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Jesus at the Crossroads of Inference and Imagination

The Relevance of R.G. Collingwood’s Philosophy of History for Current Methodological Discussions in Historical Jesus Research

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author: Jordan J. Ryan1
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  • 1 Department of Religious Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton, on, Canada, ryanj23@mcmaster.ca
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A significant re-evaluation of the historiographical methods and approaches used in historical Jesus research has been underway in recent years. Some scholars have begun to look to social memory theory for a way forward. Although social memory theory provides some valuable insights, a solid methodological foundation is still lacking. The intention of this article is to advance the discussion by drawing attention to R.G. Collingwood’s contributions to the philosophy of history and historiography in The Idea of History (1946). In particular, I will discuss his historiographical principles of inference, evidence, question and answer, historical imagination, along with his critique of ‘scissors-and-paste’. These principles have the potential to form the foundation of a theoretically grounded historiographical practice in Jesus research.

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