Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Jesus Project

April Deconick has an interesting post on some of her concerns about the Jesus Project that she is involved with. It is apparently the successor to the Jesus Seminar, but with a rather different mix of folks involved; e.g. Bauckham and Brueggemann appear alongside the former members of the Jesus Seminar and many others. Alongside April, we also have the likes of James Crossley, and then a list of individuals whose credentials for the task are somewhat less clear to me, but who perhaps come from the range of disciplines implied by the following from the Intro: 'the Project will be limited to fifty scholars with credentials in biblical studies as well as in the crucial cognate disciplines of ancient history, mythography, archaeology, classical studies, anthropology, and social history'.

There is also a list of pre-task thoughts and aspirations, including rather predictably 'We believe the mixing of theological motives and historical inquiry is impermissible'. Since it seems to me rather 'inevitable', I think they are off to a bad start. Has ideological criticism really passed so many of us by?

The Intro concludes with the following statement. "Our aim, like Pilate’s (John 18:38), is to find the truth." Personally, I always doubted that John had such a high view of Pilate. But if the Project has already found the 'real Pilate' for us, then that should surely give us hope for the future :)

I'll certainly be fascinated to see what the outcome is, but I can't say I am waiting with baited breath. Given that I am making a good living from pondering the working and publications of the Jesus Seminar, however, maybe I should be more grateful for their efforts.


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