Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 16:1 (Winter 1973) p. 55
A Future for the Historical ]esus. The Place of Jesus in Preaching and Theology. By Leander E. Keck. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971.) 265 pages and index. $6.50. Reviewed by Clark H. Pinnock, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.
The author of this lnxuriously documented book is professor of New Testament at the divinity school, Vanderbilt University. He believes that the historical Jesus is indispensable to preaching and faith. At the same time, he is engaged in the new quest for Jesus, and concerned to set forth a new place for him in Christian thinking. In the carrying through of his purpose, Dr. Keck supplies the reader with a valuable guided tour of the options and the literature on his subject. Hc is particularly concerned to explain how we might present Jesus in our day as one whom men may trust. ‘Trust’ is the key word in this book, and is the category the author believes best captures the kind of response Jesus calls for. Not trust in Jesus as the theanthropic Messiah of historic Christian throught, but trust in the man of Galilee, the parable of God, and the paradigm for men.
Dr. Keck is the kind of form critic who, while not unaware of the great diversity of critical opinion, believes nonetheless that we can get back to the real Jesus. He conducts a careful survey of recent attempts to do just that, and sets his own proposal in the context of the discussion. Jesus is ‘a question inducing figure’ whom we are invited to trust. One’s encounter with his life leads to a re-examination of one’s own. Trusting Jesus means making him, the trusted person, the model for our own lives, the lens through which we now comprehend our own existence. Through him also we perceive the character of God. For example, in the cross we understand God to be a God who does not intervene in tragedy, and in the resurrection proclamation (not event) God is seen to vindicate Jesus as a trustworthy person.
Given Keck’s critical presuppositions and liberal theological stance, I suppose we can be grateful for these minimal conclusions about the importance of the historical Jesus for faith. But for those to whom the Gospels seem to be deserving of rather more ‘trust’, they are but crumbs from the table, and fall far short of what it really is to trust Jesus Christ. Although we do indeed trust him as the window into ultimate reality, we find ourselves compelled also to fall down at his feet and worship him. This we cannot and must not do with respect to the historical Jesus of Leander E. Keck.
The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971.) by Reginald H. Fuller. Pages xiv plus 225 and indices. $6.95. Reviewed by Clark H. Pinnoek, Trinity Evangelical Divinity Sch...
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