For some time, New Testament scholarship, particularly in its conservative and evangelical wings, have avoided direct questions regarding the historicity of Jesus. Many have followed Rudolf Bultmann, who had suggested that "The Jesus Christ who is God's Son, a pre-existent divine being, is at the same time a certain historical person, Jesus of Nazareth..." (1941). This has become a mantra, which, today, is accepted and hardly questioned by most scholars, who, accordingly, have lost sight of the context of the literature of the New Testament, ignoring the theological emulations, allusions, and edifying functions of many of the Gospel narratives, the epistles, pastorals, and the book of Revelation. The presupposition of historicity supports an historical interpretation of the texts and makes alternative explanations for allegories, edifications, eponyms and allusions unnecessary.With the assumption of such figures as Jesus, Paul and the disciples as historical, significant intentions which are implicit to our texts are frequently ignored or misunderstood and whole subtexts are created which might never have existed in the past We are faced with an endless production of works on the historical Jesus, without a clear engagement of historical methods and little discussion of the central question of the function of these texts. This study presents a dialogue, which raises the question of historicity directly, much as the so-called Copenhagen school successfully raised similar questions as to the historicity of the figures of the patriarchs and other origin traditions of the Hebrew Bible. The volume questions of the value of current trends of historical Jesus scholarship, presents a new perspective regarding the exegesis of the books of the New Testament (and primarily Paul as our earliest testimonyA" to the figure of Jesus) and outlines the implications of the literary function of the rewritten Bible.The intended audience is scholars, graduate students and educated laymen; in particular, students of comparative literature and the intertextuality of ancient texts, including the Old and New Testaments, as well as texts from the ancient Near East and classical world.
Is This Not the Carpenter? was published by Taylor & Francis Ltd in April 2012. The ISBN for Is This Not the Carpenter? is 9781845539863.