Baker Academic

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chris Keith introduction

When Anthony Le Donne first approached me about doing this blog together, my initial thought was:  “Yes, that’s precisely what the world needs—one more blog.”  But after we discussed it thoroughly, I became very excited about its contribution, or at least potential contribution, to the scholarly landscape.  The reason was simple.  Whereas I think there’s a general conviction among New Testament scholars that historical Jesus research has run its course (and have heard multiple senior scholars state as much), or at least that this stage of it has, I think otherwise.  Don’t get me wrong; I agree that much of the discussion as it stands is regurgitated and worn.  But I also think there’s some fresh and exciting work being done and would cite examples such as Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus or, if I may be so bold, my and Anthony’s multi-author volume, Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity.  I am foolish enough to believe that there is more fresh work to come and that the advent of memory studies especially may have just ushered us into a new historiography with Jesus studies.  This blog, as the only blog to my knowledge that is specifically dedicated to Jesus research, will be a fantastic front-row seat to these developments.

I have to confess that I am surprised that I think this.  My doctoral work did not concern the historical Jesus and by the end of that stage of study I had already come to believe that historical Jesus studies were passé.  It was not until my monograph on the literacy of the historical Jesus forced me to come back to Jesus studies that I realized what potential there was in some of the fresher studies.

My other interests are in scribal and book culture, textual criticism, media criticism, and social-scientific interpretation.  I suppose I may veer into these topics now and again as well as opportunities emerge, and as they relate to historical Jesus research.  I’m also pretty fascinated with the significant shifts in higher education and how they are affecting New Testament and Biblical studies.  As a native Louisvillian, I’ll also be veering occasionally into the topic of University of Louisville basketball and football, and the accompanying hatred of all things University of Kentucky athletics that goes with being a Cardinal fan.


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