A Marginal Jew—Rethinking The Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1991).



As is obvious from recent church history in the United States, fundamentalism is by no means restricted to Protestants. American Catholics have developed their own varieties.


On this point, cf. G.G. O’Collins, “Is the Resurrection an ‘Historical’ Event?” Heythrop Journal 8 (1967), pp. 381–387. O’Collins argues (rightly, in my view) that, although the “resurrection is a real, bodily event involving the person of Jesus of Nazareth” (p. 381), the resurrection of Jesus “is not an event in space and time and hence should not be called historical” (p. 384), since “we should require an historical occurrence to be something significant that is known to have happened in our space-time continuum” (p. 384).


As distinct from ordinary pious Christians, some liberation theologians from the Third World have attempted critical reflection on the historical Jesus—not always with the happiest of results; see John P. Meier, “The Bible as a Source for Theology,” The Catholic Theological Society of America, Proceedings of the Forty-third Annual Convention (1988), pp. 1–14.


Albert Schweitzer, Geschichte der LebenJesuForschung; English transl. The Quest of the Historical Jesus (New York: Macmillan, 1910, repr. 1968).


Eduard Schweizer, Lordship and Discipleship, Studies in Biblical Theology 28 (Naperville, IL: Allenson, 1960).


Herbert Braun, Jesus of Nazareth: The Man and His Time (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979).


Joachim Jeremias, The Problem of the Historical Jesus, English transl. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1964).


Günther Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth, English transl. (New York: Harper & Row, 1960).


E.P Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985).


Cf. the remarks of Rudolf Schnackenburg, “Der geschichtliche Jesus in seiner ständigen Bedeutung für Theologie und kirche,” Rückfrage nach Jesus, ed. Karl Kertelge, Quaestiones disputatae 63 (Freiburg: Herder, 1974), pp. 194–220.


Ernst Käsemann expresses the point this way: “Such research [into the historical Jesus] is theologically meaningful insofar as it struggles to grasp the unmistakable individuality of this earthly Jesus. The King of heaven has no countenance, unless it is that of the Nazarene” (“Die neue Jesus-Frage,” Jésus aux origines de la christologie, ed. J. Dupont, Bibliotheca Ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 40 [Leuven: Leuven University; Gembloux: Duculot, 1975], pp. 47–57).


Unfortunately, this holds true of the otherwise intriguing book by Richard A. Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence, Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (San. Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987); see, e.g., his forced interpretation of the pericope on paying the coin of tribute to Caesar (Mark 12:13–17) on pp. 306–317. More satisfying is the book he coauthored with John S. Hanson, Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs: Popular Movements at the Time of Jesus (Minneapolis, MN: Winston, 1985).


Schweitzer, Geschichte der LebenJesuForschung, vol. 2, p. 620: “Recognized by the peculiar, special character of his ideas and action, he [the historical Jesus] will always embody [literally, ‘retain’] for our age something strange and puzzling” (translation mine).


For an attempt to write a present-day Christology that takes seriously both Christian sources and modern historical consciousness, see John Macquarrie, Jesus Christ in Modern Thought (London: SCM; Philadelphia: Trinity, 1990 ).