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Re: [XTalk] Re: "Gospel Commentaries"

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  • 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 1 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

      Best wishes,
      Jared Nuzzolillo
      Fort Lauderdale, FL

      [1] - William Lane Craig,

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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