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Points To Ponder Lesson 5

#1 User is offline   drlmorris 

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:35 AM

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.
Instructor: Master of the Historical Jesus
Founder: The Historical Jesus Project
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#2 User is offline   graham 

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:26 AM

View Postdrlmorris, on Sep 24 2009, 03:35 PM, said:

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.

1. The methodology employed by the Jesus Seminar to validate the 'raw' sayings of Jesus may seem, at first sight, to be somewhat bizarre and unscientific but closer consideration would suggest that this is not the case. The thirty 'wise men' invited by Robert Funk to partipate were eminent scholars possessing great prestige and accumulated wisdom in the field. As long as the intial criteria for identifying the material to be assessed, submitting it to collective appraisal and arriving at a scholarly consensus, were properly observed, this final selection process can be seen as a sound method of refining the process. Clearly, academic debate is vital as the precursor to decision-making so that all the available viewpoints can be considered, but there does come a point at which the individual participants, on the basis of equal and unattributed input, need to commit themselves. Often, when important decisions are entrusted to a committee, some members will be more dominant than others and may well sway the feeling of the meeting to a particular outcome. The method described here avoids that situation and allows each participant the luxury of deciding the issue in an independent and untrammelled way but with the benefit of the earlier stages of group wisdom and input.

2. In order to respond to this question one does really need to define the phrase 'people of faith' as faith can take very different forms according to the personality and mindset of the individual. Many have a 'child-like' faith which allows them to believe in a creed or doctrine in a way which the majority would look upon as sheer gullibility and the failure to apply any rational criteria. Others may hold to a faith which is, nonetheless, based to an extent on a degree of rational enquiry.
Those whose faith is greatly influenced by parental of educational factors in early life may well tend to be less likely to have recourse to rational enquiry in later life, although psycho-analysts would suggest that this, too, is highly influenced by personality archetypes. It is also arguable that many people do not make a conscious distinction between the Christ of Faith and the historical Christ unless they are beset by a crisis of faith that causes them to question the foundations of their adherence to a particular religious persuasion. The history of Christianity, certainly, has been dominated by institutions that had a vested interest in suppressing overmuch enquiry into the biographical and contextual details of Christ's life and message as even the scriptures selected as holy writ are not greatly in conformity with the practices and agenda of the traditional churches. Today, a different moral mindset applies where many people find that elements in Christianity are vehemently opposed to issues that are commonly viewed by the majority of people as acceptable and part of the fabric of our society, e.g. homosexuality, the ordination of women, abortion in some instances at least, genetic research intended to benefit mankind as a whole.This is beginning to stimulate much more interest in the quest for the historical Jesus as those who wish to consider themselves Christians and to espouse the teachings of Jesus but feel repelled by some of the more rebarbative messages emanating from the fundamentalist preachers, seek to discover more about his life in order to establish whether Jesus himself can be associated with sentiments that they feel no longer have any place in the new moral order.

3. It would indeed be quite difficult to commend the Quest to many fundamentalist preachers as there often seems to be a lack of perspective and consistency in their teachings. However, given the way in which those who believe in the literal truth of the Bible pick and choose their battle cries, one might be surprised by an ability to accept some historical enquiry as long as it conformed to their ultimate interpretation of the Christian message. A brief reading of the books of Exodus and Leviticus serves to indicate the ability of such preachers to overlook the inconvenient prohibitions and prescriptions of dire punishment such as selling one's daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7), buying slaves from neighbouring states (Lev. 25:44), putting to death neighbours who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2) and not approaching the altar of God if one has a sight defect (Lev. 21:20).
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#3 User is offline   rev c watson 

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:49 AM

What is your opinion on how the Jesus Seminar fellows came up with the “raw” sayings of Jesus?
If you don't use every piece of known information attributed to Jesus, then the study would be suspect, correct!

Why are there still so many people of faith ignorant of the historical quests for Jesus and his real teachings? Could they be oblivious, not care, or afraid that the knowledge would case a crisis in their faith?
Why would someone want to give up something that eases their suffering, or gives them a way of living that feels right to them? Why can't it just be that simple?

How would you explain and justify these quests for the historical Jesus without regard to dogma and faith to a fundamentalist Christian preacher?
Why would you try? What would it benefit you? I try to let people be who they are, and let them celebrate their own beliefs. Who am I? My quest for the historical sayings of Jesus have nothing to do with anyone else, other than like minded people.
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#4 User is offline   Wync 

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:28 AM

1. I think that it is a respectable methodology. Finding several independent writings from different authenticated independent sources closer to the time that Jesus was alive is an excellent process to pursue. By comparing and contrasting what these sources say concerning what Jesus had taught, we can extract what he said based on the strength of the consistency of the independent sources, when taken together.


2. Not challenging what you feel or know to be, is safe. Most people have been brought up in a faith that they have been taught is heretical to question. Therefore, any appearance of challenging their accepted belief is considered a direct threat of heretical attack against the foundation of their faith.

3. My approach to explaining and justifying these quests for the historical Jesus without regard to dogma and faith to a fundamentalist Christian preacher would vary based on the preacher. However, I would tell them that in order for them to affectively witness to sinners, it would help to be able to explain Jesus from historical sources outside of the Bible as well as the gospel of the Bible. Then I would tell them, "Why wouldn't you want to know Jesus from a historical perspective unless you fear that he never really existed or he wasn't what you have claimed him to be?"
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#5 User is offline   jdania 

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 07:23 AM

Points to Ponder
Historical Jesus Lesson 5
Dr. L. Morris

What is your opinion on how the Jesus Seminar fellows came up with the “raw” sayings of Jesus?

It is a very unscientific way of choosing or discerning between what is and what could have been. It seems that to the seminar fellows it really did not matter in which category they were to be placed. I guess what matters is the interpretation that is given to the saying by the individual reader.


Why are there still so many people of faith ignorant of the historical quests for Jesus and his real teachings? Could they be oblivious, not care, or afraid that the knowledge would case a crisis in their faith?

It could be due to a combination of many things. Some may not be interested and follow the teachings of their present leader (priest, rev., pastor, min., etc.) and his/her interpretation. Some may find it irrelevant because their Christianity or belief is based on faith alone. Others are believers of the gospels and deemed them as truth, or portrayers of the life and teachings of Jesus.


How would you explain and justify these quests for the historical Jesus without regard to dogma and faith to a fundamentalist Christian preacher? (Smile!)

One could not explain or justify the quests to a fundamentalist Christian preacher if he is a religious fanatic. This person would not listen and shun all discourse on the matter He/she would try to shut you up and force his way on you. His her word would be the only valid view. If he does not have an open mind and welcomes discord and analysis one would not be able to explain anything.
jdania

This post has been edited by jdania: 26 October 2015 - 07:25 AM

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#6 User is offline   Heidi Jury 

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 06:20 PM

View Postdrlmorris, on 24 September 2009 - 11:35 AM, said:

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.

Quote

"Scripture teaches nothing but charity, and we must not leave an interpretation of Scripture until we have found a compassionate interpretation of it." - St. Augustine


The current search for the historical Jesus seems to add a modern twist to ongoing splintering of ideas of this "person" who has created so many other books, different sects of religions, and served as an important source of the basis for the thinking of Western Civilization. Current scholars differ on the importance of the Historical Jesus and differ on the methods to determine a historical Jesus.

For example, we have the Jesus Seminar, best known for their voting via color bead. A red or pink bead represents the sayings that they agree was truly said by the historical person of Jesus. Bart Ehrman, a historical New Testament scholar, thinks that the Jesus Seminar is right that only about 18% of the New Testament is actually historical - he just disagrees about which 18%! Another important Scholar, Luke Timothy Johnson, disagrees with the Jesus Seminar voting - especially as they let people vote who are not biblical scholars but rather have other areas of expertise such as mathematics!

Discovering more disagreement, and even less harmony in this modern historical Jesus quest, I came to Karen Armstrong, a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, with some relief! I have previously been inspired by Karen's "Charter for Compassion" and it launched my own work with the Interfaith Community. Karen's passion is for good people to remember the compassion in all religions, and to bring back respect for religious traditions, by having them remember that they all have "do onto others as you would have them do to you" in common, rather than squabbling about their differences. Her vision to make religion a source of peace in the world, "as it can, and should be" is a goal that I personally resonate with as I find it difficult sometimes to engage in a secular world that believes spiritual growth is not needed.

Karen Armstrong has influenced many of my own aesthetics - including the importance of celebrating Jesus in a mythic way rather than a purely theological or divine way. Her discussion of the changed meaning of the word "believe" makes sense to me. Previous to the Enlightenment it did not mean an intellectual state but rather a way of life; "Be Live". Her focus on being and living and doing as being more important than the agreement on theological truths gives me hope that there is a place for me in religious circles as wasting time on disagreement and conflict does damage to my soul. For me, wisdom can be found in many places, including in the spiritual story of my neighbour as well as my own. In these times of violence and terror in our world, I believe that Karen's message of compassion has never been more important and for me is the most important modern perspective on Jesus and other religious and spiritual points of view.








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