Revolutionary contexts for the quest: Jesus in the rhetoric and methods of Early Modern intellectual history

Birch, J. C.P. (2019) Revolutionary contexts for the quest: Jesus in the rhetoric and methods of Early Modern intellectual history. Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 17(1-2), pp. 35-80. (doi: 10.1163/17455197-01701005)

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Abstract

This article contributes to a new perspective on the historical Jesus in early modern intellectual history. This perspective looks beyond German and academic scholarship, and takes account of a plurality of religious, social, and political contexts. Having outlined avenues of research which are consistent with this approach, I focus on radicalised socio-political contexts for the emergence of ‘history’ as a category of analysis for Jesus. Two contexts will be discussed: the late eighteenth century, with reference to Joseph Priestley, Baron d’Holbach, and their associations with the French Revolution; and the interregnum period in seventeenth-century Britain, with reference to early Quaker controversies and the apologetic work of Henry More. I identify ideas about Jesus in those contexts which have echoed in subsequent scholarship, while challenging the notion that there is a compelling association between sympathetic historical conceptions of Jesus (as opposed to theological) and a tendency towards radical and revolutionary politics.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Birch, Dr Jonathan
Authors: Birch, J. C.P.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Journal Name:Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Publisher:Brill
ISSN:1476-8690
ISSN (Online):1745-5197
Published Online:15 May 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Koninklijke Brill
First Published:First published in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 17(1-2):35-80
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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