“We’re wrong for taking the gospels literally”

My theologian friends will no doubt be acquainted with John Dominic Crossan.  He is a theologian and biblical scholar, and spends much time filming documentaries about Jesus and Jesus’ life.  More on him in a bit.

I am currently embroiled in the second to last semester of my seminary career.  I am taking a New Testament class.  We read numerous books and watch numerous clips from documentaries, like I mentioned above.  For our assigned classwork this week, there is a clip from a PBS documentary called From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians.  It’s part of a section on the gospel of Matthew.

I wanted to share this with you.  Maybe you have some thoughts on it.  Maybe you will just enjoy it.  However, Dr. Crossan shows up towards the very end and makes a statement I would definitely like to get your feelings on.

Why?  I’m around seminary types very often.  They are my friends and I attend seminary along side of them.  However, as far as hearing the opinion of the faithful in the pew, I don’t get to hear that as much as I would like.

Mr. Crossan says that he believes that the original authors didn’t intend for us to read their work literally.  For this reason, he believes that we are wrong for reading the text literally.  Here’s the whole clip, with the aforementioned opinion happening nearly at the end:

UPDATE: The code I got from the PBS website would not work.  So, please find the clip here.

Before you leave, make sure to leave your opinion below!

Thanks for going to school with me:)

2 comments on ““We’re wrong for taking the gospels literally”

  1. ejoelwatts
    March 13, 2013 at 1:49 PM #

    First, Crossan is using the word “literally” wrong. If the authors of the Gospels intended for us to take it as parable, then this is still “literally” (or, according to the intent of the letter. Crossan’s book on the The Gospel as Parable is a good lay entry into the idea that the Gospels tell a story beyond the suggestion we read them as IKEA technical manuals. However, this only follows earlier works, reaching even back to antiquity.

    We should endeavor to read the Gospels as they were intended, not as history, but maybe HISstory.

  2. Michael Snow
    March 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM #

    I found it appalling when my alma mater [Earlham] had John ‘Dogs-ate-the-bones’ Crossan as a special speaker before Easter last year.

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