historical jesus

Schweitzer, Eschatology & Matthew 10:23

“But when they persecute you in this city, flee to the next one; amen I say to you, you will not have completed the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:23 My translation)

Matthew 10:23b is a theological quagmire that has caused endless controversy especially since Albert Schweitzer’s seminal book, “The Quest of the Historical Jesus” (1906). His book in effect ended the “First Quest for the Historical Jesus” that had begun in Germany with scholars such as H. S. Reimarus, D. F. Strauss, Johannes Weiss, and William Wrede.

The so-called “First Quest” (circa 1700-1900) rose out of the Enlightenment Age with its emphasis on reason. It was an optimistic age. Western Civilization had “come of age” so to speak, and there was broad confidence that humanity would eventually solve every problem through the application of reason and modern science.

The original “questers” were confident they could uncover the true, historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, solely based on historical inquiry using scientific methods, rather than relying on faith or church tradition. They sought to distinguish the Jesus of Faith from the Jesus of History. (more…)