Today in my Historical Jesus class we did one of the fun activities I have incorporated into the course each time I have taught it. To give students a sense of what the Jesus Seminar has done, and what is involved in voting on the authenticity or inauthenticity of sayings and actions attributed to Jesus, we do a sort of re-enactment. I get students to bring in bags of M&Ms, and we assign equivalents to the four beads used by the Jesus Seminar (so a red M&M would mean authentic, orange would mean the gist is authentic, blue or green would mean that it is largely inauthentic or uncertain, and black means it is completely inauthentic and the essence of the saying or action is purely a product of the later church). We then discuss a given saying/action, and then vote by dropping M&Ms discretely into a cup or box, as a secret ballot.
We call ourselves the “Jesus SeM&Minar.”
Before anyone asks, yes, we did have some other colors represented and made equivalents. And no, M&Ms with peanuts or pretzels inside didn’t count for extra.
I wonder whether I could special order red, pink, grey and black M&Ms for use when I teach historical Jesus…