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They really, really don't like the Jesus Seminar
on 13 December 2010
For a work of this kind to deserve the five stars given to it by previous reviewers, it needs to be altogether more than a polemic. "Reinventing Jesus" is an intelligent and thought-provoking book, fair enough, but in the way that a leader in the Daily Telegraph might be: perhaps you admire the writing and are even persuaded by some of the detail in the argument, but you know exactly where it's coming from ideologically, and such is the case here.
These three writers regard the Jesus Seminar as an enemy of true Christianity which must be defeated, and a major part of their intention here is to pull it to pieces. They have no respect for the Seminar's intention, which is to rehabilitate Jesus as a figure who can speak to the modern world. Granted they may have failed to execute this task, and their methodology is no more immune to critical scrutiny than anyone else's, but because they are determined to to a hatchet job on the Seminar rather than give it a fair hearing, the value of Komoszewski and his co-authors' analysis is severely limited.
To dismiss the Seminar's members as "skeptics" is misleading: they are critical scholars, but some - not all, admittedly - are also devout Christians. A dialogue between them and this group of writers would be very interesting and might well be worth five stars. This is a diatribe; maybe a scholarly one, but a diatribe nonetheless, and as such I'm giving it the thumbs down.