Monday, January 07, 2008

Guess the Answer Contest Answer...

Thanks to all of you who played. I'm honored that such fine bloggers as yourselves participated! I had to laugh that dim bulb actually gave us the page numbers from Nichols' book! I was afraid that confidence would stop the guessing.

So, who wrote those words I posted last week?

W. D. Davies. The quote is taken from his incredibly important--yet extremely neglected--work, The Gospel and the Land: Early Christianity and Jewish Territorial Doctrine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), 381-382.

Huge kudos to Mark and John. Davies even referenced Dodd in this section--here's the full quote: "In short, Judaism provided what Professor C. H. Dodd has taught us to call the 'Substructure of Christian Theology.'" In a footnote he cites Dodd's According to the Scriptures (London, 1952). I left the Dodd reference out to make things interesting. Very impressive guys!

As I continue to research, I grow more and more frustrated with the idea of a distinct "Third Quest" that is unlike previous approaches in being focused more on the Jewishness of Jesus. In fact, many previous scholars--Jeremias, Davies, Daube, Klausner, etc.--did just that!

Moreover, many of the scholars of the "Third Quest" use the exact same "criteria of authenticity" as those from the so-called "New Quest." In virtually every case these scholars build their interpretations on the same unproven (in some cases, outdated!) source-critical and form-critical assumptions about the Gospels. For example, the shockingly bold assertions made about Q (i.e., its portrait of Jesus, its theology, etc.) found in the works of many contemporary writers seem not only unconvincing but actually quite similar to naïve approaches of the past.

I see two major problems here.

1. If we aren't learning from the scholars who have gone before us, we are ignoring some very valuable resources.

2. In fact, in many ways, in neglecting these scholars of the past contemporary authors almost seem to be engaged in a subtle form of plagiarism, inasmuch as they claim as their own the insights of their mentors.

Something to ponder...

1 comment:

dim bulb said...

I had to laugh that dim bulb actually gave us the page numbers from Nichols' book! I was afraid that confidence would stop the guessing.

Oops! I never gave that possibility a thought.

I'm sure I've read that quote elsewhere recently. Davies is certainly a name I've come across many times in my reading, though I've never actually read one of his works.