April 24, 2004
Re: De Vinci Code
Posted by John Hood at 8:43 PM
Haven't read it, probably won't for a while given my stack of unread books. However, as I understand it, much of the material is actually very old -- rumors about Mary Magdelene, the true nature of the Templars, the Holy Grail being a bloodline rather than a cup, and so on have been around for centuries. I have read works such as the Gnostic Gospels and Holy Blood, Holy Grail, from which much of the conspiracy elements are drawn, and while some of the latter stretches the available facts beyond belief, other suggestions are not easily discarded. I concluded, in fact, that the authors of the latter (former BBC correspondents) had probably correctly identified a group of deluded European aristocrats who thought they were the descendants of Merovingian monarchs, and thus Jesus and Mary, and that they were under the mistaken impression that this would translate into some kind of temporal power at some point in the near future.
A good example of speculations not so easily dismissed out of hand is the question of whether Jesus was married. Number one, it would have been exceedingly rare for someone of his age in his day not to have been married, and indeed it would have been even more rare for such a unmarried Jewish man of the day to be called "Rabbi," as he is. This is, of course, not proof that he was married, simply evidence that it is either likely he was married or that many would have viewed his marital status as odd or worse. As neither condition is referred to in the traditional gospels -- let's face it, much of Jesus' life between birth and early ministry is left unattended to -- the question would seem to be at least an open one, not just something worthy of a snort.
Second, and more importantly, I simply do not understand what the theological objection would be to the idea that he was married. Is marriage sinful? Mainstream Christianity teaches that Jesus was simultaneously human and divine, simultanteously flesh and not-flesh. (This was the Chalcedonian compromise between the Monophysite position of some Eastern churches, that Jesus was entirely divine with human attributes, but entirely divine in substance; and the Nestorian position, which was that Jesus was both divine and human but the two natures were separate, so that the human nature suffered and died but the divine nature never did.)
If Jesus was simultaneously human and divine, then one must assume he had the normal range of human (non-sinful) experiences. Why would marriage have been excluded?
Life imitates The Simpsons
Posted by Jon Sanders at 6:57 PM
In one episode, Homer gets booted out of "The Frying Dutchman's" buffet for eating too much. As he's dragged out by the wait staff, Homer whimpers, "But the sign says 'All you can eat'!"
In Salt Lake City, according to the Associated Press:
"Isabelle Leota, 29, and her husband Sui Amaama, 26, both on the no-carb diet, were dining Tuesday at a Chuck-A-Rama in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville when the manager cut them off because they'd eaten too much roast beef. 'It's so embarrassing actually,' said Leota. 'We went in to have dinner, we were under the impression Chuck-A-Rama was an all you can eat establishment.'"
How Kristofian of Him
Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:30 AM
The New York Times' liberal columnist Nicholas Kristof this morning advocates "hugging an evangelical."
Kristof is unable to grasp some doctrines, but seems to hope for some civility and understanding:
"There's also an odd lack of intellectual curiosity within the secular left about the Christian right. After 9/11, intellectuals rushed out to buy books about Islam. But on many campuses, it's easier to find people who can discuss the Upanishads than the "Left Behind" books about Jesus' Second Coming — which, with more than 40 million copies, are the best-selling American novels of our age. To be worldly, one should understand not only Tibetan Buddhism but also red-state Pentecostalism.
"Liberals often protest that they would have nothing against conservative Christians if they were not led by hypocritical blowhards who try to impose their Ten Commandments plaques, sexual mores and creationism on society. But that's a crude stereotype, and it ignores the Christian right's accomplishments. Polls show that evangelical Christians are more likely to contribute to charities that help the needy, and in horror spots in Africa Catholics and other Christians are the bulwark of the health care system."
I don't think I've ever read one of Kristof's columns before, so I don't know his history other than I know he is liberal. This is at least an encouraging sentiment coming from him.
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