Croissant says ‘No to AV!’
In the early 90s, controversial group of scholars The Jesus Seminar undertook a vote to determine the authenticity of around 500 events and sayings in the Gospels. Having established a list of criteria for determining authenticity, and debated hundreds of verses in some depth, they then used a bead system to cast their votes, with different colour beads indicating the level of certainty over each verse in question.
Spokesman for The Jesus Seminar, Dominic Croissant, explains, ‘A red bead indicates that Jesus definitely did say the verse. A pink bead indicates the belief that he probably said something vaguely like it. Grey means that the verse wasn’t actually said by Jesus, though it may accurately convey his ideas. A black bead means that Jesus absolutely didn’t say the verse, but that it was made up by a prankster decades later, and Constantine simply failed to spot the joke.’
Many conservative scholars have strongly criticised The Jesus Seminar’s methods and voting system, calling it out-dated, undemocratic, and fundamentally flawed. In anticipation of the May 5th Referendum, and as a show of good will, The Jesus Seminar decided to undertake a recount based on the Alternative Voting system.
‘The results were quite surprising,’ noted Dominic. ‘Many of the texts we had previously written off as spurious found a new lease of life under AV. We had originally deemed 82% of the sayings of Jesus to be inauthentic, and had thus managed to more or less entirely eradicate the Gospel of John from the canon, along with many other passages we didn’t like or understand. Under the new voting system John is back in, the synoptics are almost wholly authenticated and shockingly the Gospel of Thomas (my personal favourite) has now been deemed to be a late, pseudepigraphical fake!’
Conservative theologians have expressed their enouragement that ‘electoral reform has won a major victory for biblical scholarship, and has highlighted what we Evangelicals always knew; Jesus believed he was the Son of God, and the New Testament canon is inspired and authentic.’
Response from The Jesus Seminar has been mixed. One scholar remarked, ‘This recount changes everything. Under the new AV system I may be forced to rethink some of the foundational assumptions of my faith. Maybe Jesus really did say he was the way, the truth and the life? And if so, perhaps I will have to face up to some difficult challenges I had previously been able to sweep under the carpet.’
But not everyone is impressed with the results. Croissant retorted, ‘This simply goes to prove that AV is a flawed and ineffective system, constructed by conservative theologians who want to reign in our freedom of expression and force us into their tight theological moulds. Any voting system that rules out Thomas and naively accepts that Jesus actually said what we find recorded in the gospels must be firmly rejected.’