Friday, October 05, 2012

Jesus Criteria Conference Day 2, live blog, #JesusCriteria

It's day two of the conference in Dayton, Ohio on Jesus, Criteria and the Demise of Authenticity. Details about the live feed and the programme are found in my previous post and here:

Conference Schedule

Conference Live Feed

Today is a full day, beginnng at 8.30 in the morning, so in a sense we are only one third of the way through the conference at this stage.  I have just realized that today's live blog is going to be more spotty than yesterday's because I am on the programme three times today, for the first time in a moment.

First up is Loren Stuckenbruck, talking about the criterion of Semitic influence. It is nice to hear him presenting in what he calls a "discursive" way, with some autobiography.  He mentions that he has a mistake in the chapter in that he refers to "Palestine" and that he should not be using that term for the first century.  Quick pic. of Loren Stuckenbruck in action:

My response should last for ten minutes or so.  After me comes John Poirier, also responding to Stuckenbruck. Live blog is paused for a while.

With my response to Loren Stuckenbruck's paper done, it's back to live blogging.  After my response, John Poirier also responded to Loren's paper, focusing mainly on Maurice Casey's particular use of the criterion. Loren then took some questions from the audience, and we had a half an hour coffee break.

First up after the break is Dale Allison.  As far as I am concerned, this is the keynote paper of the conference.  He is speaking autobiographically about his own use of the criteria in the past, and his disillusionment with them.  He speaks with authority and not like the scribes.  It's a great presentation and he gets a good laugh when he tells us that he told his wife, after writing Constructing Jesus, that he was done with Jesus.

Chris Keith is now responding; he says that it is difficult to provide a critique of a paper that is largely autobiographical.  Dale Allision has sat down at the front at the table and presumably both respondents will sit down next to him in a moment.

Chris Keith says that he does not know of anyone who utilizes the criterion of multiple attestation when they are discussing the resurrection.  I am wondering about Tom Wright, but I don't think I got that far in his 900 page book.

Chris has just mentioned my contribution to the book with respect to the pedagogical usefulness of the criteria.  He also mentions that I said to him that every year I teach them, and every year I believe in them less and less.   He suggests now that we prescribe the book for class.

Excellent response from Chris Keith, lively and right to the point  And I agreed with most of it.

Anthony Le Donne is now responding and he begins by quoting James McGrath's concern that they might be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Joel Watts is also live-blogging the conference, and he very kindly plugs my new book too, so that was money well spent.

Anthony Le Donne concludes an entertaining response by speaking of sweat and humility and how they can achieve some results.

It's the Q&A now, beginning with Dale Allison's responses to Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne.  Nice to hear Dale Allison responding to Michael Barber's question submitted online.  Nice feeling that there is a broader audience out there!  Here's a pic of Allison, Le Donne and Keith in this Q&A session:

Barry Schwartz is asking a question that reminds me a little of the old cartoon, "We'd now like to open the floor to shorter speeches disguised as questions".

This live blog ceased for an hour between 11 and 12 while I took part in a "Round Table" discussion with Dale Allison, Loren Stuckenbruck and Dagmar Winter, and chaired by Anthony Le Donne, sitting at that blue-clothed table that you see above photographed earlier.  Then lunch and now the afternoon session begins with Anthony Le Donne speaking about the criterion of coherence.  He's the first speaker to use a nice visual aid.  I'll try to get a pic:

Anthony says that the PCC (Perrin criterion of coherence) is completely bankrupt and needs to go away.  Here's his graphic for Perrin:

Anthony talks about the "two columns" of authentic and inauthentic and explains his problems with this way of saying things, including the multitude of different cognitive states that these things go through.  If I get the chance to ask the question, I want to question whether historical Jesus scholars are using "two columns", one for authentic and one for inauthentic.  Is it not a bit more nuanced than that?  Even the Jesus Seminar has shades of grey (literally) and shades of pink.

Dagmar Winter is presenting now her piece which deals with the criterion of dissimilarity.  She begins with a humble statement about how she feels that she is dining out on a good idea that she had twenty years ago, in the book she co-wrote with Gerd Theissen, The Quest for the Plausible Jesus. She also pays tribute to Eugene Boring who translated the book.  She goes on with a delightful analogy from a BBC story about whether or not Italian food has "lost its authenticity".  Here's a pic:

Joel Watts continues to live blog the conference too and includes this nice pic. from the round table discussion earlier, from left to right: Anthony Le Donne, Dagmar Winter, me, Loren Stuckenbruck, Dale Allison:

But back to the matter at hand, Dagmar Winter suggests that the value of the term "plausibility" is that it reminds us of the relative nature of the enterprise, in which certain elements are more or less plausible.  She ends with a nice line about the value of Jesus research when it is conceptualized as "a quest and not a conquest".

Jens Schröter is responding to the two papers.  I must admit that the fact that my own presentation is looming is making it harder for me to concentrate at this point. Schröter is now summing up. It looks like there won't be much time for questions though Anthony Le Donne and Dagmar Winter are sitting at the blue table ready to be joined by Dr Schröter.

Oh, look at me, I'm asking a question! I didn't see that coming.  Well, I did really; it's something I've wanted to ask -- about the idea that we are separating things into "two columns" (cf. above). Nice answer by Anthony Le Donne, who points to Sanders, and that's always going to go down well with me.

I'm going to go off-line for a bit now because my paper is coming up soon.

Rafael Rodriguez did a nice job summarizing his paper on the criterion of embarrassment, and then I spent a little time presenting my stuff on the criterion of multiple attestation.  Loren Stuckenbruck responded; we had a few questions and then broke for tea.

The conference is almost over now.  It's the final round table discussion, this one featuring Jens Schröter, Chris Keith, Barry Schwartz and Rafael Rodriguez.  The audience has thinned out a bit and the live feed has now finished.  But the live blog goes on!

Chris Keith answers a question about the future of Historical Jesus research and he says that he avoids using the word "historical" in front of "Jesus".  We don't, after all, talk about the historical Abraham Lincoln, etc.; we just use their names.

Joel Watts has continued to live blog too.

Barry Schwartz pours cold water on the idea that there is anything at stake here.  He doesn't like talk of a paradigm shift and he does not see any clashes, no theoretical advances.

4.20pm: conference is over!

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