WEEK 2 STUDY QUESTIONS
1. What does Powell mean by “the earthly Jesus?” What does Powell mean by the “historical Jesus” and the “exalted Jesus?” According to Introducing the New Testament, Mark Powell discusses the two type of “Jesus’s” found in the New Testament. Powell explains that the earthly Jesus, and the exalted Jesus are the same person but the Christian faith likes to distinguish between the two. For instance, the earthly Jesus is explained as the actual person. The Jewish man who was born in the province of Galilee, who was the son of Joseph and Mary, who had several brothers and sisters, and who was some sort of carpenter of builder. The New Testament focuses mainly on the last years of Jesus’s life, and presents him as a Jewish peasant who assumes the roles of rabbi and prophet on behalf of other Jewish peasants in Galilee during the rule of Herod Antipas; the most prominent phase of his ministry (Powell, 2009). What the “earthly Jesus” means to me is the idea or the encompassment of everything that it means to be human or earthly. In other words, it is to recognize that Jesus was an actually person who, like you and I, did many regular “earthly” things. The exalted Jesus, on the other hand, is the idea that Jesus is active in human lives even though he is not physically alive. Mark Powell explains that when a believer has “found Christ” it means that who is part of the corporate entity that now makes up Christ’s body on earth (Powell, 2009), and is in reference to the exalted Jesus. The exalted Jesus can be identified as the bridegroom of the church or as a great high priest who serves God in a heavenly sanctuary, who communicates with people through visions and prophecies, who answers prayers and also offers prayers for his followers (Powell, 2009). The exalted Jesus is also expected to return to earth at the end of time to preside at the final judgement. The way these two are tied together is how they are viewed in the writings and Jesus as living entity, in the past and how he is living in the daily lives of Christians in the present. Historians are interested in studying all forms of Jesus, but they need to sufficient evidence to back up their findings, hence the study of “historical Jesus.” They use the New Testament as a primary sources to be analysed in order to extract information pertinent to a credible reconstruction of who Jesus was and what happened in the world because of him (Powell, 2009). Historians seek the “historical Jesus,” that is, the person who emerges from an analysis of sources in accord with generally accepted principles of historical science (Powell, 2009). Historical science is sceptical by nature, thus, from a historians point of view, the New Testament can be classified as religious propaganda. However, they strive to keep the distance between historical facts and religious assertions. 2. How is a Gospel different from a biography? What is the purpose of an ancient biography, and how do these differ from contemporary biographies? A modern biography is a detailed description of a person’s life and entails more basic information like education, work, relationships and death. A modern biography also portrays the person’s life story and includes the highlights and intimate details of his or her experiences. However, during the time that the Gospel’s were written they can closely be classified as ancient biographies. The word gospel was first used to describe not a type of book but the content of Christian preaching and are only a short step removed from preaching (Powell, 2009). Gospel’s may be identified as biographies but unlike modern biographies there literature makes no offering of objective or balanced perspectives on Jesus’s life, in other words, they offer little to no insight into Jesus’s personality, motivations, his childhood or his physical appearance. Also the gospels included genealogies, miracle stories, speeches, and pronouncement stories. The...
References: Powell. (2009). Introducing the New Testament: A historical, literary, and theological survey (pp. 66, 72, 73, 77, 82, 85, 160). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic
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