Posts Tagged ‘Newsweek’

Dale B. Martin of Yale just had an article published in which he argued that Jesus was crucified because his disciples were armed and planning an assault on Jerusalem (with the expectation that heavenly forces would back them up). Hardly anyone would have heard about this, except that it was written up in Newsweek.

Martin’s argument picks and chooses from the Gospels those elements that might seem to support his hypothesis. For some reason, the Gospel authors reported dutifully that the disciples had some swords the night of Jesus’ arrest, even though they supposedly distorted a number of facts in order to hide the intent of Jesus and his followers.

The idea that Jesus was leading a revolutionary movement is not new. A few decades ago it was S. G. F. Brandon leading the charge, so to speak, of that way of viewing the historical Jesus. Refuting such revisionist theories about Jesus is like playing Whac-a-mole.

Here is a bibliography on the issue, which includes the Newsweek article, Martin’s academic journal article, and some helpful blog responses:

Main, Douglas. “Jesus Was Crucified Because Disciples Were Armed, Bible Analysis Suggests.” Newsweek, Sept. 18, 2014.

Martin, Dale B. “Jesus in Jerusalem: Armed and Not Dangerous.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 37, 1 (Sept. 2014): 3-24. Subscription or single-use fee required.

Joseph, Simon J. “Armed and Dangerous?” Simon J. Joseph (blog), Sept. 23, 2014.

Le Donne, Anthony. “Simon Joseph on Dale Martin’s Jesus.” The Jesus Blog, Sept. 25, 2014. Two-part interview with Joseph.

Pounds, S. Brian. “A Reply to Dale Martin’s JSNT Essay (Part 1)” and “A Reply to Dale Martin’s JSNT Essay (Part 2).” The Jesus Blog, Sept. 23 and 24, 2014.

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19
Dec

Newsweek: Where Liberal Episcopalians Get Their Theology?

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in ethics

On December 16, 2008, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, gave a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on the subject “Religion in the Public Square.” Jefferts Schori, elected as the first woman to her position in 2006, is probably going to be remembered in history as the person who presided over the disintegration of the Episcopal Church. The process of this disintegration began in earnest before her watch when the denomination appointed an openly homosexual bishop and that is now accelerating to breakneck speed.

Although Jefferts Schori’s speech made no overt reference to homosexuality, it was clearly the elephant in the room. Read the rest of this entry »

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11
Dec

Gay Marriage and the Haircut Argument

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in Biblical studies, ethics, Old Testament

In my previous entry critiquing Lisa Miller’s Newsweek article defending gay marriage, I briefly addressed what I called the “Leviticus? You can’t be serious” argument. This is the argument that prohibitions against homosexual activity in the Bible may be safely ignored as morally irrelevant because some of those prohibitions appear in Leviticus, which also contains other material we think morally irrelevant. I pointed out that the two texts in Leviticus that specifically condemn same-sex acts are sandwiched in specific passages focused on what even Newsweek editors would (hopefully) consider highly immoral, socially deviant behaviors. Leviticus 18 and 20 condemn not only homosexual conduct (18:22; 20:13) but also incest, adultery, child sacrifice, and bestiality. Leviticus 19, the intervening chapter, instructs Israelites to love their neighbors (including foreigners), honor their parents and the elderly, show charity to the poor, use honest weights and measures, and to avoid defrauding, deceiving, oppressing, slandering, or even bearing grudges against one another.

There is a specific element in Leviticus 19, however, that Lisa Miller cited as evidence that the book’s condemnations of same-sex unions have no moral force: its rules concerning what she calls “haircuts”: Read the rest of this entry »

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In a forthcoming Newsweek cover article already online, Lisa Miller, religion editor for Newsweek, offers “the religious case for gay marriage.” Not content to argue that the Bible doesn’t condemn same-sex marriage, Miller tries to turn the tables and present a case for gay marriage from biblical principles: “Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.”

It is probably too much to hope that Miller’s article will end, at least for a while, the incessant chirping of those who advocate same-sex marriage that the Bible ought to be left out of the discussion. If it is legitimate for advocates to cite the Bible to support their position, surely it is legitimate for opponents to do the same thing.

A thorough, point-by-point rebuttal to Miller’s article is beyond the scope of this post. I will content myself with documenting some of the common fallacies in biblical interpretation and theological argumentation that crop up constantly in the debate over same-sex unions and that the article exemplifies. Read the rest of this entry »

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