Michael Green on the Historical Impact of Jesus
"Editor's Preface" in The Hard Sayings of Jesus by F.F. Bruce (InterVarsity: 1983), p. 12.
Jesus of Nazareth remains the most important individual who has ever lived. Nobody else has had comparable influence over so many nations for so long. Nobody else has so affected art and literature, music and drama. Nobody else can remotely match his record in the liberation, the healing and the education of mankind. Nobody else has attracted such a multitude not only of followers but of worshippers. ¶ And nobody else has been subjected to such intense and prolonged critical study. After more than two hundred years of detailed examination and argument, many of the critical issues remain astonishingly open. The high-water mark of scepticism has receded somewhat. It is no longer assumed without question that nothing orthodox can be true. But certain emphases, methodologies and presuppositions, common in New Testament studies, are widely held to militate against the reliability of the picture of Jesus presented to us by the documents. There is a rumour abroad that in these days of redaction criticism it is neither proper nor necessary to ask what actually happened, and that the Jesus of history is indistinguishable behind the Christ of faith.