Lohfink - Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth - Gerhard Lohfink

Jesus of Nazareth: what He wanted, who He was - Gerhard Lohfink

A Michael Glazier Book published by Liturgical Press

Новая книга по историческому Иисусу, на английском языке



List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1 The So-Called Historical Jesus

Chapter 2 The Proclamation of the Reign of God

Chapter 3 The Reign of God and the People of God

Chapter 4 The Gathering of Israel

Chapter 5 The Call to Discipleship

Chapter 6 The Many Faces of Being Called

Chapter 7 Jesus’ Parables

Chapter 8 Jesus and the World of Signs

Chapter 9 Jesus’ Miracles

Chapter 10 Warning about Judgment

Chapter 11 Jesus and the Old Testament

Chapter 12 Jesus and the Torah

Chapter 13 The Life of Jesus: Living Unconditionally

Chapter 14 The Fascination of the Reign of God

Chapter 15 Decision in Jerusalem

Chapter 16 Dying for Israel

Chapter 17 His Last Day

Chapter 18 The Easter Events

Chapter 19 Jesus’ Sovereign Claim

Chapter 20 The Church’s Response

Chapter 21 The Reign of God: Utopia?



There are innumerable books about Jesus. The reason is obvious: we can never finish with him, and every age must encounter him anew. Some of the many Jesus books are very good. Some are very bad. The bad ones are bad because they are far from understanding that the real “historical Jesus” cannot be grasped independently of faith in him. Which faith? That of the first witnesses and those who handed on the story, those who had to describe “accurately” or, better, “faithfully to the person” what had encountered them in Jesus.

Historical criticism is indispensable to research on Jesus. It illuminates the world in which Jesus lived, and still more, it works out the relationships among the sources of the gospels, illuminates the various layers of tradition, and thus sharpens our perception of what the evangelists wanted to say about Jesus in their “final text.” Historical criticism inquires persistently about what happened, and thus it demonstrates that Christianity is about real history and not about myths or ideologies. But when biblical critics measure Jesus only by their own prior understanding, deciding ahead of time what is “historically possible” and what is “historically impossible,” they exceed their own limitations.

Nowadays Jesus is far too often made to be merely a prophet, a gifted charismatic, a radical social revolutionary, a successful healer, a benevolent social worker, or even only a pious rabbi. The real claim of what is shown and expressed in Jesus is set aside, and the inevitable consequence is the assertion that the early Christian communities “deified” him.

The present book refuses to join in such reductionism, which goes contrary to the perceptions of the first witnesses and those who handed on the tradition. Its method is altogether historical and critical—historical research must always be critical—but at the same time it agrees with Karl Barth’s statement in his commentary on Romans: “For me, historical criticism has to be more critical!”

This book intends to be serious about the fact that Jesus was a Jew and lived entirely in and out of Israel’s faith experiences, but at the same time he brought those experiences to their goal and fulfillment. Those who want to really understand Jesus and what he was cannot avoid allowing themselves to be drawn into this faith.

I desire nothing more than that this book will help many people today to approach the real Jesus by making critical distinctions and yet at the same time remaining open and full of trust.

Gerhard Lohfink

Bad Tölz

September 2011



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