Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Is the Quest doomed to plurality?

Stiumulated by some comments Richard Hays made when discussing the place the "historical Jesus" should have in doing New Testament ethics (Moral Vision, pp.158-61), I wonder whether he is correct in assessing the results of the quest as highly subjective. [1] Yes, there is a great pluraility of portraits of Jesus, and yes, there does not seem to be an emerging agreement (consensus?) between scholars, most seem to like sticking to there guns.

But the great majority of disagreement arises, in my opinion, because of methodological differences. This is most clearly the case between radically differing portraits, such as the cynic sage and the restoration prophet. The pluarlity in this case doesnt really demonstrate an inescapable subjectivity or the near impossibility of the task. Rather it demonstratese plurarlity in historical method. One could always retort that this plurality demonastates an inescapable subjectivity, and that we cannot hope to gain agreement on this either. But I see no reason for this, other than the refusal or laziness that neglects engaging with other scholarship at not only a exegetical level, but more importantly at a methodological level.

So theres hope as far as im concerned. What do you think?

[1] I hope im not misrepresenting him here!

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