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Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus by Norman Perrin


Norman Perrin is the Associate Professor of New Testament at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus and has published numerous articles and book reviews. Published by Harper & Row, New York and Evanston, 1967. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Dick and Sue Kendall and Ted & Winnie Brock.


Annotated Bibliographies


Annotated Bibliographies

1. General Works on the (Life And) Teaching of Jesus

We concern ourselves here only with general treatments of the subject; monographs on specific topics will be found in other bibliographies.

R. Bultmann. Jesus and the Word. ET by L. P. Smith and E. H. Lantero of Jesus (1926). New York: Scribner’s, 1934, 1958, London: Nicholson and Watson, 1935.

When it was first published in German this book was regarded as extremely radical, and many scholars rejected it. However, in the time that has passed since then the book has moved, so to speak, from the extreme left wing to the centre of the stage, and today any treatment of the subject that is to be meaningful has to start with it. It should be read with careful attention to the author’s methodology and, particularly, to the relationship between this book and his History of the Synoptic Tradition. On this, see our remarks in chapter I above.

T. W. Manson. The Sayings of Jesus. London: SCM Press, 1949. The work was originally published as Part II of The Mission and Message of Jesus by H. D. A. Major, T. W. Manson and C. E. Wright. London: Nicholson & Watson and New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1937 [American edition still in print, 1965].

This is, in effect, a commentary on the material generally ascribed to Q. By today’s standards the author accepts material as authentic far too readily, and he conspicuously fails to take notice of form criticism, but this is nonetheless a great book. Manson was absolutely unequalled as an exegete of the teaching of Jesus. His profound knowledge of ancient Judaism, his deep insight into the subject matter, above all, perhaps, his gift of self-expression-all this combines to make the careful reading of this work an unforgettable experience. For all that one has to be more sceptical than was its author on the question of the authenticity of sayings.

G. Bornkamm. Jesus of Nazareth. ET by Irene and Fraser McLuskey with James M. Robinson of Jesus von Nazareth (31959). London: Hodder & Stoughton and New York: Harper & Bros., 1960.

Easily the best ‘Jesus book’ of our time, this has to be read with the consciousness that its author was writing for the general public rather than specifically for theologians or theological students. A great deal of the technical material and discussion is, therefore, assumed rather than specifically dealt with. Also the book is a product of the ‘post-Bultmannian movement (see chapter V above), and it therefore represents a specific viewpoint on the ‘question of the historical Jesus’. But none of this changes the fact that this is the best treatment of the subject to appear in the last twenty-five years.

H. Conzelmann. ‘Jesus Christus’, Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck]), III (1959), 619-653.

Conzelmann set Out to provide a review of the current position in Life of Christ research, and he succeeded admirably. This is a masterly summary and presentation.

J. J. Pelikan. ‘Jesus Christ’, Encyclopedia Britannica, XIII (1964), 13-26.

Although broader in scope and perspective than the other works we are mentioning here (the author is a historical theologian) and therefore not giving so much detail on the teaching of Jesus, this is probably the best encyclopedia article on the subject in English. It provides a valuable introduction, especially to the long history of Life of Christ research.

A. Vogile. ‘Jesus Christus’, Lexikon.für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg: Herder), V. (1960), 922-932.

Censored before its publication, this article nonetheless retains a great deal of the force and vigour of its author. As is always the case with the best Roman Catholic work (one thinks particularly of Vögtle and R. Schnackenburg), there is a profound knowledge of both Protestant and Roman Catholic research that few Protestant scholars could match.

N. A. Dahl. ‘The Problem of the Historical Jesus’, Kerygma and History, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962), pp. 138-171.

First appearing in Norwegian in 1953 and then in German in 1955, this article offers a good discussion of the problems of current Life of Christ research in general. The author is confessedly conservative in his approach, but he achieves a real balance, both of perspective and in presentation.

H. K. McArthur. ‘A Survey of Recent Gospel Research’, Interpretation 18 (1964), 39-55 (=New Theology No. 2, ed. M. E. Marty and D. G. Peerman [New York and London: Macmillan, 1965], pp. 201-221). Particularly interesting here is the author’s discussion of the criteria of authenticity for the teaching of Jesus. He distinguishes four possible criteria: (1) multiple attestation; (2) discounting the tendencies of the developing tradition; (3) attestation by multiple forms; (4) elimination of all material which may be derived either from Judaism or from primitive Christianity.

The first and third of these we put together under the heading of the first in our discussion in chapter 1 above. This is justifiable since, as McArthur himself points out, the third is simply a special form of the first. The second we regard as valid, but as included in the writing of a history of the tradition which we claimed was always the essential first step in any consideration of the question of authenticity. In writing that history one becomes aware of these tendencies and necessarily discounts them in the reconstruction of an earliest form which could possibly go back to Jesus himself. The fourth is our criterion of dissimilarity.

E. Käsemann. ‘The Problem of the Historical Jesus’, Essays on New Testament Themes (1964 [see further below, Annotated Bibliography No.9]), pp. 15-47.

James M. Robinson. A New Quest of the Historical Jesus (1959 [see further below, Annotated Bibliography No. 9]).

Although having their proper place in the discussion of the ‘question of the historical Jesus’, these works are also important contributions to the questions and problems of Life of Christ research in general.

2. Theology of the Synoptic Evangelists and Their Tradition

R. Bultmann. History of the Synoptic Tradition. ET by J. Marsh of Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition (1921, 1958 [the edition translated]). Oxford: Basil Blackwell and New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

In this pioneer form-critical work the first attempt was made to write a history of the synoptic tradition and to isolate the influences at work in and on that tradition as it changed and developed. The final section of the book focuses attention on the activity of the evangelists in editing their material and composing their gospels. All this is basic to contemporary work on the theology of the synoptic evangelists and their tradition; indeed, this contemporary work is consciously built upon the foundations laid by Bultmann in this most important book. The book has become a classic. It has also, most unfortunately, been very badly translated, so much so that it is advisable never to quote the ET as giving Bultmann‘s opinion on a matter without first checking the German to see that Bultdid, in fact, say whatever it is the ET says he said.

The influence of form criticism was mediated to the English language academic world by R. H. Lightfoot, and it is in his works that we have the first attempts in English to move in the direction to which Bultmann had pointed. On this, see the memoir by D. E. Nineham in Studies in the Gospels. Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot, ed. D. E. Nineham (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1955), pp. vi-xvi.

R. H. Lightfoot. History and Interpretation in the Gospels. (The Bampton Lectures, 1934) London: Hodder & Stoughton and New York: Harper & Bros., 1935. Locality and Doctrine in the Gospels. London: fodder & Stoughton, and New York: Harper & Bros., 1938. The Gospel Message of St Mark.. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950 (and Oxford Paperbacks, 41, 1962).

After the second world war German New Testament scholars took up this type of work with spectacular results. (On this movement see further our review article, ‘The Wredesrasse becomes the Hauptstrass’, JR 46 (1966), 296-300.).

W. Marxsen. Der Evangelist Markus. (FRLANT 67.) Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1956, 1959. Contains important methodological reflections (pp. 7-16) and proposes the term Redaktionsgeschichte to describe this approach to the work of the evangelists.

H. Conzelmann. The Theology of St Luke. ET by G. Buswell of Die Mitte der Zeit (1954, 1957, 1960). London: Faber & Faber, and New York: Harper & Bros., 1960. The ET is of the second German edition. The third German edition is the final revision Conzelmann intends to make and so is the definitive edition of this work, the classic in its field.

G. Bornkamm. ‘Enderwartung und Kirche im Matthäusevangelium’, Studies in Honour of C. H. Dodd, ed. W. D. Davies and D. Daube (Cambridge: University Press, 1954), pp. 222-60.

E. Haenchen. ‘Die Komposition von Mk. 8.27-9.1 und Par.’, Novum Testamentum 6 (1963), 81-109.

G. Bornkamm has had a number of pupils in Heidelberg who have worked along these lines.

G. Bornkamm, G. Barth, H. J. Held. Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew. ET by P. Scott of Überlieferung und Auslegung im Matthäusevangelum (1960). London: SCM Press, and Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963. Contains a revised version of Bornkamm’s essay noted immediately above, and two dissertations by pupils of his.

H. E. Todt. The Son of Man in the Synoptic Tradition. ET by D. M. Barton of Der Menschensohn in der synoptischen Uberlieferung (1963). London: SCM Press, and Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965. Not only is this book the major contribution to its particular subject in recent time [see Annotated Bibliography No. 7, below], but it is also a very considerable contribution to the study of the theology of the synoptic tradition, especially that of Q.

Ferdinand Hahn. Christologische Hoheitstitel. Ihre Geschichte im frühen Christentum. (FRLANT 83.) Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963, 1964. Applies the methodology to christological traditions, with most notable results.

English-speaking scholars have responded to the impetus of this recent German work, e.g.,

James M. Robinson. The Problem of History in Mark. (Studies in Biblical Theology 21.) London: SCM Press, 1957.

E. Best. The Temptation and the Passion: the Markan Soteriologv. (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, 2.) Cambridge: University Press, 1965.

J. Marsh. ‘The Theology of the New Testament’, Peake’s Commentary on the Bible (revised edition; ed. by M. Black and H. H. Rowley [London and New York: Thos. Nelson & Sons, 1962], pp. 756-768.

William C. Robinson, Jr. Der Weg des Herrn. Studien zur Geschichte und Eschatologie im Lukasevangelium. (Theologische Forschung 36.) Hamburg: Herbert Reich, 1964 [no English publication is planned]. ‘The Theological Context for Interpreting Luke’s Travel Narrative (9.51ff.)’, JBL 79 (1960), 20-31.

H. H. Oliver. ‘The Lucan Birth Stories’, NTS 10 (1963-4), 202-26.

3. Thomas and the Synoptic Gospels

We give here a brief selection from the literature available on this subject. The scholars mentioned have been chosen because of the representative nature of their positions.

(a) Regarding Thomas as dependent on the canonical tradition

Robert M. Grant. The Secret Sayings of Jesus: The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. With D. N. Freedman, and with an ET of the Gospel of Thomas by W. R. Schoedel. (Dolphin Books) New York: Doubleday and (Fontana Books) London: Collins, 1960. ‘Notes on the Gospel of Thomas’, VC 13 (1959) 170-90. ‘Two Gnostic Gospels’, JBL 79 (1960), 1-11.

E. Haenchen. Die Botschaft des Thomasevangeliums. (Theologische Bibliothek Topelmann 6.) Berlin: Töpelmann, 1961. ‘Literatur zum Thomasevangelium’, TR 27 (1961), 147-78, 306-38.

H. K. McArthur. ‘The Gospel According to Thomas’, New Testament Sidelights (Essays in Honour of A. C. Purdy), ed. H. K. McArthur (Hartford: Hartford Seminary Foundation Press, 1960), pp. 43-77. ‘The Dependence of the Gospel of Thomas on the Synoptics’, ExpT 71 (1960), 286-7.

(b) Regarding Thomas as essentially independent of the canonical tradition

O. Cullmann. ‘The Gospel of Thomas’, Theologischer Digest 9 (1961), 175-81. ‘The Gospel According to St Thomas and its significance for Research into the Canonical Gospels’, HJ 6o (1962), 116-24. ‘The Gospel of Thomas and the Problem of the Age of the Tradition Contained Therein’, Interpretation 16 (1962), 418-38.

C.-H. Hunzinger. ‘Unbekannte Gleichnisse Jesu aus dem Thomas-Evangelium’, Judentum, Urchristentum, Kirche (Festschrift für Joachim Jeremias), ed. W. Eltester (Beihefte zur ZNW 26 [Berlin: Töpelmann,1960]), pp. 209-20. ‘Aussersynoptisches Traditionsgut im Thomas-Evangelium’, TLZ 85 (1960), 843-6. [The article, ‘Pre-Synoptic Material in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas’, which he cites here as to appear in JEL 79 (1960), seems not to have appeared.]

H. Montefiore. ‘A Comparison of the Parables of the Gospel According to Thomas and of the Synoptic Gospels’, NTS 7 (1960-1), 220-48 (= H. E. W. Turner and H. Monteflore, Thomas and the Evangelists [Studies in Biblical Theology 35 (London: SCM Press, 1962)], pp.40-78). [Montefiore’s opinion is based on his work on the parables. The parables in Thomas are the strongest indication of independence and scholars who have worked on them do tend to favour this opinion, most notably J.Jeremias, Parables ofJesus (revised edition, 1963), p.24.]

G. Quispel. ‘The Gospel of Thomas and the New Testament’, VC II (1957), 189-207. ‘Some Remarks on the Gospel of Thomas’, NTS 5 (1958-9), 87-117.

R. McL. Wilson. Studies in the Gospel of Thomas. London: A. R. Mow-bray, 1960. ‘The Coptic "Gospel of Thomas"’, .NTS 5 (1958-9), 273-6. ‘The Gospel of Thomas’, ExpT 70 (1958-9), 324-5. ‘Thomas and the Synoptic Gospels’, ibid. 72 (1960-1), 36-39. ‘"Thomas" and the Growth of the Gospels’, HTR 53 (1960), 231-50. ‘The Gospel of Thomas’, Studia Evangelica III, ed. F. L. Cross (Texte und Untersuchungen 88 [Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1964]), 447-59.

(c) Regarding Thomas as in part dependent on, and in part independent of, the canonical tradition

B. Gärtner. The Theology of the Gospel According to Thomas. ET by Eric J. Sharpe. NewYork: Harper and Row, and London: Collins, 1961.

Wolfgang Schrage. Das Verhältnis des Thomas-Evangeliums zur synoptischen Tradition und zu den Koptischen Evangelienübersetzungen. (Beihefte zur ZNW 29.) Berlin: Töpelmann, 1964.

H. E. W. Turner. ‘The Gospel of Thomas: its History, Transmission and Sources’, and ‘The Theology of the Gospel of Thomas’, H. E. W. Turner and H. Montefiore, Thomas and the Evangelists (Studies in Biblical Theology 35 [London: SCM Press, 1962]), pp. [1-39, 79-118.

4. Recent Work on the Kingdom of God

G. Lundstrom. The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus. ET by J. Bulman of Guds Riki i Jesu Förkunnelse (1947) brought up to date by a brief postscript. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, and Richmond: John Knox Press, 1963 [representing the perspective of Scandinavian scholarship].

R. Schnackenburg. God’s Rule and Kingdom. ET by J. Murray of Gottes Herrschaft und Reich (1959) New York: Herder & Herder, 1963 [Roman Catholic].

H. Ridderbos. The Coming of the Kingdom. ET by H. de Jongste of De komst van het koninkrijk.. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1962.

G. E. Ladd. Jesus and the Kingdom. New York. Harper & Row, 1964. [Both this and the previous work represent extremely conservative Protestant scholarship.]

O. E. Evans. ‘Kingdom of God, of Heaven’, Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962) III, 17-26.

H. K. Luce. ‘Kingdom of God (or Heaven)’, Hastings Dictionary of the Bible (revised edition; New York: Scribner’s, and Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963), pp. 552-4.

Very interesting are two works from the standpoint of the ‘new quest’ and the ‘new hermeneutic’ respectively [on the terms see chapter 5, above].

James M. Robinson. ‘The Formal Structure of Jesus’ Message’, Current Issues in New Testament Interpretation, ed. W. Klassen and G. F.Snyder (New York: Harper & Bros., and London: SCM Press, 1962), pp. 91-110.

E. Jungel. Paulus und Jesus (Hermeneutisehe Untersuchungen zur Theologie 2 [Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1964]), pp. 72-214.

5. Literature on Luke 17.20f.

B. Noack. Das Gottesreich bei Lukas: eine Studie zu Luk. 17.20-24. (Symbolae Biblicae Upsalienses 10.) Uppsala, 1948. Gives a history of the interpretation of the text.

R. J. Sneed. The Kingdom’s Coming: Luke 17.20-21. (Studies in Sacred Theology 133.) Washington, D.C., 1962. [A dissertation accepted by the Catholic University of America and now available from University Microfilms, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan.]

This is the most thorough recent study. It gives a history of the interpretation of the text which is both later and more extensive than Noack’s and hence supersedes it. On the basis of a thorough investigation of the linguistic problem, Sneed decides that ‘. . . the phrase entos hymon in Luke 17.21b may mean "within you" or "within your power" or "in your midst".’ He then goes on to a form-critical analysis of the text, differentiating between three Sitze im Leben: the Sitz im Leben Jesu (‘setting in life’ in the ministry of Jesus), the Sitze im Leben Ecclesiae (‘settings in life’ in the Church [in our own work above we always referred to this in the singular and as the Sitz im Leben der alien Kirche -- we regarded the singular as inclusive and we preferred to keep the whole phrase in German rather than to mix German and Latin]), the Sitz im Evangelium (‘setting’ in the gospel [i.e. in the purpose of the evangelist]). These distinctions are important and should certainly be observed, even if not necessarily described by these phrases. So far as the Sitz im Leben Jesu is concerned, Sneed eventually decides for the essential historicity of the incident as recorded by Luke and for the traditional interpretation, i.e. ‘that the Reign of God was to be something interior’. But his main concern is with the second and third of the Sitze, and here his work is both more original and more interesting. Sneed published a summary of his work, ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’, CBQ24 (1962), 363-82.

A. Strobel. ‘Die Passa-Erwartung als urchristliches Problem in Luc. 17.20f’, ZNW49 (1958), 157-83; ‘In dieser Nacht (Lk. 17.34)’, ZTKS8 (1961); ‘Zu Lk 17.20f.,"BZ7 (1963), 111-13.

F. Mussner. ‘Wann kommt das Reich Gottes?’ BZ 6 ([962), 107-11.

All discussions of the teaching of Jesus, of the Kingdom of God or of New Testament eschatology include an interpretation of this saying. Particularly significant are:

W. G. Kiirnmel. Promise and Fulfilment. ET by D. M. Barton of Verheissung und Erfüllung (1956). (Studies in Biblical Theology, 23.) London: SCM Press, 1957 [with extensive bibliographical notes].

H. Conzelnaann. ‘Gegenwart und Zukunft in der synoptischen Tradition’, ZTK 54 (1957), 277-96; Theology of St Luke. ET by G. Buswell of Die Mitte der Zeit (1957). London: Faber & Faber, and New York: Harper & Bros., 1960 [from the perspective of its setting in the Lukan theology].

E. Jungel. Paulus und Jesus (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie 2 [Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1964]), pp. 193-6.

6. Modern Research on the Parables

A. Jülicher. Die Gleichnisreden Jesu. 2 vols. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), I (1888, 1899), II (1899).

Julicher establishes the distinction between parable (simile, fable, exemplary story) and allegory. Parable is ‘authentic’ speech, i.e. it means what it says, using pictures to express its meaning. Allegory, on the other hand, is ‘inauthentic’ speech, i.e. it does not mean what it says, but hides its meaning in symbol. The parables of Jesus were parables and not allegories, and they were designed to be readily understood and to express one single truth, a truth of the widest possible general application.

Subsequent research has validated all of Julicher’s conclusions except the last one, the nature of the one truth expressed in a parable. In particular the distinction between parable and allegory, and the claim that the parables of Jesus were parables and not allegories, has been shown to be justified. It can be supported by the following arguments: (i) the parables of ancient Judaism, to which Jesus is indebted for his method and form, are parables and not allegories. (2) The allegorizing touches in the parables, and the allegorizing explanations added to some of them in the gospels, have been shown to be later additions to the stories and to the tradition respectively (especially by Jeremias). (3) The parable and the allegory represent fundamentally different approaches to the nature of the reality to be revealed (pictorial and direct against symbolic and hidden), as also to the concept of teaching involved (direct to all who can be challenged against esoteric to a limited group who possess the key). The tradition that Jesus taught in one way to the crowd and in another way to the disciples is a literary device of the evangelists. The two methods are, in fact, quite incompatible with one another.

A. T. Cadoux. The Parables of Jesus, Their Art and Use. London: James Clarke & Co., 1931. Cadoux took the next step (to that of Jü1icher) by arguing that the parables must be placed in their setting in the ministry of Jesus. Unfortunately, he did not develop the insight adequately in his own work.

B. T. D. Smith. The Parables of the Synoptic Gospels. Cambridge: University Press, 1937. Smith follows Cadoux’s suggestion cautiously, limiting himself to the details of the stories, which he illuminates very well, rather than concerning himself with their message. To a limited extent he also dealt with the history of the transmission of the parables in the tradition.

C. H. Dodd. The Parables of the Kingdom. London: Nisbet, and New York: Scribner’s, 1935, 1936, 1961. This is the decisive ‘breakthrough’ in the modern research. Dodd established the fact that the ‘setting in life’ of the parables is the eschatological proclamation of Jesus, and he achieved a presentation of the message of the parables. The limitation of the work is the unduly one-sided understanding of the eschatology of Jesus as ‘realized eschatology’.

J. Jeremias. The Parables of Jesus. German editions: 1947, 1962. English editions (translation by S. H. Hooke): 1954 (from German 1954), 1963 (from German 1963). London: SCM Press, and New York: Scribner’s. The epoch-making work in this field, and, at one and the same time, both the major contribution and greatest impetus to contemporary research into the teaching of Jesus.

E. Linnemann. Parables of Jesus: Introduction and Exposition. ET by John Sturdy of Gleichnisse Jesu. Einführung und Auslegung (1961). London: SPCK, and New York: Harper and Row, 1966. Bringing to the results of the work of Jeremias insights derived from her own teacher, E. Fuchs, Miss Linnemann both interprets the parables historically and also applies the results of this interpretation to proclamation and instruction today. A most important and useful book.

E. Jungel. Paulus und Jesus. (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie 2.) Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1964. Has an extensive and critical review of modern work on the parables (pp. 87-135) designed to lead up to an approach to them in terms of the ‘new hermeneutic’ of Jüngel’s teacher, E. Fuchs. The key to this is: ‘The kingdom comes to word in parable as parable. The parables of Jesus bring the Kingdom to word as parable’ (p. 135). On this see our comments In chapter 5 above.

G. V. Jones. The Art and Truth of the Parables. A Study in Their Literary Form and Modern Interpretation. London: SPOK, 1964. Contains a useful review of the history of the modern interpretation of the parables (pp. 3-54).

Amos N. Wilder. The Language of the Gospel. New York: Harper & Row, and (as Early Christian Rhetoric) London: SCM Press, 1964. Wilder is unique among contemporary New Testament scholars because of his profound combination of the techniques of New Testament scholarship with those of general literary criticism. Chapter 5 of this book is a study of the parables of Jesus from this perspective.

Ian T. Ramsey. Christian Discourse. Some Logical Explorations (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), pp.6-33. This is an important discussion of the essential difference between parable and allegory. The purpose of parable is to lead to a ‘disclosure point’, that of allegory to correlate ‘two areas of discourse’.

7. Jesus and the Coming Son of Man

(a) Reviews of the discussion

A. J. B. Higgins. ‘Son of Man-Forschung since The Teaching of Jesus’, New Testament Essays. Studies in Memory of T. W. Manson, 1893-1.958, ed. A. J. B. Higgins (Manchester: University Press, 1959), pp. 119-35.

M. Black. ‘The Son of Man Problem in Recent Research’, BJRL 45 (1962-3), 305-18.

N. Perrin. The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus (London: SCM Press, and Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963), pp. 90-111.

(b) The apocalyptic Son of man sayings in recent German discussion

H. E. Tödt. The Son of Man in the Synoptic Tradition. ET by D. M. Barton of Der Menschensohn in der synoptischen Überlieferung (1963). London: SCM Press and Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965.

This is the most important book on the whole subject of Son of man in the teaching of Jesus to be published in recent times. Its importance is that it establishes the methodology of enquiring into the history of the use of Son of man in the tradition, and by so doing immediately renders out of date any work not using this methodology.

Tödt regards certain of the ‘judgement sayings’ as authentic: Matt. 24.27 par.; Luke 17.30; Luke 11.30; Matt. 24.44 par.; Luke 12.8f. par. In this he is supported, with minor variations, by Hahn and Jüngel: F. Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel. (FRLANT 83.) Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ‘1962, 1964. E. Jüngel, Paulus und Jesus. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1962, 1964.

Opposed to this view, and in successive publications entering into vigorous debate with Tödt, Hahn and Jüngel (who themselves replied in the successive editions of their books) is Philipp Vielhauer, who argues that no Son of man sayings are authentic.

Ph. Vielhauer. ‘Gottesreich und Menschensohn’, Festschrift für Günther Dehn, ed. W. Schneemelcher (Neukirchen: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Erziehungsvereins Neukirchen, 1957), pp. 51-79. ‘Jesus und der Menschensohn’, ZTK 6o (1963), 133-77. ‘Em Weg der neutestamentlichen Theologie? Prüfung der Thesen Ferdinand Hahns’, Ev T 25 (1965), 24-72.

In general support of Vielhauer’s position are: E. Käsemann, ‘Satze heiligen Rechtes im Neuen Testament’, NTS 1 (1954-5), 248-60; ‘Die Anfänge christlicher Theologie’, ZTK 57 (1960), 162-85; ‘Zum Thema urchristlichen Apokalyptik’, ZTK 59 (1962), 257-84; and H. Conzelmann, ‘Jesus Christus’, RGG III (1959), 619-55, especially 630f.

The authenticity of the apocalyptic Son of man sayings is also denied by Eduard Schweizer, who, however, finds an authentic element in the sayings with a present reference.

E. Schweizer. ‘Der Menschensohn’, ZNW 50 (1959), 185-209; ‘Son of Man’, JBL 79 (1960), 119-29; ‘The Son of Man Again’, NTS ([963), 256-61. The first and last of these are also to be found in his collected essays, Neotestamentica (Zürich: Zwingli Verlag, 1963),pp. 56-84 and 85-92.

(c) Other recent work on the subject

C. Colpe. Huios tou anthropou, to be published in Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (founded G. Kittel, ed. G. Friedrich).

We are grateful to Professor Colpe for the privilege of working through his manuscript at Göttingen in the summer semester of 1965, and we have referred to it as C. Colpe, TWNT article, in our own work above. It is a fine article, destined to become a classic when published. In view of the importance we attached to our discussion of the Son of man concept in ancient Jewish apocalyptic, above, we would like to point out that Colpe accepts the German contention that such a concept is to be found, but finds that the existing sources (Daniel, I Enoch, IV Ezra 13) are inadequate to present it to us. So he posits the existence of a fourth Jewish source, now lost to us except in so far as it is preserved in the most primitive strata of the New Testament traditions. We remained unconvinced by this argument!

A. J. B. Higgins. Jesus and the Son of Man. London: Lutterworth Press, and Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965.

Comes very near to the position of Tödt, so far as the authenticity of sayings is concerned, but argues that Jesus thought of himself as Son of God and used the Son of man idea to denote himself ‘reinstalled in his heavenly seat . . . exercising his intercessory or judicial functions’. A feature of the book is a discussion of the Son of man Christology of the gospel of John and of the early Church in general.

H. Teeple. ‘The Origin of the Son of Man Christology’, JBL 84 (1965), 213-50.

Teeple accepts the concept of the Son of man as a heavenly, supernatural Messiah in ancient Judaism and argues that the Son of man Christology did not begin with any sayings of Jesus, or even in the original Jerusalem church of Jesus’ disciples, but in Hellenistic-Jewish Christianity.

8. ‘Imminent Expectation’ in the Teaching of Jesus

(a) View that Jesus did expect the End in the very near future, and was mistaken

T. W. Manson. The Teaching of Jesus (Cambridge: University Press, 1935 [many subsequent unrevised reprints]), pp. 244-84. A classical statement of this theme, easily its best expression in English.

W. G. Kummef. Promise and Fulfilment. ET by D. M. Barton of Verheissung und Erfüllung (3, 956). (Studies in Biblical Theology 23 [London: SCM Press, 1957]), especially pp. 54-87. ‘Die Naherwartung in der Verkfindigung Jesu’, Zeit und Geschichte. Dankesgabe an Rudolf Bultmann zum 8o. Geburistag, ed. E. Dinkier (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1964), pp. 31-46 (= W. G. Kummel, Heilsgeschehen und Geschichte [Marburg: N. H. Elwert, 1965], pp. 457-70). Kummel offers very complete reviews of the contemporary discussion and, therefore, the best introductions to the literature on the subject.

(b) Attempts to maintain that Jesus did expect an imminent End, but that this expectation can be interpreted to show that he was not mistaken

For a review of the Fathers in this connection see T. W. Manson, loc. cit.

C. E. B. Cranfield. The Gospel According to St Mark (Cambridge Greek Testament [Cambridge: University Press, 1959]), p. 408.

R. Schnackenburg. God’s Rule and Kingdom (ET by J. Murray of Gottes Herrschaft and Reich [1959]. New York: Herder & Herder, 1963), pp. 195-214.

(c The view that Jesus set no time limit on the coming of the End

A. Vogtle. ‘Exegetische Erwägungen über das Wissen und Selbstbewusstsein Jesu’, Gott in Welt. Festgabe für Karl Rahner, ed. J. B. Metz et al. (Freiburg: Herder, 1964)I, 608-67.

A brilliant essay by one who must have high claim to being considered the leading Roman Catholic New Testament scholar of the day. Vogtle’s knowledge of the relevant literature, Catholic and Protestant, is phenomenal. His argument on the point that concerns us is that Mark 13.32 must be held to be the all-important text; Mark 9.1 has been formed in the tradition from Mark 13.30, which itself originally referred to the Fall of Jerusalem and Destruction of the Temple; and Matt. 10.23 has been formed in the tradition from Matt. 10.14 par. and the promise of the coming of the Son of man.

(d) The view that there is no parousia element, imminent or distant, in the teaching o fJesus

T. F. Glasson. The Second Advent. London: Epworth Press, 1963.

J. A. T. Robinson. Jesus and His Coming. London: SCM Press, 1957.

(e) The view that the expectation of Jesus should be interpreted in more or less existentialistic terms

The proponents of this view were presented and discussed in N. Perrin, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus (1963), pp. 112-17 (R. Bultmann); 121-4 (G. Bornkamm, E. Käsemann, H. Conzelmann, E. Fuchs, James M. Robinson). Another contribution along these lines published more recently is E. Jüngel, Paulus und Jesus (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie 2 [Tülbingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1964]), where the existentialism is modified by the use of the ‘word-event’ concept of the ‘new hermeneutic’, and the present (Kingdom of God) and future (Son of man) elements in the teaching of Jesus are interpreted in terms of the nearness and distance of God to history.

The present writer’s own views were presented in N. Perrin, op. cit., pp. 185-201, largely on the basis of an exegesis of the Lord’s Prayer.

9. The Question of the Historical Jesus

(a) Reimarus and Strauss

H. S. Reimarus. Fragmente des Wolfenbüttelschen Ungenannten. Herausgegeben von G. E. Lessing. Berlin, 1835. The first edition of the most Important fragment, ‘Von dem Zwecke Jesu und seine Jünger’, was published in 1778.

D. F. Strauss. Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet. 2 vols. Tübingen: C. F. Osiander, 1835, 1836. ET, The Life of Jesus, critically examined. 3 vols. London: Chapman Bros., 1846.

(b) Roman Catholic reply to Strauss

J. Kuhn. Das Leben Jesu, wissenschaftlich bearbeitet. Mainz: Florian Kupferberg, 1838. [This is Vol. I, but no second volume was published.]

(c) More recent Roman Catholic discussions

J. R. Geiselmann. Jesus der Christus. Erster Teil: Die Frage nach dem historischen Jesus. Munchen: Ködsel Verlag, 1965.

Franz Mussner. ‘Der "historische" Jesus’, Der historische Jesus und der Christus unseres Glaubens, ed. K. Schubert (Wien: Herder, 1962), pp. 103- 28; ‘Leben-Jesu-Forschung’, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. J. Höfner and K. Rahner (Freiburg: Herder) VI (1961), 859-64.

A. Vögtle. ‘Jesus Christus’, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche V (1960), 922-32.

R. E. Brown. ‘After Bultmann, What ? -- An Introduction to the Post-Bultmannians’, CBQ 26 (1964), 1-30.

P. J. Cahill. ‘Rudolf Bultmann and Post-Bultmann Tendencies’, ibid., 153-78.

(d) Martin Kähler

M. Kähler The So-called Historical Jesus and the Historic Biblical Christ. Translated, edited and with an Introduction by Carl E. Braaten, from the German Der sogennante historische Jesus und der geschichtliche, biblische Christus (1896). Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964. Also, Carl E. Braaten, ‘Martin Kähler on the Historic, Biblical Christ’, The Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville (New York: Abingdon Press, 1964), pp.79-105.

(e) Rudolf Bultmann

R. Bultmann. Jesus and the Word. New York: Scribner’s, 1958. Theology of the New Testament I (New York: Scribner’s, and London: SCM Press, 1951). Primitive Christianity in Its Contemporary Setting. London: Thames and Hudson, and (as Primitive Christianity) New York: Meridian Books, 1956. ‘New Testament and Mythology’, ‘A Reply to the Theses of J. Schniewind’, Kerygma and Myth, ed. H. W. Bartsch (rev. ed., New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1961), pp. 1-16, 102-23. ‘The Primitive Christian Kerygma and the Historical Jesus’, The Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville, pp. 15-42 [Bultmann’s reply to the ‘post-Bultmannians’ and the definitive statement of his own position].

(f) Critics of Bultmann from the ‘right’

J. Jeremias. The Problem of the Historical Jesus. ET by N. Perrin of Das Problem deshistorischen Jesus (1960). Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964. An earlier version appeared in The Expository Times, 69 (1958), 333-9, under the title, ‘The Present Position in the Controversy concerning the Problem of the Historical Jesus’.

Karl Barth. ‘Rudolf Bultmann -- An Attempt to Understand Him’, Kerygma and Myth, ed. H. W. Bartch, II (London: SPCK, 1962), 83-132.

E. Ellwein. ‘Rudolf Bultmann’s Interpretation of the Kerygma’, Kerygma and History, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962), pp. 25-54; E. Kinder, ‘Historical Criticism and Demythologizing, ibid., pp. 55-85; W. Künneth, ‘Bultmann’s Philosophy and the Reality of Salvation’, ibid., pp. 86-119 [all representing orthodox Lutheranism].

P. Althaus. Faith and Fact in the Kerygma of Today. ET by D. Cairns of das sogenannte Kerygma und der historische Jesus (1958). Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press and (as The So-called Kerygma and the Historical Jesus), and Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1959.

H. Diem. ‘The Earthly Jesus and the Christ of Faith’, Kerygma and History, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville, pp. 197-211.

(g) Critics of Bultmann from the ‘left’

K. Jaspers and R. Bultmann. Myth and Christianity. ET by N. Gutermann of Die Frage der Entmythologisierung. New York: Noonday Press, 1958. R. Bultmann, ‘Das Befremdliche des christlichen Glaubens’, ZTK 55 (1958), 185-200 [Bultmann’s final reply to Jaspers].

S. M. Ogden. Christ without Myth. New York: Harper & Bros., and London: Collins, 1961. (Cited from the American edition.) Bultmann reviewed Ogden’s book in JR 42 (1962), 225-7. Ogden went on to comment on the new quest’: ‘Bultmann and the "New Quest"’,JBR 30 (1962), 209-18; and (with Van A. Harvey) ‘How New is the "New Quest of the Historical Jesus ?" ?‘, The Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville, pp. 197-242 [an important essay]. Van A. Harvey further developed a criticism of the ‘new quest’ and a position to the left of Bultmann, ‘The Historical Jesus, the Kerygma, and Christian Faith’, Religion in Life, 33 (1964), 430-50.

(h) The post-Bultmannian debate

E. Kasemann. ‘The Problem of the Historical Jesus’ (ET by W. J. Montague of ‘Das Problem des historischen Jesus’, ZTK 51 [1954], 125-53 [= E. Käsemann, Exegetische Versuche und Besinnungen I (1960), 187- 214]), Essays on New Testament Themes. (Studies in Biblical Theology 41 [London: SCM Press, 1964]), pp. 15-47.

G. Bornkamm. Jesus of Nazareth. ET by Irene and Fraser McLuskey with James M. Robinson of Jesus von Nazareth (1959). New York: Harper & Bros., and London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1960. ‘Glaube und Geschichte in den Evangelien’, Der historische Jesus und der kerygmatische Christus, ed. H. Ristow and K. Matthiae (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1961), pp. 281-8. ‘Die Bedeutung des historischen Jesus für den Glauben’, Die Frage nach dem historischen Jesus, ed. P. Rieger (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962), pp. 57-71. ‘The Problem of the Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ’, Studia Evangelica III (Texte und Untersuchungen 88 [Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1964]), 33-44.

H. Braun. ‘Der Sinn der neutestamentlichen Christologie’, ZTK 54 (1957), 341-77 = H. Braun, Gesammelte Studien cum Neuen Testament und seiner Umwelt (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1962), pp. 243-82. ‘The Significance of Qumran for the Problem of the Historical Jesus’, The Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville, pp. 69-78.

H. Conzelmann. ‘Jesus Christus’, RGG III (1959), 619-53 especially 648-51. ‘The Method of the Life-of-Jesus Research’, The Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ, ed. C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville, 54-68. ‘Jesus von Nazareth und der Glaube an den Auferstandenen’, Der historische Jesus und der kerygmatische Christus, ed. H. Ristow and K. Matthiae (Berlin: Evangelische Verlag, 1961), pp. 188-99. At this point Conzelmann moved to the University of Gottingen and there, in his inaugural lecture, announced that he found himself in complete agreement with the position of Bultmann as stated in the essay ‘The Primitive Christian Kerygma and the Historical Jesus’ and would therefore take no further part in the discussion.

James M. Robinson. A New Quest of the Historical Jesus. (Studies in Biblical Theology 25.) London: SCM Press, 1959. ‘The Formal Structure of Jesus’ Message’, Current Issues in New Testament Interpretation, ed. W. Klassen and G. F. Snyder (New York: Harper & Bros., and London: SCM Press, 1962), pp. 91-110. [A revised version of the book, incorporating the material in the essay, was published in German as Kerygma und historischer Jesus (Zurich: Zwingli Verlag, 1960). A further revision of the German edition is in preparation.] ‘The Recent Debate on the "New Quest"’, JBR 30 (1962), 198-208.

Although the work of Robinson is closely related to that of the Germans, there is a difference between them. They are discussing the question of the historical Jesus; he is engaged in the new quest of the historical Jesus. This is, however, only true of his book and of the position he there advocates. In his essay, ‘The Recent Debate . . .‘, he abandons the really distinctive element in his own position and takes up one much nearer to theirs.

(j) The ‘New Hermeneutic’

G. Ebeling. The Nature of Faith. ET by R. G.Smith of Das Wesen des christlichen Glaubens (1959). London: Collins, and Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1961. Word and Faith. ET by J. W. Leitch of Wart und Glaube, 1960. London: SCM Press, and Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963. Theologie und Verkündigung. (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie I.) Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1962 ‘Hermeneutik’, RGG III (1959), 242-62.

James M. Robinson. ‘Neo-Liberalism’, Interpretation 15 (1961), 484-91. [A review of Ebeing’s Das Wesen des christlichen Glaubens.])

E. Fuchs. Studies of the Historical Jesus. ET by A. Scobie of Zur Frage nach dem historischen Jesus (Gesammelte Aufsätze II [1960]). (Studies in Biblical Theology 42.) London: SCM Press, 1964. The New Hermeneutic, ed. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb. (New Frontiers in Theology 2.) New York: Harper & Row, 1964. [Particular attention should be paid to the introductory essay by Robinson, ‘Hermeneutic since Barth’, a brilliant report of the discussion.]

E. Jüngel. Paulus und Jesus. (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie 2.) Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1962, 1964.

James M. Robinson. ‘The New Hermeneutic at Work’, Interpretation 18 (1964), 347-59. [A review of Jüngel’s book.]

Bibliographical Sources

Further bibliographical information can be obtained from the standard bibliographical sources. These are as follows:

(a) Sources giving an abstract of the material

Internationale Zeitschriftenschau für Bibelwissenschaft und Grenzgebiete. Düsseldorf: Patmos-Verlag, 1952-

New Testament Abstracts. Weston College, Weston, Massachusetts, 1956-

Religious and Theological Abstracts. 301 South College Street, Myerstown, Pennsylvania, 1957-

(b) Sources simply listing the material

Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses. Elenchus Bibliographicus. Louvain University, 1924-

Biblica. Elenchus Bibliographicus Biblica. Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, 1920-

Index to Religious Periodical Literature. American Theological Library Association, 1949-

Scripta Recenter Edita. Nijmegen, Netherlands: Bestel Centrale V.S.K.B., 1959-

In addition, a number of journals feature bibliographical information. The two most important are:

Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1876-

Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1900-

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