been the quest for the historical ﬁgure of Jesus. Typically the quest has sought to ﬁnd the man who really walked around Galilee in the late 20s and was later framed in more elevated terms. In more theological terms, the quest has looked for the Jesus of history in distinction from the Christ of faith, though some conservative scholars have tried to break this distinction down and argue it is impossible to have one without the other because the Jesus of history is only known through the Christ of faith. We will return to the ways in which Jesus was seen after his death in the next section and so readers can judge for themselves about the usefulness of the distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. For now let us turn to the ways in which the life and teaching of the historical Jesus might be reconstructed. There are several criteria used in scholarship to try and reconstruct the life and teaching of the historical Jesus. We can begin with the criteria of ‘dissimilarity’ and ‘embarrassment’.