An Irish Dominican priest is under investigation after claiming that Jesus Christ “did not exist at a historical individual”.
Tom Brodie, who recently stepped down from his position as director of
the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick, claims his book Beyond the
Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery aims to “develop a
new vision of Jesus as an icon of God's presence in the world and in
The Irish Dominican Friars rejected suggestions that
Fr Brodie had been forced from his position in Limerick, however, the
order has vowed to investigate the book.
In a statement, the order
said “the Irish Dominicans take seriously the contents of the book,
notably the author’s conclusion that ‘Jesus did not exist as a
historical figure’. This Fr Brodie sees as flowing necessarily from his
tracing the literary background to the New Testament. The Irish
Dominicans are following the process within the order’s constitutions
for handling disputed teaching. This involves a committee of scholars
examining the book and reporting on it. In their examination and in
their report the author has a right to present his views. This process
is still ongoing, and remains confidential until it has concluded."
Irish Dominicans intend, in coming months, to publish reviews and
assessments of Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus in their
magazine Doctrine & Life,” the statement added.
The cover note of
the book says: “The work of tracing literary indebtedness and art is
far from finished but it is already possible and necessary to draw a
conclusion: it is that, bluntly, Jesus did not exist as a historical
individual. This is not as negative as may first appear. In a deeply
personal coda, Brodie begins to develop a new vision of Jesus as an
icon of God’s presence in the world and in human history.”