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May 17, 2024

Added Gospels, Classics, and the Erasure of the Community: A Critical Review Testing the Hypothesis of Robyn Faith Walsh’s The Origins of Early Christian Literature, Part A (2024) by John MacDonald to the Historicity of Jesus page under Christianity in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

In Part A of a three-part critical review of Robyn Faith Walsh’s The Origins of Early Christian Literature: Contextualizing the New Testament within Greco-Roman Literary Culture, John MacDonald provides a literary application and defense of Walsh’s hypothesis that the Gospels are not, as is usually thought, the product of literate spokespersons conveying the oral tradition of their community, but rather are birthed out of networks of elite Greco-Roman-Jewish writers in dialogue with one another, not downtrodden illiterate peasants. MacDonald aims to show that Walsh’s approach makes good sense of the evidence, such as pervasive intertextual haggadic midrash (Jewish) and mimesis (Greek) going on in writing the Gospels, which seems less likely on the “oral tradition of the community” hypothesis. Walsh’s critique of the community oral tradition model is important because that model is what bridges the gap from the opaque period of Jesus’ life and death in the 30s through Paul (who is silent on the details of Jesus’ life) to the destruction of the Temple in the 70s, when Mark’s gospel appears. A few bare details aside, without this chain of sources, reconstruction of the events of Jesus’ life is essentially impossible.

New in the Kiosk: Open Letter to Dr. Adam Francisco, Editor of the Global Journal of Classical Theology (2024) by Robert G. Miller

In the summer of 2023 retired lawyer Robert G. Miller invited legal apologist John Warwick Montgomery, then-editor of the Global Journal of Classical Theology, to participate in a truly legal assessment the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, but Montgomery declined citing time constraints. So Miller turned to systematically inviting as many other legal apologists as he could think of to demonstrate the resurrection of Jesus. Unfortunately, he could not find a single lawyer who would even discuss the possibility of facing an actual opponent in a procedure closer to a real adversarial process in court. Miller therefore took the initiative by drafting an unopposed brief providing three independent reasons why apologists cannot prove Jesus’ resurrection by legal principles, in addition to critiquing standard legal apologetic arguments for the resurrection of Jesus. In this follow-up open letter, Miller invites the incoming editor of the Journal to respond to his unopposed brief, either directly or by slating editorial board members to do so, or to at least issue a call for papers responding to the brief. Will legal apologist continue to skirt their 1 Peter 3:15-16 mandate to answer the call to anyone who requests it?

Recommended reading: Where Christianity Errs: A Fair and Clear Philosophical Assessment (2024) by Richard Schoenig

Richard Schoenig’s Where Christianity Errs argues that Christianity has significantly erred in some of its important beliefs and activities. A wide variety of topics are covered, including original sin, petitionary prayer, faith in the absence of evidence, how a loving God could send people to Hell, a secular take on the meaning of life, the relationship between Christianity and atheism, and even the relationship between Christianity and politics. Schoenig takes on Christianity’s strongest points and ablest defenders and offers cogent rebuttals, weaving together decades of perceptive thinking into novel arguments of interest to both lay and philosophical audiences. Of particular interest are central Christian tenets that have gone underaddressed in the literature, making Where Christianity Errs essential reading for both for both believers and unbelievers.

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