Bunyan's Holy War (from Hemera Technologies 2001-2003)

Bunyan’s Holy War (from Hemera Technologies 2001-2003)

A: On Thursday evening I was having dinner with someone who’s very dear to me, and she made the fatal mistake of asking me why I’m upset with the United Church of Canada. Boy, did she get an earful! I think I exhausted her with my exhaustive analysis of the differences between Paul and Mark. However, she kept asking for clarifications, so I kept giving them. She was very surprised at the stark differences between what Paul wrote and what Mark wrote. Many years ago she was quite involved with the Alliance Church (though she’s long since given up on evangelical Christianity), and for several years in her younger days she worked in a Christian bookstore. Despite her extensive exposure to Christian teachings and easy access to books and other research materials, she had no idea that Paul’s letters were written before Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Nor did she have any inkling that Mark’s theology differs from Paul’s on all major points. She immediately saw the significance, though. And she seemed genuinely pleased to learn that Paul’s “oppression”, as she called it, isn’t the only option available to her as an “unchurched” person. So I thought perhaps you and I could begin to do some on-line exegesis, some on-line commentary, on the specific differences between Paul’s theology and Mark’s theology. Are you game?

J: Sign me up.

A: I’ve already done extensive research on this topic with your help, but from the point of view of academic integrity and bibliographic acknowledgement, I’ll take a few minutes to list the books that have been helpful to me in my research . . . on second thought, I think I’ll just cut and paste the Bibliography from my Master’s cognate paper. That would be a lot faster. [see below]. For any socio-historical criticism or source criticism keeners out there, it’s good to know that I’ve taken two semesters of Koine Greek — not enough to make me fluent, but enough to help me find my way around a lexicon, a good concordance, a Greek-English interlinear, and helpful collections such as The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and The Anchor Bible Dictionary. I also gratefully incorporate findings from archaeology (I love Biblical Archaeology Review!), neuroscience, and psychiatry into my biblical research . . . Okay, now that I’ve pasted the bibliography into this post, Blogger has slowed down to a crawl that even a snail could beat, so I think I’ll stop and post this “as is.” Anyone who wants to check a full bibliographic reference can refer back to this post as we go along.

And yes — I had to wade through Plato’s writings on my own to see what he had to say about the soul, so when you hear me complain about the negative influence of Plato on Christian thought, it’s because I had to read it firsthand. There’s nothing like a dose of Plato’s mega-narcissism to make a person want to barf.



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Beauregard, Mario and Denyse O’Leary. The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul. New York: HarperCollins–HarperOne, 2007.

Berlin, Adele and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds. The Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Bremmer, Jan. The Early Greek Concept of the Soul. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. 1977. Translated by John Raffan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985.

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