Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Real Jesus?

For those who haven't seen it yet, the latest edition of US News and World Report claims to be "In Search of the Real Jesus" on the cover. Of course why try the novel approach of searching the scriptures, right? Alright, forgive my sarcastic pessimism but since the Da Vinci Code (both book and movie) and National Geographics marketing of the Gospel of Judas (Ehrman probably deserves honarable mention in such a list too), the popularization of alternative christianities has become almost naseuating in the mainstream media. It's not as if these things are cutting edge issues that have never been considered before in the history of Christiainity. Furthermore, some of the extremes (I have Dan Brown in mind here) don't even deserve the attention they've earned. Though I was silent in the blogosphere back when The Davinci Code was the hot button, suffice it to say I haven't seen the movie yet. Not due to conscience, but due more to the fact that it got terrible reviews. Since I did read the book (at least the half I could stomach) and concluded without finishing that it sucked (historically, theologically and as most of all masquerading as work of literature), I saw little need of seeing a movie that even those who liked the book disdained.

Anyway, this rant is sourced in the ridiculously slanted piece of so called journalism in the aforementioned latest edition of USNWR. While this periodical is typically fairly conservative politically (at least relatively speaking), they apparently could use a new religion editor. The article is punctuated with slanted phrases like "In that struggle -- arguably the most improtant waged by self-styled correct believers againt the so-called-heretics," "soldiers of orthodoxy," "the prominent second century hersy hunter, Bishop Irenaeus" and a picture of NT Wright in full clerical garb and an somber expression that makes him look a morbid misanthrope (or perhaps the 20th century heir to Irenaeus, the heresy hunter).

To be fair, I still need to finish the article, though I've already skimmed the remainder of it. However, the opening few pages had me so heated, I thought I'd vent a few words online. These issues have been on my front burner in recent days as I've been reading through Jesus and the Victory of God and am anticipating dipping into
Bauckham's most recent treatise soon. Furthermore, due to a recent rebuke from reading Euangelion, I've been wading my way through some of the apocryphal and gnostic literature (Tobit, 1 Maccabeas and the Gospel of Thomas in the last few days). Anyway, all of this has put me in the frame of mind to want to gag while reading this sort of yellow journalism parading itself in the name of objective reporting. Instead, the article is guilty of the very sort of ideological imperalism that it accuses early orthodox christianity of. Nevertheless, it affirms the necessity of familiarizing oneself with the extra-canonical (if you'll excuse such a subversive, repressive term) literature. These issues are becoming more and more common in mainstream media and it is only fitting that believers have an informed answer.

**Postscript - I finished the article and it ends with more substance than it begins. There are some good quotes from Wright and Luke Timothy Johnson. However, the conclusion does not salvage the first half in such a way to make me retract anything I've said above.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What're we goin' to do with the ...ers?
buy hydrocodone