Religion and Theology


Reasons for Theissen’s Argument

Theissen’s narrative of Jesus broadly details the foundations forreader’s knowhow of Jesus. The author completely evaluates the pastand social framework of Jesus and his actions. He unmasks what isalready perceived about Jesus, like traits as a compelling teacher,Jesus’ prophetic nature, healer and informer on parables. Theretrospect is in various ways similar to the conventional narrativeof Jesus. Theissen, similar to the traditional narrative acknowledgesthat Jesus was born by man and had brothers. However, in the pursuitto answer whom Jesus was, Theissen adds, excludes or changes thetraditional narrative of Jesus in diverse manners, which isattributable to numerous reasons.

One of the reasons is that Theissen’s retrospect is ahistorical-critical strategy of evaluating sources. This means thatthe author intends at determining what the traditional account ofJesus intended to communicate, and to provide critique for thenarrative. For instance, according to the retrospect, Jesus was bornin Nazareth. This is contrary to the traditional chronicle of Jesus,which states that He was born in Bethlehem in a manger. Theissenhistorically critics the birthplace of Jesus, based on the reasonsfor the traditional chronicle. Traditionally, the Messiah was to comefrom Bethlehem. In his critique, Theissen argues that Jesus was fromNazareth (Theissen &amp Merz, 1998). He attributes the argument tothe fact that the alteration of the place of birth to Bethlehemarises from religious fantasy, as well as thoughts, since inreference to the scripture the Messiah was to hail from Bethlehem.

Notably, in the retrospect, more focus is placed on determining whoJesus was in place of providing an account of His life. The chronicleof Jesus focuses on his works, while Theissen intends at explainingJesus. The retrospect adds to Jesus’ movement from place to placepreaching as an act of a homeless itinerant (Theissen &amp Merz,1998). Traditionally, Jesus had a home, but his purpose on earth wasto preach and save people. Thus, Theissen depicts Him as the savior.He notes that by preaching to individuals in different places, theMessiah becomes public, contrary to the gospels account of theMessianic Jesus as unrevealed until after his resurrection.

Other reasons are that in retrospect, the author applies threemotifs in explaining Jesus’ conduct. These are the ethical,eschatological and messianic motives. The ethical theme supposes thatassisting individuals surpasses numerous commandments. Hence,altering the reasons why Jesus performed miracles. The traditionalnarrative notes that Jesus performed miracles because, He was the Sonof God, and the miracles indirectly communicated his power over allspirits on earth. However, Theissen depicts that Jesus performed themiracles due to the inherent nature in all people to do well toothers. This further explains Theissen’s alteration as to why Jesusmay have performed miracles during Sabbath (Theissen &amp Merz,1998).

The eschatological motif is apparent in the saying interpreting anact of healing as a freedom from the ties of Satan. This adds to thetraditional story of Jesus, which refers to Him as the savior. Thismeans that Jesus came to earth to liberate all people of theirproblems caused by the evil one, Satan. Theissen by adding to thetext intends to further account of the powers, which Jesus had. Inthe messianic motif, the power of Jesus compares to that of David.The traditional account of Jesus refers to him as having the greatestpower. However, Theissen comparison of Jesus to David excludes thefact Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Thus, his actions cannot becompared to the miracles or acts performed by others.


Theissen, G &amp Merz, A. (1998). The Historical Jesus: AComprehensive Guide. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.