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May 10, 2022

Added the fortieth Freethinker Podcast YouTube second interview with John Dominic Crossan on his Book Render Unto Caesar and How to Read the New Testament (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web.

In this half-hour follow-up interview with biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan about his just released book Render Unto Caesar: The Struggle Over Christ and Culture in the New Testament, host Edouard Tahmizian queries Crossan about what it meant for first-century Christians to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Crossan explains why he reads the Gospels as being constituted by parables that were originally composed in order to emphasize the points that the Gospel-depicted Jesus wanted to really drive home to his followers (e.g., that not all Samaritans are bad in the parable of the Good Samaritan), the idea being that a parable puts the mental work of thinking about the moral of a story on to the listener, forcing him/her to really engage an issue rather than simply passively register it. In the ancient world, Crossan explains, the penalty for failing to solve a riddle was standardly depicted as death (because getting the facts wrong can produce irrevocable catastrophic consequences); so likewise in the Gospels, the failure to understand a parable could cost a person his/her salvation from Hell. They also canvass how the medieval misunderstanding of the literal/metaphorical distinction led to outlandish readings of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, whether or not Jesus (or Paul) ‘predicted’ that the end of days would occur in the disciples’ lifetimes, and much more! Check out this fantastic interview with a world-class biblical scholar framing a lot of these issues from a fascinating perspective!

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