The Past as Simulacrum in the Canonical Narratives of Christian Origins

in Religion and Theology
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Abstract

This article meditates on the ambiguity of the concept of 'history' in Christian thought and in the historiography of Christian origins. After exploring the ambiguity of 'history', using Jesus as the illustrative case in point, it is argued that 'history' is itself the result of a complex process of historical production, a production of the kind that renders history, especially histories of highly valued origins, into narrative representations of believed-in imaginings, into mythographies that are nevertheless taken to be histories. Recognizing that history is fictioned to serve interests in the present turns history always into 'our' history, and recognizing, too, that this history is imagined to be history as it really was and the only history there can be- in effect turning the past into a simulacrum3/4. exposes 'history' as a mechanism for rationalising wordviews, social constitutions, and cultural preferences. Intellectually and morally, it exposes the fact that 'doing history' is never an innocent doing.

Religion and Theology

A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse

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