Saturday, February 22, 2014

Historical Jesus Criteria Podcasts

I commented here the other day (Snow and Podcasts) on the latest episodes of the NT Pod, which is finally back after a hiatus of several months.

I have released a couple more episodes since then (NT Pod 69 and NT Pod 70), also both on the discussion about historical Jesus criteria.

Now seems like a good time to gather the links together on all of these:

NT Pod 59: Historical Jesus Criteria
NT Pod 60: The Criterion of Embarrassment
NT Pod 61: The Criterion of Multiple Attestation
NT Pod 69: The Criterion of Discontinuity
NT Pod 70: Views Common to Friend and Foe

Or, if it is easier, I have them together under one label: Historical Jesus Criteria.

I'm a bit bored with the discussion about criteria now, so I'll leave it for a while, perhaps until I teach Historical Jesus again next year.  Episode 71 will be about something different.  I have a couple of ideas and I'll make my mind up over the next day or so.

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Jim Deardorff said...

In Podcast 59 it is interesting that you pointed out the potential tension between the criterion of embarrassment and that of multiple attestation. Such tension occurs in an overlooked, but more important, case than that of the Baptism, namely the long covered-up name change from Immanuel to Jesus. The positive evidence for this occurs within at least four apocryphal writings (Acts of Thomas, Ascension of Isaiah, Gospel of Philip, and Testament of Solomon). These indicate that his true name was not to be known or uttered, and/or in cryptic terms that it had been Immanuel.

In the Gospel of Matthew we find the belief that Isaiah’s Immanuel prophecy had been fulfilled even though Isa 7:14 was a failed prophecy if he had been named “Jesus” at birth instead of “Immanuel.” He could live with this contradiction knowing it wasn’t a contradiction in fact.

The multiple attestation in this case came from the continued belief in the fulfillment of Isa 7:14 by Justin and Irenaeus. Evidently they attempted to alleviate the contradiction and mollify the resulting embarrassment by changing the active voice to passive: “and his name shall be called Emmanuel.” In that manner it might be thought that later use of the appellative “with-us God” would indicate fulfillment, even though in the Great Isaiah Scroll “Immanuel” is three times written as the one-word name. In their (embarrassing) discussions they had to emphasize the “virgin birth” argumentation and say little or nothing about the “Immanuel” verification. I.e., the tradition of the original name being Immanuel was still known to some towards the end of the 2nd century.

At the same time, a criterion of “undue silence” could be invoked. Why weren’t they shouting the good news of the fulfillment of Isa 7:14 from the house-tops? The name change initiated evidently by Paul had won out by late 1st century or so, and “Immanuel” was not to be uttered unless occasionally within the quotation of Isa 7:14. It needs mention that although Paul himself believed in the fulfillment of “the root of Jesse” as Isaiah’s messiah, his epistles never refer to Isa 7:14 and never mention “Emmanuel.” Hence the tension between the various HJ criteria.

Thanks, Mark, for permitting this longer than usual comment. Much more about this can be found by googling “Had his name really been Jesus, or Immanuel?” ,

Jens Knudsen (Sili) said...

Are you considering writing a book on the Historical Jesus?

Having just finished Richard Carrier's latest review, I'm not exactly impressed with the state of the field.

I did try to read Helen Bond, but I kept feeling she exaggerated her case repeatedly, but in one chapter acknowledging the weakness of some evidence, and then in the next completely ignoring that conclusion and continuing as if her circumstantial indications were solid fact. I'm not even sure she was aware of doing it.