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THE JESUS SEMINAR AND HIGHER CRITICISM By Glenn Giles December, 2009 RADICAL.

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1 THE JESUS SEMINAR AND HIGHER CRITICISM By Glenn Giles December, 2009 RADICAL

2 BIBLICAL CRITICISM: What is it? LOWER CRITICISM = TEXTUAL CRIT. LOWER CRITICISM = TEXTUAL CRIT. HIGHER CRITICISM = LITERARY ANALYSIS DEALING WITH AUTHORSHIP, DATE, AND LITERARY COMPOSITION HIGHER CRITICISM = LITERARY ANALYSIS DEALING WITH AUTHORSHIP, DATE, AND LITERARY COMPOSITION TYPES OF HIGHER CRITICISM: TYPES OF HIGHER CRITICISM: 1. SOURCE 2. FORM 3. REDACTION 4. NARRATIVE 5. RHETORICAL 6. SOCIO-HISTORICAL

3 JESUS SEMINAR Is an example of RADICAL higher criticism, criticism that is highly skeptical of the historical accuracy and authenticity of the Bible. Not all higher criticism is “radical” Is an example of RADICAL higher criticism, criticism that is highly skeptical of the historical accuracy and authenticity of the Bible. Not all higher criticism is “radical” Most scholars who engage in higher criticism today do not go to the extremes of the Jesus Seminar in its findings and presuppositions Most scholars who engage in higher criticism today do not go to the extremes of the Jesus Seminar in its findings and presuppositions

4 THE JESUS SEMINAR SET UP UNDER THE “AUSPICES” OF ROBERT FUNK’S WESTAR INSTITUTE IN SONOMA, CA IN 1985 SET UP UNDER THE “AUSPICES” OF ROBERT FUNK’S WESTAR INSTITUTE IN SONOMA, CA IN 1985 SCHOLARS (FELLOWS) NUMBER AROUND 200 WITH ONLY ABOUT 40 ACTUALLY WRITING, MEETING REGULARLY, AND VOTING SCHOLARS (FELLOWS) NUMBER AROUND 200 WITH ONLY ABOUT 40 ACTUALLY WRITING, MEETING REGULARLY, AND VOTING THE SEMINAR WAS CO-CHAIRED BY ROBERT FUNK (FORMER PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA, NOW DECEASED) AND JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN OF DEPAUL UNIVERSITY THE SEMINAR WAS CO-CHAIRED BY ROBERT FUNK (FORMER PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA, NOW DECEASED) AND JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN OF DEPAUL UNIVERSITY

5 PROJECTS OF THE WESTAR INSTITUTE The Jesus Seminar (finding the authentic words and deeds of Jesus) The Jesus Seminar (finding the authentic words and deeds of Jesus) The Paul Seminar (study of the authenticity and integrity of the Pauline letters) The Paul Seminar (study of the authenticity and integrity of the Pauline letters) The Canon Seminar (debating which early Christian works canonical and non-canonical should be in the New Testament) The Canon Seminar (debating which early Christian works canonical and non-canonical should be in the New Testament) Acts Seminar (finding the historical authenticity of the Acts of the Apostles) Acts Seminar (finding the historical authenticity of the Acts of the Apostles)

6 THE JESUS SEMINAR REPRESENTATION Represents the radical left fringe of biblical criticism. Represents the radical left fringe of biblical criticism. Mostly doctoral graduates of schools who tend to practice a more radical form of higher criticism. Mostly doctoral graduates of schools who tend to practice a more radical form of higher criticism. These schools include: Harvard, Claremont, Vanderbilt, Chicago, Union Theological Seminary These schools include: Harvard, Claremont, Vanderbilt, Chicago, Union Theological Seminary Luke Johnson states that it does not, “represent anything like a consensus view of scholars working in the New Testament, but only the views of a group that has been—for all its protestations of diversity—self- selected on the basis of prior agreement concerning the appropriate goals and methods for studying the Gospels and the figure of Jesus” (The Real Jesus, 2) Luke Johnson states that it does not, “represent anything like a consensus view of scholars working in the New Testament, but only the views of a group that has been—for all its protestations of diversity—self- selected on the basis of prior agreement concerning the appropriate goals and methods for studying the Gospels and the figure of Jesus” (The Real Jesus, 2)

7 THE JESUS SEMINAR STATED AGGENDA: “TO DISCOVER AND REPORT A SCHOLARLY CONSENSUS ON THE HISTORICAL AUTHENTICITY OF THE SAYINGS AND EVENTS ATTRIBUTED TO JESUS IN THE GOSPEL” (www.westarinstitute.org) “TO DISCOVER AND REPORT A SCHOLARLY CONSENSUS ON THE HISTORICAL AUTHENTICITY OF THE SAYINGS AND EVENTS ATTRIBUTED TO JESUS IN THE GOSPEL” (www.westarinstitute.org) TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC THROUGH THE MEDIA TO HELP THE “MODERN INQUIRER LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE IMAGINED WORLD AND THE ‘REAL WORLD’ OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE” WITH RESPECT TO JESUS (The Five Gospels (5G), 2) TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC THROUGH THE MEDIA TO HELP THE “MODERN INQUIRER LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE IMAGINED WORLD AND THE ‘REAL WORLD’ OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE” WITH RESPECT TO JESUS (The Five Gospels (5G), 2)

8 JESUS SEMINAR AND THE “REAL JESUS” ASSUMPTION “To know the truth about Jesus, the real Jesus, one had to find the Jesus of history. The refuge offered by the cloistered precincts of faith gradually became a battered and beleaguered position. In the wake of the Enlightenment, biblical scholars rose to the challenge and launched a tumultuous search for the Jesus behind the Christian façade of the Christ” 5G, 40 “To know the truth about Jesus, the real Jesus, one had to find the Jesus of history. The refuge offered by the cloistered precincts of faith gradually became a battered and beleaguered position. In the wake of the Enlightenment, biblical scholars rose to the challenge and launched a tumultuous search for the Jesus behind the Christian façade of the Christ” 5G, 40 The real Jesus has been covered up by the church. Now these scholars are going to free him from the faith captivity. The real Jesus has been covered up by the church. Now these scholars are going to free him from the faith captivity.

9 JESUS SEMINAR “FINDINGS” “Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him” 5G, 5. “Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him” 5G, 5. Results published in The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus Results published in The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus For an analysis of his authentic acts, see The Jesus Seminar’s The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. For an analysis of his authentic acts, see The Jesus Seminar’s The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus.

10 JESUS SEMINAR PROCEDURE Scholars apply their methodology and then vote with colored beads on the authenticity of each word attributed to Jesus by the gospel writers Scholars apply their methodology and then vote with colored beads on the authenticity of each word attributed to Jesus by the gospel writers The gospels evaluated include The gospels evaluated include The 4 Canonical Gospels and The Gospel of Thomas Hence the title of the book: The Five Gospels

11 COLORED BEAD VOTING PROCEDURE AND OPTION 1 Red: Jesus undoubtedly said this or something very like it Red: Jesus undoubtedly said this or something very like it Pink: Jesus probably said something like this. Pink: Jesus probably said something like this. Gray: Jesus did not say this, but the ideas contained in it are close to his own Gray: Jesus did not say this, but the ideas contained in it are close to his own Black: Jesus did not day this; it represents the perspective or content of a later or different tradition Black: Jesus did not day this; it represents the perspective or content of a later or different tradition

12 VOTING OPTION 2 Red: I would include this item unequivocally in the database for determining who Jesus was Red: I would include this item unequivocally in the database for determining who Jesus was Pink: I would include this item with reservations (or modifications) in the database Pink: I would include this item with reservations (or modifications) in the database Gray: I would not include this item in the database, but I might make use of some of the content in determining who Jesus was Gray: I would not include this item in the database, but I might make use of some of the content in determining who Jesus was Black: I would not include this item in the primary database. Black: I would not include this item in the primary database.

13 VOTING OPTION 3 Red: That’s Jesus! Red: That’s Jesus! Pink: Sure sounds like Jesus Pink: Sure sounds like Jesus Gray: Well, maybe Gray: Well, maybe Black: There’s been some mistake. Black: There’s been some mistake.

14 CALCULATING THE VOTES: “WEIGHTED AVERAGE” Red gets 3 points Pink gets 2 points Gray gets 1 point Black gets 0 points Points were added up and then divided by the number of votes and converted to a percentage vote based on a one point scale

15 THE BREAKDOWN OF THE ONE POINT SCALE Red:.7501 and up Red:.7501 and up Pink: Pink: Gray: Gray: Black: Black:

16 AN EXAMPLE: THE LORD’S PRAYER: Luke 11:2-4 “When you pray, you should say: Father, your name be revered. Impose your imperial rule. Provide us with the bread we need day by day Forgive our sins, since we too forgive everyone in debt to us And please don’t subject us to test after test. (5G, 325, cf. Mt. version, 148)

17 THE HISTORY OF THE QUESTS FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS The First Quest: The First Quest: Began with Hermann Samuel Reimarus: Fragments by an Anonymous Writer (1778). Pub. by Lessing. Began with Hermann Samuel Reimarus: Fragments by an Anonymous Writer (1778). Pub. by Lessing. D. F. Strauss, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835). Introduced the concept of “myth” is “anything legendary or supernatural” (5G, 3). D. F. Strauss, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835). Introduced the concept of “myth” is “anything legendary or supernatural” (5G, 3). Thomas Jefferson ( ): The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (first published, 1904). He took scissors and paste to the Gospels, cutting out the supernatural elements. Thomas Jefferson ( ): The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (first published, 1904). He took scissors and paste to the Gospels, cutting out the supernatural elements. Separation of the Christ of Faith from the Historical Jesus was thus was under way. Who is the real historical Jesus? What should be cut out of the gospels to find him? Separation of the Christ of Faith from the Historical Jesus was thus was under way. Who is the real historical Jesus? What should be cut out of the gospels to find him?

18 THE FIRST QUEST CONTINUED Many Jesuses are proposed as the true historical Jesus from Reimarus to Wrede and Schweitzer. Many Jesuses are proposed as the true historical Jesus from Reimarus to Wrede and Schweitzer. William Wrede, The Messianic Secret in Mark (1901). Thorough-going skeptic who claimed we could know very little about the Historical Jesus. Jesus was only a “Galilean teacher or prophet who did some striking things and was eventually executed” (N. T Wright, Jesus and the victory of God, 20) William Wrede, The Messianic Secret in Mark (1901). Thorough-going skeptic who claimed we could know very little about the Historical Jesus. Jesus was only a “Galilean teacher or prophet who did some striking things and was eventually executed” (N. T Wright, Jesus and the victory of God, 20)

19 FIRST QUEST CONCLUDED Albert Schweitzer’s Quest for the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede German ed marked the end of the first quest. He discusses the various Jesuses found during the first quest. Albert Schweitzer’s Quest for the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede German ed marked the end of the first quest. He discusses the various Jesuses found during the first quest. He saw a thoroughly eschatological Jesus in the gospels depicting a Jesus who proclaimed the kingdom of God but died disappointedly when that eschatological kingdom did not come. Hence Jesus, for him, was merely a Jewish apocalyptic prophet. He saw a thoroughly eschatological Jesus in the gospels depicting a Jesus who proclaimed the kingdom of God but died disappointedly when that eschatological kingdom did not come. Hence Jesus, for him, was merely a Jewish apocalyptic prophet.

20 THE “NO QUEST” PERIOD Historical Jesus not considered important Historical Jesus not considered important Focus is on the Christ of Faith Focus is on the Christ of Faith Barth and Bultmann and Neo-orthodoxy are key figures. Faith is not based in history. Barth and Bultmann and Neo-orthodoxy are key figures. Faith is not based in history. Bultmann felt very little could be known about the historical Jesus and that finding him was not important Bultmann felt very little could be known about the historical Jesus and that finding him was not important History has nothing to do with faith. History has nothing to do with faith.

21 THE NEW OR SECOND QUEST Second Quest began when Bultmann’s student Ernst Kasemann proposed a “New Quest” for the historical Jesus Second Quest began when Bultmann’s student Ernst Kasemann proposed a “New Quest” for the historical Jesus. Felt that history did have something to do with faith so sought again to find the historical Jesus Felt that history did have something to do with faith so sought again to find the historical Jesus Added very little to what the first quest found as it used similar principles and presuppositions. Added very little to what the first quest found as it used similar principles and presuppositions. It remained in the shackles of Form Criticism which was designed “to discover the early church, not Jesus himself” (N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 24) It remained in the shackles of Form Criticism which was designed “to discover the early church, not Jesus himself” (N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 24)

22 THE THIRD QUEST 1980-PRESENT Many Scholars advance plausible arguments for accepting the historical reliability of Mt., Mk, and Lk Many Scholars advance plausible arguments for accepting the historical reliability of Mt., Mk, and Lk Attempt to “do history seriously”, no home-made criteria, Form Criticism is being bypassed. Using method of “hypothesis and verification”. Narratives not small units of material are investigated. Not as concerned about “reconstruction of traditions” which dissects the gospels Attempt to “do history seriously”, no home-made criteria, Form Criticism is being bypassed. Using method of “hypothesis and verification”. Narratives not small units of material are investigated. Not as concerned about “reconstruction of traditions” which dissects the gospels Places Jesus within first century Judaism, allows him to be Jewish Places Jesus within first century Judaism, allows him to be Jewish Has a positive approach to the historicity of the gospels Has a positive approach to the historicity of the gospels But still falls short of the position of orthodox theologians and Evangelicals as it does not affirm Jesus as “wholly man and wholly God” on the basis of historical research. (Craig Blomberg, Jesus Under Fire, 27-28) But still falls short of the position of orthodox theologians and Evangelicals as it does not affirm Jesus as “wholly man and wholly God” on the basis of historical research. (Craig Blomberg, Jesus Under Fire, 27-28)

23 THE JESUS SEMINAR 1985 TO PRESENT Jesus Seminar seems to best fit into the Second Quest, I.e., it is a “Revived” New or Second Quest. Jesus Seminar seems to best fit into the Second Quest, I.e., it is a “Revived” New or Second Quest. It is different from the Third Quest in that it has a very negative view of historicity of the gospel’s presentation of Jesus It is different from the Third Quest in that it has a very negative view of historicity of the gospel’s presentation of Jesus It drinks heavily from the post-Bultmannian tradition taking on that tradition’s critical and Form Critical assumptions It drinks heavily from the post-Bultmannian tradition taking on that tradition’s critical and Form Critical assumptions

24 THREE DOMINANT VIEWS OF THE HISTORICAL JESUS FOUND IN THE SECOND QUEST Jesus the Social Revolutionary, a countercultural social prophet who resocialized people, a social critic, a culture-denying Jewish Cynic peasant. He sought ways to better society. Jesus the Social Revolutionary, a countercultural social prophet who resocialized people, a social critic, a culture-denying Jewish Cynic peasant. He sought ways to better society. Jesus the Religious Genius, one who prayed, fasted, had visions, a holy man, sacred person, a spirit person with an imminent eschatological enthusiast with a belief in the coming of the Kingdom of God. One who warned of judgment, ethics, belief in God. But one who is not relevant for us today. Jesus the Religious Genius, one who prayed, fasted, had visions, a holy man, sacred person, a spirit person with an imminent eschatological enthusiast with a belief in the coming of the Kingdom of God. One who warned of judgment, ethics, belief in God. But one who is not relevant for us today. Jesus the Sage Jesus the Sage This last one is the stance of the Jesus Seminar This last one is the stance of the Jesus Seminar (These three views come from Scot McKnight in Jesus Under Fire, 56-57)

25 JESUS SEMINAR WORLDVIEW ROOTS Enlightenment, Age of Reason, Everything can be explained through natural scientific means. All so-called miracles have a natural cause or were made up by people as they cannot happen naturally Enlightenment, Age of Reason, Everything can be explained through natural scientific means. All so-called miracles have a natural cause or were made up by people as they cannot happen naturally Deism: Dominant religion of the day. A religion of the clockwork universe Deism: Dominant religion of the day. A religion of the clockwork universe God initially created the world as a First Cause God initially created the world as a First Cause Then left it to run on its own under natural law Then left it to run on its own under natural law No supernatural transcendent intervention is possible: I.e., no supernatural working in history. No incarnation possible. No supernatural transcendent intervention is possible: I.e., no supernatural working in history. No incarnation possible. Jesus Seminar operates from an naturalistic WV Jesus Seminar operates from an naturalistic WV

26 JESUS SEMINAR STATEMENT “The Christ of creed and dogma, who had been firmly in place in the Middle Ages, can no longer command the assent of those who have seen the heavens through Galileo’s telescope. The old deities and demons were swept from the skies by that remarkable glass. Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo have dismantled the mythological abodes of the gods and Satan and bequeathed us secular heavens” 5G, 2. “The Christ of creed and dogma, who had been firmly in place in the Middle Ages, can no longer command the assent of those who have seen the heavens through Galileo’s telescope. The old deities and demons were swept from the skies by that remarkable glass. Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo have dismantled the mythological abodes of the gods and Satan and bequeathed us secular heavens” 5G, 2.

27 JESUS SEMINAR WV CONTINUED To be historical, to be authentic, everything must pass through this presuppositional scientific naturalistic sieve To be historical, to be authentic, everything must pass through this presuppositional scientific naturalistic sieve No walking on water No walking on water No miraculous catch of fish No miraculous catch of fish No transfiguration No transfiguration No resurrection No resurrection No resurrection appearances No resurrection appearances

28 JESUS SEMINAR WV CONT. No postmortem statements or predictions of events are real No postmortem statements or predictions of events are real Funk and Hoover and the Jesus Seminar state: Funk and Hoover and the Jesus Seminar state: “Whenever scholars detect detailed knowledge of postmortem events in sayings and parables attribute to Jesus, they are inclined to the view that the formulation of such sayings took place after the fact”. 5G, 25. E.g., Mk. 13:5-13 and Jesus’ detailed prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem is colored black. (5G, )

29 JESUS SEMINAR ASSUMPTIONS: #1: A NATURALISTIC WORLD VIEW God’s working in history supernaturally is locked out God’s working in history supernaturally is locked out The terms “real” and “historical” have been loaded with meaning that excludes the supernatural as part of “reality” or true “history” The terms “real” and “historical” have been loaded with meaning that excludes the supernatural as part of “reality” or true “history” Hence, if the “real” “historical” Jesus is supernatural and incarnational, the Jesus Seminar would be a priori unable to find him. Hence, if the “real” “historical” Jesus is supernatural and incarnational, the Jesus Seminar would be a priori unable to find him. Problem: There are well documented contemporary works on the validity of being open to the supernatural. Hence this narrow worldview should be questioned from the start (see p. 8 note 56 of my paper). Problem: There are well documented contemporary works on the validity of being open to the supernatural. Hence this narrow worldview should be questioned from the start (see p. 8 note 56 of my paper).

30 ASSUMPTION #2: THE CHRIST OF FAITH IS NOT THE JESUS OF HISTORY Seminar Statements: Seminar Statements: “The authors of traditional Christian faith are Peter and Paul” The Acts of Jesus, 534. “The authors of traditional Christian faith are Peter and Paul” The Acts of Jesus, 534. “The church appears to smother the historical Jesus by superimposing this heavenly figure on him in the creed: Jesus is displaced by the Christ, as the so-called Apostle’s Creed makes evident” 5G, 7 “The church appears to smother the historical Jesus by superimposing this heavenly figure on him in the creed: Jesus is displaced by the Christ, as the so-called Apostle’s Creed makes evident” 5G, 7

31 Sage

32 Walks On Water Transfiguration Miraculous Catching of Fish Calming of the Storm Supernatural Healing of Blind and Lame Virgin Birth Jesus’ Predictions of the Future Jesus’ Resurrection Jesus as the Son of God Jesus as God

33 Sage Walks On Water Transfiguration Miraculous Catching of Fish Calming of the Storm Supernatural Healing of Blind and Lame Virgin Birth Jesus’ Predictions of the Future Jesus’ Resurrection Jesus as the Son of God Jesus as God

34 J S Rules for Finding Jesus’ Words: Find the creations of the Gospel writers and early Christians and delete them Evangelists (the gospel writers) group sayings and parables in clusters and complexes that did not originate with Jesus. Evangelists (the gospel writers) group sayings and parables in clusters and complexes that did not originate with Jesus. E.g., the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 are said not to have been originally grouped by Jesus as they are now. Rather Matthew grouped them and created a setting for them (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount). E.g., the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 are said not to have been originally grouped by Jesus as they are now. Rather Matthew grouped them and created a setting for them (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount).

35 J S RULES: FINDING GOSPEL WRITER’S CREATIONS Evangelists relocate sayings and parables or invent new narrative contexts for them Evangelists relocate sayings and parables or invent new narrative contexts for them E.g., Mark 2:23-28: Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Here the disciples are criticized about harvesting grain in the Sabbath. The Seminar believes that the criticism was originally directed toward Jesus and that only after Jesus’ death would his disciples be criticized. Hence the Mark puts this in a new context. E.g., Mark 2:23-28: Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Here the disciples are criticized about harvesting grain in the Sabbath. The Seminar believes that the criticism was originally directed toward Jesus and that only after Jesus’ death would his disciples be criticized. Hence the Mark puts this in a new context. In addition, Mark has Jesus quote Scripture as a “proof text” to “legitimate” the belief that Jesus had authority over the Sabbath. J S says, “Jesus’ followers were inclined to adopt and adapt his words to their own needs.” (5G, 21) In addition, Mark has Jesus quote Scripture as a “proof text” to “legitimate” the belief that Jesus had authority over the Sabbath. J S says, “Jesus’ followers were inclined to adopt and adapt his words to their own needs.” (5G, 21)

36 J S RULES: FINDING GOSPEL WRITER’S CREATIONS Evang. expand sayings or parables or provide them with an interpretative overlay Evang. expand sayings or parables or provide them with an interpretative overlay Evang. revise or edit sayings to make them conform to their own individual language, style, or viewpoint Evang. revise or edit sayings to make them conform to their own individual language, style, or viewpoint E.g., Mark 2:19-20 and the issue of fasting. E.g., Mark 2:19-20 and the issue of fasting. The groom’s friends can’t fast while the groom is present, can they?... But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” The groom’s friends can’t fast while the groom is present, can they?... But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” This black addition “justifies the Christian renewal of the Jewish practice of fasting even though Jesus and his disciples did not fast” (5G, 22) This black addition “justifies the Christian renewal of the Jewish practice of fasting even though Jesus and his disciples did not fast” (5G, 22)

37 J S Rules: Finding Gospel Writer’s Creations Evangelists attribute their own statements to Jesus Evangelists attribute their own statements to Jesus E.g., Mark 1:15. Mark summarizes here “what he takes to be Jesus’ proclaimation” (5G, 23) The following is in Mark’s words, not Jesus’: “The time is up: God’s imperial rule is closing in. Change your ways, and put your trust in the good news.” For J S, Jesus was not an apocalyptic prophet E.g., Mark 1:15. Mark summarizes here “what he takes to be Jesus’ proclaimation” (5G, 23) The following is in Mark’s words, not Jesus’: “The time is up: God’s imperial rule is closing in. Change your ways, and put your trust in the good news.” For J S, Jesus was not an apocalyptic prophet Hard sayings are softened and adapted to daily living situations Hard sayings are softened and adapted to daily living situations E.g., Matt. 20:16, “The last will be first and the first last” E.g., Matt. 20:16, “The last will be first and the first last” is softened in Mark 10:31 to “Many of the first will be last, and of the last many will be first.”

38 J S Rules: Finding Gospel Writer’s Creations Words borrowed from common lore or Greek Scriptures are put on the lips of Jesus. He did not quote from the OT as that was put on his lips later by the Christians. So all quotes by Jesus of the OT are suspect. Words borrowed from common lore or Greek Scriptures are put on the lips of Jesus. He did not quote from the OT as that was put on his lips later by the Christians. So all quotes by Jesus of the OT are suspect. E.g., Matt. 9:13 and Jesus’ quote of Hosea, “Go and learn what this means, ‘It’s mercy I desire instead of sacrifice’”. E.g., Matt. 9:13 and Jesus’ quote of Hosea, “Go and learn what this means, ‘It’s mercy I desire instead of sacrifice’”. Sayings and parables expressed in “Christian” language are the creation of the evang. or Christian predecessors Sayings and parables expressed in “Christian” language are the creation of the evang. or Christian predecessors E.g., Mark 9:31 “The son of Adam is being turned over to his enemies, and they will end up killing him. And three days afterhe is killed he will rise!” reflects Paul’s oral Christian tradition stated in I Cor. 15:3-5, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and was buried, and rose up on the third day according to the scriptures”. The Mark saying thus originated with early Christians or Paul and not Jesus. E.g., Mark 9:31 “The son of Adam is being turned over to his enemies, and they will end up killing him. And three days afterhe is killed he will rise!” reflects Paul’s oral Christian tradition stated in I Cor. 15:3-5, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and was buried, and rose up on the third day according to the scriptures”. The Mark saying thus originated with early Christians or Paul and not Jesus.

39 J S Rules: Finding Gospel Writer’s Creations The Christian community develops apologetic statements to defend its claims and sometimes attributes such statements to Jesus. The Christians made Jesus “affirm what they themselves had come to believe” (5G, 24) The Christian community develops apologetic statements to defend its claims and sometimes attributes such statements to Jesus. The Christians made Jesus “affirm what they themselves had come to believe” (5G, 24) E.g., Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ and Jesus says, E.g., Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ and Jesus says, You are to be congratulated, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father who is in heaven” You are to be congratulated, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father who is in heaven” Sayings and narratives that reflect knowledge of events that took place after Jesus’ death are the creation of the evang. or oral tradition. Sayings and narratives that reflect knowledge of events that took place after Jesus’ death are the creation of the evang. or oral tradition. E.g., the little apocalypse of Mark 13:5-37 which reflects knowledge of the later Roman siege of Jerusalem in AD. E.g., the little apocalypse of Mark 13:5-37 which reflects knowledge of the later Roman siege of Jerusalem in AD.

40 Results of the Assumption that the Christ of Faith is not the Historical Jesus: Jesus could not have foretold things that happened after his death, so those words are axed Jesus could not have foretold things that happened after his death, so those words are axed Anything that looks like the Christ of Faith and creed of the early church is removed Anything that looks like the Christ of Faith and creed of the early church is removed Anything on the lips of Jesus that would defend the early Christian belief is cut out Anything on the lips of Jesus that would defend the early Christian belief is cut out Anything that looks like an apologetic or view of the particular evang. is not authentic. Anything that looks like an apologetic or view of the particular evang. is not authentic. Anything supernatural about Jesus is removed Anything supernatural about Jesus is removed Jesus did not resurrect from the dead. Jesus did not resurrect from the dead.

41 The Implausibility of this Assumption Without a resurrection showing Jesus’ power over death there is not a necessary and sufficient cause for the birth of Christianity Without a resurrection showing Jesus’ power over death there is not a necessary and sufficient cause for the birth of Christianity Paul’s early oral tradition testimony about Jesus resurrection contradicts this (I Cor. 15:3-5). Jesus is said to have resurrected and thus the Jesus of History is the Christ of Faith. Paul’s early oral tradition testimony about Jesus resurrection contradicts this (I Cor. 15:3-5). Jesus is said to have resurrected and thus the Jesus of History is the Christ of Faith. There is insufficient time for the embellishment of a Christ of Faith in only years from his death to the writing of the gospels. Note the following statement by Craig: There is insufficient time for the embellishment of a Christ of Faith in only years from his death to the writing of the gospels. Note the following statement by Craig:

42 Implausibility Continued: “... the temporal and geographical distance between the events and the accounts is insufficient to allow for such extensive development... even two generations are too short a span to allow the mythical tendency to prevail over the hard historic core of oral tradition” (Craig, Jesus Under Fire, 154, based on a study in classical historiography on the writings of Herodotus by A. N. Sherwin-White which tested the “tempo of myth-making”) “... the temporal and geographical distance between the events and the accounts is insufficient to allow for such extensive development... even two generations are too short a span to allow the mythical tendency to prevail over the hard historic core of oral tradition” (Craig, Jesus Under Fire, 154, based on a study in classical historiography on the writings of Herodotus by A. N. Sherwin-White which tested the “tempo of myth-making”) My personal experience with this view point in Julian Hills’ class, Marquette Univ. I could not divorce history from faith and be real. My faith would then indeed be an imaginative construct. My personal experience with this view point in Julian Hills’ class, Marquette Univ. I could not divorce history from faith and be real. My faith would then indeed be an imaginative construct.

43 Implausibility Continued: Living eye-witnesses would have functioned as a strong control against the development of a Christ of Faith in contrast to a mere human Jesus of Nazareth. Living eye-witnesses would have functioned as a strong control against the development of a Christ of Faith in contrast to a mere human Jesus of Nazareth. A proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection would have fallen on deaf ears had it not happened because (1) the Jews believed in a resurrection at the end of history not the middle and (2) their belief in the resurrection was a “general” one involving all people not an “isolated individual”. A proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection would have fallen on deaf ears had it not happened because (1) the Jews believed in a resurrection at the end of history not the middle and (2) their belief in the resurrection was a “general” one involving all people not an “isolated individual”. No evidence that the Apostles or the other followers of Jesus would have made the resurrection up. They were amazed and dumbfounded at it! No evidence that the Apostles or the other followers of Jesus would have made the resurrection up. They were amazed and dumbfounded at it! No evidence in early Christian lit. that the early church created the Christ of Faith. Rather they depended on eyewitnesses. (Richard Bauckman, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses:The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), ). No evidence in early Christian lit. that the early church created the Christ of Faith. Rather they depended on eyewitnesses. (Richard Bauckman, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses:The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), ).

44 Assumption #3: Jesus is a Laconic Sage, a Wise Ancient Near-East Teacher “The Jesus of the gospels is an imaginative theological construct, into which has been woven traces of that enigmatic sage from Nazareth—traces that cry out for recognition and liberation from the firm grip of those whose faith overpowered their memories. The search for the authentic words of Jesus is a search for the forgotten Jesus” (5G, 4) “The Jesus of the gospels is an imaginative theological construct, into which has been woven traces of that enigmatic sage from Nazareth—traces that cry out for recognition and liberation from the firm grip of those whose faith overpowered their memories. The search for the authentic words of Jesus is a search for the forgotten Jesus” (5G, 4) Thus, the search for the authentic words of Jesus is a search for the elements of Jesus the sage, which is presupposed to be the real Jesus. Thus, the search for the authentic words of Jesus is a search for the elements of Jesus the sage, which is presupposed to be the real Jesus.

45 So to find Jesus, one searches for the Sage. He is: Slow to speech Slow to speech A person who does not provoke encounters A person who does not provoke encounters Self-effacing, modest, unostentatious, not vain glorious Self-effacing, modest, unostentatious, not vain glorious Rules of the Jesus Seminar: Rules of the Jesus Seminar: 1. Jesus does not as a rule initiate dialogue or debate, nor does he offer to cure people (e.g., Mk. 12:35-36: “How can the scholars claim that the Anointed is the son of David?”) 1. Jesus does not as a rule initiate dialogue or debate, nor does he offer to cure people (e.g., Mk. 12:35-36: “How can the scholars claim that the Anointed is the son of David?”) 2. Jesus rarely makes pronouncements or speaks about himself in the first person (i.e., the “I am” statements in John are black, e.g.,“I am the way, the truth, and...) 2. Jesus rarely makes pronouncements or speaks about himself in the first person (i.e., the “I am” statements in John are black, e.g.,“I am the way, the truth, and...) 3. Jesus makes no claim to be the Anointed Messiah (Mk. 14:62 is black, “Are you the Anointed...”, Jesus replied, “I am! And you shall see the Son of Adam sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of the sky!”) (Scholars version, 5G, 122)

46 Problems limiting Jesus to a Sage Many scholars dispute this claim. Even Jesus’ Seminar members disagree among themselves (Crossan says he is a Cynic) Many scholars dispute this claim. Even Jesus’ Seminar members disagree among themselves (Crossan says he is a Cynic) Jesus as a sage would not have been threatening to the Jews or the Romans. Thus no reason for him to be flogged or crucified (two events that the Jesus Seminar says are historical). Jesus as a sage would not have been threatening to the Jews or the Romans. Thus no reason for him to be flogged or crucified (two events that the Jesus Seminar says are historical). “... such a Jesus would never have been crucified, would never have drawn the fire that he did, would never have commanded the following that he did, and would never have created a movement that still shakes the world” (Scot McKnight, Jesus under Fire, 61) “... such a Jesus would never have been crucified, would never have drawn the fire that he did, would never have commanded the following that he did, and would never have created a movement that still shakes the world” (Scot McKnight, Jesus under Fire, 61) One must ignore all the other claims in the Gospels (and outside the gospels) about Jesus and who he was. One must ignore all the other claims in the Gospels (and outside the gospels) about Jesus and who he was.

47 #4 FORM CRITICAL RULES OF ORAL TRANSMISSION Rule 1: Oral memory best retains sayings and anecdotes that are short, provocative, memorable—and oft-repeated Rule 1: Oral memory best retains sayings and anecdotes that are short, provocative, memorable—and oft-repeated Rule 2: The most frequently recorded words of Jesus in the surviving gospels take the form of aphorisms (terse, concise, and elegantly formulations of truths or sentiments) and parables Rule 2: The most frequently recorded words of Jesus in the surviving gospels take the form of aphorisms (terse, concise, and elegantly formulations of truths or sentiments) and parables Rule 3: The earliest layer of the gospel tradition is made up of single aphorisms Rule 3: The earliest layer of the gospel tradition is made up of single aphorisms

48 RESULTS OF THESE RULES The Seminar rejected the following words as authentic because “there is nothing aphoristic, or memorable, about the words” (5G, 121) “Have you come out to take me with swords and clubs as though you were apprehending a rebel? I was with you in the temple area day after day teaching and you didn’t lift a hand against me. But the scriptures must come true!” Mk. 14:48-49 (Scholars Version, 5G, 121) “Have you come out to take me with swords and clubs as though you were apprehending a rebel? I was with you in the temple area day after day teaching and you didn’t lift a hand against me. But the scriptures must come true!” Mk. 14:48-49 (Scholars Version, 5G, 121)

49 FURTHER ORAL TRANSMISSION ASSUMPTION The Seminar sees early oral transmission of Jesus’ words as informal, uncontrolled, anonymous, non-individual but community derived, and without historical consciousness that would require them to “care about the distinction between the pre- and post-Easter Jesus” (i.e., there seems to be NO importance attached to the possibility of eyewitness control of the words of Jesus). (Bauckham, 245). This is in line with most radical form critics and their view of the fluidity and community of tradition (Bauckham, ) The Seminar sees early oral transmission of Jesus’ words as informal, uncontrolled, anonymous, non-individual but community derived, and without historical consciousness that would require them to “care about the distinction between the pre- and post-Easter Jesus” (i.e., there seems to be NO importance attached to the possibility of eyewitness control of the words of Jesus). (Bauckham, 245). This is in line with most radical form critics and their view of the fluidity and community of tradition (Bauckham, )

50 STORY TELLER LISCENSE ASSUMPTION OF ORAL TRANS. “We know that the evangelists not infrequently ascribed Christian words to Jesus—they made him talk like a Christian, when, in fact he was only the precursor of the movement that was to take him as its cultic hero... Story tellers in every age freely invent words for characters in their stories. This is the storyteller’s license... The evangelists functioned no differently than other storytellers...” (Emphasis mine, 5G, 29-30) “We know that the evangelists not infrequently ascribed Christian words to Jesus—they made him talk like a Christian, when, in fact he was only the precursor of the movement that was to take him as its cultic hero... Story tellers in every age freely invent words for characters in their stories. This is the storyteller’s license... The evangelists functioned no differently than other storytellers...” (Emphasis mine, 5G, 29-30) Really? Can you be so sure? Really? Can you be so sure?

51 ORAL TRANSMISSION CRITIQUE In first-century Jewish society, memorization was very important. Oral teaching was “controlled” and there was a desire for it to be accurate. (See Birger Gerhardsson, Memory and Manuscript, Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and Craig, Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels). In first-century Jewish society, memorization was very important. Oral teaching was “controlled” and there was a desire for it to be accurate. (See Birger Gerhardsson, Memory and Manuscript, Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and Craig, Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels). It was a “culture of memory” (Bock, Jesus Under Fire, 80) It was a “culture of memory” (Bock, Jesus Under Fire, 80) NT shows indeed there is a concern for history. E.g., Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 and Luke’s statement in Lk. 1:1-4 NT shows indeed there is a concern for history. E.g., Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 and Luke’s statement in Lk. 1:1-4 Living eyewitnesses, including the Apostles, would have functioned to preserve the accuracy of Jesus’ words. Living eyewitnesses, including the Apostles, would have functioned to preserve the accuracy of Jesus’ words. The time was too short between Jesus’ death and the writing of the gospels for the extensive development assumed The time was too short between Jesus’ death and the writing of the gospels for the extensive development assumed

52 THE JESUS OF HISTORY SO FAR Non-supernatural, no predictive words, no miracles Non-supernatural, no predictive words, no miracles Non-Christ of Faith, not Lord, not Son of God Non-Christ of Faith, not Lord, not Son of God Only a Sage Only a Sage Speaks only in parables and short, pithy, provocative, memorable, single aphorisms Speaks only in parables and short, pithy, provocative, memorable, single aphorisms Slow to speech, person of few words Slow to speech, person of few words Does not provoke encounters, does not initiate dialogue or debate Does not provoke encounters, does not initiate dialogue or debate Makes no claim to be the Messiah Makes no claim to be the Messiah Does not speak about himself in the first person Does not speak about himself in the first person

53 #5: CRITERIA OF DISSIMILARITY: HOW TO TELL JESUS’ DISTINCTIVE VOICE Different from common lore Different from common lore His sayings “cut against the social and religious grain” His sayings “cut against the social and religious grain” His sayings “surprise and shock”, they call for a “reversal of roles or frustrate ordinary, everyday expectations” His sayings “surprise and shock”, they call for a “reversal of roles or frustrate ordinary, everyday expectations” His sayings are characterized by “exaggeration, humor, and paradox” His sayings are characterized by “exaggeration, humor, and paradox” His images “are concrete and vivid, his sayings are... metaphorical and without explicit application” (5G, 30-32) His images “are concrete and vivid, his sayings are... metaphorical and without explicit application” (5G, 30-32)

54 PROBLEM WITH THIS CRITERIA It only can determine Jesus’ unique words and actions It only can determine Jesus’ unique words and actions Thus the real Jesus becomes defined only by his uniqueness. Many, if not much, of his real words and actions would then be excluded. Thus the real Jesus becomes defined only by his uniqueness. Many, if not much, of his real words and actions would then be excluded. Combined with the Christ of Faith exclusion, it forces one to make Jesus dissimilar with both the early church and his Jewish culture! Combined with the Christ of Faith exclusion, it forces one to make Jesus dissimilar with both the early church and his Jewish culture!

55 WITH THIS CRITERIA, JESUS BECOMES “a decidedly odd figure, totally detached from his cultural heritage and ideologically estranged from the movement he is responsible for founding... He becomes an eccentric if only that which makes him different is regarded as authentic. The criterion may help us understand where Jesus’ teaching is exceptional, but it can never give us the essential Jesus” (Bock, Jesus Under Fire, 91) “a decidedly odd figure, totally detached from his cultural heritage and ideologically estranged from the movement he is responsible for founding... He becomes an eccentric if only that which makes him different is regarded as authentic. The criterion may help us understand where Jesus’ teaching is exceptional, but it can never give us the essential Jesus” (Bock, Jesus Under Fire, 91)

56 #6: BURDEN OF PROOF REVERSAL: GOSPELS ARE ASSUMED TO BE GUILTY The Seminar requires that the words of Jesus reported in the gospels be “shown to be authentic” through the Seminar’s criteria instead of assuming them to be true until shown otherwise The Seminar requires that the words of Jesus reported in the gospels be “shown to be authentic” through the Seminar’s criteria instead of assuming them to be true until shown otherwise This is a reversal of the normal approach to history This is a reversal of the normal approach to history The gospels are assumed guilty from the start The gospels are assumed guilty from the start

57 THE SEMINAR AND NORMAL HISTORY “The current assumption is more nearly the opposite and indicates how far scholarship has come since Strauss: the gospels are now assumed to be narratives in which the memory of Jesus is embellished by mythic elements that express the church’s faith in him, and by plausible fictions that enhance the telling of the gospel story for first-century listeners who knew about divine men and miracles first hand. Supposedly historical elements in these narratives therefore must be demonstrated to be so. The Jesus Seminar has accordingly assumed the burden of proof...” (5G, 4-5) “The current assumption is more nearly the opposite and indicates how far scholarship has come since Strauss: the gospels are now assumed to be narratives in which the memory of Jesus is embellished by mythic elements that express the church’s faith in him, and by plausible fictions that enhance the telling of the gospel story for first-century listeners who knew about divine men and miracles first hand. Supposedly historical elements in these narratives therefore must be demonstrated to be so. The Jesus Seminar has accordingly assumed the burden of proof...” (5G, 4-5)

58 CRITIQUE OF REVERSAL It is not the normal way to do history It is not the normal way to do history “If we were to apply such standards to other documents, whole shelves of ancient history would have to be excluded” (Bock, 90) “If we were to apply such standards to other documents, whole shelves of ancient history would have to be excluded” (Bock, 90) “Guilty before innocent” stance is “against the grain” of contemporary historical and Biblical scholarship. (Robert Kurka, unpublished paper, “A Jesus We Have Never Known,” 10) “Guilty before innocent” stance is “against the grain” of contemporary historical and Biblical scholarship. (Robert Kurka, unpublished paper, “A Jesus We Have Never Known,” 10) It is based on the dubious assumption that the early church created the Christ of Faith It is based on the dubious assumption that the early church created the Christ of Faith

59 THE DUBIOUS PROCEEDURE The Seminar sets up highly debatable rules, assumptions, and criteria that find their already predetermined vision of Jesus. With all these criteria, how could they find any other Jesus? The Seminar sets up highly debatable rules, assumptions, and criteria that find their already predetermined vision of Jesus. With all these criteria, how could they find any other Jesus? The Seminar in the end violates its own final general rule which states, “Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you” (5G, 5) They indeed find a predetermined Jesus sage congenial to them. The Seminar in the end violates its own final general rule which states, “Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you” (5G, 5) They indeed find a predetermined Jesus sage congenial to them.

60 #7 THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF THOMAS ASSUMPTION Canonical boundaries rule: Canonical boundaries rule: The Seminar states, “Canonical boundaries are irrelevant in critical assessments of the various sources of information about Jesus” (5G, 35) The Seminar thus says that all surviving gospels should be included as sources cutting off at 325 when the “orthodox party solidified its hold on the Christian tradition and other wings of the Christian movement were choked off” (5G, 35.) The Seminar sets up the Gospel of Thomas as a valid source by constructing a hypothetical early edition of Thomas dated AD The Seminar Gospel Sources are understood as follows:

61

62 SEMINAR INCONSISTENCY It only considers for evaluation the Gospel of Thomas It only considers for evaluation the Gospel of Thomas It does mention the Egerton Gospel and the Secret Gospel of Mark but does not evaluate them much It does mention the Egerton Gospel and the Secret Gospel of Mark but does not evaluate them much It does not pay attention to the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary, or the other non-canonical gospels It does not pay attention to the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary, or the other non-canonical gospels

63 SEMINAR ASSUMPTION Excludes these other gospels seemingly because it assumes that “present knowledge of what Jesus said rests mostly on the evidence provided by “hypothetical Q, hypothetical L, hypothetical M, Mark and Thomas” (5G, 16) Excludes these other gospels seemingly because it assumes that “present knowledge of what Jesus said rests mostly on the evidence provided by “hypothetical Q, hypothetical L, hypothetical M, Mark and Thomas” (5G, 16) The extant Gospel of Thomas (dating in the late 2 nd century AD) has an earlier edition to be dated with Q around AD The extant Gospel of Thomas (dating in the late 2 nd century AD) has an earlier edition to be dated with Q around AD This would give the Seminar a second witness (with hypothetical Q) of a sayings only gospel in the first century, a gospel void of the passion narrative, thus bolstering its position that the earliest remembered sayings were without narrative setting and thus created by the canonical gospel authors and the Christian community This would give the Seminar a second witness (with hypothetical Q) of a sayings only gospel in the first century, a gospel void of the passion narrative, thus bolstering its position that the earliest remembered sayings were without narrative setting and thus created by the canonical gospel authors and the Christian community

64 PROBLEMS WITH THOMAS While “almost all scholars concede that Thomas could have been composed as early as the middle of the second century, the evidence strongly suggests that Thomas was not composed before A.D ” (Evans, Fabricating Jesus,67) While “almost all scholars concede that Thomas could have been composed as early as the middle of the second century, the evidence strongly suggests that Thomas was not composed before A.D ” (Evans, Fabricating Jesus,67) Thomas quotes or alludes to Mk., Lk., John, Paul, Revelation and so could not have been written before them (Evans, Fabricating Jesus, ) Thomas quotes or alludes to Mk., Lk., John, Paul, Revelation and so could not have been written before them (Evans, Fabricating Jesus, )

65 THOMAS PROBLEMS CONT. Thomas reflects what more liberal scholars call “late gospel material” and “later” gospel editing which would make Thomas influenced by the New Testament Gospels not the other way around Thomas reflects what more liberal scholars call “late gospel material” and “later” gospel editing which would make Thomas influenced by the New Testament Gospels not the other way around “Thomas shows familiarity with late traditions distinctive to Eastern Syrian Christianity” which would argue for a late 2 nd century date. (for both of these, see Evans, Fabricating Jesus, 67-77) “Thomas shows familiarity with late traditions distinctive to Eastern Syrian Christianity” which would argue for a late 2 nd century date. (for both of these, see Evans, Fabricating Jesus, 67-77) Hence, there is no real support for an early Thomas and thus no good justification with making this gospel a “source” for the authentic words of Jesus. Hence, there is no real support for an early Thomas and thus no good justification with making this gospel a “source” for the authentic words of Jesus. Interestingly, only 3 sections in the Gospel of Thomas are colored red (36 are pink) by the Seminar. Can this “sayings” gospel written down within 20 years of Jesus death have changed that much? Aren’t these supposed to be more stable? Interestingly, only 3 sections in the Gospel of Thomas are colored red (36 are pink) by the Seminar. Can this “sayings” gospel written down within 20 years of Jesus death have changed that much? Aren’t these supposed to be more stable?

66 THE POSTMODERN GARB OF THE JESUS SEMINAR Postmodern characteristics and themes: Postmodern characteristics and themes: Western culture’s way of understanding history is now to be questioned and rewritten Western culture’s way of understanding history is now to be questioned and rewritten Western metanarratives (e.g., the Bible) are now to be questioned. No one value system is to be allowed. No universal truth is to be tolerated as it is bias and bigoted Western metanarratives (e.g., the Bible) are now to be questioned. No one value system is to be allowed. No universal truth is to be tolerated as it is bias and bigoted Knowledge, authority, and values are “up for grabs”, all “authorities” are to be placed on the same authority level as everyone else. Knowledge, authority, and values are “up for grabs”, all “authorities” are to be placed on the same authority level as everyone else.

67 POSTMODERN GARB CONTINUED Intentional deconstruction of traditional standards, and standards of authority, as well as standard texts (e.g., the Bible) is the call of the hour. When deconstructed, every text has many meanings determined by one’s own sociocultural situation. There is no one true meaning. Intentional deconstruction of traditional standards, and standards of authority, as well as standard texts (e.g., the Bible) is the call of the hour. When deconstructed, every text has many meanings determined by one’s own sociocultural situation. There is no one true meaning. Reality is in the mind of the beholder which is conditioned by his own environment Reality is in the mind of the beholder which is conditioned by his own environment

68 POSTMODERNISM GARB CONT. Truth does not come from any God in heaven but is constructed by the person’s own life situation. Each person along with its own society creates truth. There is no objective authoritative foundation of “Scripture, creeds and confessions, and ecclesiastical tradition”. Truth does not come from any God in heaven but is constructed by the person’s own life situation. Each person along with its own society creates truth. There is no objective authoritative foundation of “Scripture, creeds and confessions, and ecclesiastical tradition”. No one should be “marginalized”. The marginalized must be freed from oppression and exploitation No one should be “marginalized”. The marginalized must be freed from oppression and exploitation A strong anti-Enlightenment stance. Rejection of the West’s “universal intellectual terrorism” A strong anti-Enlightenment stance. Rejection of the West’s “universal intellectual terrorism” (From Daniel Adams, “Toward a Theological Understanding of Postmodernism,” at

69 THE SEMINAR’S POSTMODERN GARB: The Seminar’s own “life situation” or Sitz Im Leben, (i.e., its own radical higher critical environment and presuppositions) creates its own truth about Jesus The Seminar’s own “life situation” or Sitz Im Leben, (i.e., its own radical higher critical environment and presuppositions) creates its own truth about Jesus The Seminar feels a need to justify its own belief system and refuses to be marginalized or suppressed. The Seminar is crying out for the acceptance of their position (see 5G, 1ff) which has been suppressed by the fundamentalists and orthodox theologians too long. It is time for their freedom! The Seminar feels a need to justify its own belief system and refuses to be marginalized or suppressed. The Seminar is crying out for the acceptance of their position (see 5G, 1ff) which has been suppressed by the fundamentalists and orthodox theologians too long. It is time for their freedom!

70 POSTMODERN GARB The Seminar uses postmodern terms when it says it sees the Christ of the Gospels as an “imaginative theological construct” (5G, 4) The Seminar believes the early church created the Christ of Faith out of its desire (need) to justify Jesus’ divinity and deal with his death. So the early church rewrote history to fit their “theological construct”. Hence the early church engaged in postmodernism. The Seminar is blind to seeing that they are doing the same thing that they are accusing the early church of doing: rewriting history according to their own theological construct! The Seminar uses postmodern terms when it says it sees the Christ of the Gospels as an “imaginative theological construct” (5G, 4) The Seminar believes the early church created the Christ of Faith out of its desire (need) to justify Jesus’ divinity and deal with his death. So the early church rewrote history to fit their “theological construct”. Hence the early church engaged in postmodernism. The Seminar is blind to seeing that they are doing the same thing that they are accusing the early church of doing: rewriting history according to their own theological construct!

71 POSTMODERN GARB The gospel texts are deconstructed by the Seminar. This allows them to create the Jesus they want to find. The gospel texts are deconstructed by the Seminar. This allows them to create the Jesus they want to find. The Seminar undermines the authoritative canonical status of the Four Gospels to include the Gospel of Thomas which seems to be given a higher status (with Q) than the canonical gospels. The exclusive authority of the four NT gospels is dethroned. The Seminar undermines the authoritative canonical status of the Four Gospels to include the Gospel of Thomas which seems to be given a higher status (with Q) than the canonical gospels. The exclusive authority of the four NT gospels is dethroned.

72 POSTMODERN GARB The “fairness” or “non-marginalizing” principle is followed in the voting and scoring system so each Fellow’s vote would “count”. The “fairness” or “non-marginalizing” principle is followed in the voting and scoring system so each Fellow’s vote would “count”. Hence “fairness” is used to determine truth. Hence “fairness” is used to determine truth. There is to be no one “marginalized”. There is to be no one “marginalized”. The Seminar states: The Seminar states:

73 POSTMODERN GARB “This system seemed superior to a system that relied on majorities or pluralities of one type or another. In a system that made the dividing line between pink and gray a simple majority, nearly half of the Fellows would lose their vote. There would only be winners and losers. Under weighted averages, all votes would count in the averages. Black votes in particular could readily pull an average down... Yet this shortcoming seemed consonant with the methodological skepticism that was a working principle of the Seminar: when in sufficient doubt, leave it out” (5G, 37.) “This system seemed superior to a system that relied on majorities or pluralities of one type or another. In a system that made the dividing line between pink and gray a simple majority, nearly half of the Fellows would lose their vote. There would only be winners and losers. Under weighted averages, all votes would count in the averages. Black votes in particular could readily pull an average down... Yet this shortcoming seemed consonant with the methodological skepticism that was a working principle of the Seminar: when in sufficient doubt, leave it out” (5G, 37.)

74 GARB PROBLEMS The “fairness principle” worked to marginalize the majority at times. E.g., for Mt. 6:6a “When you pray, go into a room by your self and shut the door behind you”, 58% of the scholars voted (red or pink) to attribute it to Jesus. But 27% colored it black. It ended up gray and thus not true words of Jesus. Problem: the majority was marginalized. (See 5G, 148). The “fairness principle” worked to marginalize the majority at times. E.g., for Mt. 6:6a “When you pray, go into a room by your self and shut the door behind you”, 58% of the scholars voted (red or pink) to attribute it to Jesus. But 27% colored it black. It ended up gray and thus not true words of Jesus. Problem: the majority was marginalized. (See 5G, 148). Similarly Mt. 6:22-23 and 11: (See 5G, 151, 180). Similarly Mt. 6:22-23 and 11: (See 5G, 151, 180).

75 GARB PROBLEMS When thoroughly followed, each generation’s Jesus is to be and should be created in its own image according to its “own particular needs, visions, and programs”. So the Jesus Seminar would be justified in their conclusions too. But is this really what they want or teach? When thoroughly followed, each generation’s Jesus is to be and should be created in its own image according to its “own particular needs, visions, and programs”. So the Jesus Seminar would be justified in their conclusions too. But is this really what they want or teach? The Seminar states that it embraces Enlightenment principles at its foundation, but it dresses it and modifies it in postmodern garb seemingly in hope of gaining public acceptance of its view of the historical Jesus. Which will it be? Enlightenment principles or Postmodern principles? If Postmodern, then their view of Jesus is no more “true” than anyone else’s. So why the polemic against conservative and other views? If Enlightenment, why the post-modern garb? The Seminar states that it embraces Enlightenment principles at its foundation, but it dresses it and modifies it in postmodern garb seemingly in hope of gaining public acceptance of its view of the historical Jesus. Which will it be? Enlightenment principles or Postmodern principles? If Postmodern, then their view of Jesus is no more “true” than anyone else’s. So why the polemic against conservative and other views? If Enlightenment, why the post-modern garb?

76 SUMMARY OF CRITIQUE JS conclusions are preconditioned by their own dubious presuppostional posture JS conclusions are preconditioned by their own dubious presuppostional posture Dubious assumptions: Dubious assumptions: The real Jesus is non-supernatural The real Jesus is non-supernatural The Christ of Faith is a creation of the church The Christ of Faith is a creation of the church Jesus is only a sage Jesus is only a sage This harmless, quiet, non-confrontational, non- controversial, non-threatening sage spawned the powerful Christian movement This harmless, quiet, non-confrontational, non- controversial, non-threatening sage spawned the powerful Christian movement This harmless sage was flogged and crucified This harmless sage was flogged and crucified The oral tradition (as seen in the four gospels) changed and modified the real Jesus in only about one generation after Jesus’ death and in spite of living eyewitnesses The oral tradition (as seen in the four gospels) changed and modified the real Jesus in only about one generation after Jesus’ death and in spite of living eyewitnesses

77 SUMMARY CONTINUED This Jesus was an odd figure, totally detached from his cultural heritage and ideologically estranged from the movement he is responsible to have founded This Jesus was an odd figure, totally detached from his cultural heritage and ideologically estranged from the movement he is responsible to have founded The four gospel accounts of Jesus a priori cannot be trusted The four gospel accounts of Jesus a priori cannot be trusted Gospel history should begin with skepticism and be done differently than all other ancient history. Gospel history should begin with skepticism and be done differently than all other ancient history. The Gospel of Thomas (or an earlier version of it) can be dated as early as AD and should be considered as a “source” for the real words of Jesus The Gospel of Thomas (or an earlier version of it) can be dated as early as AD and should be considered as a “source” for the real words of Jesus Truth can be “voted on” Truth can be “voted on” No one or their beliefs should be marginalized. It is alright however to marginalize those who believe in one universal truth No one or their beliefs should be marginalized. It is alright however to marginalize those who believe in one universal truth

78 CONCLUSION All the presuppositions of the Jesus Seminar ensure the discovery of an historical Jesus created in the predetermined image of the Jesus Seminar itself. All the presuppositions of the Jesus Seminar ensure the discovery of an historical Jesus created in the predetermined image of the Jesus Seminar itself. It has built dubious presuppositions upon dubious presuppositions and therefore its results are not worthy of serious consideration. It has built dubious presuppositions upon dubious presuppositions and therefore its results are not worthy of serious consideration. The Jesus Seminar project is not one of discovery, nor is it scientific. It amounts to the forcing of the Gospel material through a narrow preconceived sieve which only Jesus as a Sage can pass through and be recognized. Hence, the Seminar has failed to establish its sage Jesus as the real Jesus. The Jesus Seminar project is not one of discovery, nor is it scientific. It amounts to the forcing of the Gospel material through a narrow preconceived sieve which only Jesus as a Sage can pass through and be recognized. Hence, the Seminar has failed to establish its sage Jesus as the real Jesus. The Jesus seminar has therefore conducted its “search” on false pretenses (it is not a “search”) and no one should feel compelled to embrace its conclusions. The Jesus seminar has therefore conducted its “search” on false pretenses (it is not a “search”) and no one should feel compelled to embrace its conclusions.

79 FROM APOLOGETICS TO ERISTICS: FINDING THE REAL JESUS Apologetics: Defense of the faith Apologetics: Defense of the faith Eristics: The advance or offense of the faith Eristics: The advance or offense of the faith To find the real Jesus, we must: To find the real Jesus, we must: Reunite the Christ of Faith with the Jesus of History. We must allow Jesus to be supernatural as well as human. The justification of this comes from Reunite the Christ of Faith with the Jesus of History. We must allow Jesus to be supernatural as well as human. The justification of this comes from 1. Eyewitness testimony of the Gospels which speak of this unity (e.g., Luke 1:1-4) 2. Eyewitness testimony and oral tradition corroboration of the NT letters (e.g., Paul’s letters and statements, e.g., I Cor. 15:3-8)

80 ERISTICS 3. The eyewitness testimony in the book of Acts (e.g., Acts 2:22-24, 36) 4. The testimony of the Apostolic Fathers and their use of the unified term “Jesus Christ”, “Jesus is the Christ”, “Christ is Lord”. E.g., I Clement 21 (96AD) which states, “Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us” (Roberts, Donaldson, Coxe, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1, 11) There is no compelling historical evidence that the church of the first century created the Christ of Faith. Let us proclaim without reservation the Jesus of the NT Gospels!

81 HOW TO FIND JESUS Not through Post-modern or Enlightenment deconstruction of the texts of the Bible or personal constructs made by us or the early church. Not through Post-modern or Enlightenment deconstruction of the texts of the Bible or personal constructs made by us or the early church. It is through establishing a personal, experiential relationship with him as a living being, as Jesus the Christ. He is alive now, not just in past history. History did not end with his death. It continues and he continues (Heb. 7:24). It is through establishing a personal, experiential relationship with him as a living being, as Jesus the Christ. He is alive now, not just in past history. History did not end with his death. It continues and he continues (Heb. 7:24). This relationship is not limited to the intellectual realm but must be experiential, involving both our and God’s heart, mind, soul, and strength. This relationship is not limited to the intellectual realm but must be experiential, involving both our and God’s heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is two sided. We must experience God and He us (Gal 4:9; Matt. 7:23; Deut. 8:2; I Cor. 8:1b-3; I Jn. 5:3) It is two sided. We must experience God and He us (Gal 4:9; Matt. 7:23; Deut. 8:2; I Cor. 8:1b-3; I Jn. 5:3)

82 ERISTICS Let us eristically urge the members of the Jesus Seminar to find the real living Jesus by making him Lord in surrender to him for all he really is; the living historical unified-in-personhood Jesus the Christ Let us eristically urge the members of the Jesus Seminar to find the real living Jesus by making him Lord in surrender to him for all he really is; the living historical unified-in-personhood Jesus the Christ This is the testimony of the Apostle John in I John. 4:2b-3; 5:6a, 12). Let us and everyone embrace it and not fall for the false dichotomy of the Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History: This is the testimony of the Apostle John in I John. 4:2b-3; 5:6a, 12). Let us and everyone embrace it and not fall for the false dichotomy of the Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History:

83 THE EYEWITNESS PLEA OF JOHN THE APOSTLE Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world... This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ... He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world... This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ... He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life

84 SUGGESTED READINGS Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Evans, Craig A. Evans. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Downers Grove, IVP, Evans, Craig A. Evans. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Downers Grove, IVP, Funk, Robert W.; Hoover, Roy W.; and The Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. New York: Macmillan, 1993 Funk, Robert W.; Hoover, Roy W.; and The Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. New York: Macmillan, 1993 Funk, Robert W.; and The Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. San Francisco: Harper, Funk, Robert W.; and The Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. San Francisco: Harper, 1998.

85 READINGS CONTINUED Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels. San Francisco: Harper, Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels. San Francisco: Harper, Wilkins, Michael J. and Moreland, J. P., eds, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Wilkins, Michael J. and Moreland, J. P., eds, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.


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