Thursday, October 04, 2012

Jesus Criteria Conference Live Blog, #JesusCriteria

The good news is that there is WiFi here at the Dayton Conference on Jesus, Criteria and the Demise of Authenticity, and I have my blogging machine with me, so I'm going to have a go at live-blogging.  I'll keep updating under this same blog title, so you'll have to refresh to see the latest.  Or follow #JesusCriteria on twitter for the latest.

Arrived at South Park United Methodist Church for the conference, with lots of friendly greetings on the way in, after a nice burrito for lunch at a place called Chipotle.

It's strange having a conference in a church building.  Don't think I can recall having done this before. It is making people behave a little differently, speaking a little more quietly, walking a little more reverentially and so on.  I wonder if it will end up making me less inclined to say something naughty?

David Watson introduced the conference; Anthony Le Donne then speaks about the topic, with some nice reflections on the meaning of "authenticity" in different quarters.  He introduces his co-convenor, Chris Keith, who is now speaking about problems with the criteria of authenticity.

Chris Keith has some great autobiography.  He notes how he found out that this great new idea he had had were anticipated by Morna Hooker -- and forty years ago!

Here's Chris Keith speaking:

Chris explains his view that the criteria are just form criticism under a different heading.

I should of course mention that you can watch the conference on live streaming here.  I've just checked out the link and it looks like it's working well.  It's a UStream feed so you can discuss it on Fb and all the rest.

Chris says that he doesn't want to pick on Anthony Le Donne because he's had a rough year!  Mentions witch-hunts and pitchforks.  But he engages critically with Le Donne's hopes to find a continued role for the criteria.

And the full conference programme is here, by the way.

2.45pm: The conference is racing along.  Within the first hour and we are already seeing the fourth face at the front, Dr Jens Schröter.  He is introduced by Anthony Le Donne, who says that his work is the reason he learned to read German!  Dr Schröter apologizes for the fact that we have to "endure" his German accent.  As far as I am concerned, it is more than compensated for by the fine red shirt he is wearing, with a mellow, darker tie.

Time for another pic. This one shows Dr Schröter but I've taken it a little further back so that you can get the whole church vibe that is going on here:

Actually, it looks like Dr Schröter  is a fan of sporting red shirts. Interesting critique of Crossan's attempt to present a coherent picture of the Historical Jesus, which he regards as having failed.  Words used in his paper include ""bifurcation", "etymological presuppositions" and "objective historiography".  I don't think I'd have been able to say the German equivalents so clearly.

As usual on such occasions, we are already a bit behind schedule. But Anthony Le Donne makes an adjustment to the schedule on the fly. I'd be inclined to chair things a bit more formally, though,or tomorrow's schedule is going to be tough since things are a bit tighter.

A representative from Logos Bible Software, Victor Dela Cruz, is demonstrating the delights of Logos Bible Software.  He mentions that one can be standing in the queue at the supermarket (AmE: in line at the grocery store) and access the Nag Hammadi Library.  Nice illustration.  Of course, I don't need to have the delights of Logos sold to me.

After an hour's break from 3.30--4.30, we are now resuming with responses to Chris Keith, Anthony Le Donne and Jens Schröter.  First up is Dale Allison.  Great comment about how Gerd Lüdemann once told him in a debate that he (Lüdemann) was indeed a scientist and that he had no use for the imagination.

Allison thinks that Jesus' father was called Joseph but not on the basis of the historicity of this story or that in the Synoptics. He also talks about the effortless use of the criteria in his earlier book on the historical Jesus -- it enabled him to deal with the issues in a speedy way and move on to what he really wanted to talk about.  He is now a better historian and so has no real criticism of Keith's and Schröter's essays.

Dale Allison brief, clear, to the point and a nicely composed piece, with several good laughs of recognition. He has now sat down and Dagmar Winter is responding.  Quite a theological response and one that I would need to spend a little more time digesting -- she speaks about worldviews and ends with a comment about "taking the incarnation seriously".

Both Allison and Winter keep well within allotted time, which is promising for the prospect of discussion later.  Barry Schwartz is the third responder.  He is not one of the authors in the volume, so it is a good chance to get another perspective. He has banged the lectern a few times.

Twenty minutes left for discussion. Anthony Le Donne invites Chris Keith to respond to all three, and then there will be Jens Schröter, and then some time for questions from the floor.  Chris Keith comments on his plan to get Barry Schwartz behind a Christian pulpit and notes how he banged the lectern like the best of them.

Schröter now responding too.  He helpfully asks Dagmar Winter what adding the word "criterion" does to "criterion of plausibility", which should produce some useful discussion.  Mind you, time is running away and Schröter has taken ten minutes to respond to the responders.  In my view, perhaps a mistake not to have a formal chair sitting up front with everyone to direct the discussion.

Ooh, online question from Michael Barber!  Asks about third quest, and Dale Allison says that the term needs to be abandoned (in line with his published work on this, with which I wholeheartedly agree).  Another online question about social memory.

It's 5.30 and so the end of the this afternoon's proceedings.  Great first afternoon, but looking forward to more tomorrow, and especially the chance for some discussion.

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

Love Chris's explanation that (in his view) the criteria are just form criticism under a different heading! Now I have a rough idea what your conference is about.