The quest of the historical Jesus


by Albert Schweitzer.

I have come to the end of this book. It was a great read. In his last chapter he writes

There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus.

The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.

I am yet to read Bert Erhman’s book where he argues for a historical Jesus. I hope I will. I am interested in knowing his Jesus, how he clothes him and makes him real to walk in Jerusalem and beyond that how he has gotten people to believe his story.

After documenting in a thorough way the impossibility of a historical Jesus, he has words of hope for the believer. He writes

But the truth is, it is not Jesus as historically known, but Jesus as spiritually arisen within men, who is significant for our time and can help it. Not the historical Jesus, but the spirit which goes forth from him and in the spirits of men strives for new influence and rule, is that which overcomes the world.

As for me, it is enough to that there is no historical Jesus, as for his spirit, that is for believers.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

60 thoughts on “The quest of the historical Jesus

  1. I look forward to the day (should that ever happen) when men (as they tend to create these gods) see the humanity in humanity, and stop giving our dignity away.

    Here’s a preview of Bart’s book:

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    • makagutu says:

      Thanks for the links.
      Maybe that day will happen sooner if men became more reasonable

      Liked by 1 person

      • In an interview I watched, Christopher Hitchens said one the main reasons why men created the Abrahamic god was so that they could own women. He said that if men told women that they should obey them, women would tell them to take a hike (I’m paraphrasing 😉 ) but if “God” told them they might be more incline to submit. He further stated that the gods benefit men which is why I doubt we will be seeing “reasonable” any time soon.

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        • makagutu says:

          Sorry for my late response.
          That makes a lot of sense. The bible is mainly useful for a few men to control other men and most if not all women

          Liked by 1 person

          • No worries my friend. I know I’ve shared that before. It’s just that I really wished people would step back and take time to really think about how and why they believe when there is zero evidence. They won’t take our word for it but will take the word of ancients, most who were not even willing to put their name on what they wrote/copied.

            Hey Noel — you were created from a deity — a Goddess. Now please tell me why you don’t believe that and what exactly is the difference between the thousands of goddesses worshiped in the past and this Jesus who has boobs and milk?

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            • makagutu says:

              When we were small boys, we would mould stuff from clay, some with no discernible form and without any forethought, maybe that is what happened in the case of the universe, god- whichever it is- had no idea how it would come out.

              That is what shocks me. Why are people willing to die for words of people they never met and they are incapable of judging how reliable and honest they were as men!

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      • Forgot to leave the link referencing the interview with Hitchens.

        http://youtu.be/rmJDAzgvp6o

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  2. Good post, Mak. I agree here with Victoria. Goodness for mankind comes from mankind, not an invisible spirit. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion there was no historical Jesus. I wish humans would spend as much energy on coming up with practical, realistic ways to aid our species as they do fabricating deities to worship. I’ll have to add this book to my list and give it a read. Seems interesting.

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  3. Erhman’s is another book I’d like to read. I’m quite certain TruChristians consider him an evil heathen. Makes me like him, even though I doubt I’ll agree with him.

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  4. Doobster418 says:

    I don’t know if there was or was not an actual living, breathing human being that was Jesus. If there was, I believe he was a mere mortal who may have been a preacher or a teacher, but in either case, a very charismatic man. But Jesus may also be an amalgam of historical people, sort of a King Arthur type of figure, given attributes that go well beyond what the actual Jesus, if he existed, possessed.

    But I do agree with what inspired wrote, “I wish humans would spend as much energy on coming up with practical, realistic ways to aid our species as they do fabricating deities to worship.”

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  5. ejwinner says:

    The ‘spirit’ of which Schweitzer writes in the later paragraph, is closer to Hegel’s ‘Geist’ than the ‘Holy Ghost’ – that is, what was widely referred to as the ‘Spirit of Man,’ a phrase that went out of usage around 1970, and which actually refers to whatever the writer considered the noblest idea of humanity.

    Judging by this book (and little Schweitzer said or wrote afterward – that I know of – seems to alter this), Schweitzer was that odd character, a ‘Christian agnostic’ – he could no longer believe, but he saw Christianity as a force for good in the world, and tried to live accordingly.

    A fascinating character. Thanks for drawing attention to his book. Although Schweitzer may never have pulled himself completely free of his religion, his book can still be used as a possible stepping stone for some reader’s path to doing so.

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  6. […] Source: The quest of the historical Jesus […]

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  7. Sonel says:

    Interesting post Mak. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Arkenaten says:

    There never was a ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and the evidence against this character has been there all along, but very few were willing to poke this particular hornets’ nest for fear of committing professional suicide and social ostracization.
    Bart Ehrman has always come across as a pretty erudite scholar but on this issue he’s a damn fence sitter and I have said so before.
    His responses to the historicity of the character always seem to have a slight ambiguous edge to them.
    The way he talks about the gospels might lead you to believe that ( the story behind them) is all pretty much fiction and yet here’s this prophet bloke, striding around 1st century Galilee? And no one noticed him outside of the fictitious gospel story? Hmm, pull the other leg.
    I reckon Ehrman cherry picks his ‘facts’ on this issue because he cannot be sure one way or another – for now – ( even though he probably doesn’t believe in the Jesus character either) so he’s hedging until he can produce enough evidence to cement a case and then see what type of book he publishes!

    At least Schweitzer had the balls to be totally up front and honest.

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    • makagutu says:

      And what you say here is the problem I have with Ehrman. A scholar he is, but on this issue on historicity, he is skirting the real issue.

      I enjoyed Schweitzer’s book.

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  9. themodernidiot says:

    Refresh me, all, where did he come forth publicly as the messiah?

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    • It was after a breakfast at Denny’s one morning when he fed a restaurant full of people with one piece of dry toast and a cup of cold black coffee. After he did that he just figured, “Hell, I must be some kinda messiah or somthin’ “.

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    • makagutu says:

      Am not sure he ever said he was, at least not directly. There is the time John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask if he is the one who was to come and he tells them to go and tell him what they have seen. On a different occasion, he asks of the disciples who he is, Peter says he is the messiah and he tells him to stfu kind of thing.

      Liked by 1 person

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