Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Readings Traces

A new feature: from time to time excerpts from various sources will be posted here, along with my comments. --ca

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In March 2007 a show on the Discovery Channel, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, was presented. It claimed that a tomb containing the bones of Jesus, Mary and Joseph had been found. Most scholars were very dubious about the claims of those responsible for the show. However, the prospect of finding Jesus' bones raised some interesting questions.

Early Christians claimed that the empty tomb argued for a physical resurrection; and, if physical remains were discovered, some branches of Christianity would be left scrambling for an explanation. But Paul claimed that the resurrection body was a spiritual entity (1 Cor 15.44), not a physical one. Certainly Jesus' resurrection body was unusual. At one point he walks through walls (John 21.19ff). But, the question remains, what difference would it make of our understanding of Jesus--his death and resurrection if physical remains were found. Christian Century, March 20, 2007 p. 5.

This is all hypothetical of course, but the question does not bother me at all. The overwhelming presence of the risen Christ is a primary basis of my post-resurrection understanding of Jesus. This presence is a spiritual presence, not a physical one (at least that's as far as my experience and reason will carry me). If authentic bones were found, I would be interested in solving the mystery of how they got to where they were discovered. But, it would have little impact upon my relationship with God. --Conrad

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A book by this name has just been released. It is written by Pope Benedict 16th. Very intriguing is a review I read (have not read the book, yet) which raises the issue: "how to love and respect what you are being taught to dissect". The pope is speaking to a very relevant concern of Christians today. In the face of biblical criticism and the use of scientific methods to study its origin, authorship, development of theology, etc., how is the modern Christian to develop and maintain "an intimate friendship with Jesus"?

Pope Benedict proposes that we "trust the gospels," read them critically and with love. He asserts that Jesus exploded all existing categories and can be understood "only in the light of the mystery of God." George Weigel, Time Magazine, 5-21-07, p. 49.

I was amazed to find the Pope speaking so openly and positively about biblical criticism. He focuses on the "meaning" of Biblical stories as more important than the results of "over-dissecting" the texts. Reading the Scriptures with love and critical examination show us, as the Pope points out, reality's translucence to God. I have ordered this book. --Conrad