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Bible Alive Jesus Christ 001: "“The Method of Biblical Christology”


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Discover what Christology is and its relevance. Learn to properly distinguish between the Jesus of Faith and the Jesus of history. Become cautious of the pitfalls of rationalism as seen in biblical …

Discover what Christology is and its relevance. Learn to properly distinguish between the Jesus of Faith and the Jesus of history. Become cautious of the pitfalls of rationalism as seen in biblical skepticism and religious fundamentalism. In this class we critique the “Quests for the Historical Jesus.” Learn about the “Old Quest” and why it failed, and also explore “the New Quest” and “the Third Quest.” See the Theological History of Jesus and learn that the Gospels are not biographies but rather inspired witnesses to the “events and teachings of Jesus insofar as they have meaning for the Church.” Most importantly, learn the right orientation for confronting the mystery of Jesus Christ.

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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  • I think the study of christology is not just studying His 'divinity', but also we must balance it with the study of His 'humanity'. And also christology is about studying who is Jesus in itself (his nature and person) in contrast with soteriology 'who is Jesus for us' and the plan of salvation.
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  • 1. Bible Alive: Jesus Christ Class One—Introduction & The Method of Biblical Christology
  • 2. The following presentation would be impossible without these resources
  • 3. And most of all… By Father Roch A. Kereszty o. cist. Thank you Father Roch!
  • 4. Setting the Tone
    • John 17:3—And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.
  • 5.  
  • 6. Setting the Tone
    • John 4:42—[The Samaritan villagers] said to the woman, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves , and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
  • 7.  
  • 8. Setting the Tone
    • John 20:28ff—Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
  • 9.  
  • 10. Keep in mind that…
    • What follows is not just a mental exercise.
    • This is encountering a MYSTERY, a dive into the LIGHT.
    • The human mind can never exhaust it.
    • The “knowledge” here is like the knowledge between Adam and Eve, between Christ and Church.
    • Mystically intimate, it is more than a head thing.
    • It is a PRAYER thing. Pray.
  • 11.
    • Father
    • All things praise you in your Son
    • By your Spirit conform all things to
    • Jesus Christ
    • Grow our faith to illuminate our reason
    • And grant us reason to critically appropriate
    • Our faith.
    • Amen.
  • 12. What is Christology?
    • Christology is the theology of Jesus Christ: his what and who—natures, person, obscurity, ministry, consciousness, etc.
    • WHENEVER we ask and reflect about the who and what of Jesus Christ, we are doing Christology.
  • 13. We have a hierarchy of truths.
    • Among these truths, it is more important to know who Jesus is than it is to know how many sacraments there are or whether Christ is really present in the Eucharist—and these truths, one must grant, are exceedingly important matters in themselves.
  • 14. The two basic types of Christology
    • Christology “from below” or Ascending Christology.
    • Christology “from above” or Descending Christology.
    • Let’s examine each…
  • 15. Christology “from below”
    • Starts with Jesus of Nazareth, that is, the Jesus of history, and tends to emphasize his humanity.
    • We begin with Jesus, a human being like us in all things but sin, living out his early life in obscurity and who, by his unique proclamation of the Kingdom of God, stands out from the rest of humanity.
    • He is led to Calvary and the Cross by his lifelong giving of himself in service to others.
    • God raised him up and exalted him.
    • Notice how Christ’s life proceeds according to this Christology? It ascends.
  • 16. Christology “from below”
    • This Christology is the emphasis of the theology we find in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke).
    • Christology “from below” is the dominant approach to in Catholic Christology today.
    • It is useful—but what do you think happens if you take this Christology too far?
    • Too much focus on Christology “from below” tends to suggest that Jesus is only human and not really divine. He fulfills a unique role in the history of human beings, calling us to the demands of the Kingdom of God.
  • 17. Films depicting an overemphasized Christology “from Below.”
  • 18. Christology “from above”
    • This Christology begins with the preexistent Word (Logos) with God in heaven and tends to emphasize his divinity.
    • The Word “comes down” to assume human flesh on earth and to accomplish our redemption by dying on the cross, rising and returning as Lord to heaven.
    • Notice how Christ’s life proceeds according to this Christology.
  • 19. Christology “from above”
    • The Christology “from above” is the emphasis of the theology we find in the Fourth Gospel and that of Paul.
    • Christology “from above” was the dominant approach to Catholic Christology from the medieval period up until Vatican II.
    • It is useful—but what do you think happens if you take this Christology too far?
    • An exclusive or exaggerated Christology “from above” tends to imply that Jesus is not really human, but only appears to have taken on our human condition.
  • 20. Films depicting an overemphasized Christology “from Above.”
  • 21. Question: Of the Two Extremes, To which have Christians historically more often been inclined?
    • CHRISTOLOGY “from above.”
    • Why?
    • Our humanity is VERY uncomfortable. We really don’t like associating it with God.
    • It’s much easier for us to see Jesus as Superman than man.
    • In the pre-Vatican II Church, one might often hear statements like, “when Christ walked the earth disguised as a man.”
  • 22. This Course is BOTH-AND
    • Catholics are “both-and” not either-or.
    • Jesus is both God and man.
    • He is both from above and from below. We need the full apostolic witness to see this.
    • Theology is an outcome or fruit of faith. Christology is where anthropology and theology meet.
    • The first theological questions are:
    • Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?
  • 23. Who is Jesus Christ?
    • In all the literature about Jesus ever written you will never find a neutral account.
    • Study his life and teachings and it will be IMPOSSIBLE for you to maintain a credibly indifferent posture.
    • Either you will accept him in faith in more or less conformity with the faith of the Church OR you will deflate his importance or discredit his person in one way or another.
  • 24. What about Modern Skeptics?
    • Modern skeptics and their claims are UNORRIGINAL.
    • Certain modern theologians did not invent the idea of the extramarital conception of Jesus—it was insinuated by some of his contemporaries (Jn 8:41).
    • Reimarus did not invent the notion of Jesus’ body being stolen from the tomb; it was a well-known rumor by the time of Matthew’s composition (Mt 28:11).
    • D.F. Strauss was not the first to reject the mystery of the Incarnation as unworthy of educated human beings; Celsus and Porphyry, pagan philosophers of the 2 nd and 3 rd centuries derided it well before.
  • 25. But the Early Church was not a Fundamentalist Group
    • It would be wrong to insinuate that the Church of the 2 nd and 3 rd centuries—which determined the biblical canon—shared 21 st century Christian fundamentalist anxiety for historical accuracy.
    • The biblical canon attests the Church’s conviction that the four Gospels together, in their relative differences and essential complementarity provide the full, authentic portrait of Jesus and the full, authentic depository of his teachings.
    • By preserving four DIFFERENT VERSIONS of the same story the Church expressed that the truth of the “Quadriform Gospel” does NOT depend on the historical accuracy of the contradictory details among the four documents called “Matthew,” “Mark,” “Luke,” and “John.”
  • 26. In this class we will
    • Be introduced to this twelve-week course.
    • Learn about what Christology means and why it is important.
    • Critique the Quests for the historical Jesus (Liberal Quest, New Quest, and so-called “Third Quest”) and begin to construct a theological history about Jesus Christ with faith AND reason.
  • 27. The Liberal Quest for the Historical Jesus:
    • Also called the First Quest
    • Begins in the 1700s
    • Hermann Samuel Reimarus
    • called “Father” of the Quest.
    • He pioneered research by
    • applying the principles of the
    • Enlightenment to claims about Jesus.
  • 28. The Liberal Quest What is the basic presupposition for the “Liberal Quest” for the historical Jesus? Answer: Doubt and suspicion arising from the rationalism of the Enlightenment. “ If reason cannot comprehend it (e.g., miracles), it could not have and did not happen.”
  • 29. Liberal Quest Rationalism
    • Rationalism: a system of thought that accords reason a privileged role in the pursuit of truth, even religious truth —the human mind is the ultimate authority concerning all mysteries.
    • If rationalism is true, then human reason is the ultimate norm of truth.
    • Therefore the Liberal Quest scholars assumed that the biblical and ecclesial portrait of Jesus must be false , for there is much in it that human reason cannot comprehend (e.g. miracles, Incarnation, God’s self-sacrifice, etc.).
    • To them, the job of the historian is to analyze the biblical texts with suspicion, separating the historical from the myth and fabrication from early Christianity.
  • 30. The Goal of the Liberal Quest
    • The goal: to recover the “real Jesus” by liberating its figure from the ‘accumulated crust of ecclesiastical dogma.’
    • The Liberal Quest scholars desired to separate the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith .
  • 31. One Little Problem…
          • The difficulty was that once the unity and reliability of the biblical text and the teaching of the Church were discarded, everyone was left to their own personal judgment to determine fact from fiction in the traditional portrait of Jesus.
  • 32. Liberal Quest Critiqued
    • What cause or causes put an end to the “Liberal Quest”?
    • Answer:
    • Rampant Subjectivism . We had as many Jesuses as there were scholars!
  • 33. Three Causes for the Death of the Liberal Quest
    • FIRST— The impact of Albert Schweitzer’s Quest for the Historical Jesus .
    • Schweitzer convincingly
    • demonstrated the subjectivism
    • of the life of Jesus research.
    • Each individual writer recreates
    • Jesus in his own image and likeness
    • as if he were writing an idealized autobiography of himself.
  • 34. Three Causes for the Death of the Liberal Quest
    • SECOND— Form Criticism.
    • A method of criticism for determining the sources and historicity of biblical writings through analysis of the writings in terms of ancient literary forms and oral traditions (as love poems, parables, and proverbs).
    • One can reconstruct from the gospels only what the Church proclaimed about Jesus, but not Jesus as he actually lived and acted.
  • 35. What Form Criticism Revealed
          • None of the Gospels can be used as a biography of Jesus. They are faith proclamations of the early Church.
    • Some have argued that the real Christ is the Christ of preaching.
    • This is because the historical reconstruction of Jesus as he actually lived and acted is historically impossible and theologically illegitimate.
  • 36. Three Causes for the Death of the Liberal Quest
    • THIRD—This is REALLY impractical.
    • The faith of the Church cannot be built on the constantly shifting ground of historical research.
  • 37. But faith without reason cannot satisfy…
    • Important questions were raised.
    • The approach of abandoning history in favor of building a Christology solely on the faith of the Church could not satisfy for very long.
    • A New Quest was in the works that would rise from the ashes of the Liberal Quest…
  • 38. The New Quest for the Historical Jesus
    • When and how did the New Quest or “Second Quest” begin? And Why?
    • Answer: The New Quest began in the 20 th century as a collaboration between Catholics and Protestants.
    • By using different types of criteria, these scholars believed that they could identify with different degrees of certainty some of his sayings and deeds.
    • To New Quest scholars, despite the uncertainties, there is useable historical data.
    • NOTE: The New Quest has produced valuable scholarship.
  • 39. Three Weaknesses in the New Quest
    • FIRST— unfortunately, most of the scholarship of the New Quest remains ambiguous and confused on the concept of the reconstructed “Jesus of history.”
    • The Jesus of history is only a fragment of the real Jesus as he actually lived and acted I ` in history.
  • 40. Three Weaknesses in the New Quest
    • Second—New Quest scholars were guilty of an unexamined philosophical principle concerning what is possible and impossible.
    • Any historical event must be understood as a particular instance of a general pattern and therefore fully explicable by reference to analogous events and persons.
    • But this excludes the possibility of a historically new event . As a result, historians tend to overlook or minimize what was truly new or unique in the ‘Jesus event.’
  • 41. Think about it…
    • How does one categorize the Resurrection?
    • This is impossible to categorize.
    • Thus, these scholars miss the point that only the appearances of the Risen Christ and the presence of His Spirit in the disciples disclosed the full meaning of his earthly life and the mystery of his person.
  • 42. Three Weaknesses in the New Quest
    • THIRD—the philosophical mistake of positivism. New Quest scholars follow a positivist school of history.
    • Positivism holds that the only authentic knowledge is knowledge that is based on actual sense experience.
    • This knowledge can only come from affirmation of theories through strict adherence to the scientific method.
    • These historians hold that one can and should isolate the facts from any interpretation of these facts.
  • 43. The BIG Problem with Positivism
    • The problem is that it is impossible to separate facts from their interpretation as if they were chemicals to be isolated.
    • These New Quest scholars tend to focus on Jesus’ absolute freedom, while others focus on him as a liberator or eschatological prophet.
    • Moreover, EVEN if it were possible to chemic ally isolate fact from interpretation, it would not be desirable, since historical facts call for interpretation.
  • 44. The so-called “Third Quest”
    • Arose in the 1980s and 1990s from trends in the New Quest.
    • The term “Third Quest” refers to three distinct groups of scholars.
    • Let’s examine what characterizes the Third Quest and each of these sub-groups.
  • 45. Third Quest Group One
    • Consists of those scholars—despite the differences they hold among themselves—who are in some way associated with the late Robert Funk, the Westar Institute, and the Jesus Seminar.
  • 46. What this Group Does
    • The Jesus Seminar is a group of New Testament scholars who have been meeting periodically since 1985.
    • They initially focused on the sayings of Jesus within the four Gospels to determine the probability of His actually having said the things attributed to Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They also use the apocryphal sayings-gospel of Thomas. They published their findings in The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus .
    • Each scholar offered his/her
    • opinion on each “Jesus” statement
    • by voting with different colored beads:
  • 47. The Voting of the Jesus Seminar
    • Red—Jesus undoubtedly said this or something very like it.
    • Pink—Jesus probably or might have said something like this.
    • Gray—Jesus did not say this, but the ideas are close to His own.
    • Black—Jesus did not say this; it represents a later tradition.
  • 48. The Criterion Used by Group One
    • The Jesus Seminar scholars overuse the criterion of dissimilarity.
    • “ ...the earliest form of a saying we can read may be regarded as authentic if it can be shown to be dissimilar to characteristic emphases both of ancient Judaism and of the early Church.” (The Jesus of Heresy and History, John Dart, p. 151)
    • In other words, for a saying attributed to Jesus to be authentically his it cannot sound too Jewish or something like what the early Church would say.
  • 49. Voting conclusions of the Jesus Seminar
    • Over 80 percent of the statements attributed to Jesus in the gospels are, by voting consensus, either gray or black.
    • Jesus did not say, “Blessed are the poor,” but rather “Congratulations, you poor.”
    • Less than 20 percent of Jesus-statements in the New Testament are probably originating in him.
  • 50. The Novelty of the First Group
    • Consists of using the Nag Hammâdi manuscripts, particularly the Gospel of Thomas as MORE RELIABLE sources than the canonical writings of the New Testament.
    • The Nag Hammâdi Library or “Gnostic Bible” is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts written in Coptic and discovered near the town of Nag Hammâdi in upper Egypt in 1945.
    • The once buried manuscripts themselves date from the 3rd and 4th centuries, and despite Jesus Seminar claims that the Gospel of Thomas was written in the first century, this has been disputed by the vast majority of biblical scholars.
  • 51. Third Quest Group One problems
    • According to scholar Luke Timothy Johnson this group’s expertise is in “skillfully manipulating the media.”
    • To some extent is it justifiable to say that the quest for the historical Jesus has run in cycles in this group of Third Quest scholars: They have created a new mutant of the old virus that infected the Liberal Quest.
    • Their unexamined ideological positions have predetermined their conclusions. Jesus now appears as a Jim Morrison/John Lennon Hippy-sage-cynic, an itinerant peasant wondering the country-sides of Galilee spouting pithy aphorisms.
    • In this way we see the subjective trends in old historical Jesus research being recycled.
  • 52. Third Quest Group Two
    • This is a list of liberation theologians with an economic-social and feminist concern.
    • More on their important contribution later…
  • 53. Third Quest Group Three
    • A set of Jewish and Christian scholars who have rediscovered the Jewishness of Jesus.
    • To this group perhaps belongs the most lasting contributions of historical Jesus research.
    • For the scholars insisting on Jesus’ Jewishness, the criterion of plausibility becomes decisive—meaning the authenticity of a Jesus tradition depends on how plausibly it fits into Jesus’ first century Jewish environment.
  • 54. The Problem with the Criteria of Dissimilarity & Plausibility
    • Extremes are bad.
    • To overemphasize the criterion of dissimilarity leads to the absurdity that Jesus had NOTHING in common with his social milieu (first century Judaism) or the movement originating from him (Christianity).
    • To overemphasize the criterion of plausibility postulates a Jesus hardly distinguishable from the many Jewish Rabbis and charismatic figures of the first century.
    • Under both presuppositions Paul is most frequently accused for inventing the divine savior myth and for founding Christianity
  • 55. Third Quest Group Three Benefits
    • Question: What can we learn from a biblical Christology from the study of Jesus by recent Jewish authors?
    • Answer: This scholarship has inserted Jesus into his own concrete world and most importantly, Jewish historians of this group have gone beyond their Christian counterparts in asserting what was unique in Jesus the Jew unlike any other rabbis or charismatics— radical love for enemies.
  • 56. As a Jew among Jews Jesus was NOT Unique, but…
    • Scholar Pinchas Lapide recognizes that only in Jesus of Nazareth did disciples experience “a resurrected one.”
    • Jesus of Nazareth ALONE became a person of vital significance for millions of believing Christians.
    • After discounting all Hellenization and foreign elements, we are left with an irresistible residue that resists demythologizing.
    • We cannot squeeze “this something,”
    • “ this residue” into any historical
    • category. We must acknowledge it
    • simply as “the mystery of Jesus.”
    • This is similar to what Jewish existentialist
    • Martin Buber held about Jesus.
  • 57.
      • Aspects of the Historical Method
      • Historians cannot present purely objective data of history without mixing in their interpretation.
      • What historians present as “objective facts” are in actuality the results of the long process of research in which the subjective perception, selection, description, and organization of the objective data by the historian plays an essential role.
      • The subjectivity of the historian is an important factor in reconstructing history! BUT this subjective factor renders any historical work limited and approximate.
  • 58. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • THIS DOES NOT MEAN that the historian’s work NECESSARILY will be false!
    • But it does insist that his or her “facts” are approximations and the historical work limited.
    • What really happened is always more than, or different from, what any single person or even a collectivity of historians could perceive, describe, and systematize.
    • The REAL is ALWAYS MORE!
  • 59. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • Why must a historian go BEYOND facts?
    • Collecting, describing and organizing historical data does not exhaust the task of the historian.
    • Human history transcends objective data.
    • This is because people’s words, deeds and gestures reveal their inner attitudes, values and desires.
    • Paul Ricoeur: “The object of human history is the human subject itself.”
  • 60. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • In order to understand a person or persons, what else is needed beyond the knowledge of data and a rational analysis of the data?
    • The purely objective observer cannot correctly interpret a person’s attitudes, feelings, motives or goals.
    • One must become a kindred spirit who can decipher the meaning of the person from the raw data of his or her history.
  • 61. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • Why should historians RESIST the rationalistic attempt to subsume every new act or person under general categories?
    • The principle that every new event can be understood through categorization is not valid.
    • All human persons are irreducibly unique.
    • Human beings are capable of free acts.
    • In every free act, the person leaves his own unique imprint on the world.
    • Therefore the task of the historian is to not only find general patterns, but try to understand them in reference to the unique person who performed them.
  • 62. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • What is the only perspective by which a human person may be fully understood?
    • One can only write something definitive about a person after his death
    • Yet at the same time, death removes the person from communication which mean that some secrets go to the grave.
    • Should however a person rise to a new kind of life after his death and appear in our world to historical persons, our whole understanding of his previous earthly life would require reevaluation.
  • 63. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • The question of meaning arises in the study of history.
    • Historie— history as the record of the mere past, the report of the sequence of events.
    • Geschichte —history as the nexus of events which presupposes understanding, the significant past.
    • The historian is faced with problems that are unavoidable and yet unanswerable inside the confines of his or her discipline.
    • The attempt to understand a whole event in all its causes, effects, and implications, in its relationship to the whole of human history, inescapably posits the question of meaning.
        • This is a question that can be ignored, but not avoided.
  • 64. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • How do the method of historiography and the question of meaning in history call for a theological history of Jesus?
    • The historian, while attempting to explain an event and relate it to the whole of human history, cannot avoid the question of meaning.
    • Whatever his or her answer to the question of the meaning of history, even if he or she deems it all irrelevant or impossible to answer, he or she has revealed his or her bias.
    • That is to say, whenever a historian is forced to take sides, whether implicitly or explicitly, concerning the meaning of history, he or she transcends the limits of his or her discipline and shows the need for a philosophy or theology of history.
  • 65. Reflections on the Historical Method
    • What can such a theological history of Jesus accomplish? What are its limitations?
    • Since the object of history is the human subject itself, then we have found a rationale in the very nature of historiography for going beyond mere history and attempting to inquire into the meaning of the “Christ-event.”
    • This theological history will interpret the events in Jesus’ life from the perspective of God’s plan.
    • It affirms that God himself was acting in Jesus, that the man Jesus is God himself.
    • This presupposes the perspective of faith!
  • 66. The Biblical Documents and Jesus
    • What is assured by the inspiration of the biblical documents concerning Jesus? What is not assured by inspiration?
    • For the answer we must read the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution of Divine Revelation, called “Dei Verbum”, number 11:
  • 67. Dei Verbum 11
    • Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself in composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they , as true authors , consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted…
  • 68. Dei Verbum 11
    • Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation . Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind”
    • (2 Tim 3:16-17, Greek text).
  • 69. What does it mean?
    • The Bible is a multi-faceted, mysterious work of both God and man.
    • It is the most human book ever written.
    • The Bible is not the pure Word of God in the sense that God himself physically wrote it or dictated its contents to certain hand-picked writers.
    • How then can the Bible be called the Word of God at all?
    • To be clear: the Bible is not a collection of books given from on high in exactly the form we now have them.
    • Rather the Bible is the work of communities of faith, and of individuals within those communities: first of Israel, and then of the primitive Christian Church.
  • 70. Therefore…
    • God co-authors Scripture with human beings.
    • But God works in their creativities, imaginations, and limitations to produce this written word.
    • The Bible is inerrant because it is inspired, but this does not mean inerrant in science or history in their modern Western senses.
    • The human authors, and God, did not intend to scribe modern Western linear historical accounts—mere history.
  • 71. Bible Alive: Jesus Christ, a Twelve-Week Course in Christology
    • What is the source for our enterprise at constructing a theological history of Jesus Christ?
    • Our main source and model for this work is the New Testament.
    • The 27 documents of the New Testament canon were those in which the Church recognized an authentic apostolic witness to Christ.
    • The Church was aware that the writers of these documents were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
    • The Holy Spirit, in the human authors, made them “congenial” to the Christ-event, that is, capable of understanding its meaning for God’s plan of salvation.
  • 72. Understanding Who Jesus Is
    • From what perspective does our source and model, the New Testament, understand Jesus and what is understood about Jesus?
    • The books of the New Testament, particularly the four canonical Gospels, were not written merely after the death of their subject.
    • They were written from the even greater illumination given by the perspective of his definitive, risen state.
    • The mystery of Christ’s person, the “secret” of his life and death, are not buried in a tomb.
    • This Mystery is REVEALED to his disciples through his appearances and through his abiding presence with them in the Holy Spirit.
  • 73. In the Light of the Resurrection
    • It is in the light of the Resurrection by which the Church finally understood the mystery of the crucified and risen one: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas cries when the risen Jesus is shown to him.
    • This “resurrection-perspective” showed the earliest Church that EVERY event in the history of Jesus is FILLED with God’s MYSTERY.
    • Every event in the history of Jesus then contains INEXHAUSTABLE RICHES.
    • Saint Augustine says that every act of the Word (Jesus) is full of word, that is, full of God’s self-communication to humankind.
    • Likewise, every word of Jesus is a divine act in human form: it is laden with a life-giving, transforming POWER for all who accept his word in faith.
  • 74. What was the purpose of the gospel writers?
    • They WERE NOT interested in writing detailed, connected biographies of Jesus. Again, the four gospels ARE NOT biographies.
    • The gospel writers do not collect historical data for the sake of the data themselves (which is an exclusively modern concern).
    • The purpose of the Gospel writers: to record the events and teachings of Jesus INSOFAR as they have meaning for the Church to which the evangelist addresses his gospel.
  • 75. Preference of the Church
    • The Church, recognizing the divergences and contradictions in the gospels, resisted ALL attempts at harmonization.
    • She preferred the four-gospel canon to the Marcion’s only-gospel (an edited version of Luke), to Tatian’s Diatessaron and other gospel harmonies.
    • More important to the Church than a unified version of Jesus’ deeds and teachings was the richness and variety of the apostolic traditions.
    • She preferred to preserve the FULLNESS of the traditions as they developed through various channels in various milieus, over against ANY attempt to produce a single, seemingly more consistent story of Jesus.
  • 76. Fr. Roch A. Kereszty’s Invitation
    • In this course, let us accept as normative this FULL apostolic witness to Christ, as it is embodied in the whole of the New Testament. Following the New Testament’s lead, let us interpret this witness AGAINST its Old Testament background, which prepares for and anticipates the “Jesus-event.”
    • Questions and Assignment