April 25, 2011

In the final chapter of this book  (pp. 319-55),  the Pope discusses the titles of  Christ.  Immediately he makes an interesting observation— that the title Christ became a name very quickly, and this was appropriate since Jesus and his office or tasks were inseparable.  In others words, he wouldn’t have been who he was if he had not done what he did.  Doing and being were deeply intertwined in Jesus.   For example,  had he not died on the cross, he… Read more

April 24, 2011

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April 24, 2011

Here is an excerpt of President Obama’s  Easter Prayer Breakfast message—– To all the faith leaders and the distinguished guests that are here today, welcome to our second annual — I’m going to make it annual, why not?  (Laughter and applause.)  Our second Easter Prayer Breakfast.  The Easter Egg Roll, that’s well established.  (Laughter.)  The Prayer Breakfast we started last year, in part because it gave me a good excuse to bring together people who have been such extraordinary influences… Read more

April 24, 2011

The conviction that God had raised Jesus from death and exalted him to heavenly glory seems to have erupted soon after Jesus’ death, and it was central in earliest faith of the Jesus-followers thereafter.  A few notes about this in connection with Easter Sunday 2011. The conviction was that it was Jesus of Nazareth who had been raised.  That is, there was a direct connection between the crucified figure who had been active in Roman Judea and the figure of… Read more

April 23, 2011

Call me a little slow but I have lived in Lexington for sixteen years and never had a day at the races, at Keenland, which is only 10 minutes from my house.   I have owned two horses in the past which my girls rode, but never had a day at the races.  Nor have I been to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby either,  something I hope to fix soon.   You might think there are reasons— like I don’t believe in… Read more

April 23, 2011

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… Read more

April 22, 2011

PILATE CROSSES PATHS WITH JESUS The 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,… Read more

April 21, 2011

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… Read more

April 21, 2011

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… Read more

April 20, 2011

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… Read more

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