So the usual suspects of the Jesus Seminar are trying to hawk their wares again. But unlike an old-fashioned bazaar, where you can happen upon some unexpected treasure at a once-in-a-lifetime price, God’s Editors are trafficking strictly in dreck and will leave buyers not only with remorse but also with an abiding sense that they’ve been conned.
[A] group of scholars and religious leaders has added 10 new texts to the Christian canon.
The work, “A New New Testament,” was released nationwide in March in an attempt to add a different historical and spiritual context to the Christian scripture.
Some of the 10 additional texts — which have come to light over the past century — date back to the earliest days of Christianity and include some works that were rejected by the early church.
The 19-member council that compiled the texts consisted of biblical scholars, leaders in several Christian denominations — Episcopal, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, United Church of Christ and Lutheran — two rabbis and an expert in Eastern religions and yoga.
Yes — yoga. Because the Apostles were notoriously limited culturally when it came to Downward-Facing Dog.
The texts are the usual Gnostic fragments that bear about as much resemblance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Scientology does to science.
New Testament scholars are divided on their understanding of early Christian texts in relation to what actually made it into the New Testament. Many disagree on the dates of different texts, the validity of such sources and the relevancy of noncanonical texts to biblical materials.
While [biblical scholar Hal] Taussig said he doesn’t believe the New Testament is incomplete, he thinks that the new material “elucidates it and expands it.”
In fact, it is now so expansive, it can even salve the wounded sensibilities of 21st-century academics.
In the book’s preface, Taussig wrote that parts of the New Testament are “offensive and outmoded,” citing verses that tell slaves to obey their owners (1 Peter 2:18) or wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22), or passages that refer negatively to Jews (John 8:44).
Jones said that although several of Taussig’s chosen texts bear the names of apostles, “none of them was widely thought to be an authentic text from any first century apostle.”
EXCERPT: “He said to me, ‘John, John, why do you doubt, or why are you afraid? You are not unfamiliar with this image, are you? — that is, do not be timid! — I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible one. Now I have come to teach you what is and what was and what will come to pass. …’” — The Secret Revelation of John (c. 110-175 A.D.)
Now we know why the author kept his revelation a secret. Because Jesus said, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.”
Maybe all the secrets were kept for his post-Resurrection appearances, which of course these scholars don’t believe in. But a nonexistent event revolving around a person who was mercilessly misrepresented by his closest students and companions can always be best interpreted by writers living hundreds of years after the nonfact.
It’s a shame Jesus left such a poor impression on people that no one could be bothered to get his original message straight.
Or maybe some people just need to have their own innate goodness reflected back to them constantly, even from antiquity. Some call that “spirituality”; others, narcissism.
And never underestimate the power of the Almighty Dollar. These texts are certainly of historical significance; we need to understand what people like Irenaeus were arguing against. But the Gnostic “gospels” are already available in various annotated editions. So one more is hardly news.
The trick is to get a headline-grabbing story out of all this and actually sell some books.
“We’ll tag them onto the end of the New Testament! Then we’ll have the audacity to title it ‘The New New Testament’! Look at us! Look at us! Aren’t we naughty?!”
How long before TEC starts stocking in their pews?
And to think a Lutheran participated in this nonsense. If Luther were alive today he would sit on J. Paul Rajashekar until the demon that was behind all this mischief was expelled. Or at least until his breakfast was expelled. Whichever came first.
Cowl tip to @adrianedorr