HTS Theological Studies
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
VAN AARDE, Andries. "Anthropological rabbits" and "positivistic ducks": an experiential reflection on Pieter Craffert's "shamanic Jesus". Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.2, pp. 767-798. ISSN 0259-9422.
This article aims at conversing with aspects of the contribution Pieter Craffert (New Testament scholar from the University of South Africa) has made in his book on the historical Jesus, The life of a Galilean shaman: Jesus of Nazareth in anthropological-historical perspective (2008). In the book traits of the "shamanic complex" are heuristically used to explain the layering of traditions as reconfigurations of each other within the same cultural area and to argue for continuity from the cultural constitution of a social personage to the communication and enscripturation of that social personage within the same cultural system. Jesus' healings and his encountering of spirits are understood in terms of the notion of alternate states of consciousness as polyphased consciousness. The book's point of departure is the conviction that an anthropological-sensitive reading scenario represents an epistemological alternative to that of scholars who emphasize the historical-critical analysis of strata in the development of the Jesus tradition. The article consists of an appraisal and a critique. It argues for a different judgment rather than posing a thesis of a paradigm shift. The approach of some scholars who consider the investigation into the stratification of overlays in the Jesus tradition as central to historical Jesus studies is evaluated as complementary to a cultural-sensitive reading scenario.