Jon Stewart on the Jesus’ Wife Papyrus

N.B. Jon Stewart is a Jewish comedian.

  • John

    why link to something blasphemous?

  • Ben Witherington

    There’s nothing blasphemous about satirizing the Jesus wife papyrus which was the whole intent of his talk. Come on John. BW3

  • David Weinschrott

    Here is another take on the “Jesus-wife” papyrus. Its by Ross Douthat, a columnist on the NYT opinion page. He quotes from his book, Bad Religion, to make some points about the state of orthodox Christianity:
    “Like Elizabethan buffs in search of the “real” Shakespeare, the questers for the historical Jesus turn out to be masters of detection and geniuses at codebreaking, capable of seeing through every cover-up and unpacking every con. Is there a dearth of evidence for alternative Christianities in the earliest history of the church? Why, then that very absence is itself evidence that these Christianities existed—and then were cruelly suppressed. Indeed, the whole of the New Testament represents a pure propaganda campaign against these lost communities—and, happily, we can recover their teachings and beliefs through the simple expedient of taking every claim made in the canonical texts and treating it as a polemic against a group, or groups, that held roughly the opposite beliefs.

    Alternatively, if New Testament books aren’t read as straightforward propaganda, they’re treated as palimpsests and pastiches, in whose complexities and inconsistencies the adept reader can discern earlier traditions and older, purer ways of being Christian, obscured by the propaganda mills of the early Church but visible in the stitchwork and legible between the lines. This licenses scholars to pore over centuries’ worth of early Christian texts, yanking out bits and pieces that fit a particular thesis and moving them forward or backward in time to prove whatever point they want.

    As for factual and theological consistencies within the earliest Christian texts—why, that’s just evidence that the various writers were all in on the conspiracy, all agents of the cover-up. The theological commonalities between Paul’s epistles and Matthew or John only proves that the gospel writers did violence to the facts in order to vindicate a Pauline theology. The consistency of the Passion narratives across the four gospels is invoked as proof that their authors colluded in a triumphalist fantasy.

    You can find the whole blog here: http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/the-jesus-conspiracy/ The book he quotes from, Bad Religion, is a useful chronicle of the fate of orthodoxy from WWII to the present.


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