Venue: Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm.
Topic for Discussion: Professor Joe Bessler’s Three quests for the historical Jesus
From around the time of the Reformation – fuelled by both the growing concerns about the power of the established churches over public discourse and by an emerging recognition of the need for a new framework for public life. New models of faith and Reason. 17th Century development of toleration and breaking away from State controlled Churches.
The second quest emerges during a period of turning away from the growing influence of secular thought. By 1958 we have Vatican 2 – ‘opening the Church to allow some fresh air’.
This second quest involved a search within the Christian community itself, for a theology connected to human experience and the modern world. It focussed on eschatology (which is the ultimate destiny of humanity) as political critique of Church and Society. It brought liberation theology and black and feminist theology.
The stage was set for a renewed quest in the current era. The Jesus Seminar shaped the quest. A significant number of scholars moved outside the church and the academy to address a wider, public audience. It had a commitment to examine texts outside the Christian canon of the New testament and to making conclusions without regard to doctrine.
Bessler discusses these in A Scandalous Jesus.
It is not essential to have read this book but those who have could help with the focus on each quest. Enjoy a delicious morning tea and a great conversation.