Monday, April 12, 2010

Skeptical of skepticism

Christianity Today has published several responses to the Scot McKnight article, "The Jesus We'll Never Know," that I quoted at some length last Friday. McKnight argues that attempts to "get behind" the gospels to discover the real historical Jesus have reached a dead end. The responses are from other scholars in the field: N.T. Wright, Craig Keener, and Darrell Bock. They are convincing to me, perhaps because I read and taught history for so long. But also because books like F.F. Bruce's The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? did for me what Craig Keener says here:
.... While historical methods do not answer theological questions or compel faith, I can testify that in my much younger days as an unchurched atheist, they would have invited me to consider it. ....

For example, historians would normally take very seriously biographies written within a generation or two of their subjects. I contend that if skeptics really treated the Gospels as they treat other historical documents, they would be less skeptical. Using standard historical methods, we can challenge many skeptics' doubts about Jesus. .... [more]
Thanks to Joe Carter for the references.

Abandon Studying the Historical Jesus? No, Jesus Studies Matter | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction