The Descendants— Trouble in Paradise


Ah the beauties of Hawaii and the ugliness of broken human relationships juxtaposed. Add to all that the problems of dealing with death when you don't really believe in life after death. Here is a story written by a Hawaiian about believable life on the islands. And also trouble in paradise.The Descendants is indeed a powerful movie, and a perfect vehicle for Kentucky 'homey' George Clooney to show his full dynamic range. Clooney plays a self-absorbed millionaire facing a major … [Read more...]

Remembering Jesus, The McIver Book— Part Seven


Scholarly books should not be evaluated on the basis of their length. A weighty tome may not be a useful one, just a verbose one. On the other hand, some short books are rich and rewarding and repay close study. Robert McIver's book is one of the latter sort of books.In the ninth chapter of this brief but important study the stress is on the significance of the fact that Jesus was a teacher. Indeed, some 56 times he is addressed as teacher or rabbi in the Gospels. Further, of the 55 … [Read more...]

Mission Insanity— MI4


I was cruising along through Chapel Hill a couple of days ago and my daughter Christy and her boyfriend decided we need to go see the latest Cruise missile in IMAX size. This meant going to the Southpoint Mall in Durham to see the latest installment of the Mission Impossible Saga, in glorious eardrum bursting IMAX complete with rock concert sized sound.It has been a while since we have had an episode in this film series, and while they have been filled with amazing stunts and scenes, … [Read more...]

Remembering Jesus, the McIver Book— Part Six


So far as we can tell, the Jesus tradition never went dormant. By this I mean when we conceive of the composing of the Gospels we should not conceive of Gospel writers desperately searching for long lost documents so they could write the story of Jesus. So far as we can tell the tradition of words and deeds of Jesus was living, being used, being shared, being spread throughout the period A.D. 30-70 and beyond. It was a living oral tradition.Thus, when we come to Chapter 8 of McIver's … [Read more...]

Jesus Remembered, the McIver Book– Part Five


Human memory is episodic, and so are the Gospels. Personal event memories are especially that way, and they have distinctive features. They are intense memories of very specific events, and short periods of time, fully of sensory data and often irrelevant minor details, and often they do not have a larger narrative context, are not anchored by a timeline or even a description of geographical location. McIver calls such memories granular, relating specific moments and incidents. Here are his … [Read more...]

Remembering Jesus, the McIver Book– Part Four


The study of collective memory is very important for understanding early Christianity and its handling of its sacred traditions. This post must focus on that and related matters. Collective memory refers to memories shared by all members of the specified group based on shared experiences. One of the things that research into collective memory has shown is that the needs and interests of the present in part determine what is recalled, and what is deemed important about what is recalled. … [Read more...]

Remembering Jesus, the McIver Book— Part Three


Some memories may indeed be immune to the usual diminution over time, memories for example of a strongly emotive sort-- say for example, the day of your wedding, or in the case of the Gospels, the day you were healed by Jesus. The technical literature calls this personal event memories, and the question becomes as to whether we have some of these sorts of memories in the Gospels, memories more immune to transience or the ravages of time.These deeply imprinted memories are sometimes called … [Read more...]

Memories of Jesus, The McIver Book– Part Two


In an interesting study, Daniel Schacter has identified The Seven Sins of Memory. They are as follows: 1) transience; 2) absent-mindedness; 3) blocking; 4) misattribution; 5) suggestibility; 6) bias, and 7) persistence. By transcience what Schacter means is that most things that we see or hear are quickly forgotten. The glimpse of the cemetery on the right as I am speeding along to the seminary to teach at 7:30 in the morning is not a cherished or preserved memory, it is simply a fleeting … [Read more...]

Memories of Jesus–the McIver Book Part One

jesus and four fishermen

As odd as it may sound, despite all the discussion of Jesus and his teachings during the third quest for the historical Jesus, very little if any of it, has taken into account the way human memory works, or the scientific studies on human memory--- until now. Robert McIver, an Australian NT scholar who teaches at Avondale College has written an interesting study attempting to assess the results of the scientific study of memory in so far as they may shed light on the Jesus tradition. The book … [Read more...]