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Title: From «Vita Christi» to «Marginal Jew»
Subtitle: The Life of Jesus as Criterion of Reform in Pre-critical and Post-critical Quests
Author(s): GODZIEBA, Anthony J.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 32    Issue: 1-2   Date: 2007   
Pages: 111-133
DOI: 10.2143/LS.32.1.2032354

Abstract :
The question regarding unexamined continuities among the First, Second, and Third Quests invites an even more fundamental question: are there unexamined continuities between the “pre-critical” use of the historical life of Jesus and the critical quests? Using evidence from selected medieval, modern, and contemporary treatments of the life of Jesus, I demonstrate that such a continuity exists and consists of the use of the historical life of Jesus as a criterion of critique and reform – a criteriological presupposition that is constant throughout the Christian tradition, no matter how the term “historical” is understood. I argue further that this use of the life of Jesus, even by such “anti-ecclesiastical” figures as Reimarus and Funk, is already a contextualized theological move, and not simply an historical one, because it presupposes a thoroughly Christological understanding of Christian praxis, pointing out deficiencies in that praxis which an appeal to the “historical” Jesus would remedy.

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