Request for comments …, my cover letter (continued 2)

I see Benedict/ Ratzinger and the historical Jesus research, which he does not negate, but only makes selective use of, on the same path that reason wants to use as a precursor to faith.

Sea Lizards, Fernandina, Galapagos August 1989
Sea Lizards, Fernandina, Galapagos August 1989

The path of the Enlightenment, the path of modern science, however, is the rigorous separation of reason, the science of religious patronage. This also results in the autonomy of religion and faith.


The separation of reason and faith, between religion and science, which was fought for in the Enlightenment, the Jesus researcher wants to reverse, and in doing so they fall into the trap into which Scholasticism with its proofs of God had already fallen.


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Request for comments …, my cover letter (continued)

My theses may take some getting used to, so here are some preliminary remarks:

during disembarkation, Galapagos August 1989
during disembarkation, Galapagos August 1989

The failure of research into the life of Jesus, pluralism, arbitrariness and the lack of consensus in the published images of Jesus are widely deplored. It is not only Martin Kähler, Luke Johnson and Klaus Wengst who criticize historical Jesus research and demand the return to the biblical Christ of faith.


The representatives of the Life Jesus research up to the 3rd Quest, from Albert Schweitzer to John D. Crossan also see the results critically. The attempt to combine historical reason and Christian faith in Jesus research to promote faith must be regarded as failed.


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Request for comments …, my cover letter of March 12, 2018

Dear lady, dear sir,

… The figure of Jesus is still an unsolved mystery and an exciting task for New Testament Science.

Bucanero in front of Isabela, Galapagos August 1989
Bucanero in front of Isabela, Galapagos August 1989

I have tried to carry out the project of the historical Jesus as a historical project, a scientific, reason-based project that serves scientifically objective and neutral in value to search for the historical beginnings of Christianity. In particular, my aim is to make the emergence of the Christian religion plausibly understandable to sceptical Christians and those who are far from the church.

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Ask theologians to comment on the blog’s theses

Is ecclesial research on Jesus and the Bible a science?

Sea Lizards, Fernandina, Galapagos August 1989
Sea Lizards, Fernandina, Galapagos August 1989

To answer this question, I published the 280 theses of my blog at the beginning of 2018 in German and English as a book and sent them in book form to more than 150 theologians, mainly New Testamentists, in Germany, Europe and North America with the request for a statement. I will publish my cover letter and the answers of the theologians in the blog.


(Continued) 6. Josephus is aware of the Christians and writes


about them and about Jesus. However, because his often polemical statements contradict church dogma and current theological ideas, they are not recognised by the church or theologians as relevant to Jesus and the church.


  1. As far as I could establish according to my newly-developed sources, Jesus was not a religious teacher but a statesman who was admired for religious qualities.


  1. Jesus’ disciples were not his students who followed him during his lifetime; they were religious leaders who based their teaching on him after his death, when they founded the first Christian communities.


  1. Finally, I was able to pinpoint the date of origin of the Old Testament writings more precisely: they were written in the times of Herod Antipas and Agrippa I and were supplemented and completed after the Jewish rebellion in 66 – 70 AD.


With these points, my new paradigm was complete. It was presented in these theses.


My route to new paradigms

  1. First, I have tried to free Jesus of all the elements ascribed to him

that classical religious history also held ready for other founders of religions and honoured religious rulers. Not much is left over apart from the crucifixion by Pilate, but that is enough to confirm that Jesus was a historical figure.


  1. David’s great kingdom is described in detail in the Bible, but the descriptions adhere to Hellenic literary conventions. Since there are no archaeological remains that can be allocated to it, David’s kingdom must be viewed as a literary product of a later time, the Hellenic era at the earliest.


  1. Many details of the Old Testament stories show so many parallels with the time of Herod that it is implausible to suggest that the Old Testament originated before the time of Herod.


  1. The literary model for Mark’s Gospel is Homer’s Iliad; it is literature and shapes the story of Jesus according to literary aspects while the historical facts are subordinate.


5. The model for the story of Moses the emigrant in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers was Virgil’s Aeneid. As with Mark’s Gospel, the historical facts are subordinated to the literary plot.


(Continued) 3. I am looking for the actual Jesus;


the Jesus who lived in a different historical era. This results in many differences to our current understanding of God and the world. It is exciting and important for historians to identify these differences in order to understand the otherness of the historical person.


To do this, historians need dogmatically correct statements of faith, but also heretical statements and remarks made by Jesus’ opponents, because the breadth of information is necessary for a full understanding.


  1. In my opinion the Gospels depend on classical literary models. The aesthetic effect (the beauty) of the narrative is more important in the Gospels than historical accuracy.


5. My image of Jesus does not require the scientifically problematic God hypothesis.