the violent separation of Jesus from Late Judaism
|November 8, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter sixteen||
Although not to the same extent, Schürer also, in his view of the teaching of Jesus, is strongly influenced by the Fourth Gospel. In an inaugural discourse of 1903 he declares that in his opinion there is a certain opposition between Judaism and the preaching of Jesus, since the latter contains something absolutely new. His Messiahship is only the temporally limited expression of a unique, generally ethical, consciousness of being a child of God, which has a certain analogy with the relation of all God’s children to their Heavenly Father. The reason for His reserve in regard to His Messiahship was, according to Schürer, Jesus’ fear of kindling “political enthusiasm”; from the same motive He repudiates in Mark xii. 37 all claim to be the Messiah of David’s line. The ideas of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God at least underwent a transformation in His use of them. If in His earlier preaching He only announces the Kingdom as something future, in His later preaching He emphasises the thought that in its beginnings it is already present.
That it is precisely the representatives of the study of Late Judaism who lift Jesus out of the Late-Jewish world of thought, is not in itself a surprising phenomenon. It is only an expression of the fact that here something new and creative enters into an uncreative age, and of the clear consciousness that this Personality cannot be resolved into a complex of contemporary ideas. The problem of which they are conscious is the same as Bousset’s. But the question cannot be avoided whether the violent separation of Jesus from Late Judaism is a real solution, or whether the very essence of Jesus’ creative power does not consist, not in taking out one or other of the parts of the eschatological machinery, but in doing what no one had previously done, namely, in setting whole machinery in motion by the application of an ethicoreligious motive power. To perceive the unsatisfactoriness of the transformationAccording to J. Meinhold, too, in Jesus und das alte Testament (Jesus a Old Testament), 1896, Jesus did not purpose to be the Messiah of Israel. hypothesis it is only necessary to think of all the conditions which would have to be realised in order to make it possible to trace, even in general outline, the evidence of such a transformation in the Gospel narrative.
All these solutions of the eschatological question start from the teaching of Jesus, and it was, indeed, from this point of view that Johannes Weiss had stated the problem. The final decision of the question is not, however, to be found here, but in the examination of the whole course of Jesus’ life. On which of the two presuppositions, the assumption that His life was completely dominated by eschatology, or the assumption that He repudiated it, do we find it easiest to understand the connexion of events in the life of Jesus, His fate, and the emergence of the expectation of the Parousia in the community of His disciples?
The works which in the examination of the connexion of events follow a critical procedure are few and far between. The average “Life of Jesus” shows in this respect an inconceivable stupidity. The first, after Bruno Bauer, to apply critical methods to this point was Volkmar; between Volkmar and Wrede the only writer who here showed himself critical, that is sceptical, was W. Brandt. His work on the “Gospel History” appeared in 1893, a year after Johannes Weiss’s work and in the same year as Bousset’s reply. In this book the question of the absolute, or only partial, dominance of eschatology is answered on the ground of the general course of Jesus’ life.
 Emil Schürer, Das messianische Selbstbewusstsein Jesu Christi. (The Messianic Self-consciousness of Jesus Christ.) 1903, 24 pp.
 Die Evangelische Geschichte und der Ur sprung des Christentums auf Grund einer Kritic der Berichte über das Leiden und die Auferstehung Jesu. (The Gospel Hisotry and the Origin of Christianity considered in the light of a critical investigation of the Reports of the Suffering and Resurrection of Jesus.) By Dr. W. Brandt, Leipzig, 1893, 588 pp.
Wilhelm Brandt was born in 1855 of German Parents in Amsterdam and became a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1891 he resigned this office and studied in Strassburg and Berlin. In 1893 he was appointed to lecture in General History of Religion as a member of the theological faculty of Amsterdam.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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