Sunday, August 12, 2007

R. Joseph Hoffmann responds to Jesus Project Concerns

I am grateful to R. Joseph Hoffmann for sending me a copy of his detailed response to concerns about the Jesus Project. It is now published online on Robert Price's Website:

Statement by R. Joseph Hoffmann: Jesus Project v. Jesus Squad

I would like to make a couple of my own brief comments on the statement, but I think it fair to wait until people have had chance to read the statement first.

9 comments: said...

Participants are to be "non-confessional, non-parochial and non-theological" in their approach. How many does that leave for issuing "letters of invitation" to? Somehow, I think a certain JW won't be one of "those selected for participation". But then "few are chosen" according to JC.

I think we are going to see a spate of books on the subject of the Jesus Project.

Chris Zeichmann said...

"I recognize no names, among the bloggers, of anyone who has been invited at any stage to participate in the JP."

Has he not seen April DeConick's or James Tabor's blog?

Describing people as skeptical of the Jesus Project as "Jesus Squad" members seem to be implicitly leveling theological biases against them. Jeffery Gibson?, Chris Weimer, etc? Hurm. Hardly fundamentalists. I also think that Hoffmann is conflating "pointing out problems with the project" with "opponents of the project." I suspect that many people's intention was never the latter (myself included). Many presumably only wanted to point out problems believed to be considerable. Indeed, how would the bloggers have known that this was merely a "floated" version of the page. Given what information was available, I suspect that some degree of skepticism about the project was warranted.

Eric Rowe said...

If I understood him correctly, he told all of these scholars that they are automatically fellows unless they explicitly opt out. And when he heard nothing back from any of them, he took that to mean that they were enthusiastic about devoting precious time out of their academic careers in discussing the ridiculous question of whether or not Jesus existed.
Give me a break!

And one item in common to both Hoffmann and Price is the charge that Jesus Project detractors are motivated by an unscholarly commitment to conservative theology. Who are they talking about? They strike me as people who think that all they have to do to be credible is be secular; and once they meet that criterion they don't have to do actual work.

RJ said...

I am actually very pleased this dialogue has opened up as it has. I may not share Mark's view that blogging is a corrective process--since my rather un-Hegelian instinct suggests that it can as easily perpetuate error (ask any textualist!)--but in general I support the idea that there is strength in skepticism.

Now: can we apply the degree of skepticism that always attaches to exmination of textbook theology to the Jesus tradition? It eludes me why, even in our best universities, scholars dance around questions that 19th century scholarship declared illegtimate but which the whole weight of 20th century scholarship reopened.

The commitment to following evidence to conclusions without parochial loyalties is the basis of the Jesus Project. The discussion about what constitutes "evidence" (rather than "What did Jesus 'really' say?) is its starting point.

I urge anyone interested in this discussion to post to me or to the Administrator a current c.v. so that we can finalize plans for the fist meeting of project members for spring 2008.

R. Joseph Hoffmann, Chair
Director, The Jesus Project

Ed Jones said...

Ed Jones said...
Comments to the R. Joseph Hoffmann Blog: The Importance of the Historical Jesus might be of interest. Ignore the several brief comments,they are irrelevant.

Ed Jones said...

Further explanation to the above 8:03 PM Comment.
This refers to a reconstruction of Origins in the form of a lettr to Hoffmann.
To find it enter the blog titled: R Joseph Hoffmann - Blogs, Pictures and more on WordPress. This is an archive of essays, approximately the
20th listed essay entitled: The Importance of the Historical Jesus -,highlight 8 Comments. Comments 1 and 5 are the letter.

Ed Jones said...

Correction to the two Ed Jones Comments.

Comments to the essay: The Importance of the Historical Jesus, have been removed. To find the Hoffmann Letter: go to: The Forbidden Gospels Blog - My Decision about the Jesus Project, scroll to Comments April12 - 17.

Ed Jones said...

This is to cancel the last Comment: 8:13 PM.
The essay: The Importance of the Hisorical Jesus - 10 Comments has NOT been removd. I was mistaken. Apologies.

Ed Jones said...

An alternate way to the Reconstruction of the Jesus Tradition which is in the form of a letter to R. Joseph Hoffmann: Go to The Forbidden Gospels Blog: My decision about
the Jesus Project - Comments dated April 12 - April 17. You just might find it to be of interest. It is largely quotes from the works of Schubert M. Ogden, James M. Robinson, and Hans Dieter Betz, arguably our longest standing top critical historical NT theologians.