A more interesting question about Jesus

info@islandpacket.comDecember 31, 2013 

David Lauderdale's column asks the sensible question: What difference does the race of Jesus make? It's more than that, however. To even speculate about Jesus' race makes no sense. Race is a societal construct, not a scientific one. Jesus' race is the one each of us gives him.

It raises a more interesting question in my mind: Regardless of race, was Jesus a construct, purely mythical, or was he an historical figure, albeit not necessarily the one in the Gospels?

Biblical scholarship is notoriously slipshod and/or tendentious, because it attracts people who first and foremost are Christian apologists, out to buttress their faith, not their understanding of history. Bad translations, implausible rationalizations, and dismissal of facts out of hand are their stock in trade.

Reimarus (1694-1768) produced one of the first critical inquiries. Today, in the scholarship of Hector Avalos and Robert M. Price, among many others, we discover how little evidence exists for Jesus in history.

A century ago, Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Christian theologian, attacked the problem in "The Quest for the Historical Jesus." He never found one, though he remained a Christian. He concluded Jesus would only exist either in "the fiction of the earliest Evangelist, or on the ground of a purely eschatological (end time) Messianic conception. He will not be a Jesus Christ to which the present religion can ascribe, according to its long cherished custom, its own thoughts and ideas as it did with the Jesus of its own making."

David D. Peterson

Port Royal

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