The Historical Jesus: Eschatological, Apocalyptic Prophet. Or Not.

I’m proofing a book on the historical Jesus, and in the following two quotes cited in the introduction, the volume editors point out that consensus is often in the eye of the beholder:

One of the strongest consensuses in New Testament research is that Jesus’
mission was to proclaim the dawning of God’s Rule, the Kingdom of
God. Research on Mark 9:1 has convinced virtually every specialist that
Jesus’ teaching was emphatically apocalyptic and eschatological. (J. H. Charlesworth, 1994)

The old consensus that Jesus was an eschatological prophet who proclaimed the imminent end of the world has disappeared . . . [and] is no longer held by the majority of North American scholars actively engaged in Jesus research. (Marcus Borg, 1988)


5 comments so far

  1. Anon on

    Some progress, but distinctly behind the times. Before discussing the historical Pharisee Ribi Jew, acquaint yourself with the facts at (especially, but not limited to, the History Museum pages).

  2. derekryanbrown on

    “… consensus is often in the eye of the beholder”

    Indeed. But in this case Borg is probably just wrong.

  3. Stephen Myers on

    One thing we need to keep in mind is that the gospel writers wrote to and for their communities decades after Jesus lived so their words may or may not be the actual words of the historical person who was Jesus.

  4. jeffreimer on


    I thought the same thing and wondered if Borg wasn’t trying to shape the discourse as much as describe it.

  5. alr on

    It’s probably best not to use the term “historical Jesus,” since there is never a non-historical Jesus; or said another way, there is never history that doesn’t participate in God, of whom the second person is Jesus.

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