A captivating overview and investigation into some of the 19th century’s most intelligent scholars of the historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer’s methodical and dazzling analysis, originally published in 1901, still serves as a foundation for many contemporary researchers excogitating the life of Jesus.
A fervent and contentious issue, Schweitzer pulls no punches as he scrutinizes the many accounts of this historical discipline and the complications that arise while trying to “resolve” just who Jesus was. Arguing that the historical figure of Jesus evolved over time to suit each individual researcher’s paradigm, Schweitzer’s book reaches a crescendo of profound and consequential importance still significant in today’s study on the historical Jesus.
Deeply researched and powerfully rendered, Schweitzer’s controversial Quest is written with power and verve, an unforgettable voice in this continuously fascinating discussion.
“The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give His work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.” (Page 396)
“The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma.” (Page 397)
“And the greatest achievement of German theology is the critical investigation of the life of Jesus” (Page 1)
“Is it possible to explain the contradiction between the Messianic consciousness of Jesus and His non-Messianic discourses and actions by means of a conception of His Messianic consciousness which will make it appear that He could not have acted otherwise than as the Evangelists describe; or must we endeavour to explain the contradiction by taking the non-Messianic discourses and actions as our fixed point, denying the reality of His Messianic self-consciousness and regarding it as a later interpolation of the beliefs of the Christian community into the life of Jesus?” (Page 11)
“But the truth is, it is not Jesus as historically known, but Jesus as spiritually arisen within men, who is significant for our time and can help it. Not the historical Jesus, but the spirit which goes forth from Him and in the spirits of men strives for new influence and rule, is that which overcomes the world.” (Page 399)
The best introduction to the subject . . . Scholarly and urbane . . . A fine example of critical exposition . . . A mystery story on the highest possible level, enlivened by Dr. Schweitzer's wit, and enriched by his effective command of simile and metaphor . . . Affords a wide view of the whole library of critical theology.
Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) was an author, scholar, musician, philosopher, and theologian. His father a minister, Schweitzer grew up in a house that revered music, education, and religion. He received a doctorate of philosophy in 1899, and then studied medicine, receiving his M.D degree in 1912, the same year he married his wife. Deciding to lead his life with Christ as an example, he founded a hospital in Lambaréné, now Gabon, Africa. He spent the majority of his remaining life working there as a pastor and doctor while still continuing to be a prolific writer and musician. In 1952, he was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.