Terminology Tuesday: Historical Jesus
The reconstructed portrait that is the goal of historical study dealing with Jesus of Nazareth. Beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing through the present, with some starts and stops, there has proceeded a movement called the quest for the historical Jesus, an attempt to recover by objective historical inquiry the so-called Jesus of history, who is presumed to have been distorted by church dogma. The “historical Jesus” is sometimes contrasted with the theologically interpreted “Christ of faith,” but the church has always affirmed the historicity of the Christ it worships, and it thus has good reasons to welcome genuine historical study. It is, however, unlikely that any historical portrait will not in some ways reflect the “faith” of the historian constructing the portrait.
Evans, C. Stephen, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002).