For some time I have thought that the Jesus Seminar represents a significant, if scholastically dubious and slightly goofy, avant garde of the movement of historical-critical biblical scholarship, which, whatever its earlier antecedents, acquired its important historical momentum in Germany during and following the Enlightenment period. In one way, it might be characterized as the historical-critical movement gone to seed. In any case, over the past decade I have taught several courses in hermeneutics and epistemology, and at least one course explicitly dealing with the philosophical background of the historical-critical interpretation of the Bible; and these classes have reinforced my belief in the importance of addressing the issues at the popular avant garde level. Perhaps it is unfortunate that in this case "avant garde" does not mean the most scholarly sophisticated level. Yet when one looks at where the influence of these studies are found in the present culture, it is not in the world of academe, but rather in the world of popular culture. I include in that culture not only phenomena such as the Jesus Seminar, but spin-offs such as Dan Brown's insanely (and I used the word advisedly) popular book and film Da Vinci Code, which parasitically cull from the 'scholarship' as well as underlying presuppositions of the Jesus Seminar 'scholarship' (I say "insanely popular" because Brown disengenuously passes numerous historical fabrications about Jesus, Mary Magdeline, and the Catholic Church off as 'facts' under the pretext that he is merely writing a 'novel' -- and the vast majority of his readers who appear to be utterly taken in by this deception must must be utterly insane if they are not utterly innocent of history).
Hence, the purpose of this blog: to post articles -- by no means entirely by myself -- on the subject of the Jesus Seminar and closely related treatment of Jesus and the Bible in popular media, in order to expose the underlying agenda and assumptions, as well as disingenuous arguments and conclusions mounted by their adherents.