Sigurd Grindheim, «Faith in Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Object of Faith», Vol. 97 (2016) 79-100
Did Jesus call his followers to believe in him? or did he merely call them to believe in God or in the contents of his teaching? This article examines the evidence found in the Synoptic Gospels and discusses its possible Christological implications in light of the Scriptures of Israel and the writings of Second Temple Judaism. If Jesus expected to be the object of his disciples’ faith, his expectation may be understood in light of his redefinition of messiahship. But he may also be seen to have placed himself in the role of God, who was the object of Israel’s faith in the Scriptures of Israel and in Second Temple Judaism.
See more by the same author
Faith in Jesus 83
seems to have been coined by early christians to describe what was
characteristic of christian faith: the way in which it brings the believer
into a relationship with Jesus. to believe “into” means that the believer
through faith enters into union with christ 7 .
Did the historical Jesus speak about faith in this way, as the saying
in mark 9,42 implies? many scholars answer in the negative. the au-
thenticity of this saying is often doubted, and the Jesus seminar voted
both the markan and the matthean versions black. Following Rudolf
Bultmann, they consider the saying to be a proverb that has been
christianized by the church. according to the seminar, vindictiveness
was not characteristic of Jesus 8.
other scholars reach different conclusions 9. Davies and allison
observe that the combination of the millstone around the neck and the
throwing in the sea is not attested elsewhere 10. its palestinian origin
is demonstrated by elliott c. maloney, who finds that the construction
in mark 9,42 shows clear traces of semitic influence. the subject,
o]j a'n skandali,sh| e[na tw/n mikrw/n tou,twn tw/n pisteuo,ntwn [eivj evme,]
(“whoever puts a stumbling block before one of these little ones who
believe in me”), forms a casus pendens that is grammatically isolated
from the sentence. in the main clause, this subject is recapitulated
by an unemphatic pronoun (auvtw/|). this structure is very unusual
laDD, A Theology of the New Testament, 307-308; hahn, Theologie,
R. Bultmann, Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition (FRlant 29;
Göttingen 21931) 155; R.W. FunK – R.W. hooVeR and the Jesus seminar (eds.),
The Five Gospels. What Did Jesus Really say? (san Francisco, ca 1993) 86,
in favor of authenticity, see J. GnilKa, Das Matthäusevangelium (htKnt
i/2; Freiburg 1988) ii, 128; W.D. DaVies – D.c. allison, JR., A Critical and
Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew (icc; edin-
burgh 1991) ii, 761; c.s. KeeneR, The Gospel of Matthew. a socio-Rhetorical
commentary (Grand Rapids, mi 22009) 449; J.p. meieR, A Marginal Jew.
Rethinking the historical Jesus. companions and competitors (aBRl; new York
2001) iii, 503; B.h. GReGG, The Historical Jesus and the Final Judgment
Sayings in Q (Wunt ii; tübingen 2006) 247-251.
DaVies – allison, Matthew, ii, 763. Will Deming has argued that all of
mark 9,42 – 10,12 is based on an earlier tradition, which he dates to the middle
of the first century (W. DeminG, “mark 9.42 – 10.12, matthew 5.27-32, and B. Nid.
13b. a First century Discussion of male sexuality”, NTS 36  130-141).