Some quotes from Larry Stammer, ``Not the Stuff of Sermons'', Los Angeles Times Book Revie

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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.). Quote 1: "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.'" Quote 2: "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 Jacob. "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 Angeles Street. "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 Trinity." Quote 3: "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 religion. "+ 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 religious genius.' "+ 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 met? "+ 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?" Quote 4: "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 verifiable history."

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