The Historiographical Jesus
Memory, Typology, and the Son of David
Publication Year: 2009
The Historiographical Jesus introduces a new theory and approach for studying the life of Jesus. Anthony Le Donne uses the precepts of social memory theory to identify “memory refraction” in the Jesus tradition—the refocusing distortion that occurs as the stories and sayings of Jesus were handed down and consciously and unconsciously framed in new settings with new applications. Recognition of this refraction allows historians to escape the problematic dichotomy between memory and typology. The author focuses on the title"Son of David"as it was used in Jewish and Christian traditions to demonstrate both how his new theory functions and to advance historical Jesus research.
Published by: Baylor University Press
This book was originally completed for my Ph.D. at Durham University. That said, it might not read like your standard thesis. I have been told that the standard thesis takes a well-discussed subject, reframes it, and then slightly readjusts it. This book does not do that. Rather I have taken four related topics and built from the broad to the narrow: historiography, memory theory, ...
What is history? For the Jesus historian, asking this question is precarious and the hope of an answer is elusive. It involves loosing the foundation on which we stand in order to see what lies beneath. To do so is always a precarious endeavor. It is elusive because the root of the problem is always just under the next layer of presuppositions. The problem of interpretation stems from the ...
2. Hermeneutics and History
In this chapter I follow a particular thread of ideas about hermeneutics and history as they have developed in historiography. For the sake of space and focus, I highlight a selection of important shifts in this development: My first section (1) examines the historiographical presuppositions of Benedict Spinoza, (2) compares the dichotomies at work in the thinking of Gotthold ...
3. History and Memory
In the last chapter I surveyed several well-known post-Enlightenment philosophers who have impacted historiography. In this chapter I introduce several memory theorists and historiographers who are not as well known but who have made considerable advances upon the theories already surveyed.1 This chapter discusses the historiographical implications of social memory ...
4. Memory and Typology
The present chapter relies heavily on the research presented in the previous chapter. In what follows, I offer my own adaptation of social memory theory which attempts to be sensitive to the concerns of historiography first discussed from Spinoza to Bultmann and which is sensitive to current historical Jesus research that has explored the relationship between history and ...
5. Son of David and Typology
As argued in the previous two chapters, typology can be thought of as a form of memory refraction in that it is a powerfully mnemonic tool and a highly influential interpretive cipher. I now apply my historiographical model to a specific typological characteristic of the Jesus tradition. The remainder of this book examines the title “Son of David” with an aim to (1) ascertain the title’s ...
6. The Therapeutic Son of David
In 1963 Ferdinand Hahn began his chapter on the title “Son of David” by observing, “There is no comprehensive recent study of the ‘Son of David’ tradition.” This comment was still relevant in 1969 when the English translation of Hahn’s work was published.1 Christoph Burger attempted to fill this lacuna in 1970. Burger’s Jesus als Davidssohn [Jesus as Son of David] rep-...
Excursus: The Presupposition of Davidic Descent
In a recent and very intriguing article, Levin explores the relationship between adoption and legal inheritance as it pertains to Jesus as both Son of David and Son of God.1 Perhaps the most important contribution of this article is that it throws serious doubt upon the notion that Jesus’ adoption by Joseph (as professed by the genealogies and infancy narratives) would have served ...
7. Jesus’ Temple Procession
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and procession toward the temple1 is pertinent to the present study for several reasons. The most obvious is that Mark’s account refers to the “Kingdom of our father David.” Matthew reinforces this imagery by appending the title “Son of David” to the tradition (21:9). What is less obvious, but more important for our concerns, is the extent to which Psalm ...
8. The “Son of David” Question
In Mark 12:35-37, Jesus poses a series of questions challenging the so-called scribal teaching concerning the Son of David. . . . And Jesus answering began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?” David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand, Until I put your ...
9. Concluding Analysis
In chapter 4, I presented my theory of historiography as I discussed the essential relationships between history, memory, and typology. In order to illustrate my theory and proposed method, I provided an admittedly superficial treatment of the John the Baptist tradition. I am now in a position to return to my theoretical argument upon the foundation of the more thor-...
Page Count: 309
Publication Year: 2009
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