Featured in Time and Newsweek and on network television, the Jesus Seminar has sought for the past decade to etch out a portrait of the historical Jesus. One of its purported conclusions—that Jesus never uttered the vast majority of sayings attested in the Gospels—has raised storms of bitter controversy. Seminar member Robert J. Miller asks, “Why the Ugly Attacks?,” pointing out that a majority of mainstream scholars have long held that the Gospels are a complex blend of historical memory and literary fiction. Seminar critic Ben Witherington III disagrees; in “Buyer Beware!,” he observes that flaws in the methods by which the seminar determines what Jesus did or did not say have led to an underestimation of the Gospels’ historicity. Miller’s rejoinder, “The Gospel Truth?” challenges us to read the Bible critically—as we would read any other text.
Associate professor of religion and philosophy at Midway College in Kentucky, Miller has been an active member of the Jesus Seminar since 1986. His article “The Gospels that Didn’t Make the Cut” appeared in BR 09:04.