July 09, 2003
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
So I said on Monday I'd "get to" chapters 5 and 6 of the Jesus book, and I did get to them but only in the sense of reading. I'm still reading, so the post is coming tomorrow. I promise.
Sorry, but I don't have any scintillating posts today. Later, friends...
Posted by Camassia at July 09, 2003 08:10 PM
It is pointless to even discuss the death of Jesus in isolation from the resurrection of Jesus. Countless Jews, and others, were crucified by the Romans. Countless trangressors against the Jewish temple establishment were undoubtedly killed for bucking the system in one way or another. Presumably all of those victims of state power suffered in the spirit and in the flesh as much as did Jesus. St. Paul summed it up: if Jesus did not rise from the dead, all your faith is in vain. Case closed. Beyond that, the accuracy of the gospel writings is irrelevant.
Yeah, Telford regards that as the central question too, which is why he wanted me to read through the resurrection chapters before bailing out. I do think that the accuracy of the rest of the gospels matters, though, because it helps explain what Jesus' resurrection meant. If we don't have some idea who Jesus was and what he was doing, just saying, "There was this guy, and he rose from the dead," doesn't tell us anything. (Not to mention the fact that if they're inaccurate about everything else, they're hardly trustworthy about the resurrection.)
The teachings of Jesus are essential, although not necessarily all unique to Jesus. The resurrection is the sine qua non. The gospel narratives are pretty much superfluous to the other two elements. The historians seem to feel that for a long time there were nothing but collections of sayings, given significance by the world transformational event that was the resurrection. Since there is no way to know what "really" happened, I find it pointless to spend much time in speculation. If I could know for sure whether the Last Supper occurred on the eve of the Passover, or not, it would not bring me one iota closer to salvation. But if I can come to know for certain that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, it will. Science won't save you.
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