The recent resurrection on this forum of the issue of “The Resurrection of Jesus” has brought to the forefront of my mind a question that has been peculating there for some time.
There would appear to be multiple fields looking at this issue from slightly different viewpoints: Apologetics, Theology, New Testament Studies and History of the Ancient Near East (ANE).
To what extent are these fields consilient in their methodologies and/or conclusions? (Of course this question implicitly assumes the unproven assumption that the overlap between these fields isn’t so great that they may become, to a lesser or greater extent, indistinguishable.)
This question was somewhat sharpened in my mind by the recent evidence of an apparent disconnect between a recent work on ‘Science and Religion’ and how biologists on this forum see biology and what ‘biologists talk about’.
One thing I appreciated about Dale Allison’s approach to the question was his acknowledgement that various disciplines employ different methodologies and standards that may not be compatible with one another. So while he personally believes in the Resurrection as a matter of his Christian faith and in theological terms, he accepts that this is not something he can justify as a historian.
Many other believers in the resurrection, however, seem to badly need this belief to be validated as historically sound. They should, perhaps, question themselves as to why this is the case.
That does comport with my intuitions on the subject. Where does he make this “acknowledgement”? Is it in his book The Resurrection of Jesus: Apologetics, Polemics, History? Maybe I should take the time to read it. I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit-hole on this – but I think a basic understanding of how the methodologies differ would be useful.
It does seem to indicate that one cannot take the fact that somebody is a “scholar” with a research interest or publication history on the subject of the Resurrection or the “Historical Jesus” as any particular indication of rigor on the subject.
Yet in seeking history’s endorsement, they seem unwilling to submit themselves to historical methodologies. That seems less-than-entirely-honest as well as being somewhat counter-productive.