Voting among biblical scholars to determine a consensus on issues of translation and textual criticism is by now an uncontroversial practice, even if it is relatively recent. The tradition of voting by ecclesiastical authorities to determine official doctrines concerning the Bible is an ancient practice. For example, the Catholic Church formally adopted Jerome’s Vulgate as its canonical Bible at the Council of Trent—the vote among the bishops in attendance was 23 for, 15 against, with 16 abstentions.

Voting does carry a potential for misrepresentation if all that is published is the final result, for this might give the appearance of unanimity when in fact some votes may have been close calls. This is why the Jesus Seminar publishes the percentage of red, pink, gray and black votes for each individual item.