In his post, Brian doesn’t really say much about where or when the lecture was recorded. But I can tell you! This lecture has a special meaning for me because when I was just learning about apologetics, this was one of the first lectures I ordered. The lecture was delivered in 1996 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as part of the distinguished Carver-Barnes Lecture Series. The title was “Re-Discovering the Historical Jesus”. Hearing this again (I lent mine away and never got it back) was a real treat for me.
And here is a summary I made so you can follow along as you listen.
Lecture 1: the pre-suppositions of the Jesus Seminar
- the origins of the radically skeptical “Jesus Seminar” group
- what does the Jesus Seminar believe about Jesus?
- what is a pre-supposition?
- how do pre-suppositions affect the study of history?
- the Jesus Seminar’s pre-supposition of naturalism (atheism)
- the Jesus Seminar’s pre-supposition that the NT gospels are late
- the Jesus Seminar’s pre-supposition of political correctness
- does the Jesus Seminar represent the consensus of NT scholars?
Lecture 2A: are the NT gospels historically reliable?
- should the gospels be assumed to be reliable or unreliable
- argument #1: insufficient time from events to written record
- argument #2: gospels contain very little legendary material
- argument #3: Jewish culture was good at oral transmission
- argument #4: eyewitness correction and apostolic supervision
- argument #5: the gospels are reliable where they can be tested
- #1: legendary elements only appear 1-2 generations after events
- but gospels were written within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses
- sources for the gospels are even earlier, e.g. – 1 Cor 15:3-8
- on the other hand, the apocryphal gospels do contain legends
- #5: gospels are confirmed by history and archaeology were possible
- Luke includes details showing that he traveled with eyewitness Paul
Lecture 2B: the self-understanding of Jesus
- how early and reliable is believe in Jesus’ divinity
- it would be hard to get monotheistic Jews to think Jesus was divine
- the only way this belief could have emerged is if Jesus taught it
- parable of the wicked tennants and vineyard – Jesus’ self-understanding
- passage about no one knowing the father except the son, etc.
- passage about not knowing the date of his second coming
- the healings and exorcisms are well-attested and skeptics grant them
Lecture 2C: the trial and crucifixion of Jesus
- crucifixion is well-attested inside and outside the New Testament
- even the Jesus Seminar considers this an indisputable fact about Jesus
- Jesus was crucified for blasphemy – i.e. claiming to be divine
Lecture 2D: the minimal facts case for the resurrection
- minimal fact #1: the burial in a known location
- minimal fact #2: the empty tomb
- minimal fact #3: the appearances to individuals and groups
- minimal fact #4: the early belief that Jesus was resurrected
- the majority of scholars, including skeptics, accept the minimal facts
- naturalistic explanations are not able to account for these facts
There is a very noisy weird person in the audience who keeps shouting his approval. This lecture is almost identical to a lecture that Craig gave for Stand to Reason’s Masters Series, on the pre-suppositions of the Jesus Seminar. There is no Q&A in this lecture, but there is Q&A in the STR version.