- Paperback: 230 pages
- Publisher: Westminster John Knox Pr; Revised edition (June 1, 1973)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0664249760
- ISBN-13: 978-0664249762
- Package Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,387,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Work and Words of Jesus Paperback – June 1, 1973
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He says, "this immense making of books about Jesus has not been wholly profitless... If it has pained orthodox Christians, it has added enormously to our understanding of the life and times of Jesus... The problems are not all solved, but many of them are; and the scholarship of the last two or three decades ... has gradually been accumulating materials for ... a portrait indeed much nearer to that conception of Jesus Christ, at once human and divine, which has been the nerve of all truly vital Christianity down nineteen centuries." (Pg. 14)
He observes, "In the Fourth Gospel history and interpretation are inextricably interwoven... he handles the historical tradition about Jesus with sovereign freedom... we cannot use it in precisely the same way as we use the Synoptics... this is not to aver that the Fourth Gospel is devoid of historical value---far from it... Indeed, in certain points (e.g., the record of Jesus' visits to Jerusalem... and the dating of the Crucifixion) most scholars agree that John preserves a better tradition than the Synoptists. Therefore, while we cannot reckon the Fourth Gospel among our main sources, we cannot ignore it..." (Pg. 17-18)
He asks, "Can a modern Christian who values his intellectual integrity accept [miracles]? ...there are two important things to be said. First of all... in every case it is a matter of historical evidence... The second thing to remember about the miracles of Jesus is that they belong to an age which ... sought a supernatural explanation for any event that baffled popular understanding. We, who have a better understanding of such secondary cauases, are therefore entitled to rationalise the miracles of Jesus, provided that our 'explanation' does not caricature the historical evidence... It is true to say that the healing miracles of Jesus impose no real strain on a Christian's faith. We are beginning to remember ... the potent part played by the mind in the cause and cure of disease... Ultimately, it is the nature miracles... which make men hesitate... the last fifty years have seen a great advance... this change in the intellectual climate had made the case against the nature miracles less formidable... In the last resort, it all turns on what we think about Him." (Pg. 57-59)
He observes about Jesus' teaching, "The 'eschaton' was becoming fact. The Reign of God was breaking into history... This is what we know nowadays as 'realized eschatology'... And here we may set the miracles of Jesus in their true light. They are not mere acts of wonder-working... They are the Kingdom of God in action." (Pg. 72, 74) He adds, "Jesus knew himself to be the Messiah, albeit in humiliation, during His Ministry... But in the mind of Jesus all political suggestions fall away: His Messiahship is conceived in purely spiritual and eschatological terms." (Pg. 82)
He admits, "If, then, the coming of the Son of Man is the Parousia, when did Jesus expect it? This is not an easy question to answer... in a sense the consummation is always at hand, for the relation of time to eternity is not one of temporal remoteness, but of continuous immediacy." (Pg. 110-111) Of the Resurrection, he says, "Despite discrepancies, and tendencies (in Matthew) to embroider and (in Luke) to materialise, there is agreement on two main points: (1) The Tomb was empty... (2) Jesus made several appearances to His disciples... But where did Jesus appear?... If we accept the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, it was surely as easy for Him to appear in Jerusalem and in Galilee, as in Jerusalem only or Galilee only. We do not have to choose between localities." (Pg. 126)
This book may still interest the modern reader looking into the "history" of the search for the historical Jesus.