…(T)he madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.
There’s a connection between your two items about seeking a “historical Jesus” and the cavalier rewriting of history by the right. As one of the commenters to the NYT article points out, what we now identify as “Christianity” owes more to Paul’s writing and politicking than to the teachings of a carpenter in Palestine. Much of “western” history since has revolved around a succession of speakers and authors morphing the persona of the Judeo-Christian God to fit their own particular (often questionable) agendas. As electronic communication has multiplied the rate at which ideas are originated, modified, co-opted, bought, sold and exploited, the same thing is happening to the body of “knowledge” comprising the tenets of most religions. Even prior to the advent of the “information superhighway”, more new English translations of the Bible have been introduced in the last century than the previous nineteen. Part of this has been due to the re-discovery of the “originals” (the Dead Sea scrolls, etc) but a lot of it has been due to faster communications and publishing tools that make life a lot easier for today’s Bible scholars than it was for St. Jerome, who took 34 years to single-handedly put the whole thing in Latin. The bottom line is that with every passing day, the connection of modern-day Christianity to the real, flesh-and-blood Jesus (if he truly existed) is being stretched and diluted at the speed of light.
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