I just remembered why I love LTJ (cue awesome nickname) so much. There are many reasons, of course. His wit. His unapologetic Catholicism (I mean really, how often do you meet a Catholic who isn’t apologizing for it?). His teaching at a Methodist seminary (Candler at Emory). His great little book The Creed, which I read for my theology class and still love.
But the main reason I love LTJ: this lecture, in which he skewers the Jesus Seminar. Like many religion undergrads over the last 20 years or so, I was presented Jesus Seminar scholarship as if it was the latest and (by definition) greatest take on Jesus. I smelled a rat but I couldn’t articulate it until Johnson ripped them a new one in a loving, scholarly, Christian way. I first encountered that lecture early in seminary and I still love it.
On my viewing tonight, I noticed something that hadn’t struck me before: LTJ has serious issues with N.T. Wright’s scholarship. This I did not know. My own primary interest is not NT studies, and while I like N.T. Wright (and got to see him speak last year!) I can’t claim to have read any of his substantial works.
The debate seems to involve the nature of the historical discipline. In this lecture, given at the National Cathedral a while back, Johnson indicates that he finds the Jesus Seminar less offensive than Wright. While the Jesus seminar may be doing poor history, he says, the good Bishop does not “rise to the level of history.” Interesting. If only I had more time to read!
Watch the video and leave your thoughts below!
P.S. I almost forgot – LTJ’s Teaching Company courses are great too!