The Pope's First Jesus Book–Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine (pp.  287-318) is called Two Milestones on Jesus’ Way,  but in some ways I suppose one could call them two millstones in Jesus’ way---- one is the partial confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi the other the Transfiguration, which Peter didn’t entirely understand either.   Right out of the box,  the Pope offers the interesting observation that Banias,  the shrine of the Greek god Pan, was in fact set up by Herod the Great, and later changed by his son into Caesarea Philippi.  Bania … [Read more...]

All on God's Friday

PILATE CROSSES PATHS WITH JESUSThe morning of the day began with a weary Jesus standing in front of Pontius Pilate at the usual hour for Roman judicial business---- 6 a.m.   The day was April 7th A.D. 30, and Pontius Pilate was in no mood to be crossed by anyone.  As if it were not enough that there were now 500,000 excited Jews in Jerusalem for Passover, some 250 times the numbers of troops he could muster on the day, there were various zealots in the jail next to the Antonio Fortress, with Je … [Read more...]

60 Minutes— Did it Tell the Truth about Marco?


Oh that ticking clock.   How many times have I listened to it, waiting for an episode of 60 Minutes to begin, or continue.  The show is often full of fascinating features ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Yours truly has even been grilled by Bob Simon on the show many moons ago after the James ossuary became a celebrity in its own right.But now there is a smoking gun, and it is being held by Hershel  Shanks.   In the May/June 2011 issue of BAR,  Hershel, no shy violet when it comes … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book— Chapter Eight

On pp. 218-86, the longest single chapter,  the Pope will discuss the Johannine question,  and it is a good sign that he takes the question so seriously.  In short form the question is this—why is the Fourth Gospel so dramatically different from the other three?    The Pope is well aware of the history of the discussion of the 4th Gospel in the 20th century and the radical rejection of it’s having much historical substance thanks to Bultmann and others.  He also knows that with the finding of pap … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book— Chapter Seven

In Chapter Seven (pp. 183-217)  the Pope comes to grips with Jesus’ parables, and acknowledges his indebtedness to the classic work by Joachim Jeremias on The Parables of Jesus.    The Pope is conversant with the discussions of A. Julicher, trying to make a hard and fast distinction between parable and allegory, but as the later critique of Julicher has shown this doesn’t work. There were allegorical elements or features in early Jewish parables,  including in Jesus’ parables, and as Jeremias com … [Read more...]

Blame it on 'Rio'— Another 3D Kid Flick

For the record,   I enjoy childrens' movies, and all the more so if they are in colorful 3D, as this film was.   'Rio' is brought to us by the producers of Ice Age, and even begins with a short subject about  Skritch the Squirrel, and how he was personally responsible for the inter-continental divide.   This idea was more creative, (in terms of a story line)  than the whole of the movie Rio,  but more on that in a moment.Let's start with the basics.  The movie is G rated (not many of those out … [Read more...]

The Story of Jesus—- BBC Production

This is the filming I was doing for the BBC last Fall. I do not know when or where it will be shown over here, but you can follow it on Twitter I gather.   Both Tom Wright and I did episodes in this series, which will appear on the Sunday show. … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book— Chapter Six

The subject of Chapter Six is the Disciples, and it is one of the shortest chapters in the book ( pp. 169-82).   The focus, as it turns out is on the Twelve or the apostles (a term the Pope doesn’t want to debate and thinks was eventually restricted to the 12).   The beginning point for the discussion is the fact that Jesus has formed a new family, a family of faith, not based on ethnicity, only based on adherence to him and his teachings, and so a more universal family.In dealing with Mk. 3.13 … [Read more...]

Boothe Review— 'The Conspirator'

What price peace?  Is it worth sacrificing justice and truth and freedom to have peace and quiet in a troubled land?   This is hardly a hypothetical question for knowledgeable students of American history, or even keen observers of current American life.  How easily the so-called Patriot Act was passed, taking away all sorts of freedoms and rights to privacy, especially when passing through an airport these days.And did a Tea Party-like movement rise up and protest the loss of these freedoms an … [Read more...]