Christians' Arguments Against The Passion of the Christ

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I've seen relatively little criticism of Mel Gibson's new film from Christian quarters. By far most Christians are excited about the film, even using it as an opportunity to initiate conversations about spiritual things with friends who don't believe. The ones who don't want to see it are just intimidated by the violence they keep hearing about. I have seen a few worries raised about this film, sometimes being put quite strongly. Two pieces that have been brought to my attention come from sources I very much respect. One is on the website of the Presbyterian Church in America. I'm not a Presbyterian (I disagree quite strongly with their views on sacraments and baptism), but I very much respect the PCA. They tend to be one of the strongest advocates for Reformed views, which I tend to share with them, in our time. The other is from the website of Alpha & Omega Ministries, the organization James White works with. I appreciate his work for the same reasons. I have chosen to interact with these arguments mainly because I very much appreciate that Christians are thinking critically about this film but also because I'm fundamentally in agreement on the basics of the Christian faith with these people. I don't think all their conclusions are warranted, as I will explain, but I do think these arguments deserve to be aired, and in some cases I think they should affect how someone views the film. I also feel obliged to link to a very positive review by a Christian who emphasizes things not covered in most of what I've read. I happen to be acquainted with the reviewer through our both being on a music discussion list, but I don't really know him. I highly recommend his thoughts.

The arguments I'm considering seem to involve some mix of the following conclusions: Christians shouldn't see it, no one should see it, it was wrong for Gibson to make it at all, and it was wrong for Gibson to make it the way he did. Different arguments seem aimed at different conclusions (and from different people who have given these arguments).

The piece from Alpha & Omega included the following arguments. Some of Gibson's Catholic theology has been missed by Protestants who have assumed these elements of the film were just artistic license. According to the argument, this is not just about minor disagreements but about doctrines Protestants should find horrific, a focus on suffering for its own sake rather than seeing ourselves as the ones for whom and because of whose sin he suffered, a focus on the passion with such small concern for the resurrection that it might as well not have been there, and that there are only a few hints of the gospel message itself in the film with no clear sense of why Jesus died, why he had to die, and what our response should be. The conclusion of this piece is that it's going to be of no value to someone who doesn't already know the background but that someone who has the grid to impose on it will be benefited greatly.

The piece on the PCA website is more strongly against the film. The primary reason is that it violates the second commandment (of the ten commandments given to Moses, not the second of Jesus' two greatest commandments). It makes a graven image to be worshiped. This is a much more serious charge (one the first author dismisses without argument), and if it's true it deserves a more serious response. I'm not exactly sure what the author concludes in the end, but I'm quite sure that I don't think the conclusion is justified.

Let's look at each argument in turn.

First, I should say that I have not yet seen the film but have read lots of detailed reviews and heard many first-hand accounts of people who have seen it. What I offer here is not a response based on having seen the film but a response to the arguments.

1. Catholic theology objectionable to Protestants

As I said, I haven't seen the film, but almost all the reports I've heard contain nothing on this end that should be offensive to Protestants. Most Protestants, rightly in my view, resist seeing Mary as co-redemptrix in any important sense other than the fact that her role was to bear and raise the redeemer. Many Protestants, however, go too far in the other direction and ignore the plain biblical statements about how blessed Mary is. I believe Catholic theology wrongly gives her the role of a dispenser of grace rather than the receiver of it based on "full of grace", which is semantically ambiguous, but the context suggests the Protestant view. She is given the gift of bearing the Son. None of the bits of the film cited by the author seem to me to raise any flags on this issue at all. The very author whose article I'm responding to linked to this review to make his case, in which the author says:

He has made a film with some subtle Catholic overtones, but these should not upset Protestants. Mary has a prominent role in the film, but not inappropriately so. As she speaks to her Son on the cross she says something like, �You are flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart. I wish I could die with you.� During the crucifixion, there are flashbacks to the last supper, where Jesus says, �This is my body, broken for you� as He tears the bread.

Some may find subtle implications of Roman Catholic dogma in scenes like this. Wisely, Gibson has left the points subtle enough that all Christians can embrace what is presented.

These two examples don't even reflect theology that's particularly Catholic. Mary's saying that she wishes she could die with him stops short of her actually dying with him and says nothing about whether such a death would be effective or co-effective or whatever such thing being a co-redemptrix would be. As for the association between the last supper and Jesus' death, isn't that what it's about? The main disagreement between Protestants and Catholics on this matter is whether the bread and wine are literally Jesus' body and blood, not on whether there's an association between eating the bread and drinking the wine and the remembrance of his sacrifice. The other arguments for seeing theology in there objectionable to Protestants seem equally tenuous, based on the author's own assertions. How would Mary's seeing Jesus' blood as precious or suffering because he is be objectionable to Protestants?

2. Focus on suffering for its own sake rather than seeing ourselves as the ones for whom and because of whose sin he suffered

See the positive review I linked at the end of the first paragraph for more response to this issue, but I should say a couple things. First, saying this is a Catholic issue is a bit odd. After all, most Protestants do communion at least once a month (and the ones who care more about remembering Christ's sacrifice do it every week). They celebrate Easter once a year. Second, Gibson himself doesn't think his film is guilty of this. He stresses over and over again in the interviews he's done that it's all for us, that we're the ones he died for, that audience is as much to blame for his death as anyone else. So if it's a fault of the film it's due to negligence or problems with the audience. Third, the focus can't be on suffering for its own sake unless there's a clear statement that the suffering is intrinsically good. There may be a lack of clarity on what it's good for, but that doesn't mean it's intrinsically good. It just means you don't know what it's for. That would be an issue of not making the gospel clear enough, but it doesn't involve a denial of the gospel or a different gospel, as the objection makes it sound.

3. A focus on the passion with such small concern for the resurrection that it might as well not have been there

If this is a problem, then the gospel of Mark is guilty of it also. It basically ends with the resurrection, without explaining it or going on to say what happens later. Compared to the length of time focused on the passion narrative in Mark, the resurrection seems quite brief and of small moment, if all you care about is the length of time. (Late manuscripts have more added, but hardly any scholars think that material was originally part of the gospel. It was added because the abrupt ending was felt to have needed more, just as people endorsing this argument would say of Gibson's film. I'd prefer to go along with what the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says is a legitimate ending.) In both cases, it's the climax anyway. There's no question of the significance this ending had for Gibson. Without the resurrection at the end, it would have been a very different film. In comparison to that, a few more minutes would have added a lot less effect.

4. Only a few hints of the gospel message itself in the film with no clear sense of why Jesus died, why he had to die, and what our response should be

That's a fair point. I think it's something that Christians who want to use the film to start conversations about the gospel will need to bear in mind. Many Americans today are biblically illiterate, not knowing that the Bible has two testaments. They of course won't know who Judas Iscariot was, why the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus, why it was God's plan for Jesus to die all along, and many other things. But the movie Mel Gibson made is not a visual presentation of all the facts necessary for understanding the gospel. It's a depiction of the passion of Christ. He worked a little bit of background context in to make it more understandable, since it would have been next to worthless to the average unchurched American without that, but his goal wasn't to produce a product that would help people understand the basics of Christianity. It was to produce a picture of the basic event of Christianity, without which none of the theology and teachings make sense. The latter aren't all in the film, but that just means those using it in discussions with unbelieving friends will have more work to do than simply taking someone to the film. So what?

5. The film violates the second commandment

To evaluate this argument, we first need to see the second commandment:

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Ex. 20:4-6; Deut. 5:8-10, ESV).

On one level I think there's a danger here for Christians. On another I think the complaint is just plain silly. The danger is that Christians can be tempted to worship anything that gets associated with holiness, righteousness, etc. Images used to help us understand or explain the gospel can themselves become more than that to us, as if they're part of the gospel. That would verge on idolatry. Even worse, we have to be very careful not to make Jesus into something he's not. It's so easy to do such a thing, but it would constitute false worship (though not idolatry per se, since worshiping Jesus while believing something false about him still is worshiping Jesus, just not necessarily legitimate worship for who he really is).

Is it wrong to make a graven image of Jesus? We're told not to make a graven image of God. Jesus clearly identifies himself with the Father (though he also distinguishes himself from the Father). I think it would be very bad to make an image of Jesus to be worshiped. I think that would violate the second commandment. Is that what Gibson did? Is he sitting around worshiping Jim Caviezel? Is that what he expects the average viewer of the film to do? Some may do that, but that's not what was going on in the mind of the film's creator. If this film was wrong on these grounds, then every film or play about Jesus would likewise be wrong. Every image of Jesus in Sunday school materials or in the famous artwork of history would be wrong. Not only that, but you couldn't even form images of him in your mind, since that would be forming an image of him. If it affects how you worship, according to this argument, then it's a graven image.

It will start to get really silly from there. When we do a passion play, do we need to have Jesus be played by the air in the room? Isn't that turning the air into a graven image? When we read the gospels, do we need to refrain entirely from forming an image of Jesus? One way to do it is not to imagine what was going on at all, but I think that violates the intent of the gospels. Why use descriptive imagery if you don't want people to imagine what it was like. Then should we imagine everyone else but just empty space for where Jesus was? The feeding of the 5000 would have these fish and loaves hanging out in mid-air with nothing to support them. This has four problems. First, it's inaccurate. Imagining Jesus as empty space is not imagining what went on. There was someone there. Second, it undermines Christianity's emphasis that Jesus really did come in the flesh. Third, it still succumbs to the objection that it makes the empty space (in this case in your mental image) an idol. Fourth, it's just ridiculously absurd for people to try to do this.

So I maintain that it's not making a graven image to portray Jesus by a human actor in a play or movie. What Mel Gibson did does not violate the second commandment. There is a danger of a viewer violating the first or second commandment, but that's the responsibility of the viewer. Anyone particularly suceptible to that temptation might want to avoid the film. I can't see this giving anyone else a reason not to see it.

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Divinity is not the subject of The Passion. The great wincing weight of this film is found in the lacerated body of Jesus himself. Through this unflinchingly goulish lens, Gibson does damage to the import of the message of Christ. Read More

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I thank the Parableman for the courtesy of giving consideration to objections that some Christian folks like myself have towards the film. However, I respectfully disagree with his conclusions. This is not meant to cause division, but please consider the following points made by certain godly and learned Puritans with regards to the dangers of making images of Christ and other salient observations:

"It is Christ's Godhead, united to his manhood, that makes him to be Christ; therefore to picture his manhood, when we cannot picture his Godhead, is a sin, because we make him to be but half Christ � we separate what God has joined, we leave out that which is the chief thing which makes him to be Christ" (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, on the second commandment).

"I cannot refrain here from a necessary short digression. This transforming efficacy [i.e. of faith], from a spiritual point of view of Christ as proposed in the Gospel, being lost, as unto an experience of it, in the minds of men carnal and ignorant of the mystery of believing (as it is at present by many derided, though it be the life of religion), fancy and superstition provided various supplies in the room of it. For they found out crucifixes and images with paintings to represent him in his sufferings and glory. By these things, their carnal affections being excited by their outward senses, they suppose themselves to be affected with him, and to be like unto him. Yea, some have proceeded so far as, either by arts diabolical, or by other means, to make an appearance of wounds in their hands, and feet, and sides; therein pretending to be like him, � yea, to be wholly transformed into his image. But that which is produced by an image is but an image. An imaginary Christ will effect nothing in the minds of men but imaginary grace" (John Owen, "The Glory Of Christ: On the Difference Between the Faith and the Sight of Christ's Glory," in Works, 1:392ff.).

"Let us pray that God will preserve pure ordinances and powerful preaching among us. Idolatry came in at first by the want of good preaching. The people began to have golden images when they had wooden priests" (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, on the second commandment).

"We cannot fully understand his passion and sufferings. God alone knows what is in the curse of the law; we do not know it. God alone knows what is the true desert of sin; it cannot be fully understood by any but himself. They who undergo it must suffer to eternity; there is no end, � they never see, never know, what sin deserved. How do we know, then, what Christ suffered, when the punishment due to our sin, when all our iniquities met upon him, with the curse of the law? God only knows what is in these things. The fruits and effects of this love in himself, in his incarnation and passion are past our knowledge; therefore the love itself surpasses our knowledge" (John Owen, Works, 9:611).

Well, firstly, of course the PCA would have a problem with it, because the PCA is very structuralist when it comes to doctrine (essentially, for the PCA theological form IS function). I say this as a Calvinist and as one who attends a PCA church. And their structuralism, while useful in the "theological boneless chicken ranch" of contemporary American Christian culture, strikes a little too hard against more mysterious enterprises like art.

But to me, it is the EVENT, not the film which troubles me. That Evangelicals would embrace a Catholic from Hollywood (two categorizations that were not such a short time ago, publicly utterly loathsome to Evangelicals) to promote a soteriological crusade I find just incredibly revealing about the Church in America. I don't believe the danger is in the film, per se. It is just a work of art. And not an uncriticizable one, either. But, aside from that, in reality, after Oscars next year it will be forgotten just like "The Last Temptation of Christ" has been forgotten. I believe the danger is giving the film too much credence beyond it's merits as a work of art. Isn't it ironic that it was a Catholic that made this work, and not an Evangelical? Evangelicals are, I believe, largely incapable of creating significant works of art, because of a) socio-theological structuralism, and b) Evangelical "culture" (if it can even be called that) revolves around the "business" of salvtion.

Evangelicals should not be concerned so much about the theological content of the work, as much as they should question WHY they have not hitherto been able to have as much effect on secular culture as a traditionalist Catholic.

I think you underestimate the number of PCA members who have been influenced by Francis Schaeffer on questions about art.

I don't think it will be forgotten in the way The Last Temptation of Christ was forgotten, simply because it did so ridiculously well, despite so many predictions that it would kill Gibson's career.

I think you lost me on both reasons you gave for why evangelicals are largely incapable of creating significant works of art. I'm not even sure what you're trying to say. I think your conclusion is wrong, though. Even ignoring the many significant works of art by evangelicals all over the place just sitting on people's shelves or hanging on their walls, there are several key examples of thoughtful evangelicals who have produced excellent art even in the commercial realm. Kerry Livgren, Phil Keaggy, Neal Morse, Rich Mullins, Michael Card, and Iona come to mind in the music realm. Veggie Tales is the most impressive children's program I've ever seen, and it was produced entirely by evangelicals. It's true that we also see Jars of Clay, Left Behind, and other tripe, but that doesn't mean evangelicalism is largely incapable of producing good art. It just means the bad stuff that's popular is what's successful. But that's not something particular to evangelicalism. The secular companies that run the Christian marketing machine apply the same principles to the Christian products as they do to anything else. This is a problem with American culture, not evangelicalism.

I could be underestimating the PCA. I've known quite a few PCA people, though, and I find where there is a distinction, it falls along age lines. The PCA church I attend right now is largely young people, and therefore much more Po-Mo in their views. Many of them are musicians or filmmakers, etc. The older PCA members I know are much different.

My point was this: While I do, in fact believe that an explosion of high art by people who currently call themselves Evangelicals is on the very near horizon (I will explain this later), American Evangelical culture as it we know it today is in so many significant ways syncretized with American culture itself. In fact, the one was birthed in the womb of the other, and takes for itself the same vaules, viz, it is a "bottom line" movement, just like "Americanism". Because Evangelicalism has been (and largely still is) oriented towards a quantifiable soteriological goal, there is very little room for "mysticism" (for lack of a better word). The name "Evangelical" itself has everything to do with converting the lost, which from it's inception in the 19th century was all about QUANTITY, not quality. Convert em, and do it quickly. Additionally, Evangelicalism has up until recently, always been quite vocally anti-intellectual and anti-artistic, because, I believe, neither served quantifiable salvation goals. As of today, the greatest force in the production of Evangelical content is TBN. That, imho, says plenty about the values of Evangelicalism. I know people who do programs for TBN, and it is pretty much all about quantity, not quality. They would rather produce a 1000 segments cheaply than 100 segments extremely well, and have all but said so. That is not the value system of a demographic that values "craftsmanship", which is where art really starts, at least traditionally.

If one looks at church history, Catholics have produced a much greater proportion of the works of Christian-themed art since the Reformation, because Catholicism (for all its many faults) still retains the huge sense of the mystical. The Eastern Orthodox church embraces the mystical even more. Protestantism purposefully abandoned its moorings from the mystical found in Catholicism for very specific reasons, and I don't blame the Reformers for doing so, given the circumstances. It started with the crucifix, then iconography, and then music. But, where Protestantism drifted away from the mystical for specific reasons, Evangelicalism forgot what those reasons were and all but killed the mystical. See, I believe that Protestantism is capable of producing great art. J.S. Bach is a pristine example of this. He was a protestant during the counter-reformation, which was a very unhealthy time to be so. But, in 150 years of Evangelicalism in this country, I find no artistic movement of any kind that can be associated with it. It has all been in the service of the salvation of the lost, or commercial, or both, and as such, been largely incidental. There, of course, have been individual persons who considered themselves Evangelicals who have produced quality art (Image Journal has put on display many such artists - www.imagejournal.org), but the demographic as a whole has produced no such general artistic movement. And, it is only recently that what are these relative few have had any "airplay" so to speak, because Evangelical culture hasn't been interested in it until relatively recently.

As for the musicians you mentioned, they are by far the exception, and even then, I don't know if they could be classified in a strictly "artistic" sense, as in, art for art's sake. They are VERY talented, to be sure, and produce quality work, but I don't see them doing cross-over work into less- or non-commercial realms. I am by no means necessarily equating artistic quality with a separation from commercial success (I would have to disallow people such as Stravinsky were I to do so), but I am saying that high art must indeed have some necessary separation from the idea of "commerce" itself. I believe it serves it purpose better when it's intent is divorced from commercial concerns (which is why I believe The Passion qualifies). Where has there been the Evangelical who has produced a Christian-themed film like The Passion, or a great Christian-themed musical work like Utrenja, by Krzysztof Penderecki (devoutly Russian Orthodox)? I can hardly think of a film directed by an Evangelical, that has not told the Gospel story essentially the same way a Chick tract would have told it. You must admit, the large proportion of "artistic" works hitherto produced by Evangelicals has been the Left Behind Series, and things like it.

But as I said above, I do believe, that the situation is changing, and for the better. I believe that the next 10-30 years may see an explosion of art produced by people who call themselves Evangelicals, and I actually think "The Passion" may have opened the door for such a thing. I also believe this change falls largely along age lines, with the 40 and under crowd being the bulk of the "New Evangelicals". They are the same group that is re-embracing science and culture in general (e.g., Nancy Murphy, William Dyrness, etc.). But, the reason for this is that Evangelicalism itself is changing drastically. In fact, it is in some ways, dissolving and becoming something different that what it has been up until this point. I realize this may sound a bit contradictory to what I said in my earlier post, but, I didn't explain myself as thoroughly as I have done here.

Cheers. :)

I think the roots of anti-intellectualism among evangelicals lie in a prior separatist attitude that crept in around 100 years ago because of intellectual pressure for evangelicals in the academy to change their views to more academically respectable positions (in science, evolutionary theory and the age of the earth were the primary issues, but logical positivism in philosophy along with the more general naturalistic, materialistic perspective was beginning to hold sway among all but historians of philosophy, and in theology the denial of crucial doctrines and the movement of opinion away from seeing the biblical accounts as historical in any way all combined to make Christianity look intellectually insipid). This led to a withdrawal from the academy and the forming of Christian institutions to pursue academic work without the strictures of the disciplines forcing certain perspectives. I believe that's the background to the anti-intellectualism in todays evangelicalism, and it has little to do with the forces you're describing.

The Jesus film was produced entirely by evangelicals, and that was based exactly on the Gospel of Luke. There have Four Spiritual Laws presentation included at the end of some copies of it, but that's not part of the film itself.

I think you're wrong about these musicians. One factor you have to keep in mind is that they are trying to earn a living through their art. The classic artists of the past did the same thing, doing projects simply because they were commissioned. Phil Keaggy does a CCM album whenever he needs to for money, but the rest of the time he releases instrumental projects to his fan club and gets back together for shows and projects with his old project Glass Harp, hardly a commercial venture. Kerry Livgren has been working on his Lazarus Cantata for 25 years now and doesn't have any idea if it will sell at all. If he wanted to make money, he'd write songs for Kansas and do another album with them. Somewhere to Elsewhere four years ago did very well. Instead he's working with the lineup of Kansas that preceded that group, calling it Proto-KAW and not expecting any commercial success. He left Kansas while it was popular because he wanted to do distinctively Christian stuff that he didn't feel comfortable doing with them. Neal Morse left the successful neo-prog group Spock's Beard for similar reasons, and he had no idea how well the CCM crowd would receive his work due to its quality and complexity, something that doesn't sell in CCM. Rich Mullins had a project called Canticle of the Plains that was entirely on its own for its own sake, and he never made anything on it. I've never even gotten a chance to hear it. The fact that they do receive money and have a noticeable fan following doesn't mean their primary purpose in creating music is financial.

I should say that I do see the trends you're talking about, but I'm not sure that they stem from forces within evangelicalism itself but more as a way for evangelicalism to make itself more mainstream by adopting the values of the culture around it. This isn't part of evangelicalism itself but is something evangelicals have unfortunately given in on. It's a weird situation, since evangelicals won't give in on some things that I consider really silly (e.g. holding on to the notion of six 24-hour periods of creation, which isn't required at all in the biblical account once you understand its literary genre and is all but disproved in science in a much stronger way than anything about evolutionary theory in biology is supported) yet are completely unthinking in the adoption of American values contrary to Christianity (e.g. commercialism, materialism in the ethical sense, as opposed to the philosophical sense of physicaliams, spiritual triumphalism much like what was in the Corinthian church in the first century, nationalist triumphalism to some degree like during the Crusades, etc.).

I guess my place in the under-40 crowd gives me a more optimistic view on the things the under-40 crowd is doing better at, though some of these elements are at least as strong or stronger in that crowd, particularly in the college students I interact with on a daily basis.

I thought the passion of Christ was a pretty decent movie, but there were some things that should have been included in the movie, and things that shouldn't have been included.

You know, it is so hard to believe that people still believe what Church Leaders tell them. The movie, "The Passion...." was simply Lousy and people's religious beliefs even get in the way of seeing this. If the movie hadn't had 'Christ' as the figure, than you can see it was just a Torture Movie w/false information, especially about how much Pilot came across as a Lacky for Jews, all Bogus!

To this day, people actually think it makes more sense for the Bible events to be taken in a Literal Sense as though Christ actually walked on water and 2 fish and 5 loaves (if that was the count) literally fed thousands of people when it was nothing more than figurative verbiage denoting the ordination process performed by those who are not typically permitted to perform such things; and everyone is happy in their ignorance. You really think the Virgin Birth was a LITERAL story; you really believe in a Trinity despite all of the Pagan origins of such?

Look, I'm not trying to be mean to anyone, just wake people up that we've all been somehow brain washed in many ways. We've been brain washed into believing in the Non-Believeable, brain washed into having Church Leaders do our thinking for us, brain washed into thinking it's possible that Religious Teachings is the only topic under the Sun that Man's knowledge cannot change and increase with over time, so we keep regurgitating the same old handed down fairy Tales and follow like zombie cult members.

Well, my eyes and my brain have opened up and I'm allowing Reality to Sink In! Thank God for the information obtained at the following web site and books. I've also looked at the author's critics and NEVER do they have substance to argue with, only insults without substance.

If you'd like to join me in my awakening, then please study, research and review the following. Also take notice of the following Scholars Detractors! While they try to criticise her informaiton, they are arguining from a David Copper Field, or even Merlin The Magician Perspective. Good Luck to those who wish to escape the bonds of Christian Mythology! Hey, the Greeks never considered their beliefs Mythology now did they?

Visit:
http://www.pesherofchrist.infinitesoulutions.com HAS THE TRUTH! Do you care about actual Research or just Belief System?

Also:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/qumran_origin/ - Join the discussion forum!

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Jesus The Man

Jesus Of The Apocalypse

he Book That Jesus Wrote

You can find the above book publications at the following web site. If you fail to find the above titles, simply do a search yourself on amazon.com for Barbara Thiering.


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/104-7261241-5845569


List of journal articles and other publications which have been published since 1990, when Dr. Thieirngs case became widely known. In most cases I she asked to write them. The journal Dead Sea Discoveries, now publishing her technical work with more to come, is the major professional journal in our field.

"Can the Hasmonean Dating of the Teacher of Righteousness be Sustained?", in Mogilany 1989. Papers on the Dead Sea Scrolls offered in memory of Jean Carmignac, ed. Z.J. Kapera, The Enigma Press Krakow, 1991.

"The Mandaeans and the Dead Sea Scrolls", Mandaean Thinker, Journal of the Mandaean Research Centre Inc, Issue 4, July-August 1995.

"The Date and Unity of the Gospel of Philip", Journal of Higher Criticism, Vol 2, no.1, Spring 1995, pp. 102-111.

"Pesher and Gospel", The Qumran Chronicle, Vol. 5, no 1, July 1995.

"Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Question of Method", Journal of Higher Criticism, Vol 3, No 2, Fall 1996, pp.215-236.

"New Radiocarbon Datings and the Christian Connection of the Dead Sea Scrolls", The Qumran Chronicle, vol 6, no 1-4, December 1996, pp. 115-123.

"Christian History and the Dead Sea Scrolls: More About Method", Journal of Higher Criticism, Vol 5/1, Spring 1998, pp. 88-112.

Rodley, G.A., and Thiering, B.E., "Use of Radiocarbon Dating in Assessing Christian Connections to the Dead Sea Scrolls", Radiocarbon vol 41, no 2, 1999, pp.169-182.

"The Date and Order of Scrolls, 40 BCE to 70 CE", in The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years After their Discovery 1947-1997, eds L. H. Schiffman, E. Tov, J.C. VanderKam, Israel Exploration Society, with the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem 2000.

"From Qumran to Nag Hammadi: Noah, Melchizedek and Calendar", Journal of Higher Criticism, 7, 1, Spring 2000, pp. 93-108.

"Christianity and Science: Friends at the Beginning" The Educational Forum. A Publication of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, Winter 2002, vol 66, no 2, pp. 116-125.

No, you won't post my comments. Anyone with opposing views on religious sites never get posted and/or never get posted without having the last word!

www.pesherofchrist.infinitesoulutions.com

M. Hackmon:

I take it you're unfamiliar with the extremely common practice on blogs of holding any comment with more than a certain number of URLs until an actual person can approve the comment to ensure that it is not SPAM. Given your attitude, I'm not sure your comment deserves the response that you expect but would somehow find inappropriate even though I've graciously allowed you to post your mostly off-topic rant on my personal blog and thus should have the right to respond to it if I want to.

There's nothing you've mentioned that hasn't been said before that evangelicals, non-evangelical Christians, and in many cases even complete unbelievers haven't done careful work responding to. I don't think it needs to fall to me to show that work that's outside the mainstream of biblical scholarship is not very highly regarded by the mainstream of biblical scholarship, even if many critical scholars might agree with some of those claims.

But because you seem to have this idea that it would somehow be wrong for me to get the last word on my own blog when you've posted something not really on-topic to begin with, I think I'll just appreciate the delicious irony of not removing your second comment while also not saying a word against any particular thing you've said. It's not as if you've even challenged anything I've said in the post to begin with.

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