Thinking theology and history together is a difficult task and a longstanding problem. While in prior centuries history has typically dominated the dyad, recent progress in the theological interpretation of Scripture has begun to reverse this trend, often at the expense of the historical-critical method. A case study of both of these points may be found in the work of Ernst Käsemann and, particularly, in A. K. M. Adam's recent critique thereof—especially Käsemann's comment that historical criticism protects against docetism. Looking closely at Adam's article and Käsemann's work on the historical Jesus, the present study concludes that, while several of Adam's points against historical criticism writ large may well be correct, his direct attack on Käsemann is misplaced. An analysis of Käsemann's positions on the uniqueness of the Gospel genre and the importance of the historical Jesus to the earliest kerygma reveals that, far from a simplistic commendation of historical criticism, Käsemann offers something of a via media between theology and history. Perhaps better, Käsemann's work represents a theological use of history. If such a theological use of history (or of historical criticism) is permitted, Käsemann's work not only eludes Adam's criticism, it actually becomes a partner in support of, not an adversary to, his larger argument regarding the limited usefulness of "mere history." Käsemann's synthesis of the historical and the theological thus shows itself to be a viable option in the theology-history nexus—one that retains its usefulness in a way that Adam's critique has not yet obviated.

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