Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)
Historical Jesus, Biblical Portrait of Jesus, Negative Higher Criticism, Pretextual Creeds, Confessions, Hymns & Kerygmatic Material, Post-Christianity
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Seybold, Brett Arthur, "The Inability of Negative Higher Criticism to Undermine The Biblical Portrait of Jesus Christ" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4893.
Paul Tillich described, the attempt of historical criticism to find the empirical truth about Jesus of Nazareth as a failure. John Dominic Crossan described this lack of consensus among critical scholars regarding the person of Jesus as “a bad joke.” This lack of consensus by skeptics, as well as their shared reluctancy to abandon the task of attempting to make sense of who Jesus Christ truly was historically serves as the backbone of this dissertation where I argue that Jesus transcends negative higher criticism in particular and the post-Christian mindset in general. I argue that He constitutes a suis generis based on the fact that Jesus Christ has been attacked by skeptics for over three centuries now, and nevertheless withstood such attacks. The lack of consensus and inability by negative higher critics to abandon the task of making sense of the historical Jesus undermines the Post-enlightenment claim that modern skeptical theology operates more scientifically than orthodox evangelical theology. Through this project I have sought to demonstrate that belief in Jesus Christ as portrayed in the Gospels remains viable as three centuries of skeptic theologians have failed to reach an historical consensus regarding who Jesus Christ was, nor have they been able to abandon the task of attempting to explain Him. There is something about Jesus that refuses to go away.