Quote of the Day: Peter Shafer

“It has long been accepted in most camps of New Testament scholarship (except for its fundamentalist and evangelical branches) that the New Testament is anything but a report of “pure” historical facts, of what has “really” happened—although, of course, this does not mean that it presents just fiction. Rather, it is a retelling of “what happened” in its own way or, more precisely, in quite different ways by its different authors. And it has been equally accepted by most scholars of rabbinic Judaism that the same is true for rabbinic literature, namely that the rabbis were not particularly interested in “what happened”—for such a historistic and positivistic approach they reserved the disparaging judgment maide-hawa hawa (“what happened happened”)—but tell a story of their own: also, not just fiction but their interpretation of “what happened” in their peculiar and highly idiosyncratic way.” –Peter Shafer (Jesus in the Talmud, p.96)


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