New Quest, Old Errors by James R. Edwards

New Quest, Old Errors

The Fallacies of the New Quest for the Historical Jesus

by James R. Edwards

No institution felt the impact of the Enlightenment more than the Church and orthodox Christianity. The sources of the Church’s life, particularly its Scripture and creeds, fell under the lens of secular scrutiny. The Bible was subjected to the same literary and historical theories used to judge other literature. Among the many forms this new criticism took, perhaps none was more celebrated than The Quest of the Historical Jesus, to quote the English title of Albert Schweitzer’s monumental book (1906). His quest was to uncover the “real” Jesus, the exclusively human Jesus, beneath the layers of dogma and ritual that had accumulated over the centuries. Although Schweitzer’s Quest came after more than a century of debate, it did not end debate. In mid-century a more modest Quest resurfaced, and since the late 1980s dozens of books have appeared on Jesus, indicating that the New Quest is in full swing.

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