Tuesday, 9 February 2010


Any chance that Jesus' bones will one day be found in a Jerusalem tomb? No. And this is taught by both the canonical gospels and Paul. This is more or less the answer given me today while having coffee with professor Leander Keck (now 82 years old) at his house in Cambridge, UK.

For almost two hours I listened attentively to this renowned New Testament Scholar talking about the "Yale School", Brevard Childs, George Lindbeck, William Wrede, Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Troeltsch, Ernst Kasemann (whom he knows personally), Joachim Jeremias and much more.. I share a few significant moments with you:

Professor Keck is busy writing a book on Christology. As we discussed some issues relevant to this project professor Keck made the following interesting remarks:

Leander Keck:
"Why is it [the new book] taking so long? Because I realised that Wrede and Bousset mislead the discipline. They described New Testament Christology as the history of early Christian christology, for which the New Testament is one of the sources. But history of Christology is not Christology. I've got nothing against the history of Christology, but that is not Christology. Christology to me is a doctrine, it is a teaching, it has a rational, it is a logic, it relates to God with Jesus at the centre... why do you think Jesus is decisive for everybody? That's the problem. And the history of Christology tells you how and why they answered it in this or that way, what concepts they used, who got this or that idea, where they borrowed it from, how they interacted etc. But that doesn't answer the question! Why is Jesus who Christians say He is? That takes a theologian."
Frederik Mulder:
"Not a biblical scholar?"
Leander Keck:
"Well, a biblical scholar too, but there's no reason why a New Testament scholar cannot be a theologian. That's why you are in a good position to combine those fields."
Frederik Mulder:
"It's tough. All those wars going on since Gabler?"
Leander Keck:
Yea yea right. That's it. But if that's the problem, how was it that Wrede's solution - history only, and filled out then by Bousset... why did we buy that?! What happened? Why did that seem to be the solution? We need to free ourselves, not to repudiate history, but to free ourselves from thinking that Christology is the history of Christology."

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