Original Research - Special Collection: Old and New Testament Studies

Memory and historical Jesus studies: Formgeschichte in a new dress?

Ernest van Eck
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a2837 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2837 | © 2015 Ernest van Eck | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 October 2014 | Published: 18 May 2015

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Ernest van Eck, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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In the quest for the historical Jesus, memory studies are seen as an important breakthrough in the study of the historical Jesus and the way forward in establishing the historicity of the Gospel traditions. This article evaluates the claim made by memory studies by evaluating memory studies’ critique on the methodology of the criteria approach. In this evaluation attention is given to the methodological points of departure of memory studies, including an assessment of the few examples memory studies thus far have produced in their investigation of the historicity of the Gospels and the historical Jesus. The conclusion reached is that memory studies are guilty of what they accuse the criteria approach, and thus far have not yet offered a viable methodological alternative to the current criteria approach used in historical Jesus research.


memory studies; criteria approach; historical Jesus-studies; Synoptic gospels; criteria of authenticity


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