The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus  -     By: Dale C. Allison Jr.
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The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

Asserting that "the unexamined Christ is not worth having," respected scholar Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing questions about the Jesus of history, doctrine, faith, and practice. Why is there continuing discord among New Testament experts? How does their research impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs? And what does it contribute to contemporary theological reflection?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 128
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802862624
ISBN-13: 9780802862624
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Informally presents and evaluates complex--sometimes troubling--issues in scholarly discussion of Jesus Christ.

"Whatever one makes of these pages, they are the stammerings neither of an apologist nor of a skeptic but instead of an oft-confused Protestant who has come to his conclusions, modest as they are, quite gradually, and who may alter his uncertain mind about much tomorrow. Of two things only do I feel assured. The first is that, as unchanging things do not grow -- rocks remain rocks -- informed changes of mind should be welcomed, not feared. The second is this: the unexamined Christ is not worth having."
-- from the introduction 

In this book, which he describes as "my personal testimony to doubt seeking understanding," Dale Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing historical-theological questions concerning Jesus. What should one think of the modern quest for the historical Jesus when there is such enduring discord among the experts, and when personal agendas play such a large role in the reconstructions? How much history is in the Gospels, and how much history does Christian theology require that there be? How does the quest impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs, and what might it contribute to contemporary theological reflection? The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus is the personal statement of lessons that a respected participant in the quest has learned throughout the course of his academic career.

Author Bio

Dale C. Allison Jr. is Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Author Bio

Dale C. Allison Jr. is the Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including Resurrecting Jesus, Studies in Matthew, and The Luminous Dusk.

Publisher Description

In this book, which he describes as “my personal testimony to doubt seeking understanding,” Dale Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing historical-theological questions. What should one think of the modern quest for the historical Jesus when there is such enduring discord among the experts, and when personal agendas place such a large role in the reconstructions? How much history is in the Gospels, and how much history does Christian theology require that there be? How does the quest impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs, and what might it contribute to contemporary theological reflection? The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus is the personal statement of lessons that a respected participant in the quest has learned throughout the course of his academic career.

“Whatever one makes of these pages, they are the stammerings neither of an apologist nor of a skeptic but instead of an oft-confused Protestant who has come to his conclusions, modest as they are, quite gradually, and who may alter his uncertain mind about much tomorrow. Of two things only do I feel assured. The first is that, as unchanging things do not grow — rocks remain rocks — informed changes of mind should be welcomed, not feared. The second is this: the unexamined Christ is not worth having.” — from the introduction

Editorial Reviews

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Princeton Theological Seminary
"With his singular combination of learning, wit, honesty, and humility, Dale Allison here reflects on the theological limitations and implications of the study of the historian's Jesus. Students at every level will find themselves instructed and even provoked by Allison's comments, but they will also come away agreeing that 'the unexamined Christ is not worth having.' ""

Scot McKnight, North Park University
"In the last 125 years there have been five truly epochal thinkers who altered the course of Jesus research: Martin Kähler, Albert Schweitzer, Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Käsemann — and the fifth one is Dale Allison."

Christian Century
"The very title of Allison's brief but engaging book signals that just as believers cannot be completely indifferent to the historical study of the Gospels without closing their faith to new challenges and insights, so historians, even if they are unbelievers, cannot escape the deeply theological nature of the life and teachings of Jesus. Allison is both refreshingly robust in his appraisals of the work of colleagues and disarmingly honest in his self-criticisms."

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  1. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    December 9, 2009
    Richard Woodhouse
    This book is a short but in a way, very dense in its scope. The Author is a very well respected Biblical Scholar. I found it to be both thought provoking but also disturbing. As someone who has struggled throughout life with faith, this book is not all that helpful. Much of what He says about historical Criticism is accurate and worth pondering. Dr Allison is very skeptical. One plus of this, is that He is skeptical of the "Assured results of Higher Criticism" To Me, I tend to agree with the point that We all claim to be able to prove too much. This is especially the case in Historical studies. There is a lot of philosophical biases involved in assessing historical claims. But of course this gets into many areas of interpretation. The impetus of the Historical Critical method was spawned by a dislike of Tradition and Dogma. People often don't like the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament, and so they endeavor to Create a more palatable Jesus. Dr Allison is correct to point out though, that the Gospels themselves also lead to Critical questions. They often don't line up with each other sometimes to the point of historical contradiction. Many of the early Church Fathers recognized this as well. So its nothing new. Allison's basic argument is that the New Testament gives us a basic sense of what the historical jesus was like, if not actually giving a historically accurate portrayal of his actuall words and deeds exactly as they happened. There are themes that appear often enough to give one a good sense of their being, how Jesus was. Yale's Hans Frei promoted this view. Escatological themes are very prevalent, so one can be pretty sure that Jesus was an apocalyptic Preacher of the immenent arrival of God's Kingdom in Isreal. Still the very skeptical bottom line of Allison is disturbing. We live in a very skeptical culture towards Christianity.
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