The ‘Criteria of Authenticity’ and (Not) Writing about the Historical Jesus

Harnessing Chaos

When writing a book on the historical Jesus, it is required, or so it seems, to include a section on methodology or the criteria for establishing authenticity which, it might be suspected, is a more formal way of presenting scholarly hunches. Remarkably, it is only the past few years that there has been a more widespread awareness that the criteria of authenticity are of minimal use (see especially Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne).

Let’s have a look at some of the main ones.

Dissimilarity automatically assumes as a matter of method that Jesus must have been dissimilar from Judaism and what came next. An obvious counter argument: what if Jesus wasn’t different, then what is the point of the criterion? Or, what if an apparent difference was created by someone other than Jesus? What if there isn’t enough evidence to show Jesus was different from Judaism or some…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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1 Response to The ‘Criteria of Authenticity’ and (Not) Writing about the Historical Jesus

  1. Interesting post 🙂


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