it possible for people, and even for a whole society, to
lose faith in God? ... [If] it happens, [it is] not
primarily because something they used to think existed does
not after all exist, but because the available language
about God has been allowed to become too narrow, stale and
spiritually obsolete ... the work of creative religious
personalities is continually to enrich, to enlarge and
sometimes to purge the available stock of religious symbols
and idioms ... (The Sea of Faith, 1984)
of different periods and cultures differ very widely; in
some cases so widely that accounts of the nature and
relations of God, men and the world put forward in one
culture may be unacceptable, as they stand, in a different
culture ... a situation of this sort has arisen ... at about
the end of the eighteenth century a cultural revolution of
such proportions broke out that it separates our age sharply
from all ages that went before (The Use and Abuse of the Bible, 1976)
Christianity is an historical faith.
That is, it's traditionally based on a real person, who actually
lived and about whom we know certain things. The links below may
help readers get perspective on a Jesus of history.
If faith is enough, why bother with an historical Jesus?
Jesus of History.
A number of short essays written about the
Background to the Gospels might help fill
in some gaps.
To learn something of how external evidence affects an historical
Jesus, read about
Josephus and Josephus on Jesus.
The current position in our search for a Jesus of history
is summarised in Where We Are Today.
The Historical Jesus Theories page on the Early
Christian Writings website provides a decent overview of the
many approaches to a Jesus of history. (But note that a number of
the site's links no longer work.)
The Historical Jesus Puzzle is a
clear and not-too-detailed article by Professor William Loader.