Daily Archives: 2008-05-23 20:09:10 GMT+0000

Fraudulent history of Intelligent Design

A wonderful little videoclip exposing the fraudulent history of Intelligent Design has been picked up on Exploring Our Matrix.

It shows how subpoenaed drafts of an Intelligent Design text clearly demonstrate a direct re-writing of Creationist material.

The Offering of Isaac . . . . 4: death and resurrection

Implicit in my series of notes on Jon Levenson‘s book, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son, is that the Jesus story, in particular the fact of and meaning attributed to his humiliation and crucifixion, the saving function of his blood, his pioneer role and one with whom the faithful are to identify, should not be seen as unique developments. They arguably emerged within the context of a Jewish intellectual matrix that was attributing the same sort of theology to Isaac.

Certainly some of the clearest expressions of these meanings to the binding of Isaac are found in the rabbinic literature that was penned after the destruction of Jerusalem. But the earlier delineations of these interpretations are seen as early as the second century b.c.e.. Further, many of the rabbinic passages to which Levenson refers appear to derive from the earliest period of rabbinic Judaism. This is the same period in which the Christian gospels are also most commonly dated. (There are also what I believe are strong arguments — if not widely accepted ones — that the Pauline literature also dates from the late first or early second century.)

It is therefore no stretch to postulate the Jewish and Christian theological interpretations of Isaac and Jesus emerging in tandem, perhaps even in a dialogue with each other. For me it is also interesting that Levenson places some of the radical Isaac salvation and death and resurrection theology to the circumstances of the persecution of the Jews at the time of the Bar Khoba war (early 130’s c.e.) or possibly earlier. Interesting to me because this period, and its forerunner, the first Jewish war (late 60’s c.e.), set what I believe are the most plausible circumstances and explanations for both the emergence of Christianity and the course of rabbinic Judaism. Both naturally drew on pre 70 c.e. schools of thought (and Judaism pre 70 c.e. was a far from monolithic religious and thought system), but it was surely the crises of the Jewish wars that created the conditions that led to the real beginnings of these two trees. Both Christianity and rabbinic Judaism may be seen as natural (vacuum filling) replacements of what had been lost. (I’ve hinted at one aspect of this in an earlier thought about the tomb of Jesus being born out of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.)

But I’m getting way ahead of myself here, and sidetracked from the arguments of Levenson. Back to the business at hand:

The Death and Resurrection of Isaac?

The Shed Blood of Isaac read more »