The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

Excerpt

WE HAVE SEEN THAT THE PROBLEM WHETHER JESUS ATTRIBUTED the kind of theological significance to his death which the Church has always found in it is bound up with the question whether he thought of himself as the Servant-Messiah, and that how we answer this question depends less perhaps on how we look at particular pieces of evidence in the Gospels than on the point of view from which we look at the Gospel evidence as a whole. Our answer depends, it has been argued, on where we are disposed to place the burden of proof whether on those who regard any particular saying attributed to Jesus as having been literally his own, as being "authentic" in this narrow sense, or on those who ascribe it to the primitive Church. There are many sayings in the Gospels which virtually all scholars acknowledge as being in all probability Jesus' own. There are others which all agree could hardly have been spoken by him. But there remain not a few--and these include many of the sayings most pertinent to our inquiry--concerning whose "authenticity" the scholars differ; and this difference, I am saying, is in large part a reflection of the difference in point of view to which I am referring. Those who assume that these sayings need to be disproved are almost bound to accept them; those who feel that they must be proved are equally likely to reject them.

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