In Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (19), TF Torrance warns about the inevitably psychologizing and anthropologization that occurs when “the witness of the evangelists and the other New Testament authors reposes ultimately upon Jesus’ own self-consciousness.” In the first place, such an approach “isolates his consciousness from his concrete witness to himself in word and deed” and, in the second place, “it excludes “the historical and ontological from their place in the basic fact upon which our interpretation rests.”

When the self-consciousness of Jesus becomes the touchstone, “we will never be able to disentangle Christ’s self-consciousness from our own, or our own from what is alleged to be Christ’s, so that in the end it will be our own spiritual experience and consciousness which will be dominant.” Coming at the gospels with questions about Jesus’ Messianic self-consciousness, scholars are “again and again led to the conclusion that we cannot penetrate behind the spirituality and religious consciousness of the first Christians to Christ himself.”