Eyes That See Not

The Pope Looks at Jesus

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Gerd Lüdemann

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“The historian,” writes Lüdemann, “is obliged to present objective evidence for his or her assertions. The rules of the game do not permit one to rely on uncorroborated testimony or claims of authority.” The chronicler who fails to challenge eyewitness testimony and to submit documentary sources to critical examination, Lüdemann points out, is not an historian. The so-called historical method used by the Pope Benedict (formerly Joseph Ratzinger), continues Lüdemann, “has the sole aim of proving the reliability of the gospels.” In fact, he concludes, the Pope “never examines their historical trustworthiness.” Gerd Lüdemann is Professor of New Testament at the University of Göttingen, Germany, Director of the Institute of Early Christian Studies, and Founder and Director of the Archive Religionsgeschichtliche Schule at the University of Göttingen. He has also served as Visiting Scholar at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, and as co-chair of the Society of Biblical Literature Seminar on Jewish Christianity. His many books include The Earliest Christian TextWhat Jesus Didn’t SayThe Resurrection of JesusThe Great DeceptionThe Unholy in Holy Scripture, and Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity.