GospelResearch Analysis Methods
GospelResearch Analysis Methods
Instudying Gospel, much dissimilarity has been made between the sayingsand actions of Historical Jesus and how the churches attribute him.The various methods used by researchers and theologies have resultedto an increased impetus in critiquing Gospels research.Atfirst blush, one would disparage and disapprove of Wrede’s methodof analysis regarding Jesus and the New Testament. However, Wredemade an imperative contribution to research and study of the NewTestament. In his work, TheMessianic secret,Wrede based his messianic understanding on the theology ofresurrection. He discusses the instances in which the concealment ofthe right identity of Jesus is encouraged before his resurrectione.g. in Mark 1:40-45, after healing a leper, Jesus tells him not tosay anything to anyone.
Wrede’stheory has been immensely prominent but has also faced a lot ofcriticism. Some analyze the true identity of Jesus by virtue of thetheology of the cross where they say that the identity of Jesus couldonly be identified at the foot of the cross. Others question theunity of the secret because even after Jesus asking them not to sayanything most of them went and proclaimed it. Other scholars alsothink that Mark did not add messianic messages to non-messianic onesbut insisted that those which existed were already understoodmessianically.
Scholarsalso study Gospel through in-depth analysis on distinguishing theJesus of History and the Jesus of the New Testament. Unlike those whopaid most attention to the light of resurrection faith, scholarsusing this method made most use of post-resurrection stories ofJesus. Paul considered the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus aswhat was more important despite his immense knowledge regardingearthly teachings of historical Jesus. Additionally, data regardinghistory of Jesus had been receiving varying attention with someChristians giving more emphasis on faith in the resurrected lord thanin his ministry and teachings. In this method of analysis somescholars think that Paul insinuates that he disregards the teachingsof Jesus.
Inanother method of analysis, scholars have often had their viewsinfluenced by the philosophical trends in theology. Some research hasbeen depicting historical Jesus based on contemporary philosophicalmilieu. Scholars and readers have modified historical-criticalapproaches while analyzing Biblical text so as to suit theirphilosophical presumptions centering their opinions on temperament oftruth and knowledge. This has made gospel research ineffective bysuch scholars since they end up depicting their values rather thandepicting historical Jesus.
Presumably,another way of analyzing Biblical text that is discarded is thatwhich bases its analysis on other standards and principles. Thoughthere might be theological reasons why Biblical text is organized ina certain manner canonical criticism questions the ability ofhistorical critic to explain why.
Notably,it is evident that in contemporary gospel scholarship, Biblical textis habitually understood and conveyed based on philosophicalpresumptions of scholars. Objective analysis is quite difficult inmatters of faith and more often than not, the researchers’ ways ofanalysis data is guided by how he/she instinctively assume as thenature of knowledge and truth. Until recently, it was supposed thatmethods of analyzing data regarding the gospel were thoroughlyobjective but that has changed with different approaches now beingused due to the intuitive analysis methods that have surfaced.Consequently, I agree that claims of innumerable interpretiveapproaches based on presuppositions of scholars have emerged inanalyzing Biblical data.
Chilton,B. D., & Evans, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Studyingthe historical Jesus: evaluations of the state of current research(Vol. 19). Brill.