Wednesday, September 03, 2008

GEZA VERMES has an article on "The Truth about the Historical Jesus" in Standpoint Online. Excerpt:
To recapitulate, the philological, literary and historical analysis of the Semitic meaning of Jesus’s titles corroborates his image as it emerges from the Synoptic Gospels. Hence the only reasonable conclusion to draw from a combined study of the Gospel picture and the honorific titles is that the historical Jesus was a Galilean charismatic whose aim was to conduct his repentant Palestinian Jewish contemporaries into the spiritual realm called the Kingdom of God through preaching, healing and exorcising.

Traditional Christianity does not stop at this portrait of the human Jesus, but overlays it with the majestic ! image of the Christ of faith arising from the mystical meditations of Paul and John and the Hellenistic philosophy of the Greek Church Fathers.

In a nutshell, Jesus’s preaching was centred on God, the heavenly Father, on the dignity of all human beings as children of God, on life turned into worship by total trust, on an overwhelming sense of urgency to do one’s duty without procrastination, on the sanctification of the here and now, and above all on the love of God through the love of one’s neighbour.