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Jesus, Robocop, and Showgirls

February 7, 2011

This may only be amusing to me and the handful of you out there interested in biblical scholarship, but I find it amusing.

Apparently there is a Jesus Seminar conference coming to Salem, OR. Those of you not familiar with this group, allow me to briefly catch you up. Long story short they are a self appointed group of scholars, led by John Dominic Crossan and Robert Funk, which started back in the 80’s as part of an effort to “discover the historical Jesus.” Among the highlights of this group they are most famously known for voting on the sayings of Jesus using colored beads: red means Jesus probably said it, pink means he might have said it, grey means he probably didn’t say it but it contains his ideas, and black means he definitely didn’t say it.

Surprise, surprise there weren’t many red beads.

But that’s not what amuses about this meeting, it’s who the keynote speakers are.


Jesus Seminar Scholars to Discuss the Origins of Christianity

(SALEM, Ore.) – Scholars of the Jesus Seminar will meet in Salem, Oregon at the Salem Conference Center to discuss the origins of Christianity.

Special features of this meeting will include:

  • A conversation with renowned feminist biblical scholar, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
  • A day-long workshop by L. Michael White, recently featured on the PBS Frontline documentary, From Jesus to Christ
  • A team of archaeologists who will use the latest tools of history and archaeology to uncover the realities of Roman Corinth, a very early site of nascent Christian activity

None of those people are obviously that interesting, but the last speaker is the real treat….

  • An evening with film-maker Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Robocop, Showgirls) discussing his new book, Jesus of Nazareth, and future plans to make a new Jesus movie

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You know, because nothing says “authority on Jesus” like the guy who directed Total Recall, Basic Instinct, RobocopStarship Troopers, and Showgirls!

N.T. Wright better watch his back…..or get into the movie business.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. VorJack permalink
    February 7, 2011 3:41 pm

    I guess Anne Rice, Phillip Pullman and the rest of the celebrity-authors-of-Jesus-books were not available.

    My impression from reading around the biblioblogs is that the Seminar is at it’s nadir in terms of popularity. This may be a sign that they’re just about gone.

    • Sol permalink
      February 7, 2011 4:12 pm

      Out of all the speakers and topics that will be covered at the seminar your only insight is to say that a film maker is giving a presentation. I don’t think he claimed to be an expert on anything. It seems he’s going to discuss the movie he’s making about Jesus. The truth shall set you free, so fear it not.

      • VorJack permalink
        February 7, 2011 7:44 pm

        I don’t think he claimed to be an expert on anything.

        Then why is he giving a presentation to a prestigious group of biblical historians? What is the scholarly function of his talk?

  2. Lucy permalink
    February 8, 2011 6:44 am

    Paul Verhoeven was part of the Jesus Seminar and during an interview I saw recently, he has many books on the subject. He’s reasonably capable of talking about the history Jesus from an atheistic (or neutral) point of view.
    He knows more about the subject than many speakers 🙂

  3. Sol permalink
    February 12, 2011 5:49 am

    A filmmaker is certainly capable of speaking on the topic of a film he is making.
    It sounds like there will be plenty of other scholars speaking.
    I’m sure people will enjoy taking a break from scholarship to hear about a movie.
    Only those insecure about their faith will feel threatened by the Jesus Seminar.

  4. March 15, 2011 6:11 pm

    Not only does Verhoeven have a decent amount of work out there regarding Jesus but Robocop itself is a Jesus metaphor. He’s sacrificed and comes back – in essence he’s like a post-industrial Jesus. A professor who was on my thesis committee is a part of the Jesus Seminar and knows Verhoeven personally, saying to me on countless occasions that Verhoeven is quite well versed on the topic.

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