Shuck and Jive

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Jesus the Tweedy Professor

"Thus liberals will tend to construct a liberal Jesus, conservatives a conservative Jesus, pietists a pietistic Jesus, radicals a radical Jesus, and atheists an unattractive Jesus. Scholars who believe Jesus was like a cynic philosopher will tend to reject as non-historical any data that suggests otherwise. When the cynic school prevailed, for example, in the voting at the Jesus Seminar, the apocalypticists quit coming; this further skewed the vote. The Seminar is denied the fresh perspective that liberationists and feminists might bring since there are almost no women or non-Caucasians in the group. So the picture that is emerging of Jesus is remarkably like that of a tweedy professor interested in studying Scripture." --Walter Wink

As many of you know, I am affiliated with Westar (The Jesus Seminar). I am on what is called the Leaders' Seminar which is interested in how scholarship impacts faith communities. This is why I shamelessly promote the Jesus Seminar. I am involved in it!

Walter Wink was involved in the Jesus Seminar for a time. He took a different direction. His latest book, The Human Being, is quite interesting. I was fortunate to attend a seminar with Walter and his wife, June Keener Wink, at Kirkridge in Pennsylvania while he was working on this book. I was impressed with the event. He involved us in his exploration of the phrase, "the son of the man" and how that applied to Jesus. We also shouted the Lord's Prayer at the top of our lungs and made pottery and danced. It was a wild week! It was spiritually formative for me.

The Jesus Seminar can come across as dry and white and male. Walter added a spiritual spice. The following is an article he wrote that offers a critique of the Jesus Seminar. He tells his story in Write What You See.

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