12 Dec 2012 
#13 The scholarly portraits of the historical Jesus: some comments of mine about the puerility of such studies

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These are extracts from my comments on the aforementioned subject. For full details, see Historical Jesus and Wikipedia Part I - Le Donne on The Jesus Blog.

"I dedicated a lot of time on the research about HJ and early Christianity, and I am not a scholar. The product of my research is on the internet ... [http://historical-jesus.info/]. And I got a lot of enthusiastic feedback, including from those who studied the matter for years.
I object also to "portrait of his life" because we do not know enough to establish a portrait of HJ, and even less of his life (only a few things happening in his last year). That means anyone trying to flesh out any "portrait" or "life" is either a fool or imagining a lot.
I think the goal of reconstruction is to determine his role in the creation of Christianity (which in my view was very minimal but critical, a bit as Rosa Parks was for the Civil Rights Movement), and not defining a portrait of his life or biography: there is simply not enough data for that.
So please, let's remove that "scholarly", "portrait" and "biography"."

"Obviously, scholars are free to generate portraits of anybody of interest. However I think trying to make a portrait of HJ in order to explain the beginning of Christianity is wrong (and then, there is not enough reliable data in order to do that. Proof: many scholars came up with vastly different "portraits"). Why?
HJ had only a small role into that, mostly by circumstances dictated by the immediate religious & historical contexts.
Contrary to what many historicists think, he was not truly the founder of Christianity, just the accidental "ignitor" of it, within a series of events involving others (Pilate, John the Baptist, the group of Seven, the Church of Antioch, Paul, etc.).
I gave the example of Rosa Parks. I can also cite Gavrilo Princip. Both (accidentally) started a chain of events culminating in huge after effects, good or bad. And they did that not by some engaging personality, populist appeal or efforts over a long period (calling for "portraits"), but by one act for each (somewhat not related to the overall consequences)."

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {historical Jesus} {Jesus' portrait}
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