Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel of Jesus: According to the Jesus Seminar?
not again... Dec 26, 2007
Perhaps some of the "jesus seminar" work is acceptable but this is not!! As if historical jesus is not troubled enough, this book troubles the water even more. The only good thing about it is maybe provides further discourse and research into jesus. But as a history book fails miserably and as a religious book it comes across sporadic and arbitrary (no explanations to why works included). Just dont buy this...unless u can get it for $2 or less...
Burden of Proof? Mar 26, 2007
If the criteria applied by the Jesus Seminar were applied to all ancient writing we would have no history, only a phantasm based on political ambitions and an extremely skeptical view of human nature. There is certainly a more objective and postitive view when applying a hermenutic. The inconsitencies of the gospels pointed out by textual and contextual criticism only go to validate the authenticity of the message and the humanity of its transmission. If biblical facts and grammar aligned to the degree of the criteria set forth by the Jesus Seminar "scholars", I would conjecture the argument would be the same but with the opposite criteria! No, the Jesus seminar is not applying a science, but an inductive argument with claims based on evidence with an agenda that provides no real warrant for the inference. How about spending our mental energy on applying ethics to government?
Rewriting Jesus, to the extreme. Jan 22, 2006
The conclusions reached by the author(s) are very narrowly biased in that they begin their research from the point of view that miracles (supernatural events) are not possible and Jesus was never God or the Son of God to begin with. Well, they actually say that he never said or even implied those things, or that he was the only way to salvation. It's blind denial beyond comprehension to disbelieve in the possibiity of supernatural events (events that take place through a means outside the natural universe and its laws) taking place. After all, the universe exists. What other than a supernatural event could have possibly caused that to happen? To say that this work does not force a particular viewpoint is ludicrous. The authors, many of whom do not represent the bulk of biblical scholarship, cite highly controversial sources in order to stack the deck in favor of a completely secular Christ. For a solidly compelling rebuttle to the conclusions reached by the "Jesus Seminar", and so frequently repeated by businesses that profit from controversial headlines, read the introduction to "Jesus Under Fire" by Michael Wilkins and J.P. Moreland. For a devastating blow to the Seminar's message, read the rest. :-)
Excellent Nov 29, 2005
I believe that THE GOSPEL OF JESUS is best used as an adjunct to the New Testament Gospels. It also helps if the reader is familiar with some of the early Christian scriptures which are not included in the New Testament canon.
Reading this book was a thoroughly positive experience for me, resulting in the emergence of a more credible Jesus. The explanatory material contained in the introduction and appendices was especially useful.
I recommend THE GOSPEL OF JESUS without reservation to anyone who wishes to add spice and understanding to their bible reading.
a short but useful synopsis of the work of the Jesus Seminar Oct 12, 2004
If you have time for only one book by the Jesus Seminar, this is the book you should consider as it contains a short but useful synopsis of much of their work.
1- The book reads like a New Testament gospel, so you can read it straight through if you just want the straight scoop. But if/when you want additional information, there are notes on the left side of each page showing the source(s) of each grouping of verses, including chapter and verse, to enable comparisons. There are also more extensive notes on each chapter at the end of the book, including comments about why such and such an event or parable was included and what the consensus of the JS was on the various events.
2- An index in the back of the book gives a short description of each of the ancient gospels from which Funk and his colleagues drew the facts and inspiration for their own gospel. Unfortunately, they have neglected a couple of the gospels mentioned in the book, among them Pseudo Mark which, as far as I can tell, refers to a short section of Mark Chapter 16. (see the notes for the Epilogue on page 105)
3- Another short appendix gives a description of the Jesus Seminar: who they are and some details about their Biblical research. This section is very informative and would be useful to those who know little or nothing about the group. I want to give the book to my father as a gift as I think the contains a wealth of information about both the Jesus Seminar and their scholarship in suitable form for those who know little or nothing about them.
4- Yet another appendix gives detailed notes for each chapter of the gospel. These sometimes include quotes from sources like The Gospel of Thomas which can't readily be located by someone who only has a conventional New Testament.
1- I hope a future edition will contain a small glossary to explain terms like Purity Party which are unfamiliar to folks like me who are not formally educated in Biblical studies. (I'm guessing this might refer to the Pharisees in the way that the Saducees are often referred to as scribes.) Perhaps such a glossary could cover minor gospels like Pseudo Mark (see above) that aren't deemed comprehensive enough to be discussed in the Ancient Gospels appendix.
2- I would like a better explanation of how the color-based voting works. They describe it as a weighted system, but I would be interested in knowing exactly what this means. If I were doing it, I might assign red beads two points, pink one, grey negative one and black negative two. But I don't know if this would be the best way or, more importantly, how it is, in fact, being done by the JS.
Some comments about specific parts of the text appear below:
The book contains a prologue, twenty-one chapters and an epilogue. The prologue discusses the circumstances surrounding Jesus's birth and childhood. Oddly, the narration here jumps from his birth to various people's comments and opinions about him as a prophet with no warning, and the bulk of the chapter is taken up by these statements.
Even strangeer is the quote from Paul which appears in verse 13 discussing a visit he made to Jerusalem after Jesus's death. I puzzled over this for some time and finally came to the conclusion that Funk and the Jesus Seminar want to remind us that the first writings about Jesus appeared long after his death, and that some were written by people who never even met Jesus.
Another minor criticism I have is that the authors can't seem to decide if they want a modern-day translation or something closer to King James English. In several chapters, they mix tenses in that annoying way that many New Testament passages do. Yet in others, they use very modern colloquial expressions. (It would be interesting to see a foreign-language translation of this book to see how some of these expressions have been handled in other languages.)
It was interesting to see which parables the Jesus Seminar saw fit to include in their gospel. I wish they would have provided more information in their notes as to why they chose the ones they did and not others. They do provide good information about the miracles and their ideas about the circumstances surrounding each. A similar discussion of the parables would be useful, too.
One reason I love this book is that it presents Jesus' parables in a new context which makes them fresh to my ears. As a result, I'm able to think about them in new ways, freed from the baggage of so many years of Sunday School explanations. I'm willing to disagree and formulate arguments against the points the parables make yet, in the end, I always have to admit that there are just as many arguments in favor of them. This is a testament to the fact that Jesus' parables have just as much value as teaching devices today as they did 2,000 years ago.