Many people over a period of time compiled the New Testament. This I knew, of course, but I have rarely seen it so clearly explained as it is by Diarmaid MacCulloch in his recent review of Reza Aslan’s new book Zealot, in the London Review of Books, 10 October 2013, pp9-10:
“Aslan says what all scholars not in thrall to blinkered religious conservatism say: when reading the New Testament, we have to fight through several filters of authorship to get any idea of how these sacred texts relate to a life lived in first-century Palestine. All the works included in the New Testament canon were written in a language different from Jesus’ native tongue, and even the earliest among them were written by someone who never met him in his earthly life; the latest may postdate his death on the cross by about a century. They are coloured by preoccupations which were not those of Jesus himself, and they fuelled the development of a church which became radically different from anything Jesus or the first generation of his followers could have envisaged.”
None of which invalidates the NT: it just means we have to be careful when reading it and quoting from it.
Posted in Scriptures | Tagged Diarmaid MacCulloch, Jesus, New Testament, Reza Aslan | Leave a Comment »
The hand of God
Exploring my freedom to visualise God in various ways, I come up against an obvious difficulty. If we, in western Europe at least, have lost faith in the kind of personality-deity so masterfully portrayed in the Abrahamic tradition, so dominant in its religions, what is there left to interact with, let alone worship? Continue Reading »
Posted in Connectedness, God | Tagged Acts 17:22, emotional intelligence, God, Jesus Christ, love, only connect, Psalm 139:1, Psalm 30:7, redemption, Spinoza, Sura 30:39, women | Leave a Comment »
In the BBC’s copious coverage of the 60th anniversary of the last coronation at Westminster, back in June, there was a note of special pleading. I think that the issue it raises is an important and a contentious one which should be dealt with now, before the next coronation. Continue Reading »
Posted in Happenings, Worship and liturgy | Tagged Act of Settlement, BBC, Charles I, Charles III, Church of England, coronation, George I, Glorious Revolution, Holy Oil, House of Windsor, William III | Leave a Comment »
When, as has happened this week, the media report on particularly appalling murders, some explain that the perpetrators are known to have had “mental issues.” This appears to be the modern way of saying “mentally sick.” Yet many of the worst killers appear to be fairly rational in their reasoning and behaviour and don’t always present symptoms of any mental illness that might explain their crimes.
I reckon that any one of us can be sick in body, mind and/or soul, or any combination thereof. If so, there is room for a category of being spiritually sick. Some might call it being evil but that implies an impossibility of a cure. I mean something that can be treated. Having lived in five African countries and visited four more, I think that African culture has no difficulty with this concept, even while we might deplore some of the ways the condition is ‘cured’.
A woman who in any culture starves and beats her toddler son to death is clearly sick in some way or other; it is only the West’s rationalism and unease with religious belief that prevents us publicly acknowledging the true sickness exhibited in each case by the crying needs of a soul gone wrong, not just “evil.” It is not only the victim that needs our intervention and help.
Posted in Spirituality | Tagged children killed by parents, Daniel Pelka, evil, mental issues, murder, spiritual sickness | 1 Comment »
Cardinal Bertone has been watching too many episodes of The Borgias on TV. The outgoing Secretary of State for the Holy See claims in an interview that his work was made difficult by ‘crows’ and ‘vipers’ in the Curia. It is possible to be faintly amused by this sort of language, but not altogether so. Is this language the sort a bishop should be using?
It puts one in mind of the joke about Vatican number plates and their prefix SCV which Romans affect to believe stands for Se Cristo Videsse (‘If Christ could only see this’). Let us all hope that the new Secretary, Archbishop Parolin, is not so maladroit.
Posted in Catholicism | Tagged Archbishop Parolin, Cardinal Bertone, Curia, Holy See, Vatican | 2 Comments »
That the world is, that is the mystical. An epigram from Ludwig Wittgenstein, quoted in The Pan Dictionary of Religious Quotations; ed Margaret Pepper. London: Pan, 1991. p.297
Posted in Spirituality | Tagged creation, mystical, Wittgenstein | Leave a Comment »
This week gone, two men have been raised, with vivid ceremonial, to the leadership of their respective branches of the
Christian faith. In Rome, an investiture; in Canterbury an enthronement. In both cases, traditional procedures,
stirring imagery, heads of state present, and media frenzy. There are resemblances here. In some interesting and revealing ways, I suggest, the two men thus honoured are rather like each other.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Anglicanism, Catholicism | Tagged Archbishop of Canterbury, Benedict XVI, Church of England, church reform, enthronment, investiture, Justin Welby, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic Church | Leave a Comment »