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Archive for October, 2013

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.

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The hand of God

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? (more…)

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