Christology and the
Deeds of Jesus
ONE STRIKING OUTCOME of the nineteenth-century quest for the historical Jesus was that Jesus became so modernized he sounded like an advocate for the liberal Protestantism of Schleiermacher, Ritschl, and others. This image, when it became evident that it was hardly an accurate description of the historical Jesus, was replaced, according to Schweitzer, by the image of Jesus as an apocalyptic seer who expected the end of the world most any time. Jesus the apocalyptic seer dominated the discussion of the historical Jesus in the twentieth century often because it was assumed Schweitzer was right, and there was little more to be said on the subject. The liberal Jesus was replaced by a Jesus so remote from current experience and the church's portrait of him that he became little more than a historical curiosity in some circles.
Since the beginning of the new quest for the historical Jesus in the 1950s, there has been an increasing uneasiness about Schweitzer's Jesus. One of the major trends in the new attempt to envision the person of Jesus has come from both Christian and non-Christian scholars who conclude that Jesus should be seen in light of charismatic Judaism. According to this interpretation, Jesus was a Galilean sage and hasid with extraordinary spiritual gifts, not unlike Hanina ben Dosa or possibly Honi the Circle Drawer.1 This
1 Cf. G. Vermes, and to some extent J. D. G. Dunn's Jesus and the Spirit; but now even more
emphatically M. Borg, Jesus.