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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 10:41PM #1
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,966
Robert J. Miller, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania. He is also one of the original Fellows of the Jesus Seminar. He is the editor of The Complete Gospels and author of numerous books related to the work of The Westar Institute. He is also the Editor of The Fourth R.

He is a frequent traveler with the Jesus Seminar Road Shows and a major contributor of Papers to Jesus Seminar Conferences.

Bob will be with us for 5 days, beginning on Monday and will be able to spend about an hour per day answering and discussing issues related to The Historical Issues.

I invite you to offer your questions now, so that Bob will have more than sufficient subject matter to deal with.
Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 11:13PM #2
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
Bob,

In addition to the new questions, what do you think of asking Dr. Miller to read over as many recent threads as he might be interested in, and responding to whatever issues he may deem to be of sufficient importance?

Gene
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 27, 2008 - 7:39AM #3
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,966

GeneStecher wrote:

Bob,

In addition to the new questions, what do you think of asking Dr. Miller to read over as many recent threads as he might be interested in, and responding to whatever issues he may deem to be of sufficient importance?

Gene



Gene,

I'm not certain, but I think Bob has already been doing some of that. And he's free to go in any direction he wishes. However, he did say that he'd like to stick fairly close to questions asked.

Bob

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 27, 2008 - 7:56AM #4
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
In "The Jesus Seminar and its Critics," you seem to imply that the only criticism of the JS is from evangelical or fundamentalist types, using "whipping boys" like Hays, Witherington and TL Johnson. What say ye about the criticisms that, in a rush to enthusiastically find a Jesus, the Jesus Seminar has totally missed the purpose of Hebrew books which dealt with parable, metaphor, and were not written about historical events, but told greater stories, timeless? (I speak, for instance, of Thomas L. Thompson.) The Daniel canon, Jonah, Job, Esther, and others come to mind.  Is the Jesus Seminar putting a veneer of research on top of what can only be considered theology?

Dennis
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 27, 2008 - 10:36AM #5
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
Dr. Miller,

Thanks so much for joining us.  Here are a few questions.

(1) The earliest NT manuscripts we have are several centuries and who knows how many copies removed from the purported events and teachings.  What's the strongest rationale for trusting the copying process?  What's the strongest rationale for not trusting the copying process?

(2) What's the strongest rationale for concluding that canonical Luke is an expansion of Marcion's gospel?  What's the strongest rationale for concluding that Marcion's gospel is a later reduction of canonical Luke?

(3) What's the strongest rationale for concluding that "Q" once existed as an independent objective document?  What's the strongest rationale for concluding that "Q" is really Matthew or never was an independent document?

(4) A researcher may place himself/herself outside or inside the Jesus Follower community.  What is the strongest rationale for asserting that those who identify with the Jesus Followers from the inside are significantly handicapped when attempting to interpret the biblical and origins materials?  What is the strongest rationale that they are not significantly handicapped?

Gene
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 27, 2008 - 6:13PM #6
KrisK10
Posts: 63
Hi Bob,

It’s very generous of you to offer your time here, and thanks again for entertaining my hypothesis on the origin of the Christian third-day belief in The Fourth R a year or so ago.

I’m curious if you have any feel for a timeline on the Jesus Seminar’s work on Christian origins. How long do you think it will be before the Seminar connects the dots and publishes a comprehensive naturalistic explanation for the rise of Christianity and the related evidence before us (I’m assuming this is your end goal)? Also, when do you think the Seminar will attempt to address the causes of the traditions that we see in 1 Cor 15:3-7, which many think is the earliest kernel of Christian beliefs that we have and in my mind will be the most controversial and critical aspect of selling your conclusions to the lay public? Lastly, when the JS finally presents its conclusions, do you see it engaging the arguments (sometimes very good) of those on the other side of the aisle, i.e. fundamentalists (this would seem necessary if your goal is to educate the public)? Thanks. 

Kris
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 27, 2008 - 6:13PM #7
KrisK10
Posts: 63
Hi Bob,

It’s very generous of you to offer your time here, and thanks again for entertaining my hypothesis on the origin of the Christian third-day belief in The Fourth R a year or so ago.

I’m curious if you have any feel for a timeline on the Jesus Seminar’s work on Christian origins. How long do you think it will be before the Seminar connects the dots and publishes a comprehensive naturalistic explanation for the rise of Christianity and the related evidence before us (I’m assuming this is your end goal)? Also, when do you think the Seminar will attempt to address the causes of the traditions that we see in 1 Cor 15:3-7, which many think is the earliest kernel of Christian beliefs that we have and in my mind will be the most controversial and critical aspect of selling your conclusions to the lay public? Lastly, when the JS finally presents its conclusions, do you see it engaging the arguments (sometimes very good) of those on the other side of the aisle, i.e. fundamentalists (this would seem necessary if your goal is to educate the public)? Thanks. 

Kris
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2008 - 8:48AM #8
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=GeneStecher;244356]Dr. Miller,

Thanks so much for joining us.  Here are a few questions.

(1) The earliest NT manuscripts we have are several centuries and who knows how many copies removed from the purported events and teachings.  What's the strongest rationale for trusting the copying process?  What's the strongest rationale for not trusting the copying process?

(2) What's the strongest rationale for concluding that canonical Luke is an expansion of Marcion's gospel?  What's the strongest rationale for concluding that Marcion's gospel is a later reduction of canonical Luke?

(3) What's the strongest rationale for concluding that "Q" once existed as an independent objective document?  What's the strongest rationale for concluding that "Q" is really Matthew or never was an independent document?

(4) A researcher may place himself/herself outside or inside the Jesus Follower community.  What is the strongest rationale for asserting that those who identify with the Jesus Followers from the inside are significantly handicapped when attempting to interpret the biblical and origins materials?  What is the strongest rationale that they are not significantly handicapped?

Gene[/QUOTE]

Dr. Miller,

I join my friends in welcoming you to our dialogue.  The above questions do seem to be what we've been discussing most recently, and in depth.  I join Gene in being interested in your thoughts on them.

Thanks,

Chuck Jones
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2008 - 9:19AM #9
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,966
Bob,

Simple question. Do you have any new books or papers in the works that you could mention and that we can look forward to seeing soon?
Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2008 - 10:49AM #10
LAMII
Posts: 123
Dr. Miller, thanks for your valuable time.

Gene asked:

(1) The earliest NT manuscripts we have are several centuries and who knows how many copies removed from the purported events and teachings. What's the strongest rationale for trusting the copying process? What's the strongest rationale for not trusting the copying process?   

My question somewhat piggy-backs on Gene’s question above.

In your essay (actually adapted Chapter 8 of “Born Devine”), “Did Jesus Fulfill Prophecy?”, “The Fourth R,” Mar/Apr 2003,  you discuss and analyze Matthew’s use of prophecy, arguing among other things, that “Matthew started with the conviction that Jesus’ life must have fulfilled the scripture, and then went back to read (or remember) the Old Testament with the intention of finding out more about what had happened in Jesus’ life.”

You also point out the similarity found in modern-day books in the “End Times Prophecy” genre, therein seeking to retrofit (my term not yours) Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, Peter, John, et al, into the stories/predictions of the authors of this genre.

In your 2001 essay, “Is the Apocalyptic Jesus History?” (From “The Once & Future Faith," 2001) you advance a similar argument, similar in that you assert that Jesus was not apocalyptic (he was just wrong in predicting the imminent end), but that the theological, apocalyptic Jesus emerged as a result of later embellishment and interpretation applied to his life/words by not only early Christians, but as more fully, but much later, sanctioned by the church.

These arguments could serve as support for those who assert very late dates for the canon of the NT, perhaps as late as the second half of the second century.  At least from the standpoint that the second century shaping of orthodoxy would have been bolstered by these sort of answers to ongoing polemics, the objective being to support proto-orthodoxy, and not necessarily to memorialize historical events.  I suppose one could also use your arguments to support earlier dates, but from the position that the writings were from the relatively small Jewish sect representing Christianity, seeking a more definitive voice--this is somewhat problematic because of the events of 70CE and the subsequent Roman treatment of all Jews, but maybe has support for the post-70CE Jewish diaspora.

Your thoughts, please.

Lloyd
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