17 Käsemann’s essay is included in Essays on New Testament Themes, transl. by W.J. Montague (Naperville, IL: Allenson, 1964), pp. 15–47.
scholarship. Nevertheless, a substantial amount could be known about the life of Jesus.^18
Citing the influence of Käsemann, Bornkamm, and others, James Robinson rejected the old quest, while calling for a new approach to the historical Jesus. In agreement with others that faith was not dependent on historical research, he still
asserted that the Christian kerygma(the core teachings) required an historical basis:
This emphasis in the kerygmaupon the historicity of Jesus is existentially
indispensable, precisely because the kerygma. . . proclaims the meaningfulness of life ‘in the flesh’.
It is this concern of the kerygmafor the historicity of Jesus which necessitates a new quest.^19
The “New Quest” for the historical Jesus scholars, as they came to be called, popularized a test for historical authenticity in the life of Jesus. Often termed the “criterion of dissimilarity,” this test dictates that we can only know that material in Jesus’ life is authentic if it is not derived either from primitive Christian teachings or from Judaism. When Gospel material originates from neither of these sources, one can be reasonably sure that the material is historical.^20
However, the resulting application of the criterion of dissimilarity yields significantly less material than the methodology employed by the old quest. One major criticism is that this test would allow Jesus to share neither Jewish nor Christian beliefs, which is ludicrous in that he was raised in the former milieu and is the chief inspiration for the latter. Thus this approach fails to extricate itself from the historical skepticism that it is critiquing.