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Re: [XTalk] Re: "Gospel Commentaries"

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  • Gordon Raynal
    ... Steve, In the old days of this group we went over this more than once and you can search the records for those debates. All I ll note is the description
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 18, 2012
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      On Aug 18, 2012, at 10:02 AM, Steven Deedon wrote:

      > 1. *The Five Gospels* presents a nice overview, and often the
      > collective
      > judgment of the vote is congruent with what I would call the
      > "gravitational
      > weight"of scholarly opinion. But the vote makes the individual
      > scholars'
      > methodologies and arguments underlying them opaque. A judge can
      > give all
      > the instruction in the world to jurors, but in the end you never
      > know why
      > the decided as they did. (This was the argument Charles Black
      > made that
      > led to the Supreme Court ruling that overturned US death penalty
      > laws in
      > the early 1970s.)
      >
      >
      >
      > Some of the Jesus Seminar folks seem to have a blind spot re
      > eschatology/apocalyptic, IMO,perhaps because of theories about the
      > stratification of Q. I found it bizarre that the JS volume on JBap
      > blithely declared that JBap was an apocalyptist but that his
      > disciple Jesus
      > was not.
      >
      Steve,

      In the old days of this group we went over this more than once and you
      can search the records for those debates. All I'll note is the
      description of "blind spot" is completely inaccurate to described the
      long and patient work that was done to sift through the words and
      deeds attributed to Jesus across every available resource. Yes, this
      included the acceptance of the work done on strata in Q, but also work
      on Thomas and the wisdom materials in many strands of the tradition.
      Their report is an avowed consensus report of scholars done across
      more of a decade of open debate. One may surely disagree with the
      consensus on any number of points (and, of course, many scholars of
      the group did have and keep their disagreements on this matter), but
      this characterization of the work is simply not an accurate
      description of what was achieved and the continuing importance of
      these two works as a basis to continue the serious scholarly
      enterprise of debating these issues.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
    • Jared Nuzzolillo
      ... It s important to note that while their report did constitute an avowed consensus , that that was a consensus (of a sort) *among the scholars who
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 19, 2012
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        >
        > Steve,
        > In the old days of this group we went over this more than once and you
        > can search the records for those debates. All I'll note is the
        > description of "blind spot" is completely inaccurate to described the
        > long and patient work that was done to sift through the words and
        > deeds attributed to Jesus across every available resource. Yes, this
        > included the acceptance of the work done on strata in Q, but also work
        > on Thomas and the wisdom materials in many strands of the tradition.
        > Their report is an avowed consensus report of scholars done across
        > more of a decade of open debate. One may surely disagree with the
        > consensus on any number of points (and, of course, many scholars of
        > the group did have and keep their disagreements on this matter), but
        > this characterization of the work is simply not an accurate
        > description of what was achieved and the continuing importance of
        > these two works as a basis to continue the serious scholarly
        > enterprise of debating these issues.


        It's important to note that while their report did constitute an "avowed
        consensus", that that was a consensus (of a sort) *among the scholars who
        participated in the seminar.* As to whether their two works is "a basis to
        continue the serious scholarly enterprise", I think few would disagree,
        *if* by that you mean that a serious scholarly treatment should at least
        take seriously and engage with their report. I think it'd come as no
        surprise that many scholars found significant problems with their
        methodology, their criteria and the consequent report.

        Take, for example, one scholar responding to "the Jesus Seminar is
        consensus" claim:

        The Jesus Seminar portrays itself to the media as the representative voice
        of New Testament scholarship today, going over the heads of the clergy to
        tell unsuspecting laymen, who have been duped by the Church, what Jesus was
        really like. They claim some 200 participants in the Seminar, who are
        supposed to be the embodiment of a scholarly approach to the New Testament.
        Just one evidence of this pretension is that they have named their
        translation of the gospels "The Scholar�s Version"��as though the teams of
        linguists and experts who produced such translations as the RSV, NEB, or
        NIV were not scholars! [...] Well, the reality turns out to be much
        different. Their claim to have 200 scholars in the Seminar is grossly
        inflated: that figure includes anybody who in any way was involved in the
        Seminar�s activities, such as being on a mailing list. The real number of
        regular participants is only about 40. And what about the scholarly
        credentials of the members? Of the 74 listed in their publication The Five
        Gospels, only 14 would be leading figures in the field of New Testament
        studies. More than half are basically unknowns, who have published only two
        or three articles. Eighteen of the fellows have published nothing at all in
        New Testament studies! Most have relatively undistinguished academic
        positions, for example, teaching at a community college. According to
        Johnson, "The numbers alone suggest that any claim to represent
        �scholarship� or the �academy� is ludicrous."{22} *****Indeed, it is the
        Seminar�s claim to represent the consensus of scholarship that has really
        burned New Testament scholars.***** [emphasis added] And I want to
        emphasize I�m not talking about the reactions of conservatives or
        evangelicals: I�m talking about the broad spectrum of New Testament
        scholars. For example, Howard Kee denounces the Jesus Seminar as "an
        academic disgrace," and says that its conclusions are "prejudicial" and
        "peripheral," not "a substantive development in responsible scholarly study
        of the historical Jesus."{23} [1]


        Speaking only for myself, I found the book *The Five Gospels* incredibly
        helpful as one perspective on Jesus and especially as a resource to learn
        interesting facts about 1st century Palestine. I only hope that any claim
        to it being *the* consensus interpretation of the Gospels will be viewed
        cautiously.

        Best wishes,
        Jared Nuzzolillo
        Fort Lauderdale, FL

        [1] - William Lane Craig,
        http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/rediscover1.html


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