The 'Jesus Seminar' is taken seriously in some
quarters. But in fact it presents a perception of Jesus which is
secular-driven with a hidden agenda to belittle Christianity.
While presenting itself as scholarly, it appears to be
becoming more and more populist with enthusiastic support coming
from sceptics/atheists and all the more liberal and permissive
areas of the media. Indeed, even some New Testament liberal
scholars who would not claim to be Christian are now distancing
themselves from this "seminar". Despite their relatively high
profile in the United States, the Jesus Seminar represents far
less than 1% of Biblical scholars. Perhaps even more
surprisingly, while the seminar portrays itself as very
'current' it loosely supports a form of liberal
'scholarship' which is now very old (1870s!) and which has been
debunked many times. Yet recent discoveries have given more
credibility to the content of the Gospels themselves, not less.
This is why the whole trend in the last 25 years has been for
liberal scholars to become more conservative in their views on
the reliability of the Gospels.
Founder the late Robert Funk was already commited to discrediting the New Testament before the so-called "seminar" even got away as numerous quotes make clear. We should all ask what authority this group of sceptics and atheists can have when they employed a system of voting with beads (yes, beads!) regarding the degree of scepticism they should employ on various New Testament issues.
In Jesus Under Fire, J.P. Moreland sums up what the Jesus Seminar is asking us to believe based on nothing more than the strength of their personal philosophical assumptions:
"It requires the assumption that someone, about a generation removed from the events in question, radically transformed the authentic information about Jesus that was circulating at that time, superimposed a body of material four times as large, fabricated almost entirely out of whole cloth, while the church suffered sufficient collective amnesia to accept the transformation as legitimate."
Here are a number of links to articles (none of them are on our websites) which expose the truth about the 'Jesus Seminar' - indeed, this might be described as a Seminar on the Jesus Seminar!
It does not necessarily follow that we would support every single conclusion of these articles, but they admirably highlight the prejudices and errors of this (so-called) seminar.
Robin A Brace