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June 16, 2023

Added the seventy-sixth Freethinker Podcast YouTube Second Interview with Robyn Faith Walsh & Dennis R. MacDonald on New Testament Scholarship (2023) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web.

Check out the second Freethinker Podcast interview between host Edouard Tahmizian and New Testament scholars Robyn Faith Walsh and Dennis R. MacDonald for about an hour as they review reactions to MacDonald’s recent Synopses of Epic, Tragedy, and the Gospels from academics and Christian apologists, particularly on his account of mimesis (literary imitation mythologizing Jesus) and his alternative Q (the Logoi of Jesus), and then preview MacDonald’s forthcoming Homer and the Quest for the Earliest Gospel on understanding the Gospels as mimetic projects that are contesting the canonical past of the Greeks, which in turn helps us understand how early Christians contested the canonical past of the Hebrew Bible (and brings us closer to understanding the world in which Jesus lived). The discussion then turns to why MacDonald dates the Q document back to the early 60s CE (such that no part of Q dates to the post-Temple period), the narrative differences that suggest to him that Papias predates Luke, how scholars reconstruct lost books from antiquity, where the attribution of names like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to the canonical Gospels came from (given that the early Q was simply anonymous sayings of Jesus), how promoting sacred texts as anonymous gives them more authority as revelations from God rather than simply the perspectives of particular people, how MacDonald applies social identity theory from sociology to generate a kind of social identity literary criticism to identify and stereotype the villain and the insider/protagonist in literature from antiquity, and much more. MacDonald ultimately explains why he doesn’t feel comfortable attributing any sayings attributed to Jesus, in either the canonical Gospels or the earlier Q document, to the historical Jesus, though he does think that New Testament scholars can understand the alternative Jewish voice that the historical Jesus represented, which had an alternative understanding of Jewish laws than the predominant one at the time. The discussion ends on areas where MacDonald partially agrees, and partially disagrees, with Walsh. Tune in for a wide-ranging interview on a number of topics of great interest within biblical scholarship between top-notch experts in the field!

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