Robert Funk, former head of the Society for Biblical Literature and founder of the Jesus Seminar, recently passed away. His work ended up being important in the development of my own religious thinking. Not because of the particular picture of Jesus he portrayed. But rather because his works impressed on me the importance of historicism, the methodologies of it and how this impacts the treatment of certain religious questions.
His book Honest to Jesus is a worthwhile read specifically because he spends over half of it on issues of methodology and the history of historical Jesus quests. Funk had a curmudgeonly and yet straightforward way of writing that makes his books a pleasure to read. Though it may have not been the goal of the seminar, they suggested to me the perils of trying to link christology only in terms of the first century galilean divorced from the work of God.
I have some sense of gratitude because in the early/mid 90s I was wrestling with certain religious ideas and wondering if I could remain in the church. It was the works of Jesus Seminar members such as Borg and Funk that gave me space to explore these questions without leaving my faith behind. Some Christians may be suprised to hear how the Jesus Seminar ended up opening up a religious journey within the church for a good number of folks.