Friday, September 09, 2005

Meanderings on Robert Funk's Indirect Effect on My Life

Robert Funk, the founder of the controversial Jesus Seminar, died last Saturday, September 3rd. His obituary is here.

Honestly, I haven't read any of Funk's work. However, I am familiar with other members' writing. In particular, Steve Patterson was my New Testament professor at Eden, and I've read a few of Marcus Borg's works.

As a freshman religion major in college, the JS rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn't bring myself to whole-heartedly accept their theories even as I was just beginning to discover and become drawn to historical Jesus research. What was even more interesting was the attitude of those who did whole-heartedly accept them. I had a few arguments with JS literalists around that time. It was fascinating to hear people argue against literalism by saying, 'Well, I don't believe that because the Jesus Seminar says...'

All in all, I've always found the JS to be challenging and I'll always appreciate them for that. Nowadays I'm more accepting (albeit still questioning) of their approach and findings. They earn a few credits in the story of my spiritual journey because they helped me to understand that there is more to the Bible than can be discovered through a face value reading.

So thank you for your challenge to me, Dr. Funk. At this point, you're probably smirking at what you got wrong. We all will.