Some quotes from Larry Stammer, ``Not the Stuff of Sermons'', Los Angeles Times Book Revie
Some quotes from Larry Stammer, ``Not the Stuff of Sermons'', Los
Angeles Times Book Review, Sunday, December 20, 1992, pp. 2,4. The
article is a review of the book _Jesus: A Life_ by A.N. Wilson (W.W.
Norton: $22.95; 256 pp.).
"Despite his disclaimer that the book was intended not as a
spiritual autobiography but a dispassionate account of Jesus, the
book offers a glimpse into Wilson's quest for truth and the pain he
experienced when faith fell beneath the weight of inquiry.
"`It was a slow, and in my case, as it happens, painful process, to
discard a belief in Christianity,' Wilson writes, `and when I did
so, I did not feel it was honest to continue to call myself a
Christian, to attend churches which addressed Jesus as if he was
[sic - BP] alive, to recite creeds which acknowledged Jesus as Lord
and Judge of the world.'"
"The ... evidence for Wilson points not to a Jesus born in a manger
and worshiped by adoring cows, or ascending into heaven accompanied
by angelic choirs, but to a Jewish *Hasid* (holy man) who was
faithful to the God of the Jews, the God of Abraham, Isaac and
"But this Jesus was also revolutionary in his liberating view of
women, an egalitarian who preached that the Kingdom of God was
within. This is the Jesus who opened his arms to the fallen - to
the hated tax collectors, the homeless, the harlot. This is the
Jesus who, were he alive today, would reach out to the homeless at
Second and Main, curled in squalor in front of the locked doors of
St. Vibiana's Cathedral, or holed away in cardboard boxes on Los
"Here was the wandering exorcist who loved children and broke bread
with friends but, despite the fervent imaginings of Paul of Tarsus,
never could have conceived of himself as the Second Person of the
"Among Wilson's findings - some more speculative than others - are:
"+ Jesus did not institute the Christian Eucharist as it is known
today. A devout Jew would never have envisioned founding a
"+ The Apostle Paul is the true founder of Christianity.
"+ The resurrection is a `whopping lie.' The Risen Christ, as
opposed to the historical Jesus, is `an invention of Paul's
"+ Jesus was probably married. The miracle at the wedding at Cana in
which Jesus was said to change water into wine may have been an
echo of Jesus' own wedding.
"+ The story of the virginal conception of Jesus probably was
unknown to the earliest Christian communities.
"+ Jesus would not have understood the concept of original sin.
"+ The man at the tomb on the first Easter whom Mary Magdalen first
mistook as the gardener and moments later believed was Jesus may
actually have been Jesus' brother, James.
"+ The `servant of the high priest' who accompanied Judas in leading
authorities to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane may have
been the Apostle Paul himself before his conversion. How else,
Wilson asks, can one explain Paul's `obsession' with the
crucifixion if, as most scholars agree, Paul and Jesus had never
"+ Jesus probably was not put on trial before the Jewish high priest
and Sanhedrin. At most, he was questioned. It was the Romans, not
the Jews, who were responsible for Jesus' condemnation. By
unfairly blaming the Jews, the Gospel stories precipitated 2,000
years of Christian antisemitism.
"+ Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, asking God to spare
him from the cup of death but nonetheless bowing to God's will,
is a literary creation. If Jesus prayed while his disciples
slept, who jotted down a transcript of the conversation?"
"Millions of Christians can and do go through life attending church,
listening to sermons, reciting the creeds and never confront the
seeming contradictions, redaction and myths passed off as
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