Why is my image of Jesus different from that of theologians?
I inquire about the person Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago. Theologians ask how the church can preach Jesus’ message today, and claim that what they preach today is identical with the message of the historical Jesus. I would like to present the difference in four points:
How did the theological image of Jesus develop?
- Theologians interpret the Biblical legends about Jesus as historical reports that they need to adapt carefully to modern understanding. They aim to overcome the “broad and ugly ditch” (Lessing) that separates our time from the time of Jesus.
2. In the 19th century, Jesus was no longer perceived as God but as a religious genius, and this entailed the fact that he did not take the core statements of his message from others; instead he invented them himself. Therefore even today, theologians refuse to admit that the heathen classical world had any spiritual influence on Jesus. The “copyright” for the Christian message must be held by Jesus himself.