The historical Jesus was a theologically-interested and invested human being. The Jesus tradition was created by theologically-interested and invested authors. Consequently, using theological language and vocabulary in order to understand the origin and development of this historical figure and tradition is virtually unavoidable. It is the interplay of social, economic, political, and theological forces that converge to create and sustain religious movements. The sociological structures of the Jesus movement, the economic pressures on rural Galilee, the political landscape(s) of the Herodian era, and the ideological and theological streams of thought and practice all shaped the lives of first-century Jews. History, in other words, is not simply a record or description of past events, but analytical explanations of the causal forces that generate events. So if our texts represent more than just the ideological thought-world(s) of the texts themselves, and we really want to understand them, then we need to understand and explain the historically enacted theologies of these particular ancient people.He continues, "The Jesus tradition contains multiple historical theologies about Jesus." Let's reiterate that all historical reconstructions are plural. There is no such thing as the "historian's Jesus"; there are Jesuses of many and varied historical reconstructions. Of course, we try (or ought to) make sense among ourselves and thus attempt to create a coherent collection of narratives. Moreover, some of these narratives will prove better than others and eclipse others in our collective dialectics. Is this all that different than the theological process of creating doctrinal insiders and heterodox/heretical outsiders? Isn't a similar power dynamic at work in both dialectics?
The assumption that there is only one Jesus of history and only one Christ of Faith is ripe for reconsideration. Finally, if we decide that the numerous biblical portraits of Jesus and the numerous creedal portraits, alongside the numerous historical reconstructions form an ongoing conversation, shouldn't we also acknowledge that many of these Jesuses and Christs overlap on any number of levels?