The Living Jesus

Apropos of the previous post, I’m reading Luke Timothy Johnson’s Living Jesus.

The central argument of which is that there is a choice with Jesus: either we approach him as a living person (the Resurrected Jesus Christ of faith) or as a dead person (the Historical Jesus).

The former involves membership in a church, the “learning” of Jesus as a being of truth, love, and power; the latter succumbing to the ideology of the world concerning what is and what must be truth. The New Testament was written by individuals testifying to the power they felt in their faith and hope in a Resurrection. In other words, there is no non-Resurrected Jesus in the Gospels. Even the Jesus who in the story is not yet resurrected (or crucified) already is in the mind of the author, already is for the reader who is part of the tradition.

The Scriptures are read then for the Christian as to the future not the past. (more…)

Published in: on July 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Rivals of Jesus

A National Geo. documentary on alternative messiahs/god-men figures of the Ancient world.  Plenty of cheesiness to be sure, but actually pretty good overall imo.

It gives a sense of the worldview of the ancients and how clearly that worldview comes through in the Gospels.  Healings, exorcisms, teaching moments, communal sacred meals–all are there.

Plus that all sides (including early Jesus followers) were not above some one-up-manship and chicanery.

And also, how great a chasm there is between that worldview and the our own contemporary one.  Rather than immediately jump to conclusions about what that chasm means (e.g. “New” Atheism), just float in that world, enter it, play the as if game, explore it.  It’s a real space.

Published in: on January 2, 2008 at 12:11 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

Harold Bloom on Jesus & YHWH

Harold Bloom on the Charlie Rose show (couldn’t get the video to embed for some reason), talking about his new book Jesus and Yahweh the Names Divine.  He gets onto some other subjects, like how he thinks we are headed towards theocracy in America (imagine me rolling me eyes and burying my face in my head for that part).  The stuff on this book is in the beginning.

It’s a very interesting conversation, filled with at turns brilliant insights and then awful, forced errors and 101 mistakes. (Here’s a not all that helpful though positive review of the book in the NyTimes here).

The thesis of the book that he outlines is that there are three characters:  Yahweh (God of the Original/”Old” Testament); the historical Jesus of Nazareth; and the theological character Jesus Christ.

Bloom’s thesis is that #3 (Jesus Christ) is not the same as #2, an argument that has been made numerous times before.  But further, Jesus (either #2 or #3 Jesus) can not be the son of Yahweh, #1.

First off, there are a whole mess of theological and literary problems with this reading.  Bloom would do well to read Margaret Barker’s work.

Let me quickly run through them (as I see them): (more…)

Published in: on October 5, 2007 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,