August 28, 2021

Instead of looking into the future or biblical past, understanding Apocalypse lies in knowing the night sky. What is the book of Revelation all about? It seems so bizarre! Think about all those monsters and the weird imagery. Revelation is full of crazy stuff! Or maybe it isn’t crazy if you understand what the author meant. Understanding Apocalypse or Revelation is impossible without also knowing the Mediterranean sky of its author, John. Here is a video presentation explaining the visions in the Book of... Read more

August 23, 2021

Paul’s Letter to the Romans is the most overrated document in the Bible. Overrated, that’s what it is. Of all the books of the Bible, none are presented with such ridiculously exaggerated importance as the document we call “Romans.” It’s not really a big deal, folks. Just look at the history of this document. People wage wars over it. Christians claim that “Romans” changed the world. Did it? Maybe how Christians re-contextualized it and made that re-contextualization into a big... Read more

August 18, 2021

Much of the titles and supposed behavior attributed to Mary can be explained by way of Marian hegemony. What is Marian hegemony? Think about the titles we Catholics give to Mary. Among them, she is proclaimed to be the best possible mother. But I wonder: Why is she never presented as the best possible police detective or captain? Or best general, or best executive, or the best career-driven person? Why is she not called the best athlete? Or the best... Read more

August 15, 2021

For as long as we’ve known her, Mediterranean Mary has been used to service cultural values.   The Mary we know today is very much like a Germanic goddess or elfin queen from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. In contrast, the historical Mary, illiterate peasant nothing-person from Galilee, was Mediterranean.  Centuries later, the Mary fancied by the earliest Christians—ca. 325 CE—was an elite lady. But she, too, was Mediterranean. So also were the Marys imagined before by the evangelists we name... Read more

August 15, 2021

Assumptions make an ass out of you and me, Catholics. Someone asked me, “Did the earliest Christians who knew and followed Jesus believe in the Assumption of Mary?”  My answer comes by way of a question. Here it is: do you want to know what the authors of the New Testament really wrote about and meant to communicate? Ideally, students of the Bible endeavor to discover precisely what a particular biblical author wrote about and indicated by his composition. Therefore,... Read more

August 14, 2021

Word of God, the expression, rolls off the tongue for Christians—but what does it even mean? Catholics and other Christians use the expression “word of God” all the time and apply it to the Scriptures, the sayings of God and Jesus in those Scriptures, and especially to Jesus.  But what does “God’s word” mean? If we are honest, we’d admit the expression “God’s Word” is ambiguous. Humans use words, but what about God? Could it be that when we call either... Read more

August 11, 2021

You can’t really understand the Gospel of John without getting Johannine anti-language.  In light of last Sunday Gospel readings in John’s “Bread of Life Discourse,” I have been blogging recently on Johannine anti-language here and here. Linguist Michael A. K. Halliday and Context Group scholars Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh say anti-language is the language of an antisociety. And Johannine anti-language is the language of the Johannine antisociety.  In anti-language, antisocieties communicate to insiders within the language of the dominant society they resist against. But... Read more

August 7, 2021

Anti-language fills the Gospel of John, and its author belonged to an antisociety, not a university of theologians.  We’ve been exploring eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood in John 6. We have seen that “John” wrote a Gospel, not about ideas, but ensuring interpersonal relations and group cohesion. Hence, he relexicalizes, employing new words for realities not ordinarily referred to with those words. And “John” also overlexicalizes, using too many words and phrases to express the same meaning. In other words, the Gospel called... Read more

August 7, 2021

Let’s break down what eating flesh and drinking blood would have meant to first-century Israelites. This Sunday, the Gospel is John 6:41-51. Just like last time, today, we continue discussing Jesus, insisting to his audience that they must “eat his flesh and drink his blood” (John 6:51-58). What is eating flesh and drinking blood really? Learn more about Jesus’ insisting on eating flesh and drinking blood here— Eating Flesh and Drinking Blood Oversimplified Many Catholics respond that the meaning is clear... Read more

August 6, 2021

This August, Sunday Gospels swim in “John.” The Gospel reading for this Sunday is John 6:41-51. We are going to dive deep into John 6 with the next several posts. What exactly does Jesus mean in the Fourth Gospel called “John” when he insists that his audience must “eat his flesh and drink his blood (John 6:51–58)? What does he mean by “flesh and blood,” anyway? Is he talking cannibalism? Indeed, say many Catholics, Jesus meant the Eucharist. We consume his... Read more

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