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.
betrayed its origins in a university seminar room where abstract topics from Christian theology were readily placed on the lips of a supposedly 1st-century Jew. The insistence by present-day practitioners of the sociology of the New Testament that the historical Jesus be rooted in the soil, customs, and worldview of first-century Jewish Palestine with its values of honor and shame, its perception of limited goods, its ideas about kinship and marriage, its concern about purity rules, and its complicated political and economic systems is all to the good. One particular aspect of the sociological approach that has had great impact on academic studies in the United States is the question of the women who followed the historical Jesus during his public ministry. The great name here is Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, whose controversial book In Memory of Her has had incalculable influence on American academics, both male and female. In the last decade or two, a veritable flood of articles and books on the subject has flowed from American universities and colleges35. While a good deal of the material is obviously written with an eye to present-day problems in both church and society, scholars have