How does the Jesus Seminar reach their conclusions? This research paper will search for answers to this question through investigating the methodology from the Jesus Seminar. I will then present views of this methodology used by from other scholars. Then I will make a personal summation of my own of the methods.
The declared objectives of the Seminar are 1) to find out what critical historiography can say about the historical Jesus. 2) to communicate responsibly the results of our scholarly work to the public. There are statements from the Seminar that indicate their intention of disclosure to the general public as an indication of their scholarly purpose.
The Seminar formed in l985 with Robert Funk as leader. The members are called Fellows. In 1985 thirty scholars began the research. The seminar meets twice a year in a different remote location. The first meeting was held in St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. This School is located in a small southern town far from large cities. It would be a good place to do research. The purpose has changed in the later years. The Seminar now discusses technical writings that are sent prior to the gathering.
After the 1985 meeting, a book titled "The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus" was published. This was published in 1993. In 1997, a second resulting text titled "The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus" was published. According to the Seminar, the books assess the words and deeds of Jesus respectively.
In Robert Funk's opening remarks to the first meeting held in March 1985, he attempted to state the objectives of the Jesus Seminar. Their objective was to find out what Jesus really said. Funk said the Seminar expected to anger some who would believe the work was too close to sacredness of the society.
An objective was to research all sacred traditions that are connected to the name of Jesus.