Questions Surrounding Jesus’ Birth/Part 13

By: Dr. John Ankerberg with various Scholars; ©{{{copyright}}}
The Jesus Seminar

Ed. note: This article is based upon the transcript from programs produced by the John Ankerberg Show. Additional material has been added for this print version.

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The Jesus Seminar

Dr. John Ankerberg: In the coming weeks, you may read or hear the opinions of a group of scholars referred to as the Jesus Seminar. Well, many people assume that the opinions of this group represent what most scholars think about Jesus. We decided to ask how scholars evaluated the conclusions of the Jesus Seminar, and we heard might surprise you.

Dr. Craig Evans:[1] The opinion is not very good, to put it mildly. Continental scholarship, they either haven’t heard of the Jesus Seminar or if they have, they dismiss it derisively. British scholarship, it’s just the same way. “The Jesus Seminar! Oh, you must be kidding. Does anybody take them seriously?” That’s the European response. I’ve seen that firsthand.

Dr. John Ankerberg: What about in scholarly circles in our own country? When you go to your meetings with the other scholars, do they lead the way?

Dr. Craig Evans: No, they do not. They try to be influential and they’ve had positions of leadership at the Society of Biblical Literature. I’m an active member of the Historical Jesus section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Three to four hundred typically show up typically at their meetings. That’s about ten times what typically show up at a Jesus Seminar meeting. And the Jesus Seminar guys, when they present their distinctive views like a non-eschatological Jesus or the gospel of Peter as a primary source for the other gospels, those views are simply—to put it in slang—blown out of the water. These are minority opinions and they do not hold sway in the larger cross-section of Gospel scholars throughout North America.

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  1. Dr. Craig Evans: Ph.D. in New Testament from Claremont Graduate School and is the Director of the Graduate Program in Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University, where he has taught since 1981. He has lectured at Cambridge, Durham, and Oxford. Co-editor of Dictionary of New Testament Backgrounds, Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research and Eschatology, Messianism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Author of Jesus and His Contemporaries.


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