Monday, December 31, 2007

Johannes Kuhn on Christianity and History

Over the holiday break I finished reading the first volume of Baird's History of New Testament Research. I am very excited about this, since it is a text for the quarter beginning just over a week from today. I have also found several more quotes that I have found especially stimulating that I want to share on my blog.

The one for today is from Johannes Kuhn (1806-1887), a Catholic biblical scholar who responded strongly to Strauss, Baur, and others like them. For Kuhn there was not a radical separation between the Jesus of History and the Christ of faith, in fact Christianity is firmly historical. This can be seen in the following quote found in Baird (1:333):

New Testament faith, where it appears in a characteristic way, is essentially a faith in Jesus the messiah, the reconciler and also the only necessary mediator of the salvation of humanity. ... Their [the NT authors] preaching and teaching is, in general and in its deepest roots, not abstract but historical: a simple reference to the gracious action and mighty deeds of God in the course of time."

Kuhn betrays his believe in God's revelation in history, especially as revealed in "Jesus the messiah." Kuhn wants to fight against the trend which was so popular in his day to rationalize Jesus into an unrecognizable and unremarkable religious leader who was later turned into something that he was not.

Baird provides another quote that summarizes Kuhn's understanding of Christianity and faith:

The historical character of Christianity rests namely upon the historical truth of the gospel story, and Christianity itself is nothing without it (1: 333).

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