John P. Meier, «The Present State of the Third Quest for the Historical Jesus: Loss and Gain», Vol. 80 (1999) 459-487
Despite the questionable method and positions of the Jesus Seminar, the third quest for the historical Jesus has resulted in seven notable gains as compared with the old quests. (1) The third quest has an ecumenical and international character. (2) It clarifies the question of reliable sources. (3) It presents a more accurate picture of first-century Judaism. (4) It employs new insights from archaeology, philology, and sociology. (5) It clarifies the application of criteria of historicity. (6) It gives proper attention to the miracle tradition. (7) It takes the Jewishness of Jesus with utter seriousness.
The so-called third quest for the historical Jesus, which traces its origins from work done by scholars like E.P. Sanders in the mid-1980s, has been a source of controversy since its inception. The most controversial of all its manifestations has been the group known as the Jesus Seminar, based in Sonoma, California2, and co-chaired by Dr. John Dominic Crossan and Dr. Robert W. Funk3. The Seminar in general and Crossan in particular have championed a picture of Jesus as a Jewish-peasant equivalent of a wandering Cynic