Monday, August 09, 2004

An excellent new website has just appeared which I'd like to heartily recommend. It belongs to Justin Martyr who penned this brilliant article for me about Paganism and Christianity debunking a few old and new canards. His new site is Liberal Christian Research where he brings his professional training as a classicist and ancient historian to bear on biblical studies and Christian doctrine. When Justin says 'liberal' he means it in the sense I do - an orthodox Christian but not one who takes a conservative view of issues like evolution, inerrancy and some traditions. So do have a read of his essays and let him know if you think they are any good.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, so the historical Jesus would have thought it absurd to claim that he was divine?

I'm not sure that's actually orthodox (Catechism 442-444) unless you constrain "historical" so narrowly that Jesus becomes uninteresting to me. See Luke Timothy Johnson on that score.

The site is a good site, with a lot of interesting information, although it would help his discussion of modernism if he would point out that some modernists (Loisy in particular) went overboard. I had a seminary professor who was enamored of modernism, but as I recall it, even he couldn't deny that Loisy basically wrote himself out of Christianity. In my professor's estimation, Pope Pius was at fault, for excess severity on the modernists -- but my professor lost credibility in my eyes when he proceeded to deny the necessity of baptizing children, which was logical since he denied original sin.

Anyway, I find the entire site a little *too* liberal to be orthodox. The gentleman is however quite erudite, and I enjoyed reading what I read.

jack perry

Justin said...

Hi - Justin the webmaster here. Glad you got something out of my site. In relation to the divinity question, I want to make a sharp distinction between the claims made by the historical figure Jesus of Nazarath and the doctrine of the divinity of the risen Christ. What I say about the former is not meant to impugn the latter. And you're right - I should have emphasised that Loisy ended up moving way out of the orbit of orthodoxy. Perhaps I will make appropriate changes to my article when I next edit the site.
Thanks again for the comment, Justin

Anonymous said...

Hey Justin --

The terms "historical" and "Jesus" are tossed around a lot, without really explaining what's meant by them, so let me ask what you mean by it: do you mean the Jesus that we can reconstruct using purely historical methods, or do you mean the actual Jesus who lived and breathed?

I've found that academics often use the word "historical" when they mean the former, but it gets tossed around in the press, and in common speech as the latter. I only realized the difference from reading Luke Timothy Johnson's "The Real Jesus". It seems to me that an orthodox Christian can say, "the historical Jesus" did not claim to be God," but not "the Jesus who actualy lived and breath in Jud├Ža" -- since we believe we have additional insight through faith, and the Holy Spirit's illuminating the Church.

I happily admit I'm not much of a theological expert, and I'm a little paranoid because of what I see in the Church today, so your phrasing confuses me. Can you clear that up, just so I understand exactly what you mean by "the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth"?

jack perry

Anonymous said...

The topic of authorship is so frustrating to me. Conservative Christians maintain that the NT documents were written by the traditional authors, moderates claim that some of them were, atheists and skeptics claim that none of them were. Then you have orthodox Christians who believe that John (and other NT books) wasn't written by John and then atheists, such as Robin Lane Fox, who concludes that the John WAS written by the apostle.

Ugh...Makes my head spin.