I get Bible Review, a magazine published by the same people who do BAR (Biblical Archaeology Review). Often the articles are interesting, but sometimes they are infused with academic stupidity. The December issue is a good example of the latter, and I just knew they wanted me to tell them. See below.
For some representative articles, see www.biblereview.org.
SCHOLARSHIP IN THE SERVICE OF A FLIGHT FROM GOD’S HOLINESS
To the editor:
OK, let me get this straight. According to the articles in the December 2003 BR, Pilate was a lout who was rehabilitated by the gospel writers to make the Jewish authorities look worse. Bad motives on the part of said authorities are inventions/fabrications. The reason for this re-rereading is not historical discovery, but a sordid history of Christian-Jewish relations. Since Christians were behind the pogroms and the Holocaust (not thuggish commissars and pagan Nazis), the statement “His blood be upon us and our children” (Matthew 27:24-25) must be excised as non-historical. It couldn’t have happened, because if it did, it would be, well, inconvenient for us today.
But what if the devastations of the Jewish War (66-70 CE) really was the just judgement of God upon a people whom He had spurned the incarnate Son of God? (Seems to me that’s exactly what Jesus taught.) What if both Pilate and the Jewish authorities share equally in the injustice of the death of Jesus? (Seems to me that the New Testament says that ultimately my sin killed Jesus.) If it were all true, it would mean that this world is superintended by of holy and just God. Shocking!
I think that a genuine fear of this holy God is what moves the kind of scholarship seen in that issue, and as well stands behind the knee-jerk attacks on Mel Gibson’s film. We don’t want a holy God—we want a designer God. A nice convenient tame little God. A kind of Labrador Retriever sort of God.
But—that God doesn’t exist!
Dr. Glenn Layne
Temple City, California