Every great man is partly of his own age and partly for all time. What matters in his work is always that which transcends his age, not that which he shared with a thousand forgotten contemporaries. We value Shakespeare for the glory of his language and his knowledge of the human heart, which were his own; not for his belief in witches or the divine right of kings, or his failure to take a daily bath. So with Jesus. His belief in a speedy and catastrophic end to history belongs to Him not as a great teacher but as a first-century Palestinian peasant. It was one of His inevitable limitations, best forgotten. We must concentrate on what distinguished Him from other first-century Palestinian peasants, on His moral and social teaching.
From The World’s Last Night