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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