Monday, June 07, 2004

From Christ to Jesus

A recent Frontline television series was titled From Jesus to Christ. I think they got it backwards. Christ, zillionth edition of the dying/resurrected God, comes before the much more original invention of Jesus, the mere mortal. Granted that the humble carpenter, endlessly glorified in later Christian art and theology, often reverted to his previous status as a normal Hellenistic savior god, the literal humanity of Jesus is absolutely central to the faith, as reflected, or example, in the Creeds. Thus attempts to recover the historical Jesus are anything but heretical or daring. They simply repeat the literary strategy of the evangelists by providing another novelization of the myth. Indeed, even those who deny the resurrection or the divinity of Jesus are simply extrapolating a tendency that was present from the beginning.

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