An Assignment for NT 5000: Introduction to New Testament
History, especially the lost pieces in the history are always very attractive to modern people. Due to the increasing audience of online media and Social Network, it’s becoming easier nowadays for scholars and even normal people to publish and announce their challenges or new findings against traditional history. I used to laugh at the Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories which claims that some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated Moon landings were hoaxes staged by NASA. But when I got opportunity to look into their arguments, I found that they established a very logical expound based on questionable assumptions.  It’s also true in the field of theology. A group 150 critical scholars and laymen founded the Jesus Seminar in 1985. The seminar uses votes with colored beads to decide their collective view of the historicity of the deeds and sayings of Jesus. They mainly published their findings in three reports: The Five Gospels (1993), The Acts of Jesus (1998), and The Gospel of Jesus (1999).
The research approach used by Jesus Seminar is very different from traditional Christian faith. They deny the supernatural events described in the Scripture, and they leverage higher criticism to decide what parts of narratives in the Scripture are true and what parts are doubtful. They use four colors to mark all the words attributed to Jesus gospels, indicating the probability of whether they are truly from Jesus or not. According to this approach, only fifteen sayings are colored red (meaning “Jesus undoubtedly said this”) in all of the Gospels put together. The Jesus Seminar is not solely doing the historical research; they are opening the door of challenging the canonization of the Scripture.