The Jesus Seminar refers to a group of "scholars with advanced degrees in biblical studies, religion or related fields [as well as] published authors who are recognized authorities in the field of religion". The group was founded in 1985 by the late Robert Funk and John Dominic Crossan under the auspices of the Westar Institute. One of the most active groups in biblical criticism, the seminar uses votes with colored beads to determine the historicity of Jesus, specifically what he may or may not have said or done as a historical figure. In addition, the seminar popularizes the quest for the historical Jesus. The public is welcome to attend its twice-yearly meetings. They produced new translations of the New Testament plus the Gospel of Thomas to use as textual sources. They published their results in three reports The Five Gospels (1993), The Acts of Jesus (1998), and The Gospel of Jesus (1999). They also run a series of lectures and workshops in various U.S. cities.
The seminar treats the gospels as historical artifacts, representing not only Jesus' actual words and deeds but also the inventions and elaborations of the early Christian community and of the gospel authors. The fellows placed the burden of proof on those who advocate any passage's historicity. Unconcerned with canonical boundaries, they asserted that the Gospel of Thomas may have more authentic material than the Gospel of John.
- 1 Use of historical methods
- 2 The Scholars translation
- 3 Seminar proceedings
- 4 Criticism of the Jesus Seminar
- 4.1 Divorcing Jesus from his cultural context and followers
- 4.2 Use of a flawed voting system
- 4.3 Ignoring evidence for eschatological teachings of Jesus
- 4.4 Creating a Jesus based on the presuppositions of the members
- 4.5 Bias against canonical sources and for non-canonical sources
- 4.6 Composition of the Seminar and qualifications of the members
- 4.7 Response of the Jesus Seminar
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- 8 Credits
While analyzing the gospels as fallible human creations is a standard historical-critical method, the seminar's premise that Jesus did not hold an apocalyptic world view is controversial. Rather than revealing an apocalyptic eschatology, which instructs his disciples to prepare for the end of the world, the fellows argue that the authentic words of Jesus indicate that he preached a sapiential eschatology, which encourages all God's children to repair the world.
Use of historical methods
The Jesus Seminar attempts to reconstruct the life of the historical Jesus. They try to ask who he was, what he did, what he said, and what his sayings meant, using a number of tools. Their reconstruction is based on social anthropology, history and textual analysis. The key feature is the rejection of apocalyptic eschatology. They use cross-cultural anthropological studies to set the general background, narrow in on the history and society of first-century Palestine, and use textual analysis (along with more anthropology and history) to focus on Jesus himself. They use a combination of primary sources, secondary sources, and archaeological evidence. Their methodology, which was developed by a team of scholars (who expounded papers for the review of other Fellows and published many in Forum) and is explained in The Five Gospels (the four canonical gospels plus the Gospel of Thomas), involves canvassing the records of the first four centuries for traditions about Jesus and sifting them by criteria such as multiple attestation, distinctiveness, and orality.
The seminar's reconstruction of Jesus portrays him as an itinerant Hellenistic Jewish sage who did not die as a substitute for sinners nor rise from the dead, but preached a "social gospel" in startling parables and aphorisms. An iconoclast, Jesus broke with established Jewish theological dogmas and social conventions both in his teachings and behaviors, often by turning common-sense ideas upside down, confounding the expectations of his audience: He preached of "Heaven's imperial rule" (traditionally translated as "Kingdom of God") as being already present but unseen; he depicts God as a loving father; he fraternizes with outsiders and criticizes insiders.
The Five Gospels lists seven bases for the modern critical scholarship of Jesus. These "pillars" have developed since the end of the 18th century.
- Distinguishing between historical Jesus and the Christ of faith
- Recognizing the synoptic gospels as more historically accurate than John
- The priority of Mark before Matthew and Luke
- Identification of the Q document
- Rejection of eschatological (apocalyptic) Jesus
- Distinction between oral and written culture
- Reversal of burden of proof from those who consider gospel content to be ahistorical to those who consider it historical.
While some of these pillars are noncontroversial, some scholars of the historical Jesus follow Albert Schweitzer in regarding him as apocalyptic. The Five Gospels says that the non-apocalyptic view gained ground in the 1970s and 1980s when research into Jesus shifted out of religious environments and into secular academia. Marcus Borg says "the old consensus that Jesus was an eschatological prophet who proclaimed the imminent end of the world has disappeared," and identifies two reasons for this change. First, since the 1960s, the gospel references to the coming Son of Man have been sometimes viewed as insertions by the early Christian community. Second, many scholars came to see Jesus' kingdom of God as a present reality, a "realized eschatology," rather than an imminent end of the world. The apocalyptic elements attributed to Jesus, according to The Five Gospels, come from John the Baptist and the early Christian community.
The Scholars translation
The first findings of the Jesus Seminar were published in 1993 as The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. The Five Gospels contain a translation of the gospels into modern American English, known as the "Scholars Version." This translation uses current colloquialisms and contemporary phrasing in an effort to provide a contemporary sense of the gospel authors' styles, if not their literal words. The goal was to let the reader hear the message as a first-century listener might have. The translators avoided other translations' archaic, literal translation of the text, or a superficial update of it. For example, they translate "woe to you" as "damn you" because it sounds like something someone today would really say. The authors of The Five Gospels argue that some other gospel translations have attempted to unify the language of the gospels, while they themselves have tried to preserve each author's distinct voice.
The Jesus Seminar, like the translation committees who created the King James Version and the Revised Standard Version of the Bible and the Novum Testamentum Graece, chose voting as the most efficient means of determining consensus in an assembled group. The system also lent itself to publicity.
The Fellows used a "bead system" to vote on the authenticity of about 500 statements and events. The color of the bead represented how sure the Fellow was that a saying or act was or was not authentic.
- Red beads – indicated the voter believed Jesus did say the passage quoted, or something very much like the passage. (3 Points)
- Pink beads – indicated the voter believed Jesus probably said something like the passage. (2 Points)
- Grey beads – indicated the voter believed Jesus did not say the passage, but it contains Jesus' ideas. (1 Point)
- Black beads – indicated the voter believed Jesus did not say the passage—it comes from later admirers or a different tradition. (0 Points)
The consensus position was determined by the average weighted score, rather than by simple majority. This meant that all opinions were reflected in the decisions. The voting system means that the reader can second-guess each vote. The Five Gospels defines not only the result of the vote (red, pink, gray, or black) but also how many polls were necessary to reach a conclusion (if any were necessary at all) and why various fellows chose to vote in different ways.
Attendees, however, did more than vote. They met semi-annually to debate the papers presented. Some verses required extensive debate and repeated votes.
Criteria for authenticity
Like other scholars of the historical Jesus, the Jesus Seminar treats the gospels as fallible historical artifacts, containing both authentic and inauthentic material. The fellows used several criteria for determining whether a particular saying or story is authentic, including the criteria of multiple attestation and embarrassment. Among additional criteria used by the fellows are the following:
- Orality: According to current estimates, the gospels were not written until decades after Jesus' death. Parables, aphorisms, and stories were passed down orally (30 - 50 C.E.). The fellows judged whether a saying was a short, catchy pericope that could possibly survive intact from the speaker's death until decades later when it was first written down. If so, it was deemed more likely to be authentic. For example, "turn the other cheek."
- Irony: Based on several important narrative parables (such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan), the fellows decided that irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations were characteristic of Jesus' style. Does a pericope present opposites or impossibilities? If it does, it is more likely to be authentic. For example, "love your enemies."
- Trust in God: A long discourse attested in three gospels has Jesus telling his listeners not to fret but to trust in the Father. Fellows looked for this theme in other sayings they deemed authentic. For example, "Ask—it'll be given to you."
Criteria for inauthenticity
The seminar looked for several characteristics that, in their judgment, identified a saying as inauthentic, including self-reference, leadership issues, and apocalyptic themes.
- Self-reference: Does the text have Jesus referring to himself? For example, "I am the way, and I am the truth, and I am life" (John 14:1-14).
- Framing Material: Are the verses used to introduce, explain, or frame other material, which might itself be authentic? For example, in the book of Luke, the "red" parable of the good samaritan is framed by scenes about Jesus telling the parable, and the seminar deemed Jesus' framing words in these scenes to be "black."
- Community Issues: Do the verses refer to the concerns of the early Christian community, such as instructions for missionaries or issues of leadership? For example, Peter as "the rock" on which Jesus builds his church (Matthew: 16:17-19).
- Theological Agenda: Do the verses support an opinion or outlook that is unique to the gospel, possibly indicating redactor bias? For example, the prophecy of the sheep and the goats (Matthew: 25:31-46) was voted black because the fellows saw it as representing Matthew's agenda of speaking out against unworthy members of the Christian community.
Authentic sayings, as determined by the seminar
The Red sayings (with percent indicating the weighted average of those in agreement), given in the Seminar's own "Scholar's Version" translation, are:
- 1. Turn the other cheek (92 percent): Mt 5:39, Lk 6:29a
- 2. Coat & shirt: Mt 5:40 (92 percent), Lk 6:29b (90 percent)
- 3. Congratulations, poor!: Lk 6:20b (91 percent), Th 54 (90 percent), Mt 5:3 (63 percent)
- 4. Second mile (90 percent): Mt 5:41
- 5. Love your enemies: Lk 6:27b (84 percent), Mt 5:44b (77 percent), Lk 6:32,35a (56 percent) (compare to black rated "Pray for your enemies": POxy1224 6:1a; Didache 1:3; Poly-Phil 12:3; and "Love one another": John 13:34-35, Romans 13:8, 1 Peter 1:22)
- 6. Leaven: Lk 13:20–21 (83 percent), Mt 13:33 (83 percent), Th96:1–2 (65 percent)
- 7. Emperor & God (82 percent): Th 100:2b–3, Mk12:17b, Lk 20:25b, Mt 22:21c (also Egerton Gospel 3:1-6)
- 8. Give to beggars (81 percent): Lk 6:30a, Mt 5:42a, Didache 1:5a
- 9. Good Samaritan (81%): Lk 10:30–35
- 10. Congrats, hungry!: Lk 6:21a (79 percent), Mt 5:6 (59 percent), Th 69:2 (53 percent)
- 11. Congrats, sad!: Lk 6:21b (79 percent), Mt 5:4 (73 percent)
- 12. Shrewd manager (77 percent): Lk 16:1–8a
- 13. Vineyard laborers (77 percent): Mt 20:1–15
- 14. Abba, Father (77 percent): Mt 6:9b, Lk 11:2c
- 15. The Mustard Seed : Th 20:2–4 (76 percent), Mk 4:30–32 (74 percent), Lk 13:18–19 (69 percent), Mt 13:31–32 (67 percent)
Some probably authentic sayings, as determined by the seminar
The top 15 (of 75) Pink sayings are:
- 16. On anxieties, don't fret (75 percent): Th 36, Lk 12:22–23, Mt 6:25
- 17. Lost Coin (75 percent): Lk 15:8–9
- 18. Foxes have dens: Lk 9:58 (74 percent), Mt 8:20 (74 percent), Th 86 (67 percent)
- 19. No respect at home: Th31:1 (74 percent), Lk 4:24 (71 percent), Jn 4:44 (67 percent), Mt 13:57 (60 percent), Mk 6:4 (58 percent)
- 20. Friend at midnight (72 percent): Lk 11:5–8
- 21. Two masters : Lk1 6:13a, Mt 6:24a (72 percent); Th 47:2 (65 percent)
- 22. Treasure: Mt 13:44 (71 percent), Th 109 (54 percent)
- 23. Lost sheep: Lk 15:4–6 (70 percent), Mt 18:12–13 (67 percent), Th 107 (48 percent)
- 24. What goes in: Mk 7:14–15 (70 percent), Th 14:5 (67 percent), Mt 15:10-11 (63 percent)
- 25. Corrupt judge (70 percent): Lk 18:2–5
- 26. Prodigal son (70 percent): Lk 15:11–32
- 27. Leave the dead, Nazirite): Mt 8:22 (70 percent), Lk 9:59–60 (69 percent)
- 28. Castration for Heaven, (Antithesis of the Law) (70 percent): Mt 19:12a
- 29. By their fruit (69 percent) : Mt 7:16b, Th 45:1a, Lk 6:44b (56 percent)
- 30. The dinner party, The wedding celebration: Th 64:1–11 (69 percent), Lk 14:16-23 (56 percent), Mt 22:2-13 (26 percent)
Overall reliability of the five gospels
The Seminar concluded that of the various statements in the "five gospels" attributed to Jesus, only about 18 percent of them were likely uttered by Jesus himself (red or pink). The Gospel of John fared worse than the synoptic gospels, with nearly all its passages attributed to Jesus being judged inauthentic. The Gospel of Thomas includes just two unique sayings that the seminar attributes to Jesus: the empty jar (97 percent) and the assassin (98 percent). Every other probably-authentic or authentic saying has parallels in the synoptics.
Gehenna and Hades
The gospels use the terms 'gehenna' and 'hades' for places of fiery punishment and death. The fellows rated Jesus' references to gehenna and hades as gray at best, often black. Some such references (such as the parable of Lazarus and Dives) have features that the fellows might regard as authentic, such as dramatic reversals of fortune. These received gray designations. The fellows regarded other references as inventions of early Christians responding to those who rejected Jesus' message or to "false" Christians within the community.
The Jesus Seminar rated various beatitudes as red, pink, gray, and black.
To analyze the beatitudes, they first innovated a nonliteral translation for the formula "blessed are," as in "Blessed are the poor." Modern readers are familiar enough with the beatitudes that this construction does not shock or surprise, as the original sayings allegedly did. As the modern equivalent, the Scholar's Version uses "Congratulations!"
Three beatitudes are "paradoxical" and doubly attested. They are rated red (authentic) as they appear in Luke 6:20-21.
Congratulations, you poor!
God's domain belongs to you.
Congratulations, you hungry!
You will have a feast.
Congratulations, you who weep now!
You will laugh.
These beatitudes feature the dramatic presentation and reversal of expectations that the seminar regards as characteristic of Jesus.
The beatitude for those persecuted in Jesus' name might trace back to Jesus as a beatitude for those who suffer, the fellows decided, but in its final form the saying represents concerns of the Christian community rather than Jesus' message. Thus it received a gray rating.
Matthew's version of the three authentic beatitudes were rated pink. The author has spiritualized two of them, so that they now refer to the poor "in spirit" and to those who hunger "and thirst for justice." Matthew also includes beatitudes for the meek, the merciful, the pure of heart, and peace-makers. These beatitudes have no second attestation, lack irony, and received a black rating.
The Actions of Jesus
In 1998, the Jesus Seminar published The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. According to the front flap summary: "Through rigorous research and debate, they have combed the gospels for evidence of the man behind the myths. The figure they have discovered is very different from the icon of traditional Christianity."
According to the Jesus Seminar:
- Jesus of Nazareth was born during the reign of Herod the Great.
- His mother's name was Mary, and he had a human father whose name may not have been Joseph.
- Jesus was born in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem.
- Jesus was an itinerant sage who shared meals with social outcasts.
- Jesus practiced healing without the use of ancient medicine or magic, relieving afflictions we now consider psychosomatic.
- He did not walk on water, feed the multitude with loaves and fishes, change water into wine or raise Lazarus from the dead.
- Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem and crucified by the Romans.
- He was executed as a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God.
- The empty tomb is a fiction—Jesus was not raised bodily from the dead.
- Belief in the resurrection is based on the visionary experiences of Paul, Peter and Mary Magdalene.
The ten authentic ("red") acts of Jesus are:
- The Beelzebul controversy: Luke 11:15-17
- A voice in the wilderness: Mark 1:1-8, Matt 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-20, Gospel of the Ebionites 1
- John baptizes Jesus: Mark 1:9-11, Matt 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22, Gospel of the Ebionites 4
- Jesus proclaims the good news: Mark 1:14-15
- Dining with sinners: Mark 2:15-17, Matt 9:10-13, Oxyrhynchus Gospels 1224 5:1-2
- Herod beheads John: Mark 6:14-29, Matt 14:1-12, Luke 9:7-9
- Crucifixion: core event considered authentic but all gospel reports are "improbable or fictive" ("black")
- The Death of Jesus: core event considered authentic but all gospel reports are "improbable or fictive" ("black")
- The first list of appearances: Jesus appeared to Cephas: 1Cor 15:3-5
- Birth of Jesus: Jesus's parents were named Joseph and Mary: parts of Matt 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-7
The 19 "pink" acts ("a close approximation of what Jesus did") are:
- Peter's mother-in-law: Mark 1:29-31, Matt 8:14-15, Luke 4:42-44
- The leper: Mark 1:40-45, Matt 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16, Egerton Gospel 2:1-4
- Paralytic and four: Mark 2:1-12, Matt 9:1-8, Luke 5:17-26
- Call of Levi: Mark 2:13-14, Matt 9:9, Luke 5:27-28, Gospel of the Ebionites 2:4
- Sabbath observance: Mark 2:23-28, Matt 12:1-8, Luke 6:1-5
- Jesus' relatives come to get him: Mark 3:20-21
- True relatives: Mark 3:31-35, Matt 12:46-50, Thomas 99:1-3
- Woman with a vaginal hemorrhage: Mark 5:24-34, Matt 9:20-22, Luke 8:42-48
- No respect at home: Mark 6:1-6, Matt 13:54-58
- Eating with defiled hands: Mark 7:1-13, Matt 15:1-9
- Demand for a sign: Luke 11:29-30
- The blind man of Bethsaida: Mark 8:22-26
- Blind Bartimaeus: Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-43
- Temple incident: Mark 11:15-19, Matt 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48
- Emperor and God: Mark 12:13-17, Matt 22:15-22, Luke 20:19-26, Thomas 100:1-4, Egerton 3:1-6
- The arrest: core event not accurately recorded
- high priest: core event not accurately recorded
- Before the Council: core event not accurately recorded
- Before Pilate: core event not accurately recorded
Also 1 red "summary and setting" (not a saying or action): Women companions of Jesus: Luke 8:1-3.
Criticism of the Jesus Seminar
Many conservative scholars, including Evangelical scholars, have questioned the methodology, assumptions and intent of the Jesus Seminar. Scholars who have expressed concerns with the work of the Jesus Seminar include Richard Hays, Ben Witherington, Gregory A. Boyd, N.T. Wright, William Lane Craig, Craig A. Evans, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, and Edwin Yamauchi. The specific criticisms leveled against the Jesus Seminar include charges that:
- the Jesus Seminar creates a Jesus who is separated from both his cultural setting and his followers;
- the voting system is seriously flawed;
- the criteria defining what constitutes red/pink/grey/black are inconsistent;
- it was an error to exclude apocalyptic messages from Jesus' ministry;
- the attempt to popularize Jesus research degraded the scholarly value of the effort;
- the conclusions largely represent the premises of the fellows, even though the seminar has said "Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you";
- the Jesus Seminar is hypercritical of canonical accounts of Jesus, but unduly credulous and uncritical when it comes to relatively late extra-canonical accounts;
- only about 14 of the fellows are leading figures in New Testament scholarship; and
- the fellows do not represent a fair cross-section of viewpoints.
More extreme reactions have come from Christian organizations such as the Fundamental Evangelistic Association, and the Watchman Expositor. The Christian Arsenal goes so far as to depict the Jesus Seminar as a tool of Satan, meant to undermine Biblical beliefs.
Divorcing Jesus from his cultural context and followers
One of the Seminar's tests for inauthenticity is that it "matches closely with beliefs of the early Church community." J. Ed Komoszewski and co-authors state that the Jesus Seminar's "Criteria for In/Authenticity" create "an eccentric Jesus who learned nothing from his own culture and made no impact on his followers". Others ask rhetorically, "why would such a Jesus be crucified?" The same criticism has been made by Craig Evans.
Use of a flawed voting system
The voting system has been criticized by, among others, NT Wright, who says '… I cannot understand how, if a majority … thought a saying authentic or probably authentic, the "weighted average" turned out to be "probably inauthentic." A voting system that produces a result like this ought to be scrapped.'
Ignoring evidence for eschatological teachings of Jesus
Dale Allison of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, in his 1999 book Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet, cited what he felt were problems with the work of (particularly) John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, arguing that their conclusions were at least in part predetermined by their theological positions. He also pointed out the limitations of their presumptions and methodology. Allison argued that despite the conclusions of the seminar, Jesus was a prophetic figure focused to a large extent on apocalyptic thinking. Some scholars have reasserted Albert Schweitzer's eschatological view of Jesus.
Creating a Jesus based on the presuppositions of the members
Luke Timothy Johnson of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, in his 1996 book The Real Jesus, voiced concerns with the seminar's work. He criticized the techniques of the Seminar, believing them to be far more limited for historical reconstruction than seminar members believe. Their conclusions were "already determined ahead of time," Johnson says, which "is not responsible, or even critical scholarship. It is a self-indulgent charade."
Bias against canonical sources and for non-canonical sources
Daniel L. Akin, writing in the Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, called the work of the Jesus Seminar "destructive criticism". Craig Blomberg notes that if the Jesus Seminar’s findings are to be believed then “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.” Craig Evans argues that the Jesus Seminar applies a form of hypercriticism to the canonical gospels that unreasonably assumes that "Jesus' contemporaries (that is, the first generation of his movement) were either incapable of remembering or uninterested in recalling accurately what Jesus said and did, and in passing it on" while, in contrast, privileging extra-canonical texts with an uncritical acceptance that sometimes rises to the level of special pleading.
Composition of the Seminar and qualifications of the members
Luke Timothy Johnson of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, in his 1996 book The Real Jesus, also argued that while many members of the seminar are reputable scholars (Borg, Crossan, Funk, others), others are relatively unknown or undistinguished in the field of biblical studies. One member, Paul Verhoeven, holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and physics, not biblical studies, and is best known as a film director. Johnson also critiqued the seminar for its attempts to gain the attention of the media for the 2000 ABC News program "The Search for Jesus" hosted by news anchor Peter Jennings.
Seminar critic William Lane Craig has argued that the self-selected members of the group do not represent the consensus of New Testament scholars. He writes:
Of the 74 [scholars] listed in their publication The Five Gospels, only 14 would be leading figures in the field of New Testament studies. More than half are basically unknowns, who have published only two or three articles. Eighteen of the fellows have published nothing at all in New Testament studies. Most have relatively undistinguished academic positions, for example, teaching at a community college.
Others have made the same point and have further indicated that thirty-six of those scholars, almost half, have a degree from or currently teach at one of three schools, Harvard, Claremont, or Vanderbilt: all considered to favor "liberal" interpretations of the New Testament.
Response of the Jesus Seminar
Members of the Jesus Seminar have responded to their critics in various books and dialogues, which typically defend both their methodology and their conclusions. Among these responses are The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics, by Robert J. Miller, a member of the Seminar; The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate, a dialogue with Allison, Borg, Crossan, and Stephen Patterson; The Jesus Controversy: Perspectives in Conflict, a dialogue between Crossan, Johnson, and Werner H. Kelber. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, by Borg and N. T. Wright demonstrated how two scholars with divergent theological positions can work together to creatively share and discuss their thoughts.
- List of Fellows Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Westar Institute. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Biblical Criticism.religioustolerance.org. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- The Jesus Seminar: Select Your Own Jesus.biblequery.org. Retrieved July 11, 2008.;21st Century Alchemy?, by Dr. Paige Patterson.beliefnet. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. (Polebridge Press/ Macmillan, 1993. ISBN 0025419498)
- The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. (Harper SanFrancisco, 1998, ISBN 0060629797)
- The Gospel of Jesus: According to the Jesus Seminar. (Polebridge Press/ Macmillan, 1999, ISBN 0944344747)
- N. Thomas Wright, Five Gospels but no Gospel, (Originally published in Authenticating the Activities of Jesus, ed. Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans.(Leiden: Brill, 1999, 83–120), 5. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- The historical-critical method "studies the biblical text in the same fashion as it would study any other ancient text and comments upon it as an expression of human discourse." Interpretation of the Bible Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- John Dominic Crossan. The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images. (Book Sales, 1998, ISBN 0785809015), 8.
- Paula Fredriksen,. Excerpt from "From Jesus to Christ". In particular, note the second footnote for a brief overview of scholars supporting an apocalyptic view, including Bart D. Ehrman and John P. Meier. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus. (1906), (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2001 edition. ISBN 0800632885)
- Marcus J. Borg, A renaissance in Jesus studies. Theology Today 45 (3)(October 1988). theologytoday. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Jesus Seminar.religioustolrerance. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Michael J. Wilkins & J.P. Moreland, General Editors. Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995, ISBN 0310211395)
- Richard Hays, "The Corrected Jesus" in First Things 43 (May 1994)
- Paul Copan, (Ed.) Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate Between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998, ISBN 0801021758)
- The Critics vs. the Critics: The Jesus Seminar Under Attack.fundamentalbiblechurch.org. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- The Jesus Seminar: The Slippery Slope to Heresy.watchman.org. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Jesus Seminar.christianarsenal.com. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- J. Ed. Komoszewski et al. (2006), Reinventing Jesus, Kregel, 49. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Birger Albert Pearson, Occasional paper, Pearson, BA, The Gospel According To The Jesus Seminar.veritas-ucsb.org. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Craig A. Evans. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. (InterVarsity Press, 2006. ISBN 0830833188)
- N. T. Wright, Five Gospels but no Gospel, (1999), 7. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Dale C. Allison. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1998, ISBN 0800631447)
- Schweitzer wrote that Jesus and his followers expected the imminent end of the world. Review of "The Mystery of the Kingdom of God". Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Candler School of Theology, Emory Univ.Luke Timothy Johnson Retrieved July 11, 2008.
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- Luke Timothy Johnson Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Dan Shaw, Paul Verhoeven biography.cinema.com. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- William Lane Craig, Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: Presuppositions and Pretensions of the Jesus Seminarleadersru.com. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- Craig Blomberg, "Where Do We Start Studying Jesus?" in Wilkins & Moreland. Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 20
- Allison, Dale C. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1998. ISBN 0800631447
- Beutner, Edward F. 2007. "Listening to the Parables of Jesus. Polebridge Press. ISBN 978-1598150032
- Borg, Marcus J. A renaissance in Jesus studies. Theology Today 45 (October 1988) (3). theologytoday. Retrieved July 11, 2008
- Copan, Paul, ed. 1998. Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate Between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. ISBN 0801021758
- Crossan, John Dominic,  2008. The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images. Eugene OR: Wipf & Stock, ISBN 1556358334
- Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ, second ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 2000. ISBN 0300084579
- Jesus Seminar. 1999. The Gospel of Jesus: According to the Jesus Seminar. Polebridge Press. ISBN 978-0944344743
- Jesus Seminar.  1999. The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. Polebridge Press /Macmillan, ISBN 0025419498
- Jesus Seminar. 1999. The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus. Harper SanFrancisco, ISBN 0060629797
- Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Real Jesus : The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels. HarperOne, 1997. ISBN 0060641665
- Komoszewski, J. Ed, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace. Reinventing Jesus. Kregel Publications, 2006. ISBN 082542982X
- Marshall, David. 2005. Why the Jesus Seminar can't find Jesus, and Grandma Marshall Could: A Populist Defense of the Gospels. Kuai Mu Press. ISBN 978-0970227829
- Schweitzer, Albert. . The Quest of the Historical Jesus Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2001 edition. ISBN 0800632885
- Scott, Bernard Brandon. 1988. The Parables of Jesus. Polebridge Press. ISBN 978-0944344071
- Wilkins, Michael J. and J. P. Moreland, General Editors. Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995, ISBN 0310211395
- Wright, N. Thomas, Five Gospels but no Gospel, (Originally published in Authenticating the Activities of Jesus, ed. Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans. (Leiden: Brill, 1999, 83–120), 5. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
All links retrieved May 4, 2018.
- The Jesus Seminar Forum
- The Gospel According to the Jesus Seminar from Religion (London), vol 25, October 1995, pp. 317-38
- Robert Price's rebuttal of Luke Timothy Johnson's The Real Jesus.
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