Beliefs Culture Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Rob Bell takes back the Bible

(RNS) Rob Bell’s new book comes out on Tuesday (May 16), and I love it: It’s wise, well-researched, and written with a characteristic accessibility. “What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything” may be his best book yet.

Even if you think you already know a lot about the Bible, you’ll learn something new. Here’s an edited version of a conversation I had with Rob Bell earlier this week.

When Love Wins came out you faced a lot of pushback from evangelicals; John Piper basically condemned you to hell on Twitter. Do you expect this book to be as controversial? How do you respond to those critics?

I don’t respond. It’s not really part of my work. It’s important for all of us to find work that we love even if somebody doesn’t care for it. I actually find it kind of fascinating that people would get so worked up about something that is not for them.

The Bible got hijacked by certain religious people, and we need to take it back. I’m interested in people who would never give the Bible the time of day taking it back. It’s subversive and it’s beautiful. And if somebody doesn’t get that, honestly, I just don’t care. There are too many people who are hungry, who are thirsty, who want to have this discussion. It’s just incredible. It’s so much fun.

Sometimes one tiny detail in the text can change the meaning of a story we think we know. In your chapter on Abraham you point out a couple of things in the text that challenge the idea that Abraham really believed God wanted him to sacrifice Isaac.

Some people see that story like, “Yeah, see? Sometimes God might make you offer your child.” What? What?

Why does he say to the servant, “Stay here. The boy and I will go and the boy and I will come back”? It’s almost like the storyteller wants you to be in on the joke, and is handing you these obvious clues. In the rabbinic tradition, all of these little details are the fodder for endless discussion. Like Jacob has this dream in Genesis and there are angels ascending and descending on the ladder. The rabbis go off on the idea that they are both ascending and descending.

You’re tracing a huge and complex story here. Relationships that come apart in the Book of Genesis don’t come back together until the Book of Ruth, for example. But there’s so much material. How did you decide what to include?

The first draft was 102,000 words. I actually took all these different parts and ideas and made thumbnails, then took this big computer screen and laid them out, doing basic information architecture for the book. What goes where?

There is a trajectory and an arc to the Bible, but you’re constantly being taken in unexpected turns. I wanted this book to feel unconsciously like the Bible does. Philemon? Song of Songs? Really? Who somewhere thought, “Yeah, that makes sense, put it there?”

You spend time going through the more violent and disturbing parts of the Bible, and I have to say you totally nailed me at one point. You make this wry observation that sometimes the exact same people who accuse the Bible of being so violent have a boxed set of “The Lord of the Rings” and watch it over and over again. Guilty!

Yes. People will say, “What can I ever learn from a book that has that in it?” To which I would respond, “So our world is completely perfect? How would you ever learn from anything? Is there any setting that is completely free from violence or what has not yet evolved?”

Carbon emissions, industrial farming, human trafficking. Let’s go down the list that in 50 years, people will say, “What could that have been about? What were they thinking to have a whole chain restaurant named Hooters?”

We can say at the same time “thank God we’ve moved on from that,”and “we have a long way to go.” Those two things often go together when we read the Bible. The very fact that something seems barbaric is an affirmation of how far things have moved forward.

You have to at some point see things on an unfolding spectrum, an arc. There’s a humility and a gratitude built into it all. To me, that’s one of the powers of the Bible. You see this arc, and the better you can see it and name it there, the better you can see it here and now.

You invite people to see the Bible as a story that starts out with one tribe and becomes more universal, which explains a good deal about the early violence in Israel.

Right, because as soon as you see the story as the creation of a particular kind of tribe, then all of these developmental truths kick in. How does a tribe develop? Well, how does a person develop? And all these things that seem completely random and out of nowhere in the Bible all make more sense.

An actual tribe in space and time are asking about politics and the poor, and sex and wine and the economy, and all of a sudden you realize that this book is about what it means to be human. The central struggles of the Bible are the things we’re still talking about. The central message is not about where you go when you die. It’s about empires and nations and forgiveness. It becomes a very different thing to read it.

You ask people not to ask questions that start with, “Why did God (fill in the blank with violent smiting) ” What do you mean?

Anytime someone says, “Why did God do X?” you won’t get a very good answer, because the Bible is not a book written by God; it’s a book written by people about God.

The person telling the story doesn’t even believe in that God! People think they are critiquing the Bible, but the Bible critiques itself. Like in the book of Judges, there’s a pattern of violence. But that’s the whole point of the stories: the futility of violence.

Most people read the Bible as fundamentalists, including the self-proclaimed fact-based, reasonable, logical people. They’re reading as if the most important question is whether this factually happened. One says yes and the other says no, and they are both missing the real question. The real provocation is sitting right there.

What other projects do you have on the burner now?

We actually just announced that I’m doing a bookstore tour in May. And then in July I’m doing a tour of the Bible Belt. It’s a seven-city club tour that includes Alabama and Georgia, on consciousness, violence, and empire. Tours are just ridiculously fun.

There’s always 20 things cooking. I have a residency at a legendary comedy club here called Largo. There’s a two-man show that we do. I just wrote a kids’ book that my daughter keeps insisting I publish. I love it. I love making stuff.

And I am doing a weekly sermon podcast, the Robcast. It’s a sermon disguised as a podcast. 25 years in (to ministry), there’s generally some idea or difficult text knocking around in me, and I’ll do a sermon on that and record it. What I love to do is make sermons.

About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

65 Comments

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  • I have a residency at a legendary comedy club here called Largo.

    For a moment, I had thought he said Mar-A-Lago.

  • Apostate trash!
    “Bell: Anytime someone says, “Why did God do X?” you won’t get a very good answer, because the Bible is not a book written by God; it’s a book written by people about God.”

    2 Timothy 3:16-17English Standard Version (ESV)
    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    John 1:1-5English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Word Became Flesh
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    Rob….did you miss a few things? I think so.

  • Hey Sandi, just a question. Was Paul talking about the letter he was writing to Timothy right then? Or was he talking about Old Testament scripture? And was he talking about other letters he must have wrote that we do not have? Also letters not yet written would he have meant those? That’s more than one question. Sorry about that.

  • Nice puff piece, but I really doubt that “Rob Bell The Sequel” is going to gain any more traction. Nope.

    The reality is that the folks who DO believe the Bible, aren’t going to fall for the mess.

    And the folks who DON’T believe the Bible, have already heard from the major-league skeptics anyway, and aren’t desperate for Bell’s stuff.

  • Scripture is scripture GJ. Christ knew He was writing scripture when Paul wrote that. As far as other letters not in the Bible, I believe Christ would have assured they were in there, had He wanted them for the book about Himself, so, they are probably not scriptural. God bless you

  • I look forward to the book! Love Wins allowed so many who were slipping away from Jesus to come home! Myself included. Thanks, Rob!

  • Sandi can you list a few of the other apostate teachers that are out there? I see where some list the likes of Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. Also who are some of the people out there who you would consider good biblical teachers.

  • It’s funny how you fail to see how illogical and circular your thinking is! :p

    “I believe Christ would have assured they were in there…” Except that’s your opinion, which you made from whole cloth to support your concept of what scripture is and what it is saying.

  • How learned are you in the actual languages of scripture; ancient Hebrew, Aramaic & Koine Greek? You seem to have an answer for everything but you are relying on English translations and appear to have no knowledge of the depth of what is in the original languages, as well as, the possibility of alternate meanings of the text.

    Oh wait, I know, Christ made everything, including the Bible, so every translation is also micro-managed by Christ as well, regardless of the fact that many times the translation into English and the translation into another modern language aren’t the same!

  • Your god isn’t strong enough to make sure He is understood?
    There are books that call themselves a “bible” – Queen James, etc. Lies like this book tell, are not of Christ. Does that help you?

  • Scripture is scripture GJ.

    Quran – scripture
    Book of Mormon – scripture
    Agamas – scripture
    Tantras – scripture
    Vedas – scriture

    Scripture is scripture™. Paul says.

  • except, scripture is the word of God. You won’t find that anywhere else but the Bible.

  • I get where Mr. Bell is going, but I’m not certain he is riding the proper conveyance to get there, though he offers the occasional thoughtful insight. However, I do agree with Sandi, that scripture as defined solely by the bible is God breathed and tailor made to His specifications, so I must quibble in semantical terms with Mr. Bell’s assertion that is was, “written by people about God.” While there is no question that each human amanuensis was able to infuse the text with the stamp of their own persona, the principles, precepts, intent, and specific utterances were the Almighty’s. But I don’t think anyone can adequately explain in human terms how God transmitted His Word through His human servants. But it is clearly evident that He did so.

  • Well your god flunked science class. His book is full of errors regarding the natural world and history. Easily proven errors. Since you will never admit this it makes more sense that it was written by men in a time where there was little scientific knowledge. Other religions make similar claims about their scripture but you rightfully dismiss them as works of men, as they likely view your scriptures.

  • Rob Bell is old news. In another year or two even RNS won’t bother with him. As someone tweeted a few days back, J C Ryle from the 1870s is still being read whilst all his liberal critics are forgotten. Orthodoxy always, always gets the last word.

  • One wonders why, if the real life one true god revealed himself to the Jews in the Bible, they had to steal so many of their origin myths from the older Assyrian empire.

  • Modern man is at least 40,000 years old. Why did god wait 37,000 years to reveal himself? And to obscure and backward peoples?

  • By the way, I apologize to you for the delay, but I was able to use this evening to respond to your specific claim of the “Young Earth, the creation, Adam & Eve, Noah’s flood,” somehow being disproved by science.
    (This is in the Pope’s “Don’t Fear The Truth” thread, further down).

    I didn’t want to write a whole book (but make no mistake, there IS enough pro-theistic stuff to write a book about!!).

    But I think I was able to at least offer a few rational arguments to show that, at minimum, science absolutely has NOT disproved those four particular items you mentioned..

  • I agree. Science hasn’t even come close to catching up to the wisdom of God.

    Honestly? The best location for the Theory Of Evolution is the garbage can!!!

  • 6K years TOPS, give or take a few. Forget all that jive evolutionist 40K.

    By the way, God has no qualms about revealing Himself to *you*, but *you* gotta stop hitting the “Delete” button every time He sends you an E-mail.

    Try hitting the “Open” button instead, hmm?

  • Oh shoot, that skeptic lie was wiped out way back, via Kenneth Kitchen, John Walton, and others.

    So bury that mess, and try coming up with new material already!!!

  • What bible? Abraham and Moses were myths. There were no Genesis and Exodus. And the rest of the OT, mostly embellishment to make the Jews feel good about themselves. Then there were all those god-approved atrocities!! Give us a break!!

    And the NT? At most 33% authentic after rigorous historic testing. The NT has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

  • Great job proving to us you’ve never actually read the bible. Somewhere around 60% of the OT relates the exact opposite of what you described. I find it telling how so many people can have such strong opinions about a book they’ve never opened.

  • You didn’t ask me, but yes, there is quite a bit of evidence the NT authors knew they were writing scripture. For instance: 1 Corinthians 14:37-38, Revelation 1:1-2 or 2 Peter 3:15-16. In both 1&2 Thessalonians, Paul appeals to his Apostleship and tells the church his words have authority either spoken or written.

  • Au contraire! Twelve years of Catholic school education. The published studies of Professors Crossan and Ludemann, i.e. rigorous historical analyses of the NT, are highly recommended .

  • And you are on an ostensibly Christian site because…? You don’t actually think that we haven’t heard this type of tiresome drivel a thousand times before, do you Mr.”rational conclusions”, hmm? Get over yourself; your emporer has no clothes…Jesus is Lord!! ?.

  • Or did he even write it at all? DOH! Many scholars think it was a forgery, among a number of books traditionally attributed to Paul. Authorship in the Bible is such a problematic issue. Aside from a few of the Pauline epistles, we don’t really know who the authors are. Yeah, yeah, somebody will say the author is god. Already smacking my forehead.

  • “The Emperor Wears No Clothes is a non-fiction book written by Jack Herer. Starting in 1973, the story begins when Herer takes the advice of his friend, “Captain” Ed Adair, and begins compiling tidbits of information about the Cannabis plant and its numerous uses,[1] including as hemp and as a drug. After a dozen years of collecting and compiling historical data, Herer first published his work as The Emperor Wears No Clothes, in 1985. The eleventh edition was published in November 2000,[2] and the book continues to be cited in Cannabis rescheduling and re-legalization efforts.”

    Hmm, so Jesus smoked pot!! Amazing discovery. No wonder he was so “lordy”.

    And now for some reality using an updated version of the Apostles’ Creed:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2017: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of
    historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven, human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple, preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish girl named Mary. (Some say he was amamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    (referencesused are available upon request)

    Regarding the Religion News Service:

    “Our Vision

    The Religion News Service aims to be the largest single source of news about religion, spirituality and ideas. We strive to inform, illuminate and inspire public discourse on matters relating to belief and convictions.

    Mission

    Religion News Service (RNS) is an independent, nonprofit and award-winning source of global news on religion, spirituality, culture and ethics, reported by a staff of professional journalists. Founded in 1934, RNS seeks to inform readers with objective reporting and insightful commentary, and is relied upon by SECULAR and faith-based news organizations in a number of countries. RNS is affiliated with the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.”
    Obviously, not a Christian-based news service.

  • Don’t waste your breath by using facts, logic, or scholarly study. They are utterly useless to the indoctrinated mind. Some of these people actually think all races of humanity are descended from 8 surivivors of a flood that otherwise wiped out humanity. They think the earth is only 6000 years old. You can’t argue with cray-cray.

  • Jim, Christopher Hitchens had a monologue along the lines of man being around for 200,000 years or so, life was unbelievably hard, full of disease, famine, most women dying in childbirth, etc. And then God finally decides to show himself after 198,000 years. How does he do it? Impregnates an unsuspecting virgin so that the child can later be sacrificed to appease a desert hill tribe in the middle east. Classic.

  • – Bell believes that eventually all will go to heaven

    – He rejects the doctrine of original sin

    – Rejects the notion of penal substitution

    – Rejects the idea that Scripture alone will answer all questions

    – Rejects Scriptural teaching of the reality of heaven for the saved, and hell as an eternal place of punishment .

    – Questions the virgin birth

    – Bell endorses Marcus Borg, who denies the atonement and the doctrine of the cross

    I would suggest to readers of this book by Rob Bell that they question what int is they believe about their own Christian beliefs and why.

  • Like I said, Rational…tiresome drivel.And the story that I referenced is the classic children’s story,”The Emperor has no clothes” . I won’t be replying to you again so…au revoir and God bless you.?.I’m done.

  • Thanks for the reply. It was a serious question to Sandi. As a matter of faith I have no problem with the claim of the Bible being God’s word. Problems come when we use the word in such a way as to put out the Spirit’s fire.

  • We don’t even know if there was a Homer who wrote the I&O. Yet, we speak of Homer’s I&O.
    You’re pretty weak in the biblical studies department.

  • You’re correct that I am not an antiquities scholar. Just a liberal arts grad from a good school. Who also happened to be a devout and believing person for 50 years, having taught and expounded the Bible along with so-called Mormon scriptures in a class setting. But then I learned about the scientific method and applied the same critical thought to religious matters that I applied to the rest of my life. I found religion in general, including Christianity, cannot withstand close examination. It doesn’t even take much precision. Just basic questions, like why is the Christian god correct and other gods not? Why is a Christian religious experience valid, but a non-Christian’s not? In the end, it all deconstructs to “I worship the correct god and you don’t.”

    Regarding, Homer, there is dispute whether Homer was a single person or a group, not that anybody knows for sure. The huge point, though, is that Homer as far as I know, does not claim to be the word of (some) God or used to decide weighty matters. If something is going to claim to be god’s word, it damn well better not be filled with inconsistencies, clearly untrue stories (Balaam’s talking donkey or an ark where 8 people fed, watered, and cleaned up the poop of every animal pair and insects for a year), and questionable authorship.

    Carl Sagan was correct when he stated extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Being a conservative, you should appreciate Hume who said, “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.”

  • Insects have four legs. You can watch with glee as biblical “commentators” twist logic and facts into knots to show that when the Bible said four legs with creatures that obviously have six, that legs doesn’t mean legs at all, and insects doesn’t mean insets at all, that wings really aren’t legs, or maybe they are, and besides, modern taxonomy was not what the biblical writers had in mind, especially when they were referring to edible insects.

    Google “Bible insect legs and watch the fun begin.

  • What a coinkidink: I was an a member of a “mormon” sect for 21 years and from a family that on both sides went back 3-4 generations. After studying the bible I came to the exact opposite conclusion that you did. As did Mortimer Adler, as did William Lane Craig, as did C. S. Lewis, as did Hugh Ross…etc.

  • If there is no God there are no objective moral values and duties. Your atrocity is another man’s self-preservation. Don’t you see. /hyperbole

  • There ever was a Garden of Eden. It’s says that the Garden of Eden is supposed to between 4 rivers two of which are the Tigris and Euphrates. That part of the world has been explored, and there has not been any such Garden found.

  • I think the posters are missing the point. There are a lot of people who don’t go to church because you are right. You are correct and your system of moving towards salvation as the sole purpose of our spiritual life has won. Period. We get that you have won. That isn’t enough for many and certainly wasn’t enough for me. Rob asks the questions that many people( note that I didn’t say Christians but they are among them) have but can’t ask their pastors because they know they won’t get an answer or they don’t belong to congregation and don’t want the hassle or pressure to join. Rob pastors to these people. So no I don’t think that if you are a bible believing, born again, the bible says so I believe it kind of Christian then you are not going to like Rob. But if your not well he may have some answers for you.

  • But none of what you just said is in the Book!!! Not a bit of it. What you are discussing is polity and confessions developed over time. But don’t say its in the Bible because it isn’t. It doesn’t mean they are wrong or backward beliefs. But you need to separate that from your confession. We all have different confessions. I don’t buy original sin because its not in the Bible. I don’t buy penal Substitution because it cheapens Jesus’ sacrifice.(he isn’t an dove or a lamb. He is the Christ) And no the Scripture alone doesn’t address all of our questions.

  • Rob Bell and Oprah are spiritual soulmates. And for that reason alone Mr. Bell has zero credibility. Even without his connection to Oprah he has no credibility. Every time people like this open their mouths or minds they minimize and denigrate the horror of the cross that was experienced by Jesus. The disrespect and dishonor they heap upon Jesus is breathtaking and disgusting.

    Mr. Bell is lost. He is dragging many down the same road of destruction with his tripe.

  • Circular reasoning is acceptable in philosophical discourse.

    “The Bible is God-breathed because Paul said so.”

    The “accusation” that this is circular reasoning is totally true. This should not scare us. Everyone uses circular reasoning when defending their ultimate standard, though not everyone realizes this. And this is the best circular argument of all by a million miles: “The (God of the) Bible can be trusted because the Bible says so.” We stand in a millennia-long-line of Jesus followers because we believe this.

    Crying “circular reasoning!” shouldn’t bother us, because not all circular reasoning is wrong. Circular reasoning is surprisingly a valid argument. It’s only wrong when it proves nothing beyond what it presupposes. Presupposing a Self-revealing God exists to argue that God has revealed Himself through Text is a beautiful and reasonable circular argument.

  • Oops, I saw what you did there, you told a lie by misrepresenting what Paul actually said. Paul said that scripture was God breathed. When Paul said that the only scriptures that he knew was Torah and nothing more. There was no Bible about which he could have made such a statement.

    As to your argument for the acceptability of epistemic circularity, most folks educated in philosophy don’t buy your statement about its acceptability. Your premise is that you believe the Bible is true and the Word of God because the Bible says that it is true and the Word of God. For you that may be enough. For me, you cannot establish that the Bible as a belief source is a reliable enough source for me to accept your circular argument with regard to its reliability. And therein lies the problem with circular arguments.

  • And your god is so powerful, it can make a rock that is too heavy for your god to lift.

    BTW, the KJV or Authorized translation was not translated by James VI of Scotland, I of England, it was translated by over 40 scholars of the Church of England to replace the older Great Bible. It bares no more errors than many other translations since then.

  • I didn’t lie. Paul’s Bible was the Hebrew Tanakh. We know it as the Old Testament. It isn’t wrong to call the Old Testament the Bible/the Scriptures. Also, Paul knew that the Apostles were part of a movement that was adding material to create the canon we now know as the OT/NT Scriptures. He didn’t know how the Scriptures would turn out. But he didn’t need to for his statement about the Scriptures to be accurate. This is a rookie argument against the validity of Inspiration that was dealt with a long time ago. Honestly, it’s fascinating to me when liberal Christians bring this one up as if it’s been Christianity’s dirty little secret all this time and all the councils over the last two millennia missed it and we’re finally calling orthodoxy’s bluff. It’s either tremendous arrogance or tremendous ignorance. Either way, it’s fascinating.

    You misrepresented my point about circularity. My larger point was that *everyone* uses circular reasoning when defending their ultimate standard. This is what postmodernism teaches us. Everyone has only their own perspective at a given moment; therefore, everyone’s perspective is ultimately circular, as it begins and ends in the same place: one’s own self. Whether you believe in God, or you don’t….whether you believe Scripture is inspired, or you don’t… *your reasoning is ultimately circular.* I am educated in philosophy, as was my philosophy professor who pointed me to Derrida, Foucault, etc to demonstrate this point.

  • Bragging about your education, to set yourself up as the expert upon whom we should rely, just makes you look foolish. We should trust you as the expert on the topic because you tell us that we should trust you as the expert we should trust on the topic. That’s much like the author of a thesis who only sites his own writings as proof of his thesis. None of that education actually shows in anything that you’ve said today.

    Moving on.

    Easter blessings. He is risen indeed.

  • Again, you prove my point. “Catholic school education” doesn’t mean you’ve actually read the bible. It means you went to a school that had bible verses pasted up on the walls.

    And if your only other support for your opinion is citing Crossan or Ludemann as “rigorous historical analysis”, it only shows you aren’t familiar enough with either the bible or critical analysis to recognize their numerous errors and speculative assumptions they posit as proven fact.

  • You’re going to need to cite a verse reference here. And also, assuming you even have a point, you’re going to need to explain how it’s not at least possible the Hebrew is correct and our English translation is imperfect.

  • If you think arguments from silence count as easily proving anything, we’re not going to get very far in a discussion. Especially when dealing with geography from, oh wait, how many thousands of years have human beings been on the planet?

  • A typical list of documents used by “Jesus
    Historians” can be found at

    http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesu…us/
    Crossan1.rtf. In this case, the documents used by JD Crossan as references
    for his book, The Historical Jesus, The Life of a Mediterranean Peasant. These
    same documents are used by Father Brown in his “imprimatured”, An
    Introduction to the NEW Testament. Father Brown also gives a short but somewhat
    complete survey of historical Jesus studies, 1780 to about 1995 noting that his
    book is “tangential” to the books of the historical Jesus scholars.

    Might want to go “head-to-head” with the likes of:

    H.S. Reimarus

    R. Bultmann

    E. Kasemann

    Earl Doherty

    Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

    Alvar Ellegård

    G. A. Wells

    Gregory Riley

    Robert Eisenman

    John Dominic Crossan

    Robert Funk

    Burton Mack

    Stephen J. Patterson

    Marcus Borg

    Stevan Davies

    Geza Vermes

    Richard Horsley

    Hyam Maccoby

    Gerd Theissen

    Bart Ehrman

    Paula Fredriksen

    Gerd Lüdemann

    John P. Meier

    E. P. Sanders

    Robert H. Stein

    Karen Armstrong

    Albert Schweitzer (The Quest for the Historical Jesus)

    Mahlon Smith

    Elaine Pagels

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/Works_Cited

    And my 12 years of Catholic education (now an atheist by the way) included bible studies every year.

  • The waters of the Flood in Noah’s day covered the earth, destroying people, animals, civilizations, and the Garden of Eden, too (Genesis 7:17-24).

  • This is so much of what is so wrong with western theology…Scripture is NOT the Word of the God. Jesus is the Word of God. HUGE COSMIC DIFFERENCE. The Bible is inspired but only Jesus Christ is inerrant. Which one you gonna believe whenever they conflict, and yes, they sometimes do….God the Father commands Genocide in the OT; but contrast that with Jesus who commands to love your enemy and do good to them, and to put away your sword…are you going to forgive them or stab them?

    The OT is full of sacrifice and blood, the NT says that God does not desire sacrifice and never did (read Hebrews), and we know that God changes not…so which one are you gonna accept as a deeper revelation of God? Christ’s own proclamations, or writers that didn’t know Christ? I know where I stand.

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