Jesus Seminar

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    Barnett, Paul

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    Jesus Seminar

    "The Jesus Seminar is a group of mostly US scholars who began meeting 1985 under the leadership of Dr Robert Funk. Their initial interest was on 'What did Jesus really say ?' which they answered in a book called The Five Gospels (1993). By colour coding sayings of Jesus from 'red' (authentic) through pink and grey to black (inauthentic) the Seminar believes it is getting close to the 'real' Jesus. The JS believes a radical and new Jesus, the 'forgotten' Jesus is emerging from its researches into the text of the gospels."
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    Blomberg, Craig L.

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    The Seventy-Four "Scholars": Who Does the Jesus Seminar Really Speak For?

    "A major new work of scholarship is raising eyebrows in many quarters: The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? This is the product of six years of extensive consultation by a group of scholars known as the Jesus Seminar...Has there been some revolutionary new find that seriously discredits Christianity? No, Not at all. The truth is that the JS is an anachronism -- a throwback to nineteenth-century quests for the historical Jesus, and not even representative of mainstream contemporary New Testament scholarship."
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    Bock, Darrell L.

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    The Jesus Seminar and the Public: Another Take

    "The Seminar has a rather minimal Jesus that many critics do not see as a genuine reflection of the historical Jesus. This is why the Seminar did not catch on with many scholars in historical Jesus studies...Robert Miller’s piece on the Jesus Seminar is a revealing glimpse of how someone from inside the Seminar sees the Seminar’s work. Two goals of the Seminar are primary for him: (1) to find out what critical historiography can say about the historical Jesus, and (2) to communicate responsibly the results of our scholarly work to the public...But such aims in themselves do not mean that a significant contribution to scholarly discussion has taken place, no matter how honest or sincere the effort has been in aiming at its target."
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    Boyd, Gregory A.

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    Jesus and Liberal New Testament Scholarship

    "[L]iberal scholars who are now trying to rewrite early Church history...are, in effect, asking us to believe that the book of Acts, as well as the Gospels (to say nothing of the apostle Paul) are all fundamentally incorrect in how they viewed Jesus and his earliest disciples. Despite all the evidence which supports their reliability, we are to believe that they are, in fact, altogether untrustworthy. What we are to trust is certain scholars ability to locate the 'real' Jesus behind all of this myth...While the liberals' accounts of who Jesus was and what he did might be initially compelling to many ordinary readers, its appeal is quickly lost once you gather all the facts."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: Presuppositions and Pretensions of the Jesus Seminar

    "In this first part of a two-part article, the presuppositions and pretentions of the Jesus Seminar are exposited and assessed. It is found that the principal presuppositions of (i) scientific naturalism, (ii) the primacy of the apocryphal gospels, and (iii) the necessity of a politically correct Jesus are unjustified and issue in a distorted portrait of the historical Jesus. Although the Jesus Seminar makes a pretention of speaking for scholarship on the quest of the historical Jesus, it is shown that in fact it is a small body of critics in pursuit of a cultural agenda."
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    Evans, C. Stephen

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    Can the New Jesus Save Us?

    "At some point, a third quest for the historical Jesus was inevitable. What is surprising about the newest quest is partly the sheer number of publications it has generated; a project that not many years ago seemed moribund is suddenly pulsing with life...The Jesus Seminar clearly has played a central role in taking this display of scholarly energy into the public arena. In 1985, a group of around 30 scholars formed this group 'to renew the quest of the historical Jesus and to report the results of its research to more than a handful of biblical scholars.'...Now numbering around 200 members, the Jesus Seminar has been spectacularly successful in hitting the front page of newspapers and the covers of magazines with its unorthodox conclusions — not to mention the provocatively titled best-seller The Five Gospels, where the seminar’s methods and results are presented in detail."
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    Hays, Richard B.

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    The Corrected Jesus

    "The critical study of the historical Jesus is an important task-perhaps important for reasons theological as well as historical-but The Five Gospels does not advance that task significantly, nor does it represent a fair picture of the current state of research on this problem. Some of its purported revelations are old news, and many of its novel claims are at best dubious."
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    Kee, Howard Clark

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    A Century of Quests for the Culturally Compatible Jesus

    "The Jesus Seminar has been receiving nationwide publicity, culminating in the recent publication of books by its two leaders, Robert Funk and Dominic Crossan,1 and the popular press has hailed its approach as innovative and academically significant. Despite all this, these reconstructions of Jesus have clear antecedents, both in strategy and substance, in studies that have appeared over the past hundred years. Like the earlier analyses of the Jesus traditions, the conclusions reached by these scholars are inherent in the presuppositions and methods they have chosen to adopt from the outset...In order to evaluate the work of Funk and Crossan (and others using similar methods), it is essential first to examine the methods and aims of some of these precursors."
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    Pearson, Birger A.

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    The Gospel According to the Jesus Seminar

    "In what follows I shall assess the work of the Jesus Seminar and its results as published in The Five Gospels. This will be done with reference to the Seminar's statements in the Introduction, in the commentary to individual pericopes, and in some of the 'cameo essays.' Limitations of space preclude a complete discussion of all of the evidence, but the items chosen for discussion should provide enough of a sample to arrive at a critical assessment and some concluding observations. This discussion will proceed under four headings, considering 1) problems of method, 2) historical premises, 3) examples of mistranslation in 'the Scholars Version,' and 4) problems of interpretation of the 18% of the sayings tradition assigned by the Jesus Seminar to the historical Jesus."
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    Wright, N.T.

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    Five Gospels But No Gospel: Jesus and the Seminar

    "So what is the Jesus Seminar up to, and what should be think about it? It has now completed many years of detailed and painstaking work, and, though it may well all deserve discussing, there is no space here to go into its many products, with all their presuppositions, methods, decisions, and results. I have, in any case, written about all that elsewhere. I want in this essay to concentrate on The Five Gospels, the book towards which all else was preliminary."