If historical Jesus scholars believes that Jesus’ main message was the imminent apocalypse, and that didn’t happen, how can anyone who believe that remain a Christian, given that Jesus was wrong on the main focus of his life?
It’s a great question. Let me say several things briefly in response. First, there are a number of historical Jesus scholars who do not see Jesus in this way (most prominently, members of the Jesus Seminar, such as Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan). Their views are not in the majority among critical scholars, but it is worth noting that they see Jesus as thoroughly *non*-apocalyptic. My sense is that the majority of scholars, however, continue to see Jesus as apocalyptic in his preaching – including such noteworthies as E. P. Sanders, Dale Allison, Paula Fredriksen, Geza Vermes, and – well, it’s a long list.
Most New Testament scholars – and, of course, that subset: Historical Jesus scholars – are Christian. For obvious reasons. The people most likely to be interested in early Christianity and the Christian Bible are already Christian. Some of us started out Christian and moved away from it; some are Jews; and a very few have never had any religious commitments at all. But the majority are Christian.
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