With all the celebrity madness surrounding James Cameron's Lost Tomb of Christ, we thought it would make sense to provide a solid historical look at Christ, his life and resurrection in a conversation by Thomas Sheehan of Stanford University.
History provides facts and theology infuses facts with meaning. But theology ultimately depends on historical analysis. As both Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ and Cameron's Lost Tomb show, bad history will result in bad theology and anachronism.
Thomas Sheehan has been Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford since 1999. His books include: Becoming Heidegger (2006); The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity (1986); and Heidegger, the Man and the Thinker (1981).
Sheehan argues that Jesus thought of himself not as God or Christ but as God's eschatological prophet proclaiming God's kingdom, that the resurrection had nothing to do with Jesus coming back to life, and that the affirmation that Jesus was divine first arose among his followers long after his death. Employing the best of contemporary historical-critical scholarship, Sheehan paints a plausible picture of a very human Jesus who came to reform Judaism rather than to found Christianity, who met a tragic end at the hands of the Roman Empire, and who in a matter of decades was proclaimed by his followers to be Christ, Lord, and God. Posted by Casey Kazan (Get past the tacky intro and music, and it's clear sailing).