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[Synoptic-L] Crossan lectures

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    I attended three lectures by John Dominic Crossan at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge this week. They were on The Historical Jesus -- respectively, his
    Message 1 of 3 , May 1, 2004
      I attended three lectures by John Dominic Crossan at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge this week. They were on "The Historical Jesus" -- respectively, his "Life", "Death" and "Resurrection".

      Crossan is a wonderful speaker -- interesting, articulate, provocative, witty, with a wide range of historical knowledge and historical sources at his fingertips, so to speak. I found him extremely disappointing, however, as a New Testament theologian and/or exegete. For his last lecture, on the meaning of resurrection in the New Testament, I'm afraid that, were he a student of mine, I would have to have given him a failing grade for New Testament theology and exegesis, to the extent that he engaged in these activities at all in the course of his presentation. I left wondering whether Crossan is really interested at all in what the New Testament actually says and/or means on any of the topics upon which he was pontificating. He seemed to take the lecture series as merely another outlet for airing his radically liberal political world-view to a largely sympathetic audience. Feuerbach would have been proud of him, I guess. I would be happy to supply details, in bits and pieces, to substantiate my negative judgment of his performance as an exegete, if anyone is interested. But in the meantime I just wanted to ask, since I do not know, whether there are any substantive New Testament exegetes involved in the Jesus Seminar, since I don't personally know many who are (involved), or whether Crossan would be fairly representative of the group.

      If anything astounded me more than the way Crossan tried to pass off his pet ideas as the results of serious New Testament scholarship, I suppose it was the apparently universal and enthusiastic reception his talks received from the ordained alumni of the school (EDS). I guess I have been more than naive in imagining that the degree of ecumenical distance that still separates Roman Catholic from Episcopalean theology is a matter of the careful calibration of the legitimate scope of papal authority. Then again, I have no idea how representative of Episcopalean (un)-orthodoxy this particular, rather large group of alumni was.

      Leonard Maluf
      Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
      Weston, MA
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    • John C. Poirier
      ... Leonard, From what I ve seen, Crossan *is* fairly representative of the group . It s not that there aren t better scholars within the group (certainly
      Message 2 of 3 , May 3, 2004
        Maluflen@... wrote:

        >[I]n the meantime I just wanted to ask, since I do not know, whether there are any substantive New Testament exegetes involved in the Jesus Seminar, since I don't personally know many who are (involved), or whether Crossan would be fairly representative of the group.
        >
        Leonard,

        From what I've seen, Crossan *is* "fairly representative of the group".
        It's not that there aren't better scholars within the group (certainly
        Borg is a step up), but by and large there is good reason to be
        embarrassed (as I always am) whenever the Jesus Seminar claims to speak
        in the name of scholarship.

        A few years ago, I attended a regional SBL meeting, and I heard a woman
        from the Jesus Seminar present a paper that dealt exclusively with
        reconstructions of the historical Jesus offered by various Seminar
        members. After her paper, someone asked her to state the
        presuppositions of the Jesus Seminar, a question that should have been
        perfunctory for a member of any group. She was taken aback and
        confessed that she was unable to answer that question! (Another member
        of the Jesus Seminar had to answer for her.)

        It seems to me that there is a problem with a certain type of focus
        group. I've always thought that groups organized around a shared
        "interest" were a good thing, while groups organized around a shared
        "view" were, from the standpoint of method, a potentially bad idea.
        While the former arrangement allows for iron sharpening iron, the
        latter arrangement often leads only to cheese sticking to cheese.


        John C. Poirier
        Middletown, Ohio



        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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      • Maluflen@aol.com
        In a message dated 5/3/2004 9:24:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time, poirier@siscom.net writes:
        Message 3 of 3 , May 3, 2004
          In a message dated 5/3/2004 9:24:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time, poirier@... writes:

          << I've always thought that groups organized around a shared
          "interest" were a good thing, while groups organized around a shared "view" were, from the standpoint of method, a potentially bad idea. While the former arrangement allows for iron sharpening iron, the latter arrangement often leads only to cheese sticking to cheese.>>

          I really like this, and never heard it put this way before. The second scenario is certainly right on the money as a description of what I experienced last week.

          Leonard Maluf
          Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
          Weston, MA

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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