Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hmm …

… R.T.'s Commonplace: God & Empire by John Dominic Crossan.

I am always on guard when I hear talk of "the historical Jesus." A friend of mine, who has taught courses on evidence  in law schools, told me that he broke out laughing when he started reading one of the classics of Biblical historicism. The author, he said, obviously knew nothing about how to judge eyewitness testimony. (As Wittgenstein said, the very inconsistencies and contradictions contained in the accounts of the resurrection are characteristic of eyewitness accounts.) At any rate, the Jesus of faith is not the same as the Jesus of the scholars — or, for that matter, the Jesus of the theologians. Otherwise only scholars or theologians would have access to it, a thought that borders on the risible. I am also skeptical of basing one's geopolitics on one's reading of the Gospels.


  1. I would argue that considering all perspectives on Christianity, Jesus, and similar matters might add to knowledge; even errors and heresies -- who is to judge? -- give observers an opportunity to consider more carefully their own notions (and, yes, reconsider faith and beliefs). After all, once Adam and Eve ate from the tree of good and evil, we have all been fated to consider all possibilities in life and make choices. Am I making a mistake?

  2. I think — heretically enough — that God does grant each of us private revelations. But I also think that they ought to stay private. The mistake "heretics" make is to forget that. The practice of faith should be like the practice of art — the deeper you get into it, the more personal and idiosyncratic it can get. The medium of faith is prayer.