Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Helen Bond on Historical Jesus studies

HELEN BOND has published an essay in Bible and Intepretation summarizing the results of her new book The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed:
Ten Things I Learnt about Jesus by Writing a Book about him

I’ve become increasingly convinced that the search for authentic words of Jesus is a waste of time. The human memory has been studied exhaustively in recent decades, and the overriding picture which emerges is one of fragility and subjectivity. On an individual level, we tend to fill in the blanks, to make sense of what we see or hear, and to allow later information to blend into and inform what we think we remember. Over time, we may retain the gist of what happened, but not the specific details....the idea that a person or a group could remember and transmit Jesus’ sayings perfectly seems highly unlikely.
I am not a specialist in Historical Jesus studies, but her comments seem to me refreshingly sensible and undogmatic (both in the religious sense and the political-correctness sense). I have posts making similar points to her points 2 and 6 here and her point 3 here (end of post).

(Via James McGrath.)