James 4:13 and Whovian Marcionism

James 4:13 and Whovian Marcionism September 28, 2019

Seth Price had me as a guest on his podcast last year. We’ve talked about following up and having him be a guest on mine at some point, but we have yet to make it happen. But as a follow-up, Seth made a transcript of the podcast and added it to the website recently. He indicates that it is a combination of automated software and what he heard and so there could be errors. But there is at least one point at which something may not be entirely clear, and it is my fault. At one point in the podcast there is an allusion to a joke I made in our communication prior to the recording of the podcast which, as a result, I’m not sure comes across clearly. I made a quip about one possible intersection between theology and science fiction being the issue of “Whovian Marcionism,” by which I meant those who say they are just “New Who” fans, comparing it to those who say “that’s the Old Testament God, I worship the New Testament God,” in a manner that definitely moves in the direction of Marcion, if not indeed embracing him and his vision completely or explicitly.

Since Seth and I talked, Marcionism itself reared its head on Doctor Who, in the episode “The Witchfinders,” and I commented on the topic when it did in a blog post. Then I said:

One of the most interesting moments in the episode (not just, I imagine, for me, with my combined interest in Bible and Doctor Who) is when Beccah says “Kill the witches, as King James says in his new Bible.” The reference, is of course, to the verse “You shall not suffer a witch to live.” (Elizabeth Sloane had an interesting article in Haaretz about this last year.) The Doctor remarks that the quote is from the “Old Testament,” and then adds, “There’s a twist in the sequel. Love thy neighbor.” The Doctor thus gives voice to, rather than challenges, the widely held supercessionist view of the Jewish scriptures vs. the Christian New Testament, when her time travel and studies ought to have given her a better vantage point from which she might have known that “Love your neighbor” is in fact from Leviticus, which Jesus was quoting when he said it was one of the greatest commandments.

If you didn’t get the joke in the title of this post, that means you didn’t click through and read the transcript of the podcast. Seth includes a timestamp in places, and the result is that at one point the quote from me is prefaced by what sounds like it is a Bible verse.

If you’re so inclined, you can also quote James 43:30 in the future. It can be a quasi-biblical convenient reference to what would have been the shortest verse in the Bible, had it been included. At that timestamp, apparently I said “Uhhh…”

Also relevant to the future of Christianity and other interests of mine is a cartoon that Craig Keener made:

North American spirituality, 2050

See also the Washington Post piece about Medieval times and our era of search engines and big data. And here’s that blog post I mentioned:

Doctor Who: The Witchfinders


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  • Douglas Adams in “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” had a character that was an “Electric Monk“. Its job was simply to believe.