Posted: May 05, 2012 3:42 pm
by Ian Tattum
proudfootz wrote:This author seems to suggest that perhaps bible scholarship is ready to undergo a sea-change as the methods of the last century have exhausted their utility:

In a forthcoming volume, soon to be published in the Copenhagen International Seminar Series,
a group of scholars contribute essays on the current crisis in the scholarship that is dedicated to
the historical figure of Jesus. Many of the contributors — most of them approaching the subject
from a European mindset — seem to feel that historical Jesus scholarship has reached an impasse;
while new studies continue to be published in the field, scholars are growing tired of the
rehashing of old ideas which are reproduced in these studies anew. With the increasing number
of scholars dedicating themselves to the theory of reception in Biblical Studies, and with the
accessibility of literary criticism steadily becoming a major contender in the field of New
Testament, older scholarship in the form of historical criticism — once ingrained in consensus — is
being challenged in favor of a more literary approach, and the new approach is gaining ground.
One of the problems associated with historical Jesus studies which has not really been addressed,
in its current form, might be found in the inability to accept the probability that the figure of
Jesus might not have existed historically
. While it is clear that scholars accept the possibility,
most conclude that the hypothesis for nonexistence is so meagerly supported that it can simply
be ignored. While this position has been challenged in recent years, it remains, for reasons
which shall be addressed below, a sturdy part of the field of New Testament. This paper,
however, takes a position contrary to this and argues that not only is the position of ahistoricity
possible, but plausible enough that it deserves more attention and more respect than it is
currently given
. This contribution argues, hopefully persuasively, that by dismissing the
position of ahistoricity, or by not taking into account its possibility, contributes directly to the
problems associated with historical Jesus studies.

<full paper can be read at the link below>

Maybe the defensiveness among established scholars is in part the natural reaction of those whose era is coming to a close...

Or it could be a type of recycling? Just as an earlier generation of scholars shrugged-' nothing historical is certain so let's consider the meaning of the myth' a new generation might decide that literary criticism is more interesting than the more boring task of trawling through texts. It is as much about frustration as futlility, possibly, but is also much less demanding, as literary criticism has a history of embracing the latest fashion and lumping it on to texts without much respect for the material being so treated.
But it could be interesting; I don't agree that the historicity of Jesus is the only matter worth investigating, because how the texts evolved and were used could be a fruitful subject to explore whether or not the existence of a literal( non literal :) )Jesus is considered to be fact of history.