Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Jesus Project

Richard Carrier recently offered a fascinating summary of the events of the recent Jesus Project conference. Well worth reading.

I'll summarize two of the most interesting items in my opinion. First, Gerd Lüdemann, a critical scholar that clearly affirms the historicity of the person of Jesus, has concluded based upon his research that no reliable information about the historical Jesus can be gleaned from Paul's letters. He finds that for Paul Jesus is not an earthly person at all, but in fact is a celestial being. This is not to say that Jesus is a mythical character of course, but wow. This is quite far from where I understood Lüdemann to be. I think he even went so far as to say that Jesus was in some sense resurrected.

Secondly, Carrier briefly described a theory argued for by Dennis MacDonald against the existence of Q which posits that Luke as written is using both Mark and Matthew as well as the Dominical Logia referred to by Papias. The Dominical Logia reconstructed on this thesis would appear to be a work based upon the Septuagant version of Deutoronomy (if I'm understanding Richard correctly.) Sounds pretty fascinating.

I note that these points and others dovetail very nicely with arguments I long ago found persuasive argued by Robert Price. Price has argued for Luke being dated to the 2nd century for a long time for various reasons, and also he's championed Earl Doherty's thesis that for Paul Jesus is a celestial being. He's called a kook for such positions. Laughed at a lot. The tide may turn on this. I'd predict that his credibility will continue to improve. Not that I am qualified to reliably predict such things.

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