For example, we are regularly told that since a certain passage fits the particular writer’s motif, this indicates that the saying was not uttered by Jesus.^16 But how do we know this to be the case? Does the presence of a certain theme requirethat it did not originate with Jesus? Does not the critical method itself indicate that the writer may have presented the message, perhaps in his own style and words, precisely becauseit was the teaching of Jesus? We are certainly not required to imitate the Seminar leap from authorial motif to the subsequent invention of the message!

2.Genetic fallacy

Another point of logic concerns the Seminar’s commission of the genetic fallacy, which occurs when one challenges the origin of an idea without actually addressing its facticity. In other words, if it is thought that merely attributing a Gospel report to the author’s style, or to other ancient parallels, or to a pre-modern mindset thereby explains it away, this is a logical mistake.^17 These charges do not preclude historicity.

However, it is noteworthy that the Seminar scholars are not unanimous in their dismissal of the supernatural. While Crossan rejects the existence of demons,^18

13 John Macquarrie, An Existentialist Theology, pp. 185–186.

14 Bultmann, “New Testament and Mythology,” p. 42.

15 Funk, Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, Five Gospels, pp. 19–35.

16 Some instances are found in Ibid., pp. 199–200, 270, 399–400, 439, 468–469.

17 After his above comment concerning “fundamentalist naivete,” Fossum explains that “raising the dead was not considered impossible in the ancient world” (p. 50), apparently considering this to be an adequate explanation. But this is an instance of the genetic fallacy. For all we know, every ancient, miraculous report could be true, or some false and others true. This approach fails to disprove the Gospel accounts.