I don't think that The Project is "shut down," an opinion that is now circulating on the blogs. The Jesus Project website says that an UPDATE is in progress.
I continue to encourage the wait-and-see attitude, and I will continue to post information as it comes my way. I will continue to worry about methodology and reserve the decision about my involvement until later when I know more.
These are the concerns that I would like answers to before getting involved in The Jesus Project. I offer them not as criticism of The Jesus Project, but as serious reflections on it.
- What is the actual question of The Project? Did Jesus exist? What do the earliest materials tell us about Jesus? or something else?
- How will the question be approached in terms of methodology and division of literature-material remains? The scientific approach (which CSER lays claim to) isn't going to tell us much. If that is the approach, we could probably be done with The Project in a couple of hours.
- In what way is The Jesus Project to be differentiated from the Jesus Seminar?
- What will happen when different scholars come to different conclusions or solutions? How do you maintain a group project when all scholars have individual agendas that they want to protect?
- How and when are the "findings" going to be disseminated?
- How are apologetics (either theological or anti-theological) going to be kept from coloring the picture?
- How is the group going to ensure that it doesn't just deconstruct the traditions, so that we learn nothing from The Project except that there is nothing we can know for certain about Jesus?
- How will the group make sure that they aren't creating Jesus in their image?