Jesus remembered: ‘ideological tinkering must have gone on from the start’

Dale C. Allison Jr writes:

‘Some of my divinity students, who find themselves threatened by the discourse of the quest [for the historical Jesus], the chief categories of which derive not from Christian theology but from the modern study of first-century Judaism, often wish that books on the historical Jesus would attribute to their Lord a higher christology, one more in accord with the faith in which they grew up. But their wish is vain, and they often end up fretting that Jesus might turn out to be like other important figures whose reputations among adherents exploded into myth after they were gone.

The reverent imaginations of some Jews bestowed omniscience upon Moses and gave him a seat in the heavens. In Mahayana Buddhism, the proclaimer became the proclaimed when some adherents identified Gautama with the absolute, deathless reality beyond all things. More to the point, Matthew amended Mark to advance a higher christology, and ideological tinkering must have gone on from the start. The questions all this raises are obvious.’

Dale C. Allison Jr, The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus (Eerdmans 2009), page 86. Dale C. Allison Jr. is Professor of New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and is counted among the top Jesus scholars working today. His book is a must read for all serious students of the New Testament. Buy it here.

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Categories: Biblical scholarship, Christianity, History, Judaism, Scholarship

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