Historical research on Jesus

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The historical or historical-critical Jesus research (formerly: Life-Jesus research ) tries to answer the question about the historical Jesus . She researches the writings of early Christianity and other sources from antiquity for Jesus of Nazareth . Using historical-critical methods , she reconstructs the main features of his public work. For the vast majority of researchers, Jesus was a historical Jew , to whose appearance the early Christian belief in Jesus Christ reacted.

Historical research on Jesus began around 1740 in the Age of Enlightenment . It takes place in university Christian theology in the New Testament (NT) subject, in archeology , history , Judaic studies , literary studies and religious studies .


The research on Jesus came into being around 1740 after the general understanding of knowledge and the particular understanding of the Bible had fundamentally changed in Christianized Europe . Until the early modern period , according to church teaching, the Bible was regarded as holy scripture that God himself not only authorized, but created and literally inspired . Biblical narratives were recited, interpreted and commented on, not critically analyzed and checked. What they communicate was considered real because God was communicating in it. The written word was regarded as a direct image ( analogy ) of the things designated, so that sign and thing were almost equated.

The invention of new printing techniques in the 12th century and printing in the 15th century changed the way the Bible was viewed. In the Renaissance, the question of the right print template encouraged the search for an original text of the Bible and the criticism of the text . Original texts were critically distinguished from copies and Bible translations . The Reformation valued the Bible as a self-explanatory authority for Christian truth ( sola scriptura ) that did not require any church interpretation and only allowed the literal sense of writing ( sensus literalis ) to apply. At the same time, Martin Luther saw Jesus Christ as the content center and norm of the entire Bible ( solus Christ ) and from there exercised factual criticism of some Bible texts. This concentration on the uniformly printed and generally readable Bible text, its literal meaning and its meaning in terms of content prepared the Enlightenment Bible criticism and made it possible.

With advances in the natural sciences , interest in methodologically verifiable and ascertainable facts also grew in the humanities . Contradictions in and between the gospels of the NT, which had long been recognized, required an explanation because more and more sections of the population were able to read these texts themselves. In Deism , the ongoing effort began to expose a historical Jesus behind the "overpaintings" of the NT in order to be able to position him as an alternative model against the dogmatized image of Christ of the churches. Research into Jesus was therefore closely linked to the emancipation of the bourgeoisie from the medieval domination of the church .


Since around 1870, historical research on Jesus of Nazareth in German-speaking countries has been referred to as "Life-Jesus research". The expression goes back essentially to the work Das Leben Jesu (1835/36) by David Friedrich Strauss , which was followed by many German-language publications with analogous titles. The authors mostly represented liberal theology in Protestantism . They optimistically assumed that they would be able to use the two-source theory to reconstruct the biography and “personality” of the historical Jesus from the Gospels in order to contrast them with the Christology created by the apostles and dogmatized by the major churches . Albert Schweitzer summarized this research period in 1906 with his work Von Reimarus zu Wrede . He showed that almost all authors of a “life of Jesus” had projected their own ideal image of Jesus into the NT. From the 2nd edition in 1913, the expanded work was entitled: History of the Life of Jesus Research .

Since 1900, historical-critical works have shown that even the oldest early Christian texts had shaped Jesus' appearance according to the interests of the congregation and the preaching, so that the historical sequence of events appeared to be almost impossible to reconstruct. The dialectical theology broke since 1918 with the theological liberalism and depreciated interest in the historical Jesus. Nevertheless, further research was carried out on him, also outside of German Protestantism, including in Judaism .

From 1953 onwards, Rudolf Bultmann's students asked another “question about the historical Jesus” in order to link post-Easter Christology to Jesus' self-proclamation. They asserted a twofold difference criterion: only those traditional words of Jesus that could not be explained from contemporary Judaism or post-Easter Christianity are authentic.

Research on Jesus has included socio-historical questions and methods since the 1970s . In the USA in particular, non-canonical early Christian texts were given greater consideration. For authors who prefer these sources, Jesus is more influenced by ancient oriental wisdom and Hellenism . In contrast, most recent scholars see Jesus as a representative of an inner-Jewish renewal movement that resorted to biblical prophecy and apocalyptic . They replace the double criterion of difference with contextual plausibility: The historical Jesus tradition is what can be explained from the Judaism of that time and what makes the emergence of early Christianity understandable.

Since around 1980, research on Jesus, especially in the English-speaking world, has often been divided schematically into four phases or periods. The first phase from 1736 to 1900 is called “first” or “old quest”, the following 50 years “no quest”, the time of the Bultmann School (1953ff.) “Second” or “new quest”. Research since about 1970 is called "third quest". Some authors vary the four-phase model by further subdividing individual phases. However, the division is controversial in Jesus research, mainly because it takes too little account of earlier forerunners, Jesus books of the alleged "no-quest" phase and the strong differences in direction within the more recent Jesus research. The four-phase model is therefore sometimes criticized as being arbitrary and ideologically motivated.

First phase

In retrospect, Albert Schweitzer divided this phase into three consecutive either / or:

  1. “Either purely historical or purely supernatural”: since David Friedrich Strauss, miracles handed down by and to Jesus, especially his resurrection , have been distinguished from possible historical information. This followed the premise of rationalism : Only that which is scientifically possible and explainable can be historical.
  2. “Either synoptic or Johannine”: Since the Tübingen School , the three related synoptic Gospels have been separated from the later Gospel of John . The former were rated as more historically credible.
  3. “Either eschatological or uneschatological”: Johannes Weiss was the first to recognize that Jesus' preaching was determined by Jewish eschatology and apocalyptic , and distinguished these from the present-day elements of his teaching. Following on from Weiß, Schweitzer pointed out that Jesus' Jewish apocalyptic end-time expectation contradicted the belief in progress of the 19th century and the liberal images of Jesus. The step-by-step approach to Jesus' preaching thus called into question the premise of Jesus research that his teaching could oppose the dogmatic Christ of the churches.

Jewish precursors

Isaak Troki (1533–1594), a Karaite from Lithuania , presented an early criticism of the Gospels in his book on Strengthening the Faith : They were written a long time after Jesus' death and showed internal contradictions and tendencies for which their authors invented scriptural evidence or twisted the wording of biblical quotations would blame the Jews for the death of Jesus, although he himself wanted to fulfill God's will with his death, showed no trace of the doctrine of the Trinity and contradicted it with passages like Mt 13.55 ELB or Mt 19.17 ELB clearly the virgin birth and divinity of Jesus, who called himself the Son of Man .

The highly educated Rabbi Leon da Modena (1571–1648) from Venice presented Jesus in his book Magen wa-Ḥereb as a liberal Pharisee . He had disregarded certain halachic rules such as hand washing and therefore got into conflicts with other Pharisees ( Mk 7.1ff . ELB ). He called himself the Son of God , but did not mean a divine being, but understood himself as a Torah teacher who was chosen by God and superior to the prophets. Only later Gentile Christians would have misinterpreted his teachings, made him a divine-human hybrid being and created the dogmas of the Trinity, original sin and redemption from it.

In 1856 and 1873 Abraham Geiger published these writings, which until then had hardly been noticed by Christians. He declared Modena in particular to be the forerunner of the life of Jesus research, who had anticipated some of their insights: the belonging of Jesus to contemporary Judaism and the gap between his teaching and the ecclesiastical dogmas about him.

Hermann Samuel Reimarus

The deist Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694–1768) wrote an apology or protective pamphlet for the reasonable worshipers of God in 1762 only for his friends . Reimarus did not dare to publish it during his lifetime. From 1774 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing published seven fragments from it (see fragment dispute ).

In this, Reimarus strictly differentiated the apostles 'image of Christ from Jesus' self-proclamation. He understood Jesus entirely within the framework of Judaism of his time as a political reformer . Like earlier Jewish prophets, Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God as the near worldly Messiah kingdom and called the Jews to repent in order to establish this kingdom. He had become more and more fanatical until he finally lost his fight against the Romans and was executed by them. Post-Easter Christianity explained Reimarus as a deception of the apostles: They had stolen his body (cf. Mt 28: 11–15  EU ), then announced his resurrection and imminent return and thus made him the heavenly Savior . The church emerged from the followers of this superstition .

The distinction between the proclamation of Jesus and the early Christian message and the classification of Jesus in contemporary Judaism are still valid today in Jesus research. The explanation of early Christianity from a fraud of disciples, however, soon found opposition.

Thomas Jefferson

Third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), a free thinker , wanted to filter out of all four Gospels a "superstitious" life of Jesus that ended with Jesus' burial. He left out the resurrection because for him it was part of the rejected "superstition".

Out of caution towards his conservative Christian compatriots, Jefferson did not publish the work during his lifetime. He is considered a pioneer of the synoptic approach, which draws conclusions from common texts about historical reliability and originality. In doing so, however, he proceeded quite uncritically and simply listed the stations of Jesus' life without considering and explaining the contradictions between the Gospels.

Ferdinand Christian Baur

Ferdinand Christian Baur (1792–1860) introduced the historical-critical method into NT research (" Tübingen School "). From around 1836 onwards he emphasized the historical continuity between the pre-Easter preaching of Jesus in the Gospels and the post-Easter theology of the apostles to his student David Friedrich Strauss. Baur saw in Jesus the founder of early Christianity, who historically made a claim to the Messiah and was not only posthumously deified as the mythical Son of God. The kerygma of the early Jerusalem church is an effect of this self-proclamation of Jesus.

Baur described the development of early Christianity analogous to the idealistic dialectic of his teacher Hegel : The Jewish Christianity of the early community was the “thesis” of a law church, the Gentile Christianity of Paul of Tarsus the “antithesis” of a spiritual church. The “synthesis” of early Catholic theology in the Gospel of John and some later church letters had emerged from their conflict . In Christian Gnosticism , too, Baur found much of that mythically expressed that Hegel then developed philosophically.

David Friedrich Strauss

David Friedrich Strauss (1808–1874) published his work Das Leben Jesu, critically edited , in 1835 . His basic thesis was that the early Christians in the Gospels had consistently transferred mythical ideas of the Old Testament (OT), especially the idea of ​​the Messiah, to Jesus. Against Reimarus, Strauss did not explain the miracles of Jesus as an early Christian fraud, as a concession to the “Jewish addiction to miracles ” or as an illusion, but as an unconscious process of a “unintentionally poetic legend ”. With that he took over the myth term of the AT theology of that time. In addition, he argued that the Gospel of John was designed on the basis of theological interests and, unlike the Synoptics, contained hardly any reliable historical data on Jesus.

In doing so, Strauss did not want to explain away those myths about Jesus rationalistically or devalue them as dogmatic supranaturalism , but rather to interpret them as the legitimate time-conditioned clothing of a timeless "idea of ​​God-humanity" in this historical individual. He wanted to remove the “eternal philosophical truths” hidden in this dress and replace them with a “ mystical ” view of Jesus. That is why his Christology did not contain a reconstruction of the historical Jesus, but addressed “humanity”. For Strauss, the fact that God became man in a certain person was only an expression of the fact that mankind was divine. So he tried to transform church dogmas into philosophical ideas without abandoning them as truths of faith.

The work sparked heated disputes with churches and authorities and made Strauss a famous outsider in Jesus research. He hardly found approval because he could not explain the origin of the NT and Christianity from the "Christ myth". As a result of this criticism, Strauss defused his draft for the third edition of 1839, but again took his previous position in the fourth edition. In his following works he distanced himself more and more from Christianity and finally renounced it expressly. In his second life of Jesus, edited for the German people (1863), Jesus appeared only as the herald of a pure culture and religion of humanity. The Christ of Faith and Jesus of History followed in 1865 , a settlement with his teacher Friedrich Schleiermacher . In 1872 the old and the new faith appeared . Christianity had become completely superfluous for Strauss.

Ernest Renan

In his work Vie de Jésus (1863), the French religious scholar Ernest Renan (1823-1892) took up some of the results of German research on the life of Jesus and made them known for the first time in Catholicism . In the often reprinted book, Renan processed travel experiences in Phenicia (1860) by describing the landscape there in a poetic and sentimental form with the life of Jesus. He spread anti-Judaist stereotypes . His Jesus appeared as an uneducated, naive and gentle friend of people and animals, who grew up in an idyllic area and put a new, universal image of God against the dark, national YHWH of the Israelites :

“The God of Jesus is not the terrible Lord who kills us when he pleases and saves us when he pleases. Jesus God is our father. You can hear it when you listen to the soft sound that calls "Father" to us. The God of Jesus is not the partial despot who has chosen Israel as his people and protects them from all and against all. He is the god of mankind [...] The admirable morality that Jesus derives from this belief in God is not a morality of enthusiasts who believe the end of the world is near and prepare themselves in dark asceticism for an imaginary catastrophe, but the morality of a world who wants to live and has lived. "

Renan was only able to present the universalism of undifferentiated human love in contrast to the particularism of biblical covenant and legal theology, so that his Jesus had to represent a different God than Israel's. In doing so, he detached Jesus' preaching against the consensus of the Gospels from its apocalyptic background in order to replace it with the "inner voice" of a subjective experience of authority. There were also motifs from a kitsch novel with racist echoes:

"His amiable character and undoubtedly adorable beauty, as they sometimes appear in the Jewish race, created, as it were, a magic circle around him, from which no one in the midst of this good-natured, naive people could escape [...] It would have become a paradise on earth, if the thoughts of the Master had not exceeded the level of mediocre goodness too much ... "

In retrospect, Albert Schweitzer criticized this style in 1906 as "novel-like phrases" that could hardly be forgiven by a historian.

Heinrich Julius Holtzmann

The New Testament scholar Heinrich Holtzmann (1832–1910), an exemplary representative of liberal theology, wanted to historically reconstruct Jesus' “personality” in order to establish a renewed faith in Christ that had been emancipated from the dogmatized image of Christ in the churches. To do this, he methodically adopted the two-source theory developed by Christian Gottlob Wilke and Christian Hermann Weisse. His work The Synoptic Gospels. Its origin and its historical character (1863) helped this theory to a scientific breakthrough. From now on, the Gospel of Mark was considered the oldest of the four Gospels, next to it the hypothetically developed source of the Logia as the second written copy of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke .

Holtzmann believed that the Gospel of Mark could infer a chronological course of the life of Jesus and an individual psychological development. Jesus' “messianic consciousness” only gradually matured and then moved him to move to Jerusalem . Mark 8.29ff  EU shows this turning point : There a disciple addresses Jesus as the "Christ" for the first time, to which the latter answers with the first announcement of the Son of Man's suffering . (Today this passage is considered an editorial link between the tradition on Galilee and the following Passion story .) In this biographical framework, Holtzmann inserted supposedly “authentic” words of Jesus from the Logia source, which seemed to fit his picture of the maturing personality of Jesus. This process was followed by further liberal Jesus biographies from the 19th century, which believed to find the respective personality ideal of their author in the sources.

Adolf von Harnack

The series of lectures by the church historian Adolf von Harnack (1851–1930) published under the title Das Wesen des Christianentums is regarded as the main work of liberal theology before 1914. Harnack judged in it: All individual motifs of the preaching of Jesus had previously been taught in the OT and in Hellenism . However, Jesus concentrated his message on two statements and universalized them: the “fatherly love of God” and the “pure human soul ”. From this Harnack concluded: “Not the son, only the father belongs in the gospel as Jesus proclaimed it. [...] Do not believe in Jesus, but believe as he does, namely believe in God's fatherly love and the infinite worth of the human soul ... "

In the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15: 11–32), Harnack found Jesus' teaching expressed in a concentrated manner. God demands nothing: no confession of sin , no sacrifice , no achievement. God just rejoice in the return of his son. This pure grace is already present in Judaism, the faith of Jesus. God's love overcomes original sin , sinful, material desire, and renew the true, pure spirit. The soul of man is and remains pure and cannot be defiled by deeds on earth. You go in again to God. Judaism knows this security of the soul in God. However, it is firmly established within the framework of sacred laws and religious compulsory acts, many of which early Christianity took over and supplemented with numerous pagan customs. In doing so, their meaning has changed. Jesus' doctrine of the gracious acceptance of the pure soul goes through the mission in the whole world.

William Wrede and Ernst Troeltsch

The NT historian William Wrede (1859–1906) wrote the critical essay on the task and methods of the so-called New Testament theology in 1897 . In it he settled accounts with his predecessors Baur, Strauss and the Neo-Kantian Albrecht Ritschl : In the NT they only found their own philosophical templates as alleged doctrinal terms of Jesus, Paul, John etc. and did not consistently ask historically about the religious movement from which the NT scriptures emerged. The NT should not be understood as a sequence of theological systems, but as part of the late ancient history of religion .

With this view, Wrede founded the religious history school in NT research, whose hermeneutical premises were systematically developed by Ernst Troeltsch (1865–1923) in his essay on historical and dogmatic methods in theology one year later . The historical picture of early Christianity can be obtained according to the principles of criticism, analogy and correlation . Historians would have to critically assess the probability of what has been handed down on the basis of the analogies to similar events in the otherwise known past and present; Correlation presupposes that all events interact with other events, so that an explanation of history largely rules out contingency (coincidence without recognizable causes).

According to this program, Wrede showed in 1901 with the text The Messiah Secret in the Gospels that the Gospel of Mark was also a theological construct. The assumption that Jesus gradually developed a Messiah consciousness in the course of his ministry cannot be inferred from him. The texts that were available to Mark described him as a teacher and miracle worker, but not as a messiah: this was the interpretation given to them by the evangelist. It was not Jesus himself, but the early Christians who proclaimed him as the Christ based on their belief in the resurrection. For this purpose, Mark designed the concept of the Messiah's secret : According to this, Jesus forbade his disciples before his death to proclaim him as the Christ. The oldest NT source also interprets Jesus' work from the outset as a revelation from God and does not offer any possibility of a psychologizing biography.

With this essay, the liberal life of Jesus research had come to its preliminary end point: Historical criticism caught up with its own requirements.

Radical skeptics

The Bonn private lecturer Bruno Bauer (1809-1882) advocated in his essay series Critique of the Evangelical History of the Synoptics (1841/42) and Critique of the Gospels (1850/51) the thesis that Jesus did not even live, but was a literary artifact. Even the oldest Gospel according to Mark produces a sequence of his life instead of depicting it. In doing so, he took up the previous results of the source criticism, which had shown that none of the NT authors was interested in historical reporting, but rather designed Jesus' life and death as the preaching of Christ for the present in their own way.

The Bremen pastor Albert Kalthoff (1850–1906) wrote the Gospels in his book The Christ Problem. Basics of a Social Theology (1902) goes back to the religious needs of a multicultural social movement, which got to know the Jewish expectation of the Messiah and then invented the figure of Jesus in order to reinforce this expectation for its own followers.

In a different way, the philosophy professor Arthur Drews (1865–1935) from Karlsruhe also explained Jesus as the personification of a myth that existed before Christianity ( Die Christusmythe , 1909). He deduced this from the knowledge, which has been common since David Friedrich Strauss, that all the sovereign titles of the NT for Jesus from Jewish and Hellenistic mythology had been transferred to his person.

The literary, socio-psychological and mythologically founded doubts about Jesus' existence have been renewed in each generation of researchers by individual authors. B. by Karlheinz Deschner and Hermann Detering . The skeptics repeatedly refer to the following arguments:

  • the silence or the unreliability of contemporary historians who do not mention Jesus at all or only as a rumor (see non- Christian ancient sources on Jesus of Nazareth );
  • an alleged disinterest of Paul in Jesus' existence and his "mythical" image of Christ
  • numerous irresolvable contradictions between the Gospels, especially between the Synoptics and the Gospel of John with a tendency towards the increasing deification of the "figure" Jesus.
  • the time lag between the Gospels and the events they report: They were written 40 to 70 years after the death of Jesus.
  • the projection of the Easter faith into the representation of Jesus' earthly activity: the needs of the congregation had shaped the tradition of Jesus in such a way that no historical details could be filtered out.
  • the “scriptural evidence” according to which many individual motifs of the Passion were invented to represent Jesus as the Messiah foretold by the biblical prophets.
  • the unbelievability of the miracle stories, which can also be relativized by parallels from antiquity and the history of religion and explained as copies of them.
  • the bias of the predominantly Christian research into Jesus. Their questionable criteria - especially the alleged singularity of the Jesus tradition in the ancient world and the priority of the canonized over possible other sources - are inadequate and can be falsified at any time by new writings (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls ).

Most of these arguments, however, have been put into perspective by research. The trust in a historical core of the logia tradition has grown precisely through non-Christian, socio-historical and Judaic research results. The fact that even the earliest layers of tradition show an eschatological interest in preaching is seen today more as an effect of the historical Jesus.

Albert Schweitzer

The musician, doctor and theologian Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) wrote a history of the life of Jesus research in 1906 with the title: From Reimarus to Wrede (2nd greatly expanded edition 1913). In it he demonstrated that almost all of the “Leben Jesu” drafts projected the ethical ideals of their authors into the texts.

Schweitzer only recognized the research of Johannes Weiß ( The Sermon of Jesus from the Kingdom of God , 1892) as a valid contribution to the historical explanation of the preaching of Jesus. Weiss had proven that Jesus understood the kingdom of God as the near but future end of the world in the sense of the final judgment brought about by God and not as the presence of God within the soul, as the liberal theologians thought. Schweitzer took up this work and emphasized that the Jewish apocalyptic, with its expectation of a timeless end catastrophe, contradicts any notion of global progress . He saw in it the common framework of the preaching of Jesus, the Jerusalem early church and Paul of Tarsus.

Schweitzer's work is seen as a far-reaching refutation of the liberal research on the life of Jesus. The optimistic trust in the ability to reconstruct a "personality" of Jesus and his biographical development had proven to be an untenable projection of irrelevant interests and premises into the NT sources. This left the question of a historical Jesus deviating from the biblical and ecclesiastical image of Christ completely open again.

Second phase

Since 1900 the historical-critical methods have been differentiated and expanded: In addition to the previously prevalent source distinction of literary criticism , there was the history of form , which first asks about the form (genre) of an individual text and its use for its listeners and readers (“ Sitz im Leben ”) .

Since 1919, dialectical theology confronted “ historicism ” and anthropocentric relativism of liberal theology with a fundamentally different theological conception. Dialectical theology took the view that the “ word of God ” made an unavailable and timeless claim to truth. From the historical-critical knowledge that the oldest layers of tradition of the NT were consistently shaped by preaching intentions, theologians such as Karl Barth , Emil Brunner , Eduard Thurneysen and others drew the conclusion that the search for the historical Jesus only missed the self-intention of the texts and could not justify the message of Christ. In doing so, they took up the criticism of Martin Kähler from 1898, who was the first to theologically question the premises of the life of Jesus research.

After 1945 Rudolf Bultmann's program of “ demythologizing ” determined the scene of NT science: He did not find the real impetus of the Gospel in the transmission of mythical dogmas, which no longer mean anything to people who are shaped by the scientific worldview, but in the call to decide for a radical new self-understanding of one's own existence “from God”.

From 1953 onwards, Bultmann's students asked again about the historical Jesus in order to find a factual criterion for the "Christ kerygma ". At the same time, New Testament scholars such as Joachim Jeremias , Julius Schniewind and Leonhard Goppel advocated a conservative approach that wanted to constructively promote Jesus' self-proclamation as a critical standard of theology and church proclamation.

Karl Ludwig Schmidt and Martin Dibelius

Following on from the Old Testament scholar Hermann Gunkel , the New Testament scholars Karl Ludwig Schmidt (1891–1956) and Martin Dibelius (1883–1947) introduced criticism of form into NT research in 1919 . This method replaced the literary criticism that had prevailed until then. She is not looking for older sources for Jesus' self-proclamation, but for the form, genre and self-intention of a text unit that makes its “ seat in life ”, that is, its purpose, understandable for the respective group of supporters.

Schmidt confirmed with his essay The Framework of the History of Jesus Wredes thesis: The Gospel of Mark does not reveal a chronology or topography of the events, because the evangelist himself first brought the texts into this sequence in order to construct such a sequence of events. This gave rise to the further methodical question about the points of view and the intentions of this Gospel composition, i.e. about the editorial history . The evangelists thus appeared again more as authors than merely as editors of given sources. Schmidt saw z. B. that the evangelist Matthew grouped the texts of Mark's Gospel and the assumed source of the Logia in the order “Messiah of the Word” (doctrine, Torah interpretation: Mt 5–7) and “Messiah of deed” (Mt 8–12) and other great speeches composed the parable speech (Mt 13) from it, which represent his self-proclamation and the problems of his addressees.

Dibelius followed shortly thereafter with the essay The History of Forms of the Gospel , which anchored the purpose of the genus “ Gospel ” in early Christian church instruction.

Joachim Jeremias

Joachim Jeremias (1900–1979) lived in Jerusalem from 1910 to 1915, studied theology and oriental languages ​​and in 1928 became director of the Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin . He is considered to be one of the most profound experts on Palestine at the time of Jesus, who combined archaeological, geographical , political-economic and New Testament research.

His main interest was the reconstruction of the historical preaching of Jesus against the background of contemporary Judaism. He mastered all the languages ​​of that time and introduced a linguistic authenticity criterion into NT research: a word of Jesus is only authentic if it can be translated from Greek into Hebrew and from there back into Aramaic , Jesus' mother tongue.

His main works Jerusalem at the time of Jesus (1923–1937), The Words of the Last Supper (1935), The Parables of Jesus (1947), The Sermon on the Mount (1959), The Lord's Prayer (1962), The Sacrificial Death of Jesus Christ (1963), Abba (essays 1966 ), New Testament Theology Part 1: The Annunciation of Jesus (1970) have been translated into many languages ​​and acquired ecumenical significance. They are still considered to be historical standard works today.

Rudolf Bultmann

Rudolf Bultmann (1884–1976) studied theology in Marburg with Wilhelm Herrmann , Johannes Weiß and Wilhelm Heitmüller , a representative of the school of religious history. He was a professor in Breslau (1916–1920), Gießen (1920–1921) and Marburg (1921–1951).

Since 1922 he belonged to the movement of the “dialectical” theologians who turned away from liberal theology after 1918. In Marburg he met Martin Heidegger and found in his existential philosophy the conceptual possibility to think God as “completely different” nevertheless in relation to humans and to interpret the NT proclamation existentially.

He carried out the method of formal history in his standard work History of the Synoptic Tradition for the entire body of texts in the Gospels and assigned the many individual text pericopes to specific literary genres. In this way he explained much of Jesus' preaching as post-Easter church formation.

In his theology of the New Testament , he classified Jesus completely in Judaism and declared him to be the “requirements” of the Christian “ kerygma ” (the message), not its subject. In contrast to Joachim Jeremias, he let the actual theology begin with the early church and Paul. He emphasized that Paul and the author of the Gospel of John were not interested in the earthly Jesus and for their statements about man, God and the world actually only the formal fact - that Jesus came, not who he was and what he said and did - is necessary.

In 1941 Bultmann wrote the essay New Testament and Mythology . In it he explained that the mythological form of the salvation event no longer means anything to modern man and conceals the actual impetus of the gospel - the call to a decision for an understanding of oneself “from God”. However, if the message of the NT is understood existentially, then the texts can be “ demythologized ” and proclaimed as a call to faith as a radically new self-understanding.

This essay only became internationally known after 1945. As part of the Kerygma and Mythos Collection (1948), Bultmann's program of demythologizing sparked a heated debate that continues to this day.

Ernst Käsemann

Ernst Käsemann (1906–1998) received his doctorate from Bultmann in Marburg in 1931 and is regarded as his most prominent student. As a professor for the NT at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen he held a sensational lecture in 1953 in the presence of Bultmann (published in 1954 as The Problem of the Historical Jesus ). In it he justified the new inquiry about the historical Jesus from the Christ message of the early church itself: Since this refers to the humanity of Jesus against the parallel Gnosticism and presupposes the identity of the Son of God with this Nazarene, the Gospels were created as a representation of the earthly activity of Jesus. It is therefore theologically appropriate to “tie back” the faith in Christ to the history of the earthly Jesus and thus protect it from mythization and arbitrariness.

Käsemann therefore held against his teacher Bultmann, like the liberal Leben-Jesu-research, secure knowledge about the historical Jesus as possible, but unlike them not about his “consciousness” and his career, but about his message. In contrast to literary criticism, he did not look for older sources, but for a critically secured minimum of authentic Jesus words. In order to determine this, he applied a double criterion for difference to the synoptic tradition: “Real” is a word of Jesus if it cannot be explained either from the Jewish environment or from the life and teaching of early Christianity (inevitable criterion). Added to this were the criteria of multiple testimony and agreement ( coherence ) with other words of Jesus that had been proven to be genuine. These criteria have prevailed in Jesus research and have been their dominant working method for 30 years.

Käsemann emphasized that the early Christians' faith in Christ does not depend on whether Jesus saw himself as the Messiah. The sovereign titles attached to him had rather reacted to his claim, which was implicitly contained in his message of the kingdom of God and his conduct. Käsemann saw this claim in Jesus' unconditional call for decision to his generation ("turn back") and in his radical criticism of the law, which was to be understood as the "call of freedom" to step out of Jewish tradition and face God directly.

In addition, Käsemann saw the Jewish apocalyptic, in which he classified Jesus' message, as a formative element of the Pauline doctrine of justification and "mother of the theology of the New Testament". In this respect, he was one of the last New Testament scholars who were able to present an overall historical and theological draft.

Willi Marxsen

Willi Marxsen (1919–1993) completed his habilitation in 1954 with a highly regarded work on the editorial history of the Gospel of Mark. He thus introduced this term into German-language and international exegesis. He explained the “Messiah's secret” as a revision (editing) of the Gospel author, who linked and interpreted older traditional materials in this way.

Unlike his teacher Rudolf Bultmann, Marxsen saw a continuity in content between the faith of the first Jesus followers and the post-Easter proclamation of Christ (the “kerygma”). He emphasized that the pre-Easter texts did not represent the historical Jesus, but the believed herald of the Kingdom of God. One always comes across early testimonies of faith from people who allowed themselves to be changed through Jesus' preaching and who then passed on his message.

Marxsen also analyzed the resurrection texts and interpreted them in a demythologizing way: The statement that Jesus was physically resurrected was an interpretation of the witnesses who reacted to “seeing” (Greek ophthae ) and who had adopted apocalyptic end-time expectations common at the time. For them, Easter reaffirmed Jesus' message in the sense that the faith that had failed on the cross was now dared anew: The cause of Jesus goes on. In contrast, the time-related images and ideas are not essential beliefs today. Therefore, Marxsen was exposed to hostility from conservative theologians, but shaped many pastors, pastors and New Testament scholars.

Third phase

The so-called “third question” about the historical Jesus, which has been growing since around 1970, results from the importance of history for faith, which Käsemann and Marxsen recognized. In addition, New Testament scholars like Otto Betz were skeptical of Bultmann's separation of faith and history and asked again about the historical core of the NT testimonies.

The “third question” tries to explain Jesus' appearance from a consistently historical perspective in the overall context of his time. It is characterized by a multidisciplinary and transnational methodological pluralism: in addition to traditional historical-critical literary analyzes, extra-biblical findings from archeology , social history , cultural anthropology , oriental studies and Jewish studies at the time and environment of the NT are included much more than before . The research focus has shifted from Central Europe to the USA, where early Christian apocrypha are also evaluated as possible primary sources.

In research today, Christians pay much more attention to the publications of Jews about Jesus than before. A Judeo-Christian dialogue has given decisive impetus for this. No longer difference and contrast, but complete belonging of Jesus to the Judaism of that time forms the accepted consensus and starting point. Jesus' words are no longer only recognized as genuine if they differ from both Judaism of that time and from early Christianity, but rather if they only arose within the framework of Judaism of that time and could have brought about the faith of the early Christians. As a result, the gap between Jesus, Pharisaism and early Christianity, which was often emphasized in the past, has been put into perspective: One speaks more of a "Jesus movement" and sees it, like rabbinic Judaism, as a closely related further development of ancient Palestinian Judaism, to which Jesus belonged.

However, today this reference value is differentiated much more strongly in different directions and characteristics. Jesus is also classified very differently as a Jew, for example as a prophetic reformer, political revolutionary, exorcist and miracle worker or wandering philosopher in the manner of the Hellenistic cynics .

Ed Parish Sanders

The most important works by Ed Parish Sanders (* 1936) on Jesus are Jesus and Judaism (1986) and The Historical Figure of Jesus (1996). In his first book, Sanders presents various directions of ancient Judaism, which in their belief in a special, unique covenant of God converged with the Israelites and found their decisive salvation in it. Jesus and his followers also assumed this belief and shared it with their Jewish contemporaries. This position is characterized as "covenant nomism" and also determines Sanders 'interpretation of Jesus' relationship to the Torah and the Halacha of purity .

In his second book, Sanders highlights those elements of the NT tradition that he considers to be barely contested historically:

  • Jesus was baptized through John the Baptist.
  • He was a Galilean who preached and healed.
  • He called disciples and spoke about twelve of them.
  • He limited his activities to Israel.
  • He was embroiled in a controversy regarding the temple.
  • He was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem by the Roman occupying forces.
  • After his death, his disciples continued to be an identifiable movement.
  • At least parts of Judaism persecuted at least parts of the new movement, and that persecution lasted until the end of Paul's effectiveness (1960s).

Social historical research

New Testament scholars who were already oriented towards form history and Judaism provided detailed research on the economic, social and political conditions and circumstances under which the followers of Jesus lived, suffered and struggled: for example Joachim Jeremias with his extensive studies of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus (1923–1937).

Gerd Theißen , Luise Schottroff and Wolfgang Stegemann have intensified sociologically oriented Jesus research in Germany since 1970. With the Sociology of the Jesus Movement (1977), Theißen represented the thesis of “ wandering radicalism ” not only of the disciples of Jesus, but also of other uprooted groups in Israel at that time, threatened by misery. He explained the early tradition of the Logia source from this life situation, but included under the term Jesus movement all early Christians who shared the non-sedentary way of life of the first Jesus followers.

Schottroff and Stegemann differentiated Theissen's thesis in the book Jesus of Nazareth - Hope of the Poor Stronger. While Jesus and his followers to the destitute had heard the communities of the first century had already been composed of poor and "medium-sized" rich. In the Lukan double work ( Luke and Acts ) it becomes visible how Jesus' lack of property has been transformed into a demand for the renunciation of property and the community of property for these Christians. Hellenistic ideals of poverty were also incorporated.

Later, Stegemann examined the consequences of an “ ethnicity model ” of Judaism, in contrast to a modern view of religion in the sense of an “abstraction and objectification of a complex reality” (WC Smith). In contrast, in the ancient Mediterranean cultures, religious beliefs and practices were embedded in the social institutions of community and family. Stegemann goes beyond EP Sanders' concept of “common Judaism” in that he also regards residential area, language, stories or customs as essential for the collective identity of the Judean people. From this he derives criticism of the presumption of the fragmentation of ancient Judaism into sects. In addition, the question of Jesus' fundamental attitude to the Torah was posed incorrectly because it was part of his so comprehensively understood identity. In the case of traditional conflicts, it can only be a question of interpretation within the framework of tradition.

The sociologist of religion Hans G. Kippenberg also contributed crucial information for the sociological classification of the Jesus movement with his book Religion and Class Formation in Ancient Judea (1982). Michael N. Ebertz, among others, started out from the paradigm of charismatic rule that goes back to Max Weber .

As part of its feminist embossed biblical hermeneutics turns Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza pointedly against isolation of Jesus as a man of both his supporters and followers as well as other Jewish apocalyptic emancipation movements .

The Jesus seminar

The Jesus Seminar , founded by Robert W. Funk and John Dominic Crossan in the USA in 1985, is a group of 50 to 80 liberal New Testament scholars, including Marcus Borg and Gerd Lüdemann . It tries to identify authentic Jesus material, his words in the first six years, and since then also his deeds and events concerning him.

The seminar uses unusual criteria of authenticity: The Gospel of Thomas , like the source of the Logia, is an early and reliable source, whereas the Gospel of Mark, like the Gospel of John, is hardly evaluable. Crossan also supports the thesis, which was also controversial in the seminar, that a core of the apocryphal Gospel of Peter is the source of the Passion reports in the NT. No dialogues, lengthy speeches and biblical quotations, but only short, concise individual sentences and parables from Jesus are considered possibly genuine: and preferably when they do not otherwise occur in either the Jewish or early Christian context, but are repeatedly attested in sources that are considered independent of one another.

Members share their research, meet twice a year to discuss it, and then vote on the source verses in question: each member can classify it as certain, likely, improbable, or certain not real / historical. The majority of votes decides what the seminar will accept as a verifiable database about Jesus. Researcher texts, debates and voting results are published on the Internet and can also be discussed there by laypeople. First results were published in 1993 in the book The Five Gospels ; The majority of words declared as real (red) or similar to Jesus (pink), uncertain (gray) or dissimilar to Jesus (black) were marked in color. According to this, about 18 percent of all the words of Jesus transmitted in five Gospels (the four canonical Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas) are believed to be genuine.

In the Gospel of Mark, only Mk 12:17 is accepted, in the Sermon on the Mount only six sentences as genuine Jesus' words, including the address of the Our Father and the imperative “Love your enemies” . Five parables are considered to be Jesuan. All motifs of the birth stories, announcements of suffering, resurrection texts and miracle texts are considered legendary; it is recognized that Jesus healed some sick people. Of the Passion events, only Jesus' surrender to Pilate, initiated by Kajaphas, and his crucifixion are considered genuine.

Robert Funk linked the historical work of the seminar with the goal of “degrading” Jesus: His divinity is untrustworthy and depends on a past image of God from theism . Incarnation, virgin birth, atonement, resurrection and return of a divine judge figure are an archaic-mythological framework invented by Christians. This is to be given up and replaced by a more credible and contemporary image of Jesus: Jesus exemplified an ethic of trust in the goodness of creation and of one's neighbor. Funk thus took over the liberal theological program essentially determined by Reimarus, with the presumed self-constructed historical Jesus to invalidate the metaphysical-orthodox Christology, as well as Bultmann's demythologizing program to make the image of Jesus compatible with the modern worldview.

The Jesus seminar has been criticized for its one-line objectives, the composition of its members, its claim to represent a representative cross-section of Jesus research, its criteria and its voting method. Most German-speaking New Testament scholars and Jesus researchers distance themselves from it. Various evangelical and conservative theologians have published criticisms and counter-proposals, such as Michael J. Wilkins and JP Moreland or William Lane Craig .

The New Testament scholar Wolfgang Stegemann , who is oriented towards social history and Judaism, criticizes the Jesus seminar as a new edition of liberal hermeneutics that were believed to have been overcome, his adherence to the double criterion of difference, his preference for apocryphal texts and his special theses, such as the Cynical influences on the Jesus movement. Bruce Chilton , former member of the seminar, criticizes the methodological commitment to the identification of authentic material instead of explaining the origin of all available material from the culture of the time. In addition, he noted that many seminar members had a lack of knowledge of Semitic languages, their preference for Greek-speaking languages ​​that had already been refuted archaeologically, and their neglect of Jewish, Aramaic-speaking influences on the Jesus movement. He reports of repeated votes that falsified the results of discussions under time pressure and a lack of criticism of his own premises, which he believed to be objective.

William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig (* 1949) takes a contrary position on the Jesus seminar and on Gerd Lüdemann , whose prerequisites, methods and hypotheses he sharply criticizes. As a religious philosopher he starts from a theistic worldview and considers the Gospel accounts to be reliable historical sources. He pays special attention to the texts on the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus, for the historicity of which he cites both internal and historical arguments.

Nicholas Thomas Wright

Nicholas Thomas Wrights (* 1948) The main contribution to the life of Jesus research is his multi-volume work Christian Origins and the Question of God , of which three volumes have been published so far.

  • In the first volume, The New Testament and the People of God , he describes in detail his methodology, then Judaism and then first century Christianity.
  • The second volume Jesus and the Victory of God gives a detailed overview of the life of Jesus research and then describes the life and teaching of Jesus, based on the type of a Jewish prophet.
  • The third volume was published in 2003 with the title The Resurrection of the Son of God . Wright explores the notions of the “afterlife” and of the “resurrection” before, during, in and after the New Testament.

It begins with Hellenism, then the Old Testament (OT) and Judaism of the Second Temple, then Paul, then early Christianity in the NT, then the Apocrypha and early Church Fathers up to the third century.

Only then does he extensively examine the Easter stories of the Gospels in relation to the previously developed perspectives. The last part discusses the main explanations for the resurrection event and the challenge it poses to the historian.

Wright's work is based on a very broad historical approach, which takes into account as primary sources in addition to the NT Greek philosophy, the texts of Qumran and Nag Hammadi as well as the commentaries of the Talmud on the NT. He asks about the worldview of the various historical groups and people embedded in narrative texts.

Methodically, he strikes a middle path between historical positivism and postmodern deconstructionism, which he calls critical realism. He sees no contradiction between history and theology, but assumes that both are mutually dependent. At the same time he questions both conservative and modern theological hypotheses. He creates his own hypotheses that question some of the favorite ideas of both sides. That is why this volume has already caused some controversy and has been sharply criticized by theologians from both camps. In 2005, Wright discussed the resurrection publicly with John Dominic Crossan.

See also


  • Manfred Baumotte (ed.): The question of the historical Jesus. Texts from three centuries. Gütersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, Gütersloh 1984, ISBN 3-579-00292-9 .
  • Werner Georg Kümmel : Thirty Years of Jesus Research (1950–1980). Hanstein, Königstein / Taunus-Bonn 1985, ISBN 3-7756-1074-X .
  • Dieter Georgi : Life-Jesus-Theology / Life-Jesus-Research. In: TRE 20/1990, pp. 566-575.
  • Ben Witherington III: The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth. Inter Varsity Press, 2nd edition 1997, ISBN 0-8308-1544-9 .
  • Jens Schröter, Ralph Brucker (Hrsg.): The historical Jesus: tendencies and perspectives of the current research. de Gruyter, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-11-017511-8 .
  • Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time. Biblical Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 3-17-012339-4 .
  • Gerd Theißen, Annette Merz: The historical Jesus. A textbook. (1996) Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 4th edition, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 3-525-52198-7 .
  • Werner Zager (ed.): Research on Jesus in four centuries: texts from the beginnings of historical criticism to the “third question” about the historical Jesus. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2014, ISBN 3-11-031842-3 .
First phase
  • Johann Jakob Hess : History of the last three years of Jesus' life. Zurich 1768. Life story of Jesus 8th edition 1823.
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing : New hypothesis about the evangelists regarded as merely human historians. (1778)
  • David Friedrich Strauss: The life of Jesus, edited critically. Osiander, 1st volume 1835 digitized and full text in the German text archive , 2nd volume 1836 digitalized and full text in the German text archive ; 1839, ISBN 3-933688-92-2
  • Ernest Renan: The Life of Jesus. (1863) Diogenes, Zurich 1981, ISBN 3-257-20419-1 .
  • Heinrich Holtzmann: The synoptic gospels. Its origin and its historical character. (1863)
  • Johannes Weiß: The sermon of Jesus about the kingdom of God 1892.
  • Adolf von Harnack : The essence of Christianity. 1900.
  • William Wrede: The Messiah Secret in the Gospels, 1901.
  • Julius Wellhausen : Introduction to the first three Gospels, 1905.
  • Julius Wellhausen: Textbook of New Testament Theology I. Tübingen, 2nd edition 1911.
  • Albert Schweitzer : From Reimarus to Wrede: A History of the Life of Jesus Research. 1st edition 1906, 2nd, greatly expanded edition 1913.
  • Wilhelm Bousset : Kyrios Christos 1913.
  • JM Robertson: The Historical Jesus 1916.
Second phase
  • Karl Ludwig Schmidt: The frame of the story of Jesus. Literary critical investigations. (1919)
  • Martin Dibelius: Form history of the Gospels. (1919)
  • Martin Dibelius: Jesus. Göschen, 2nd edition 1949.
  • Eduard Meyer : Prehistory of Christianity. 5th edition 1921, ISBN 3-88851-200-X .
  • Rudolf Bultmann: History of the Synoptic Tradition. (1921)
  • Rudolf Bultmann: Jesus. (1926) ISBN 3-8252-1272-6 .
  • Rudolf Bultmann: New Testament and Mythology. On the problem of demythologizing. (1941)
  • Günther Bornkamm : Jesus of Nazareth. (1956) Urban TB Volume 19, Kohlhammer 1995, ISBN 3-17-013896-0 .
  • James M. Robinson : Kerygma and Historical Jesus. (1960)
  • Ernst Käsemann: Exegetical attempts and reflections. Volume 1 Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1960.
  • Herbert Braun: Jesus. The man from Nazareth and his time. (1969)
  • Willi Marxsen: The Evangelist Markus. Studies on the editorial history of the gospel. Goettingen 1956.
  • Willi Marxsen: The Jesus cause goes on. Gütersloh 1976.
Third phase
  • EP Sanders: Jesus and Judaism. 1985, ISBN 0-8006-2061-5 .
  • NT Wright: Jesus and the Victory of God. 1992, ISBN 0-8006-2681-8 .
  • Michael J. Wilkins, JP Moreland: Jesus Under Fire. Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids, 2nd edition 1995, ISBN 0-310-21139-5 .
  • John Dominic Crossan: The Historical Jesus. 1995, ISBN 3-406-38514-1 .
  • Paul Copan, John Dominic Crossan, William F. Buckley, William Lane Craig: Will the Real Jesus Please Stand up: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan. 1998, ISBN 0-8010-2175-8 .
  • Earl Doherty: The Jesus Puzzle. Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Ottawa 1999, ISBN 0-9689259-1-X .
  • Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy: The Laughing Jesus. Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom. Random House, New York 2005.
  • Craig L. Blomberg: The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 2nd Edition 2007, ISBN 978-0-8308-2807-4 .
  • Franz Mussner: Jesus of Nazareth in the context of Israel and the early church. Collected Essays. In: Scientific studies on the New Testament 111, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1999, ISBN 3-16-146973-9 .
  • Ulrich HJ Körtner (ed.): Jesus in the 21st century. Neukirchen-Vluyn 2002, ISBN 3-7887-1898-6 .
  • Albrecht Scriba: Criteria of authenticity in Jesus research: Critical revision and constructive new approach. J. Kovac, 2007, ISBN 3-8300-2935-7 .
  • Wolfgang Stegemann, Bruce J. Malina, Gerd Theißen: Jesus in new contexts. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-17-016311-6 .
Recent research on the Gospel of John
  • Peter L. Hofrichter: Model and template of the synoptic. The pre-editorial 'Gospel of John'. Olms, Hildesheim / Zurich / New York 1997.
  • Robert Fortna: Jesus Tradition in the Signs Gospel. In: Robert Fortna, Tom Thatcher (ed.): Jesus in Johannine Tradition. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville 2001, pp. 199-208.
  • Paul N. Anderson: The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus. T&T Clark, London 2007.
  • Paul N. Anderson (Ed.): John, Jesus, and History. Volume 1: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views. Brill, Leiden 2007; Volume 2: Aspects of Historicity in the Fourth Gospel. Brill, Leiden 2009.
  • Folker Siegert: The life of Jesus. A biography based on the pre-canonical traditions of Jesus. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010.
  • James H. Charlesworth: The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift? In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 8,1, Brill, Leiden 2010, pp. 1-44.
  • Ernst Baasland: Fourth Quest? What did Jesus really want? In: Tom Holmén, Stanley E. Porter (Eds.): Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus. Volume I: How to study the historical Jesus. Brill, Leiden 2011, pp. 31-56.
Jewish researchers
  • Gösta Lindeskog: The Jesus question in modern Judaism. A contribution to the history of the life of Jesus research. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1973, ISBN 3-534-06347-3 .
  • Susannah Heschel : The Jewish Jesus and Christianity. Jewish Publishing House Berlin, 2002, ISBN 3-934658-04-0 .
  • Walter Homolka: Jesus of Nazareth as reflected in Jewish research. Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin / Teetz 2009, ISBN 978-3-941450-03-5 .
Popular science
  • Martin Kähler: The so-called historical Jesus and the historical, biblical Christ. (1892)
  • Dieter Schellong: "What are you looking for the living among the dead?" Questions about the search for the "historical Jesus". 1990, pp. 2-47.
  • Etienne Nodet, James H. Charlesworth: The Historical Jesus ?: Necessity and Limits of an Inquiry. Continuum, 2008, ISBN 0-567-02721-X .
  • Georg Eichholz: The riddle of the historical Jesus and the presence of Jesus Christ. Christian Kaiser, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-459-01537-3 .

Web links

Single receipts

  1. Philipp Sarasin : Michel Foucault for an introduction. Junius Verlag, 3rd edition 2008, ISBN 3-88506-633-5 , p. 75 f.
  2. Christian Strecker: Hic non est , Stuttgart 2007, pp. 160-165
  3. ^ Christian Strecker: Hic non est , Stuttgart 2007, p. 165
  4. Gerd Theißen, Annette Merz: The historical Jesus. 4th edition, Göttingen 2011, p. 25.
  5. Gerd Theißen, Annette Merz: The historical Jesus. 4th edition, Göttingen 2011, pp. 25–28.
  6. Gerd Theißen, Annette Merz: The historical Jesus. 4th edition, Göttingen 2011, p. 26.
  7. Gerd Theißen, Annette Merz: The historical Jesus. 4th edition, Göttingen 2011, pp. 28–29.
  8. Marcus J. Borg: Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship. Trinity Press, 1994, ISBN 9781563380945 , pp. 3-7
  9. ^ Christian Strecker: Hic non est. In: Andreas Nehring, Joachim Valentin (eds.): Religious Turns - Turning Religions: Changed cultural discourses - new religious forms of knowledge. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 9783170199637 , pp. 150–178, here: p. 158
  10. Fernando Bermejo Rubio: The Fiction of the 'Three Quests': An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Historiographical Paradigm. Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 7 (2009), pp. 211-253.
  11. ^ Albert Schweitzer: History of the lives of Jesus research , 9th edition 1984, p. 254; received by Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time , 2010, p. 114
  12. Albert Schweitzer: History of the lives of Jesus research , 1984, p. 629
  13. Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time , Stuttgart 2010, p. 84f.
  14. Hermann Samuel Reimarus: Apology or protective text for the reasonable worshipers of God. 2. New Testament, Volume 2. (1762) Reprint: Insel, 1972; lectured by Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time , 2010, p. 83 f.
  15. Gerd Theißen, Annette Merz: The historical Jesus , 4th edition 2001, p. 22 f.
  16. Thomas Jefferson: The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels, Together with a Comparison of His Doctrines with T. (1803) Reprint: Martino Publishing, 2011, ISBN 1-61427-028-7
  17. ^ Ernest Renan: Vie de Jésus (French); (English)
  18. a b M. Baumotte: The question of the historical Jesus , p. 87
  19. M. Baumotte: The question of the historical Jesus , p. 86
  20. Claus-Dieter Osthövener (Ed.): Adolf von Harnack: Das Wesen des Christianentums. (Reprint) 2nd edition, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2007, ISBN 3-16-148394-4 , p. 85
  21. Arthur Drews: The denial of the historicity of Jesus in the past and present (1926) ( Memento from July 21, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  22. Martina Janssen (WiBiLex, June 2010): Jeremias, Joachim
  23. Karlheinz Müller: New Testament Science and Judaic Studies. In: Lutz Doering, Hans-Günther Waubke, Florian Wilk (eds.): Jewish Studies and New Testament Science: Locations - Limits - Relationships. Research on the religion and literature of the Old and New Testaments, Volume 226. 1st edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-53090-0 , pp. 36f.
  24. Luise Schottroff and Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus von Nazareth - Hope of the Poor , Stuttgart 3 1990.
  25. Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time , Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-17-012339-7 , pp. 211-215, 219-236, 263-266, 276f.
  26. Michael N. Ebertz: The Charisma of the Crucified: to the sociology of the Jesus movement. Mohr, Tübingen 1987, pp. 10-12. ISBN 3-16-145116-3 . Excerpt from Google Books
  27. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza: Jesus - Miriam's child. Sophia's prophet. Critical inquiries from feminist christology. Chr. Kaiser, Gütersloh 1997, pp. 137–139. ISBN 3-579-01838-8 .
  28. Robert W. Funk (Ed.): The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. HarperOne, reprint 1996, ISBN 0-06-063040-X
  29. ^ Robert W. Funk: The Coming Radical Reformation - Twenty-one Theses (The Fourth R, Volume 11-4, July / August 1998)
  30. Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time , 2010, p. 400f.
  31. Michael J. Wilkins, JP Moreland: Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Zondervan, new edition 1996, ISBN 0-310-21139-5
  32. ^ William Lane Craig: Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: Presuppositions and Pretensions of the Jesus Seminar (Faith and Mission 15 (1998), pp. 3-15)
  33. Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus und seine Zeit , 2010, pp. 119 f., 140 ff., 173–176
  34. Bruce Chilton: Plus ça change… “The Jesus Seminar” and “The Jesus Project” (Bard College, January 2009)
  35. ^ William L. Craig: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? , in: Michael J. Wilkins, JP Moreland (Ed.): Jesus Under Fire. Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus , Grand Rapids 1995, pp. 141-176.
  36. William Lane Craig: Article about the historical Jesus (English) ( Memento of 2 January 2010 at the Internet Archive )
  37. ^ Gary D. Myers (March 14, 2005): Wright defends resurrection at NOBTS ( Memento of April 14, 2015 in the Internet Archive )