Sunday, April 06, 2014

Noah and Jesus

I heard two reviews from committed Christians of the movie Noah at church this morning: one said it was awful, a terrible waste of money and didn't follow scripture; the other said it was fantastic, stayed very close to scripture and only embellished where there is no story, and was completely satisfied with using the word "creator" instead of "God," because Noah wasn't Christian and wasn't Jewish and millions of cultures don't use our word. The first said, don't see it, the other said, see it and let's talk about it.

I would never expect a movie to recreate any stories in Genesis, because of the 90 minute format. However, one young seminary student in our Sunday School class suggested it is like a "midrash" in Jewish tradition or a story from scripture that is embellished and used for moral or ethical teaching. I've always been surprised when I see children's books from the Bible how many aspects are not included in the original, to make them more interesting. Talking animals, friends, stars, angels.

Speaking of Noah, The Killing of Jesus a book by Bill O'Reilly sounds like a travesty. No, I haven't read it, only heard him talk about it in interviews. For some reason he thinks Josephus is an authoritative source for history, but not Luke. Luke used primary sources, like interviewing Mary, who obviously was not only present at the birth, but also the miracles, the crucifixion, and the empty tomb. Primary always trumps secondary, which Josephus used. Virtually all the New Testament is quoted in the early church fathers even before it was canon. O'Reilly decided through his research that no one was near enough to the cross to hear Jesus' words. So that would make John's account fiction? And he doesn't cover miracles because he can't prove them.

The oldest copy we have of Josephus is 11th century--for the New Testament there are thousands of extant copies of various parts dating to second century sources. He seems to think that by reading history (his version) people will read the real thing? Really O'Reilly? Also, I don't like O'Reilly. He's rude to his guests and is arrogant. Supposedly he's a Catholic and conservative, but I haven't seen a lot of evidence of that. Dennis Miller, whom he has on his show regularly, is work watching.

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