16/ We accept that his iron-age peasant mindset may never be fully comprehensible to us in the information-age, but the residual hardcore of Jesus’ life and teaching as uncovered by the scholars is enough to be getting on with. The chaff has been blown away to leave a kernel that can nourish the world. The words alone survive – in our books and in our hearts.
In all my reading I’ve never seen anyone use standard historians’ terminology and refer to Jesus as “later iron age”, or Moses as “bronze age”.
I’m sure some must do – I just haven’t come across it. I use it because it provides immediate context for Jesus-he wasn’t living in some mystical fairy land like Middle Earth or the planet Alderon . The terms convey a certain shock – a frisson of reality. I wonder what iron artefacts would Jesus have been familiar with? Saws and swords for sure.
The chaff may amount to 82% (Jesus Seminar estimate (i)). But , not to worry, that still leaves a gold nugget to live with. I don’t much like german theologian Bornkamm’s use of the word “torso”! I use “Residual”, “kernel” and “nugget.”
Of course something is lost, but who wants chaff anyway? This “distillation” ( Ah! another usable term!) is sufficient. And of course when we talk of books, their number is increasing, thanks to the archaeologists and scholars, we now have new gospels from Nag Hammadi plus the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Wow! there couldn’t be a more exciting time to investigate Jesus. Pity the dinosaurs in the Church don’t want us to know about recent discoveries. What are they afraid of? You want me to name names? I will. I accuse the Alpha Course of deliberately keeping its course attenders in the dark, plus I accuse the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (They’re actually slightly better. They admit some of the evidence but then promptly try to discredit it)
Don’t knock my choice of “Churches”. These are two of the fastest growing bodies in Britain at the time of writing.