Friday, July 08, 2005

Researching the historical Jesus

And grasping hold of my new found freedom, here are the three books I think are the most important for establishing a foundation in studying the historical Jesus:

Jesus and the Victory of God - N.T. Wright
A New Vision for Israel - Scot McKnight
The Aims of Jesus - Ben F. Meyer

Sadly I dont own a copy of the latter two although I have read McKnight's book twice, and the majority of Meyer's. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God should also be made use of because of its discussion on the nature of knowledge, history, and theology. It is crucial to get a grasp of the task one wishes to persue and how to best go about doing so if one is not to drown in the sea of studies, whose plurality is as much a result of method as it is research.

These books should only be treated as "foundational" and not the final word for several reasons. Firstly, everyone has to start somewhere and I think the general picture they paint is on target. Secondly, the proposals of each need to be tested through careful exegesis of the primary sources they build upon. Thirdly, the field is forever moving forward (although I would consider some moves more sideways or backwards) and it would be lazy not to keep up with the play. Fourthly, those scholars whose proposals conflict with the above need to be engaged honestly, and the useful aspects of their work taken hold of. It may seem a bit arrogant how I just assume that they will not prove more convincing than the proposed foundation, so call me arrogant if you will, but the three I have recomended I did for the very reason that out of all the material read, I have found them to be the most convincing.

No comments: