Schweitzer and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

Yes: Historical Jesus is important

No: Quest is beside the point

1. Each picture tells us something about what each group found important 1. Jesus didn't fit the mold in his own day, so there are many pictures
2. Historical context can shed perspective on certain features of gospel 2. His spirit and his message transcends time
portrayals, such as anti-Judaism or the role played by the Romans 3. Although portrayals of him differ, his message remains consistent
3. His human qualities make him accessible to later generations 4. Myth transcends history and is more potent
4. His messages are put in the mold of different disciples' expectations 5. In a way, who he was is now irrelevant
5. Knowing his human context does not take away from his spiritual power 6. Even Schweitzer is creating a Jesus in his own image
6. Historical context makes clear how revolutionary he really was 7. The gospel writers acknowledge this by creating different portraits
7. If his life wasn't important, then why didn't he die 2 minutes after birth? (Peter Abelard, 12th c.) 8. Gospel writers try to picture Jesus acontextually
8. Scholars shouldn't be limited by Christian beliefs about Jesus. 9. His suffering and death are more important than his life
9. The gospels thought his life was important, not just his teachings. 10. Historical knowledge can't tell you if Jesus rose from the dead or existed from the beginning of time.
10. So much evil has been perpetrated in his name, it would be good to know what he actually thought. 11. mystery of who he was is central to Christianity
11. Even Schweitzer find the historical Jesus's words important.