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The So-Called Historical Jesus and the Historic Biblical Christ, by Martin Khler, Translated by Carl E. Braaten. 153 pp. Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1964. $1.75
Hugh Anderson Theology Today 1965 22: 137 DOI: 10.1177/004057366502200118 The online version of this article can be found at:

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that apart from the Gospels the New Testament contains amazingly little about the earthly Jesus. Admittedly, it was the second generation church that needed this "anchor in history" to avoid the Gnostic error that history is unimportant. The late emergence of Gospels coupled with the author's appreciation that all Jesus said and did was seen in the light of the resurrection implies that the story of the church could have been told beginning with the resurrection, continuing through the first generation church of the epistles and unfolding further in the writing of the Gospels in response to crises in the life of the second generation church. Part Three about "The Jerusalem Church" follows the book of Acts to Paul. Part Four covers Paul's thoughts in each of his epistles in the context of his missionary activity. There may be a possibility of enhancing the book's treatment of the movement of the church into the Gentile world. The pagan background of Paul's mission is not given with anything like the fulness devoted to the Jewish background of Jesus and the Jerusalem church. Might not the mystery religions, for example, illuminate important facets of Paul's thought? Or could Jewish culture alone make a positive contribution to Christian reflection? This amazingly comprehensive and easy-to-read book concludes with a description of the main developments within the post-New Testament church. A chronology, full indices, and Westminster maps in color provide the finishing touches. I know no single volume that offers so well so much material pertinent to an understanding of the early church. Each book of the New Testament is treated in its historical setting. Students and teachers in parishes and seminaries are bound to be grateful.



San Francisco Theological Seminary Graduate Theological Union San Anselmo, California


by Martin Kahler, Translated by Carl E. Braaten. delphia, Fortress Press, 1964. $1.75.

153 pp.


Numerous pivotal works, such as W. Wrede's Das Messiasgeheimnis and W. Bousset's Kyrios Christos) to name only two, might with advantage have been "Englished" before this, so constantly have they been referred to, ever since they were written, not only in European but also
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in Anglo-American scholarly works. Kahler's Der sogenannte historische Jesus und der geschichtliche, biblische Christus (the main essay of which was first published in 1892 and repeated with three additional essays in 1896) scarcely falls in the same category. Nevertheless, since echoes of Kahler have been detected in Schweitzer and Barth and Bultmann, and since Kahler has come to occupy a strategic place in the debate about the so-called "new quest" of the historical Jesus initiated by the Bultmann group, the revival of interest in his work more than justifies the present English edition. One can only imagine what consternation the English title, hardly less forbidding than the German, might cause for the uninitiated. But in fact the title is the most awkward thing about the book, for Dr. Braaten has provided us with a very readable translation, which reflects the clarity and power of the lecture style employed by Kahler (the principal essay was delivered as a lecture to the Wuppertal pastoral conference). The translator has also supplied us with a short biographical notice on Kahler and a good concise account of the influences that played upon him as well as the influence he has in turn exerted upon the "dialectical theology" and the recently much debated question of kerygma and history. For good measure, there is a brief foreword by Paul Tillich, in which he tells us of Kahler's impact on him as a pupil, less apparently in terms of the historical Jesus problem than of the view that "he who doubts any statement of the Bible and creed can nevertheless be accepted by God and can combine the certainty of acceptance with the actuality of even radical doubt" (p. XII). In the two essays translated here three main themes are developed by Kahler. First, on the negative side, he attacks the historicism of the modern quest for the historical Jesus. The Gospels simply do not furnish us with materials for a biography of Jesus, whether of the psychological variety or any other. Every attempt of historical science to discover behind the Gospels the facts about Jesus can only result in the production of imaginative reconstructions and the manufacture of arbitrary connexions which are not in the texts. Further, the gross presumption by which the historians arrogate to themselves sole knowledge of Jesus not only conceals the real Jesus Christ, who is the living Christ, but makes Jesus inaccessible to the ordinary man in the pew. Faith can never be made dependent on the vagaries of historical research. In all this Kahler clearly anticipated the later protests of Barth and Bultmann. Second, on the positive side, Kahler affirms that the Gospels are really Easter documents of faith, reporting primarily the preaching on which the church is grounded. The truly "historic" Jesus Christ is the preached
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Christ, and the total Biblical picture of him embraces both the historical and supra-historical dimensions. Here Barth is most reminiscent of Kahler, for in the Dogmatik Barth speaks evocatively about the Royal Man while at the same time refusing to be led into a "Babylonian captivity" behind the texts. Third, Kahler's notion of the "historical," Biblical Christ leads him to a Christocentric view of the authority of Scripture. Eschewing the theory of plenary verbal inspiration, which really elevates the Scripture above Christ, Kahler holds that only in and through faith in Christ can the Bible meaningfully be called the Word of God. At least one reader, brought up in the school of historical criticism, found a fresh reading of Kahler's work to be a salutary experience. What is the significance of historical research for Christian faith and theology? On this issue Kahler's voice will no doubt continue to be heard. H UGH ANDERSON Duke University The Divinity School Durham, North Carolina THE PROBLEM OF GOD IN PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, by Henry Dumery, Translated by Charles Courtney. 135 pp. Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University Press, 1964. $4.95. Among the many qualities of this short book, not the least compelling one is the way in which Dumery confronts us with the inanity of a philosophico-theological tradition that seems to be capable only of avoiding the Charybdis of the subject-object dichotomy in order to wreck itself on the Scylla of a false antinomy between faith and reason. "The antinomy of the God of the learned and the God of the naIve," writes Dumery, "has its origin in the confusion concerning the responsibilities incumbent on the philosopher and the believer"-a confusion which, ironically enough, arose from the purely academic distinction for the sake of convenience of the twin disciplines of philosophy and theology. The Problem of God thus not only questions one of Pascal's most cherished and possibly most misunderstood outbursts as well as Kierkegaard's latent fideism; it also criticizes both the objectivism of traditional theology (for which God tends to become a mere principle of explanation and ipso facto one truth among other truths, a thing) and the radical humanism of contemporary philosophy ("there would be only one means of denying God; that would be to affirm that man lacks the capacity either to appreciate his own finitude or to put it in question"). If the unexamined faith is not worth living, its structures must be open
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