Historical Scholarship and the Layperson: A Case Study

C. Stephen Evans

in The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198263975
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600579 | DOI:
 Historical Scholarship and the Layperson: A Case Study

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This chapter begins with a brief survey of what has been covered in the book. It then goes on to look at the problem of questions about the truth of the incarnational narrative, pointing out that an attempt to answer such questions is not the same as an account of how the knowledge is gained, and that what is called for here is apologetics; the task of apologetics and the task of understanding how one knows can then be linked by the situation of the possible defeater. To some degree New Testament scholarship that takes a sceptical attitude towards the incarnational narrative is grounded in anti-supernaturalistic assumptions, but a good deal of scepticism is also fuelled by such factors as discrepancies between the four Gospels, and features of the narrative that seem to reflect in a transparent way the needs of the early Church rather than the historical situation in early-first-century Palestine. This difficulty is addressed both in the concluding chapter and in the rest of this chapter, which contains a ‘case study’ of ‘James’, a young man raised in a non-Christian home who is converted to Christianity but subsequently exposed to sceptical claims about the New Testament. After a consideration of what is essential to the incarnational narrative, a number of possible responses that James could make to the sceptical claims against it are considered (on the assumption that James himself lacks the ability to make an informed scholarly judgement himself).

Keywords: apologetics; case studies; historical scholarship; incarnational narrative; New Testament scholarship; New Testament; responses; sceptical claims; scepticism

Chapter.  7468 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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