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Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity Paperback – August 30, 2012
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The volume begins with an introduction by Le Donne articulating the intentions of the assembled scholars. While they are not monolithic in their evaluation of the criteria, they are unified in a general unrest and dissatisfaction with the way the criteria have been used. Thus, the volume is primarily unified in deconstruction while containing considerable variance in prescription for the future of historical Jesus studies. For example, some contributors think the criteria remain a valuable though limited tool, while others call for wholesale abandon of their use. Yet the thesis remains the same, the traditional use of the criteria is untenable.
The next two chapters are by Chris Keith and Jens Schröter. Keith demonstrates the dependence of the criteria upon form-criticism, arguing persuasively that if form-criticism is dead, then so are the criteria. Schröter in turn considers the historiographical methodology that underlies the criteria. As perhaps one the most sophisticated historiographers currently engaged in the Quest, Schröter's voice is especially significant.Read more ›
Here are the criteria that are discussed in this book:
1.Criteria of Multiple Attestation
3.The Criteria of Coherence
4. The Criteria of Dissimilarity
5. The Criteria of "Semitic (Aramaic) Influence on the Greek"
My thoughts on the book:
The overall mood of the book is that the criteria that have been and continued to be used by Jesus scholars need to be "jettisoned." The authors (especially Le Donne) seem to be calling for Jesus scholars to punt to more of a post modern view of history. The attempt to use such criteria are a form of what Le Donne calls "positivist" historiography. Hence, the attempt to "verify" and "objectify" a historical Jesus is a wasted process. In other words, it is time to move on. There is no finding any kind of objective criteria that would ever help us to get to the Historical Jesus.
Each chapter attempts to show the shortcomings of each of these criteria. It is because of this I find the authors to overstate their case. If I was to see this book rewritten, I would like to see the authors say the criteria needs to be modified and not entirely jettisoned.Despite the book's shortcomings, there are some strengths. Overall, each article is well written and the footnotes leave the reader with plenty of extra reading material to pursue for further research.Read more ›