The quest for an alleged single story of Jesus behind the four gospels is theologically problematic, since such a quest deliberately muffles the distinctive voices of the evangelists and tries to create a kind of historian’s Diatessaron...Fair enough, maaaaybe, but I mused on that point in my last post (an hour ago). What I want to say here is quite different.
Later on down the (really wonderful, btw) post, Gorman writes about Wright's response to Hays, including this bit: "Bishop Tom noted that one of his concerns about reading Jesus through the creeds and tradition is that they have tended to engage in the “de-Israelitization” (his neologism on the spot) of Jesus, God, and the gospel." Gorman then agreed to some extent, but went on to defend the creeds. I've no argument there. But, again, it's his line of reasoning I want to examine more closely. Watch carefully:
One way to deal with this is to realize that the creeds and the Christian tradition more generally do not override or replace the gospels—or at least they shouldn’t. They provide a hermeneutical lens, not a straight-jacket. That is, when we read the gospel narratives of Jesus the Jew, the creeds tell us, we are not reading the story of merely a Jewish teacher, healer, etc. He is, of course, that first-century Jew, but he is that first-century Jew simultaneously, and inseparably, as the once-incarnate and now crucified, resurrected, ascended, and coming Son of God.Again, no argument here. But tell me, now. Does anyone else see a conflict in the reasoning of these two quotations, or is it just me?
If the creeds and all of Christian tradition (!) can be safely constructed on top of our four cannonical gospels, without being seen as hermeneutical straight-jackets, then why can't a "fifth Gospel"?