Bible Review, April 1997
Who was Jesus? What did he really say? And can we distinguish Jesus’ beliefs from those of the authors of the Gospels, written down more than a generation after Jesus’ death?
The Jesus Seminar has received a good deal of attention from scholars, most of it negative. The polemical rhetoric of some of the seminar’s critics is, in all honesty, the ugliest I have ever encountered in scholarly writing.
Robert Miller’s thoughtful response to critics of the Jesus Seminar, myself included, is of value not least because of its irenic tone. It was my aim when I wrote The Jesus Quest (InterVarsity Press, 1995) to approach the matter in the same way. Arguments should be answered with arguments, not mere rhetoric or polemics. […]
Ben Witherington’s response to my essay is helpful in that it does more than just find fault: It begins to grapple with some fundamental issues.
Acrostics are alphabetical texts.Bible scholars disagree on their purpose.Consequently, translations differ.Despite differences in emphasis,Every translator acknowledges thatForm and meaning are connected.Given the strictures of acrostics, however,Holding on to both is impossible.If the acrostic in a poem isJust an ornament or aid to memory,Keeping it intact is not necessary.Leave it with the detritus of translation.Meaning […]
Seven times in one chapter (23) of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus curses the “scribes and Pharisees” as hypocrites and blind guides. This occurs after numerous disputes with leaders of the Jewish community in Galilee and a series of confrontations with the authorities in Jerusalem. Finally, Matthew’s Jesus mounts a climactic attack on his […]
Our idea of a judge is someone who wears a black robe, sits behind a huge paneled desk, adjudicates disputes and bangs a gavel to control a courtroom. If we project the concept back into Old Testament times, we picture elders sitting on stone benches at the city gate, listening to and resolving conflicts. […]