Jewish Jesus Research and its Challenge to Christology Today


Author: Walter Homolka
Historical Jesus research, Jewish or Christian, is marked by the search for origins and authenticity. The various Quests for the Historical Jesus contributed to a crisis of identity within Western Christianity. The result was a move “back to the Jewish roots!”
For Jewish scholars it was a means to position Jewry within a dominantly Christian culture. As a consequence, Jews now feel more at ease to relate to Jesus as a Jew.
For Walter Homolka the Christian challenge now is to formulate a new Christology: between a Christian exclusivism that denies the universality of God, and a pluralism that endangers the specificity of the Christian understanding of God and the uniqueness of religious traditions, including that of Christianity.

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Rabbi Walter Homolka, PhD (King's College London, 1992), PhD (University of Wales Trinity Saint David, 2015), DHL (HUC-JIR New York 2009), is Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Interreligious Dialogue at the University of Potsdam, executive director of the School of Jewish Theology and rector of the Abraham Geiger College.



1 Historical Jesus Research: A Reception History
The Modern Quest of a Historical Jesus as a Quest for His Reception
The Development of Reception History as a Tool
Reception History: Global Dimensions
Reception History as a Secularization of the Interpretation of Scripture
Reception Theory in Relation to the Jewish Quest
Creating Space: The Emergence of New Hermeneutical and Methodological Paradigms

2 The Jewish Jesus Quest and the Wissenschaft des Judentums
The Pre-Enlightenment Jewish Jesus
The Emergence of the Wissenschaft des Judentums
The Wissenschaft des Judentums and the Historical Jesus
The Wissenschaft des Judentums and the Concept of a Personal Messiah
The Legacy of the Wissenschaft des Judentums

3 Reclaimed or Reclaiming? Recent Jewish Approaches to Jesus’s Wirkungsgeschichte
Jewish Jesus Research: Where to Draw the Line?
My Previous Contribution
Géza Vermès: Concluding the Classical Era of Jewish Jesus Research?
Diversity in the Reception History of the Jewish Jesus
The Jewish Jesus in Literature
Recent Jewish Approaches to Jesus
The Contribution of Archaeology to Historical Jesus Studies

4 Jewish Quests and Christian Problems
The Jewish Quest of the Historical Jesus: In Search for Equality and Acceptance
The Historical Jesus: Challenges to Jewish-Christian Dialogue
The Myth of the Judeo-Christian West
Jesus the Jew: Implications for Future Christian Theology
Back to the Roots? The Value of Christian Hellenism
Jewish Jesus Research: Paving the Way for Common Ground
Conclusion: Implications and Future Perspectives

Scholars and students of both Christian and Jewish Theology, Jewish and Religious Studies, Historians, scholars of postcolonialism, educated laypeople and people engaged in Christian-Jewish dialogue.