Saturday, October 24, 2015

An Interview With Antonio Piñero About The Historical Jesus (Part 1)

The present series is an interview with Antonio Piñero conducted by Kike R. Tremiño. It was originally published on the "La crónica social" by the magazine Servimedia on October 9, 2008.

KRT: Jesus of Nazareth has quite possibly had more direct or indirect influence on the course of history than any other individual. The world's knowledge of him is less grounded in historical research, and more so on beliefs and traditions. Antonio Piñero has devoted his life to the tricky and fascinating task of sifting through what's true and what's not when it comes to the historical Jesus and his ideas. The fruit of those labors are found in two of his book, discussed here in this interview: Cristianismos derrotados y La verdadera historia de la Pasión, which were both published by Editorial Edaf (Madrid) in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Below I have listed perhaps the most surprising and controversial findings uncovered in those books:
1. "The theology of the 21st century should consider how to solve the differences between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith."
2. "In someway it appears like Jesus is a Pharisee, even though he fought with them and they cannot be classified in any particular stream of rabbis."
3. "There were eight or nine different forms of Christianity (i.e., Christianities) already in the second century, the Pauline form being the most well-equipped to succeed in the religious market of the Roman Empire."
4. "Jesus did not set up a church. Instead, he believed that the end of the world was immanent and God himself would establish his Kingdom on Earth."
5. "All the big ideas of Jesus are already present in Judaism, but they were considered novel by the Gentiles, whose religion did not include them." 
So, here is the first question: Is it correct to say that the following is your thesis concerning Jesus of Nazareth? –He is a strict Jew, an unorthodox Pharisee, influenced by the Essenes in his belief in the imminence of the end of the world, and that the rest of the Christian doctrine is the work of Paul.

AP: Yes, but this is not only my thesis. You can find it, for example, if you step back to 1789 with the writings of Hermann Samuel Reimarus. He published a book about the purpose of Jesus and his disciples. It was in that text that Reimarus began to distinguish through a critical analysis of the Gospels between what is the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. There is a big difference between what the Church teaches us and what a critical analysis of the Gospels shows us. This analysis starts by putting the contents of the Gospels into four columns and comparing them one to another in order to flesh out their differences. It identifies a Jesus with human traits, who ignores when the end of the world will occur, who has a number of contradictions, who is irritable and the opposite of meek or humble toward his own enemies. We believe this is a valid analysis. This study has gradually formed a consensus among many independent observers who are not subject to their faith.

Instead we see a pious Jew, a Pharisee and rabbi or charismatic teacher of law, different than the others before him, from Galilee, who came opposing the rabbis of Jerusalem, who were much more obedient and connected to the temple. These people have a whole other way of thinking and discuss the law with greater facility.

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