August 23, 2012

Wanted: Gospel Historians

"[A conservative] Historian of Jesus' life needs to believe in the texts of the Four Gospels, but analyze those texts historically. She must read, consider and comment on them while asking different sorts of questions than theologians typically ask. She must write different sorts of overviews than theologians have usually written. Like any good Theologian, she must build up and make more of scripture's God-breathed content, in ways that neither add to nor take away from scripture's claims, but which enhance what is already contained there. The Historian must engage with historical issues without ignoring theological truths, and construct narrative summaries without ignoring the deep perspectival distinctions of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

"Like any good work of Theology, a Gospel based History should impact readers by making them *more* eager to dive into the scriptures, not less. Such a project should neither be calculated to inspire a radical new vision OR a refreshed reinforcing of traditional views on church history. Instead, a Gospel History project should be expected to render fresh four-dimensional (ie, fully spatial & temporal) perspective on historical facets of the original Gospel Story - especially on the most living and active aspects of that holy scripture. Properly situated, the goal of any such work will be merely to bring out more fully the actual vibrancy of the One Story which is already there to be found in the four irreplaceable Gospels."

--excerpted from my header page, Gospel History. To read the whole thing, click here.


David said...

I'm a newbie here but intrigued. I'm on a stretch of spiritual exploration of realizing that there's much more to be comprehended from my scriptures than ever occurred to me. Subsequently found myself reading the likes of Josephus and 1st Clement. I'm interested in Jesus as he was and that calls for understanding the context of what describes him. Interested in where you're going with this.

Bill Heroman said...

Thanks for reading & commenting, David. The journey sounds like a promising one, I believe.

I'll look forward to talking more here in the future...

VC said...

I discovered a new Gospel historian. Until I found a new book, Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs, I had not ideaof how prominent women were in the early church. For instance, I had never heard of the New Testament apostle, Junia, possibly because the church tried to turn her into a male: Junius (there's no such name).But what's fascinating is that the Jewish followers of Jesus, the subject of the book, seem to have influenced later groups such as the 10th century Cathars and the later Lollards where women as well as men played leading roles. Although this is not the main thesis of the book, the author has thoughtfully provided an appendix covering the subject of empowered women starting with Jesus’s women disciples (such as Mary Magdalene). I think this is a very exciting read. I found it at:

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