In the last post I cited (linked) Scot McKnight’s main article in CT’s website and responses by N. T. Wright, Craig Keener and Darrell Bock regarding what McKnight calls the demise of the study. Over on his blog, McKnight has written a response to the three scholars as to further clarify his views.
It seems that when McKnight speaks against those who seek to reconstruct a different Jesus, one that departs away from scripture and the Christian Creeds. McKnight differentiate differences regarding two schools of historical Jesus studies,
But there is a difference between historical study of Jesus and the Historical Jesus enterprise. The former seeks to understand Jesus in context; the latter seeks to reconstruct a Jesus that differs from the Gospels and the Creeds.
McKnight being someone who has done work along the lines of historical Jesus studies is not so much abandoning it whole sale but as he emphasizes, he speaks mostly against those who have made at best a fifth gospel depicting a reconstructed Jesus.
I think what McKnight is proposing in all this is that regardless of what findings we might gain from historical Jesus studies, they must be inline with what the Church and Creeds have taught us about Jesus. In that, they must be there to strengthen what the Church has constantly taught us about Jesus. Although I might add that the historical Jesus studies sometimes correct some of our traditional biases and lead us back to a more robust understanding of Jesus.
In his concluding paragraph McKnight asks
The question for me is this: Whose Story will we tell? This leads to a chase question: Will it be ours, the Story we fashion on our historical methods, or will it be the Church’s Story? I’ve chosen, after a decade of working in this field and being as rigorous with methods as I could have been, to opt for the Church’s Story. It’s the gospel.
And wherever we might want to pursue any form of historical study to excavate the historical Jesus, it comes back again that we have the gospels as our source of reconstructing the fragmented portrait that faulty scholarship has on Jesus.