Who you gonna call?

A reader asks:

My son is a freshman at an alleged Catholic high school and is taking “The Bible” for his religious ed credit. Tonight he brought home some atrocious material (no author indicated . . . but I figured it out later) saying, essentially, that most of the New Testament was a fabrication. My son told me that his teacher handed out this crap saying, “I don’t necessarily believe all this, but . . .” (Necessarily?)

My only clue was a reference, buried in the article, to a book title by this anonymous author. I went on the Internet and found that the author of the book was John Dominic Crossan of the “Jesus Seminar.” My son was assigned an excerpt from “Who Is Jesus?” but without attribution, natch. I have spent about two hrs on the internet and have found quite a few articles — most by evangelical Protestants (and pretty good) — blasting the Jesus seminar and its members. There was also a nice scholarly critique in a back issue of First Things by a divinity prof at Duke University.

My question is this — would you or anyone in the blogosphere know of some good Catholic resources that I can use to rebut this Crossan moron? Your help would be most appreciated. (FYI, I already have a nice little piece by James Akin that was on Peters Net.)

I have made clear to my son that Crossan and the Jesus Seminar are thoroughly discredited, so my son can go to school tomorrow with a clearer head. I am also going to require him to read the best rebuttals I find.

But I feel so sorry for the other kids in the class who won’t know this unless their parents just happened, as I do with my son on a regular basis, to grill them this evening about what they learned in “Bible” class. With Catholic schools like this, who needs the devil?

Other great moments in my poor son’s Catholic school religious ed:

1. When he was in elementary school, his religion textbook said that Abraham was going to kill Isaac because he “misunderstood” what God wanted him to do. The clear implication was that Abraham had dreamed the whole thing up,as if he was Son of Sam.

2. The aforementioned high school religion teacher penalized my son five points for referring in a paper to God as a “He.” He also announced on the first day of school that “God doesn’t have a penis.”

Oy, vey. Of course, these are only the ones I know about!

Thanks for any help you can give, and thanks for letting me VENT!!!!!!

My book By What Authority? addresses the Jesus Seminar at some length in a popular, easy-to-digest way that a high school student could probably enjoy. It borrows heavily from the piece written for First Things, but has more fun skewering the idiocies of the Seminar than a scholarly journal like FT is allowed to have. I’d start there.

You can get it here: www.mark-shea.com/books.html. I’ll happily sign it too.


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