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A Public Response




What’s Up with the Jesus Project?


I am responding to the number of emails I have received as a listed member of the Jesus Project concerning the content of various blogs and message boards which have expressed doubt and disapproval of the Jesus Project, occasioned by the slow trickle of information from those in charge. Some seem to be gloating, and pretty overtly, since they had already written off the whole endeavor as one more Satanic scheme to subvert Christian faith and Western civilization. Others are sincerely puzzled, having had their interest initially aroused by the well-publicized launch of The Jesus Project at the January 2007 “Scripture and Skepticism” conference. Still others, listed in follow-up mailings as Fellows of the Project, were never even officially invited to join! So it’s a good question: What’s up with the Jesus Project?

        I can only offer my guess as to what has happened. I have been invited to be a Fellow of the Project, and I gladly accepted. I have written a couple of items for it. I was one of the speakers at the “Scripture and Skepticism” conference. But if there is a loop, I am not in it. Here is what I surmise, though: The folks at CFI have a tendency to get enthused about a new project, and then to bite off more than they can chew anytime soon. Since all of them are already overcommitted, the new endeavor quickly winds up on the back burner. Eventually, however, things get done.  I know, for instance, that Joe Hoffmann, director of The Jesus Project, has many other duties, and that at the moment for some reason he is in Russia! The Jesus Project, I gather, is effectively on hold in the meantime. But I still expect great things from it.

        And as for that list of Fellows of the Project, featuring the names of some who have never in fact been officially asked, I don’t know. But, again, my guess is that someone simply mistook the list of participants in the “Scripture and Skepticism” event for a list of agreed Fellows of the Project. I don’t know what else it could be. It would be absurd to intentionally add names without their owners consent so I assume they did not. 

        I write this just to urge any who are interested in The Jesus Project, as I am, to reserve judgment while the nuts and bolts are worked out. It is an attempt to do scholarly work that needs to be done, to take Descartes’ approach of beginning with unblinking skepticism in order to find some piece of secure ground to stand on, and from which to rebuild, in this case, a scientific estimate of the historical Jesus.

Robert M. Price
August 6, 2007

Update: August 12, 2007 - Statement by R. Joseph Hoffmann




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