Asserting that "the unexamined Christ is not worth having," respected scholar Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing questions about the Jesus of history, doctrine, faith, and practice. Why is there continuing discord among New Testament experts? How does their research impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs? And what does it contribute to contemporary theological reflection?
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Review 1 for The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus
Date:December 9, 2009
This book is a short but in a way, very dense in its scope. The Author is a very well respected Biblical Scholar. I found it to be both thought provoking but also disturbing. As someone who has struggled throughout life with faith, this book is not all that helpful. Much of what He says about historical Criticism is accurate and worth pondering. Dr Allison is very skeptical. One plus of this, is that He is skeptical of the "Assured results of Higher Criticism" To Me, I tend to agree with the point that We all claim to be able to prove too much. This is especially the case in Historical studies. There is a lot of philosophical biases involved in assessing historical claims. But of course this gets into many areas of interpretation. The impetus of the Historical Critical method was spawned by a dislike of Tradition and Dogma. People often don't like the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament, and so they endeavor to Create a more palatable Jesus. Dr Allison is correct to point out though, that the Gospels themselves also lead to Critical questions. They often don't line up with each other sometimes to the point of historical contradiction. Many of the early Church Fathers recognized this as well. So its nothing new. Allison's basic argument is that the New Testament gives us a basic sense of what the historical jesus was like, if not actually giving a historically accurate portrayal of his actuall words and deeds exactly as they happened. There are themes that appear often enough to give one a good sense of their being, how Jesus was. Yale's Hans Frei promoted this view. Escatological themes are very prevalent, so one can be pretty sure that Jesus was an apocalyptic Preacher of the immenent arrival of God's Kingdom in Isreal. Still the very skeptical bottom line of Allison is disturbing. We live in a very skeptical culture towards Christianity.