May 25th, 2006


The Absurdity of the Last 2000 Years

Tertullian the Apologist:

"Which is more unworthy of God, which is more likely to raise a blush of shame, that God should be borne, or that he should die?  That he should bear the flesh, or the cross?  Be circumcised, or be crucified, be cradled or be coffined, be laid in a manger, or in a tomb?

The Son of God was crucified.  I am not ashamed of it, because it seems shameful.  And the Son of God dies, it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd.  And He was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain,
precisely because it is impossible."  
(De Carne Christi, c. 210 AD)

Or as our father among the faithful, C.S. Lewis, commented:

"...If any message from the core of reality ever were to reach us, we should expect to find in it just that unexpectedness, that willful, dramatic anfractuosity which we find in the Christian faith.  It has the master touch - the rough male taste of reality, not made by us, or, indeed for us, but hitting us in the face."   (The Problem of Pain)


Inspired by my  reading of In the Shadow of the Temple

By the way: what a fantastic morning!  It was marked by a cool humidity and in the air was the scent of trees and grasses.  It was a certain magic, really.

What is this strange teaching?

Modern Jewish Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis as quoted in Skarsaune’s In the Shadow of the Temple:
A difference [between Jesus and the Jewish rabbis] appears immediately that from the very beginning constituted an unbridgeable wall of separation between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus spoke in his own name. Judaism, on the other hand, knew only one I, the divine Anochi [Hebrew for “I”] who gave us the eternal commandments at Sinai. No other superhuman I has existed in Judaism other than God’s. Jesus’ sermons begin, “I say to you.” The prophets of Israel introduced their preaching, “Thus says the Lord.” Here is a difference that goes to the inner core of religion…Jesus’’ voice had an alien sound that Jewish ears had never heard before. For Judaism, only the revealed teaching of God was important, not the teacher’s personal I. Moses and the prophets were human beings encumbered with shortcomings. Hillel and his successors sat on the seat of Moses. Every leading scholar is a link in an unbroken chain of tradition that stretched from Moses to our own time. Jesus seemingly breaks this chain and begins a new one. A man arose in Israel who cried, “I say to you.” This was the new and strange element that arose between Jesus and the Pharisees.  (From Takmud, Fariseism, Urkristendom)