CMA= Criteria of Multipel Attestation
CMS= Criteria of Muliple Sources
CMF= Criteria of Mulitple Forms
CDD: Criteria of Double Dissimilarity
CDJ: Criteria of Distinction from Judaism
CDC: Criteria of Distinction from Christianity
Gerd Gerd Lüdemann: Jesus after 2000 Years1
Gerd Lüdemann is a controversial figure in the world of historical Jesus studies is his forthright rejection of Christianity–as illustrated in his Letter to Jesus
Dear Lord Jesus,
You’ve become quite strange to me as a person whom I can address. For you didn’t say or do most of the things which the Bible tells us that you s aid or did. Moreover you aren’t at all the one depicted by the Bible and the church tradition. You weren’t without sin and you aren’t God’s Son. You didn’t at all want to die for the sins of the world. And what was particularly painful for me, you didn’t institute the Eucharist which for years I celebrated every Sunday in memory of you.2
In Jesus after 2000 years Ludemann ‘subjects all the Jesus traditions from the first two centuries to an analysis and investigates their authenticity’3 He adopts a critical method which looks at all Jesus tradition through criteria of inauthenticity and authenticity. In developing ‘criteria for inauthenticity’ Ludeman is making explicit what has become common place in Jesus scholarship, that criteria can be used in a negative sense, ruling material out of the authentic rock bed, as well as being used in a way which establishes the authentic. For Ludemann the Jesus questers ‘must rigorously strip off everything that has come to lie round the words of Jesus, layer by layer- in the hope of reaching the bedrock of the authentic sayings of Jesus’4
|A Criteria of Inauthenticity||B Criteria of Authenticity|
|A1) Words of the Risen Lord||B1) Offensiveness (known by others as Embarrassment)|
|A2) Laws of Nature are broken||B2) Difference (known commonly as CDC)|
|A3) Gives answers to Later Community Questions.||B3) Growth|
|A4) Those words that are indebted to the redactional||B4) Rarity (known as CDJ)|
|A5) Words which presuppose a pagan audience||B5) Multiple Attestation|
B1, B2, B4, B5 and B6 are discussed more fully later in this paper.
A3, A4, A5 are similar to the negative use of the CDC which is also discussed later.
A1) ‘Words and actions are inauthentic in which the risen Lord speaks and acts or is presupposed as the one who speaks and acts…. We cannot exclude the possibility that sayings or actions were attributed to the ‘Risen One’’1. Ludemann takes as given that the early church attributed sayings of the ‘Risen Jesus’, given that Ludemann denies the resurrection he must mean what arose through prophecy which claimed to be from the Risen Christ. A number of criticisms can be made about this.2
1) There is little evidence outside the gospel of the risen Christ speaking directly. It only occurs in Rev 2:1-3:22 but here it is not claimed that it is the pre-resurrected Jesus speaking.
2) Prophecy, speaking on behalf of God, occurs in the book of Acts. The name of the prophet (Agabus 11:28, 21:10-11) and it is not thought, by the audience that Jesus is speaking, but a man speaking under the influence of the holy spirit.
3) Where is the evidence to back up the use of this criteria? As David Aune concludes ‘the historical evidence of the theory lies largely in the creative imagination of the scholars’.3
A2) Ludeman asserts that ‘actions are unhistorical which presuppose that the laws of nature are broken’. Ludemann, following in the footsteps of Strauss, is an heir of the enlightenement as he follows procedure of methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is an epistemological and metaphysical perspective and is not a neutral position. The results of this criteria are based upon apriori convictions which are not shared by every scholar in the modern world, nor by the sources themselves. It is not a neutral historiographical position but rests itself on unprovable faith assumptions.4
The miracles of Jesus are multiply attested (B5) and are different are different to the healing stories found in either Judaism (B4) or the Greco-Roman world. Ludeman wants to use these as ‘criteria of authenticity’ but this is direct conflict with his methodological naturalism.
A5) Ludemann dismisses the ‘words and actions which presuppose a pagan (non-Jewish) background.’ This is an entirely appropriate general position to take regarding macro ’portraits of Jesus’ , yet it is inadequate as a criteria as we simply do not have a total understanding of the worldview of Judaism to allow for such micro decision making. This criteria is the negative use of CDC.
1 Lüdemann, Gerd ; Schleritt, Frank ; Janssen, Martina: Jesus After Two Thousand Years : What He Really Said and Did. London : SCM Press, 2000
2 Contained within Lüdemann, Gerd: The Great Deception : And What Jesus Really Said and Did. London : SCM Press, 1998
3 Ludemann Jesus after 2000 years 1
4 Gerd Ludemann Jesus after 2000 Years 5
1 Gerd Ludemann 4
2 See Blomberg The Historical Reliability of the Gospels 31-32
3 Aune, David Edward: Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1983 245 as cited in Blomberg The Historical Reliability of the Gospels 32-33
4 From a philosophical point of view I have found the thinking of Roy Clouser The Myth of Religious Neutrality particularly helpful along with the writings of Alvin Plantinga Methodological Naturalism http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od181/methnat181.htm