Albert Schweitzer’s Quest

Reading Acts

Albert Schweitzer’s Quest for the Historical Jesus is in many ways one of the most important books of the twentieth century, although my guess is that few people would care to read it today. Perhaps because of the popularity of N. T. Wright, Schweitzer as a Historical Jesus scholar has seen something of a renaissance in recent years. Despite the overly-dramatic connotations, describing a search for the historical Jesus as a “Quest” has passed into common use in NT studies.

SchweitzerSchweitzer wrote his book as a critique of the “Lives of Jesus” movement in Germany. He surveys virtually every possible “life” that was written beginning with Remarius and subjects them to scathing criticism. For most contemporary readers, Quest for the Historical Jesus is the only way to read (in summary) the work of such German Protestants as Karl Bahrdt, who argued that Joseph of Arimetha and Nicodemus were Essenes. The Essenes were…

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