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The Quest of the Historical Jesus

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In this broad survey of the efforts to establish, amend, or deny the historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer presents the history of a debate about what mattered most to millions of people: If God had entered human history, what could history tell about it? Throughout the course of this heated and prolonged dispute, one retelling of the life of Jesus followed another, enjoying...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published February 11th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published 1905)
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Erik Graff
Oct 20, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: religion
This volume had been sitting around on the shelves for years, but only read years after the completion of seminary.

Albert Schweitzer was a hero to my family. During his years as a medical missionary in Gabon, Schweitzer would do annual tours as an organist, raising money for his work. Mother and her family would attend his concerts in Oslo. By the time I was born Schweitzer was an old man and, as I recall, occasional guest on The Tonight Show, hosted then by Jack Paar. I remember him because Mom...more
Pete daPixie
Albert the Alsatian looked very similar to that other Albert, the Einstein. Did anyone ever see them in the same room? Schweitzer's 'Quest' is an authoritative journey through European eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century studies on the historical Jesus. Schweitzer cuts a swathe through more than fifty authors and their ideas. The further I read into this book the more I enjoyed Schweitzer's writing style. Unfortunately, I've travelled backwards in time through this genre, which do...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Le protestantisme est un mouvement chrétien qui s’est formé en réaction aux abus de la tradition catholique, qui avait pratiquement remplacé les enseignements du Christ par l’établissement d’un système hiérarchique et d’une panoplie d’activités rituelles. En forçant le trait, on peut dire que la religion céleste était alors mise de côté aux profits d’une religion temporelle qui menaçait les populations et dirigeants sous son emprise de toutes les horreurs de l’enfer en cas d’insoumission.
Avec l’...more
Tsun Lu
REVIEW AND CRITIQUE Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede. Translated by W. Montgomery. New York, MacMillan, 1968.

The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1968) is the English translation of Schweitzer’s original work in German, Von Reimarus zu Wrede (1906).

While the ecclesiastical doctrines had veiled the authentic history of Jesus the Nazareth, in Schweitzer’s view, the historical investigation of Jesus’s life throughout the n...more
Hortense
You have to consider this classic book worth the reading.

"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 on earth, and died to give his work its final consecration never had any existence …. He comes to us as one unknown, without a name, as of old by the lakeside He came to those men who knew him not.”

More than just the research.
Zacharygs
Really just about as good as had been told. Some of the endless accounting for previous scholarship was a little boring, but his conclusions and interactions with them are often witty and intriguing. I'd give it 5 stars, but I think his general reaction against this scholarship is a little myopic. Thoroughgoing eschatology is the answer to all...? Eh.
G0thamite
Great review of the "historical Jesus studies movement" from the Enlightenment till Schweitzer's time. A must read for anyone interested in how the major figures of this movement interpreted the text - their presuppositions and conclusions. Goes into great detail on the main interpreters.
Paul
Pretty heavy sledding.
Robert
If you want to read a thorough overview and critique of the literature of the "historical Jesus" during the 1800's this is your book. Schweitzer's knowledge of those who came before him in this field is impressive. He introduces each author and their attempt at writing about a historical Jesus. He then tears apart each argument in turn, while cherry-picking those ideas that agree with his own ideas.

I found this very interesting, though occasionally tedious, reading. As a stickler for logic, I h...more
Volkert
I had to abandon this challenging work after reading about a third of it. Schweitzer discusses numerous retellings of the life of Jesus, written by German theologians, over the course of about 200 years. What I got out of my reading is that some choose to add to (or embellish) the story of Jesus, while others choose to take away (or diminish) aspects of the gospel accounts. In either case, we are left with a Jesus, and a Christ, other than what was handed down to us in the New Testament. These G...more
Scott Sees
This book is over a century old now, so it's not the most up-to-date treatment of the subject. Also it was originally written in German. And it is dense with a specific theological vocabulary, occasionally employed in that impossibly convoluted way that only theologians can achieve. There are a lot of reasons why this book requires considerable patience to read. But after all that, I still think it is effort well rewarded. I pretty much hated reading it, but I loved what I learned from it.
Gordon Howard
A difficult book to read in some ways, perhaps because of the translation from German, but an interesting survey of over 100 years of various Germans trying to figure out who Jesus Christ really was. However, after all that, Schweitzer's conclusion is as follows: "It is not Jesus as historically known, but Jesus as spiritually arisen within men, who is significant for our time and can help it."
Justin Powell
Interesting book, but I may have had too high of hopes for it. After hearing about it for so long, I expected something mind-blowing. I didn't really have that from reading it. The synopsis of Jesus studies throughout the majority of the book was interesting at parts, but a bit boring at others. The last part of the book was easily the best.
Elizabeth
Aug 31, 2011 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Shelves: religion, history
As recommended in Jesus Interrupted
Wyatt Houtz
Watershed book in the Quests of the Historical Jesus. Lots of famous quotations.
Helen
Before reading this, I recommend looking up the word 'eschatology.'
F.c. Etier
Apr 24, 2011 F.c. Etier marked it as to-read
Watch for my review later this summer.
Emily
Urgently needs a new translation!
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Albert Schweitzer, M.D., OM, was an Alsatian theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Kaisersberg in Alsace-Lorraine, a Germanophone region which the German Empire returned to France after World War I. Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of historical Jesus current at his time and the traditional Christian view, depicting a Jesus who expected the imminent end of the...more
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“The demands of Jesus are difficult because they require us to do something extraordinary. At the same time He asks us to regard these [acts of goodness] as something usual, ordinary.” 19 likes
“He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside,
He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: "Follow thou me!" and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”
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