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Multiple Realities and Historiography: Rethinking Historical Jesus Research

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Chapter Summary

Historical Jesus research, such as most other branches of historical research, is eager to move away from traditional and positivistic historiography. However, it is the "assumptions and attitude of historians themselves which have to be carefully assessed before one can come to any conclusion about the real status of historical knowledge", Tosh remarks. Historiography, therefore, is not a recreation of the past but a reconstruction aiming to show how things were or what the state of affairs was. While sense-making is an important component of historical work, the question remains, sense-making of what? Cultural alien documents can no longer be read straight in order to determine either their communicative thrust or theological meaning. Both of these are embedded in what Jesus of Nazareth was like as a social personage and modern engagement with that figure can no longer avoid jumping into the stream of anthropological historiography.

Keywords: historiography; Jesus of Nazareth; Tosh



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