ACADEMIC PROJECTS BY TOM HOLMÉN
Methodological contributions I present here mainly issue from work done on the historical Jesus. Jesus of history research is, as an academic study, very much dominated by methodological questions. These range from treatment of individual tradition fragments to profound and overarching philosophical considerations. Naturally, everything cannot be discussed in all investigations, but the points particularly in need of illumination depend on the particular focus, what a given study has as its target. Accordingly, all proper investigations into the historical Jesus deal extensively, even though selectively, with methodological questions as well.
A methodological project, however, is formed by inquiries that exclusively or at least mainly discuss the method itself. Such methodological endeavors are here divided into four groups: Those who …
… address the general question about the historical Jesus,
… discuss the use of the sources for Jesus,
… deal with the context of Jesus from a theoretical point of view,
… involve considerations not limited to historical Jesus research.
The Jesus in Continuum -project, presented separately on this site, is also to a substantial part a methodological undertaking.
A lesson I learned:
“When publishing on the historical Jesus for first time, I made a personal observation. I found that all those good ideas I had entertained about Jesus research, having considered the task only from a theoretical perspective, that is, before I had done a half page of actual research on the subject, were one after another proven lacking when I finally engaged in the concrete study. Merely having read about historical Jesus research, not having participated in it, had given me all kinds of thoughts about the question itself, the method, what could or then again could not be done, etc. Brilliant as they often seemed to be, how often they were also unrealistic or altogether misplaced was not revealed to me until I had first put on paper some concrete claims about Jesus as a historical figure. Only by testing theory through practice, ‘in the field’, could I start learning to tell a good idea and a good idea in theory alone apart.”
– “A New Introduction to the Continuum Approach”, Jesus in Continuum (ed. Tom Holmén; Tübingen: Mohr, 2012), pp. IX–XXI.