This study examines the content and context of production of Rembrandt's etching Christ Preaching. After an exposition of the etching's key features, consideration is given to the place of the etching in Rembrandt's life and work. Particular attention is paid to Rembrandt's own religious outlook, to the level of his awareness as to the artistic and theological traditions within which he stood, and to the impact upon his work of the dynamics of commissioning and selling the results of his efforts. The study suggests a possible religious dimension to his choice of an etching for this particular image. The significance of the exploration of this "biblical" etching by Rembrandt for the contemporary task of the interpretation of the Gospels is then drawn out in a series of nine points: the relationship between single texts and the "big picture" of Jesus which an interpreter carries; the impact of a variety of interpretative frameworks within which interpreters work; acknowledgement of the inevitability of working with a "canon within the canon"; attention to the specific communities within which one interprets; recognition of a present interest at work; respect for the rhetorical strategies which are operative in the interpretation (as well as the text being interpreted); the need to examine the reasons for the choice of medium through which an interpretation of a text is conveyed; acknowledgement that interpretations are sometimes affected by factors beyond the control of those who fashion them; and consideration of the place of fiction in biblical interpretation.
This article looks at the way that the so-called Third Quest relates to past versions of the Quest of the Historical Jesus. Nine different forms of the Quest are uncovered. The history of the Quest is then re-examined in the light of this mapping exercise, drawing on New Historicist insights. Five themes are taken up: the dominance of white, male European/North American contributors to the Quest; its close alliance with Western bourgeous capitalism and individualism; issues surroundings the Quest's marketability and popularity; the consequences of reading the Quest less as a single narrative than as a collection of local ideological explorations; the necessity and dangers of re-writing the Quest's own history. In conclusion, it is suggested that the future of the Quest lies with greater attention to ideology, not less. This in turn invites a reconsideration of the christological framework within which Jesus Research must inevitably be placed.
This article uses insights from an empirical study of music-users to explore the assumptions and expectations which everyday music is likely to create within a Western Christian congregation. It identifies the desire to be happy, the search for a safe space, a concern about personal identity and a willingness to use music to acknowledge negative emotions as four key emphases of the practice of contemporary listening. These four emphases are explored in relation to the practice of contemporary worship. It is shown that whilst it could be argued that everyday music dulls the expectations of the non-musical – for the musical may gain much through performance and participation in music-making – it is nevertheless vital that theological attention is paid to what is happening to congregation-members. The potentially salvific work to which music contributes is in need of further exploration and articulation in contemporary theology.