In light of the claim that historians are not aiming to arrive at "exact historical fact" (Droysen), but instead are aiming to "re-construct" past events and persons based on the available sources, what is the goal of "historical Jesus" research:
I wish more reporters were like Jorge Ramos. This is what he said (beginning abt, 4:00) on CNN this morning:
If only more of the media was willing to shun "respectability politics" for this sort of social justice motivated work we'd be in a better place/
A quote worth sharing:
Ernest Renan, in his small work Vie de Jésus made an interesting comment about John the Baptist:
This Frenchman's depiction aimed at making John "exotic" (he wrote the book in 1863), a "Yogi of India" who we may imagine living by the Ganges. Also, he makes the claim that John was the last great prophet of Israel, contentious in itself. But these comments give us a fascinating window into some of the "life of Jesus" writers of that day.
James D.G. Dunn's definition of "faith":
In James A. Kelhoffer's The Diet of John the Baptist his opening chapter has a survey of the scholarship done on the subject up to date. During the section "A 'Vegetarian' Historical Baptist?" he presented the views of several scholars who couldn't fathom John eating locust because is a "strange" thing to do. I kept thinking to myself, "Their views seem motivated not by historical data, but by their own diets!" Even those scholars who haven't had a problem with John eating locusts seem to think this makes him unique somehow, yet as Kelhoffer shows in this book, as well as his article "Did John the Baptist Eat like a Former Essene? Locust-Eating in the Ancient Near East," Dead Sea Discoveries 11.3 (2004), 293-314, locust eating is common in the Levant in the first century and it remains normal for many contemporary cultures today!
Kelhoffer says in his book (p. 21), "A common bias running through these studies, to which the present author must also confess, is the European prejudice against eating insects." How often have I read about John and presumed the description of his diet found in Mk. 1.6c and Mt. 3.4c is included in order to show how unique a person John was. But if locusts aren't a unique snack, then maybe we're misreading these passages? This is a great example of how our own cultural bias, practices, and taboos shape our hermeneutic.
This goes against what I thought I knew about the sociological implications of refusing to partake in public sacrifices in cities of the Roman Empire:
I can't defend or challenge this argument, but it is different from what I thought I knew.