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The Jesus Seminar : The Search For Jesus


The Jesus Seminar

The Search for Jesus

The ''Jesus Seminar'' consists of a group of scholars adept at twisting the Scriptures and attacking the Bible's historical reliability.
This group of scholars and pastors—which does not represent a broad cross section of biblical scholarship—continues to be in the news and popular media. On the basis of ten years of deliberations over the sayings of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels, they have color-coded the words of Jesus according to their reckoning of authenticity (red = Jesus really said it; pink = close to something Jesus said; gray = Jesus probably did not say it, or the members of the seminar were sharply divided; black = Jesus definitely did not say it).
- Source: Doubting Thomas' Gospel By Craig Evans, professor of biblical studies at Trinity Western University in British Columbia.


Christian Answering: The Search For Jesus – An ABC special hosted by Peter Jennings Craig Branch addresses the program's misinformation, noting that the "majority of featured ''scholars'' were leaders of the oft-disputed radical liberal fringe group called the Jesus Seminar"
Christian Can The New Jesus Save Us? by C. Stephen Evans, author of The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith
Christian Doubting Thomas' Gospel By Craig Evans, professor of biblical studies at Trinity Western University in British Columbia. Addresses The Gospel of Thomas, which the Jesus Seminar values highly, while "many other scholars, conservatives and liberals alike, view this document more cautiously."
The Jesus Seminar places high value on the historical basis of the Gospel of Thomas—that it recovers for us words Jesus actually spoke that are not found in our four Gospels. But many other scholars, conservatives and liberals alike, view this document more cautiously. Most think that it is no more than a second-century collection of sayings loosely based on the canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and other writings, and that it offers nothing that is original or older. So why does the Jesus Seminar interpret it differently?

The Jesus that emerges in the writings of the Jesus Seminar is an itinerant philosopher who calls for justice and the implementation of egalitarian principles. In itself this is not objectionable. But it stops conspicuously short of answering why the earliest Christians claimed Jesus was God's Son and Israel's Messiah whose death on the cross fulfilled Scripture and whose resurrection from the grave vindicated his claims and gave humanity new hope.

This may explain the seminar's preoccupation with the Gospel of Thomas. As in the case of many of the authors of postcanonical writings (consider, for example, just those apocryphal pieces using Thomas's name: Acts of Thomas, Apocalypse of Thomas, Infancy Gospel of Thomas), the author or compiler of the Gospel of Thomas wished to present Jesus in a way that was compatible with his views.
Christian Facts About The Jesus Seminar an article on the Anwers in Action site
Christian Harmonization: The Issue Of Complimentary Accounts Refutes some of the presumptions of the Jesus Seminar
Christian The Jesus Seminar: The Slippery Slope to Heresy Article from Watchman Fellowship
Christian The Jesus Seminar Under Fire by Greg Koukl
Christian The Search for Jesus Hoax by Hank Hanegraaff.
Christian Who Does the Jesus Seminar Really Speak For? by by Craig L. Blomberg
Christian ''You Can't Trust The Gospels. They're Unreliable.'' A chapter from Paul Copan's book, ''True For You, But Not For Me''


Christian Cynic, Sage, or Son of God? by Gregory Boyd. A condensed version, without footnotes and easier to read, is available under the title Jesus Under Siege
Christian Jesus Under Fire Subtitled, "Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus." Michael Wilkins, J.P. Moreland, editors
A series of articles by an all-star cast of younger American evangelical scholars demonstrating how unrepresentative and unreliable the findings of the Jesus Seminar are with respect to the credibility of the Gospels.

Christian The Jesus Quest Subtitled, "The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth." by Ben Witherington

In addition to attempting to find postmodern, multiple, nontraditional interpretations of traditional biblical texts, the renowned Jesus Seminar has published texts from outside the traditional canon, heralding them as new discoveries that suggest reinterpretation of traditional Christian theology and practice. In this book, Jenkins counters the interpretations of Jesus Seminar scholars, concisely and evenhandedly introducing their theories and presenting historical and textual evidence to contradict them. He questions their "discoveries" of texts that have been known to biblical scholars for at least two hundred years, challenges their dating of texts in order to impart them greater weight and traces many of their purportedly new interpretations to age-old traditions ("heresies" to the early Church) such as Gnosticism. He ascribes to the seminar scholars "inverted fundamentalism," claiming that these critics, ironically, assign great authority to historically questionable noncanonical texts, such as The Gospel of Thomas, while simultaneously challenging the authority and validity of the long-established canon. He attributes this bias to both a postmodern search for meaning and a lay audience hungry for religious truth, while noting that only new interpretations advance academic careers and attract media attention. In short, he argues that the Jesus Seminar offers nothing new under the sun. Jenkins closes out this forceful critique by noting "we can only hope" that when new biblical texts surface, they might be "evaluated on their merits, and not solely for their value in cultural battles."
Editorial review, Publishers Weekly, at Amazon.com

News Archive

• Find related news items in AI's News Archive. (Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002.)
• Later items: Religion News Blog

(Jul 19, 1999) Controversy follows US Bible professor
(May 12, 1999) Rebel theologian: It's hardly retirement for John Crossan
(Feb. 27, 1999) Truce in the Jesus war

Reminders from Scripture

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 17:28 NIV

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. {19} For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." {20} Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:18-20 NIV

See Also


AcademicSecular The Jesus Archive Operated by an agnostic, The Jesus Archive is [d]edicated to the Study of the Historical Jesus, Early Christianity and Second Temple Judaism.
The Jesus Archive provides a venue where those who are passionate about the study of the historical Jesus can gather in a community of interest. We strive to maintain a collegial environment, inviting all points of view – Christian or Jewish, clerical or secular. No matter how diverse their outlook, however, participants should share one core conviction: Only by subjecting their beliefs to rigorous cross-examination is it possible to approach the truth. Everyone with a sincere interest in the historical Jesus is welcome here.

AcademicChristian The Jesus Seminar (CONTRA) Collection of Articles at Leadership University
AcademicAberrational, Heretical, Heterodox, Suborthodox or Unorthodox The Jesus Seminar Forum (PRO) A fitting illustration to what Walter Martin used to call "torturing the Scriptures."

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The Jesus Seminar : The Search for Jesus : Research Resources
First posted: Jan 15, 2000
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2008
Copyright: Apologetics Index
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