Friday, November 30th, 2007

I’ve often heard Christians appeal to Paul’s Damascus road experience in support of the deity of Christ. We read: “As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 So he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!” (Acts 9:3-5)

It’s said that as a monotheistic Jew, Paul’s acknowledgement of Jesus as “Lord” is an explicit attribution of deity. I find this interpretation unlikely. First, the Greek word kurios simply means “master,” and is used of both human persons as well as God. The term applies to anyone who is in a position of authority over someone else. For example, we read that Sarah called Abraham “lord.” If anyone knew Abraham was not a god, it was Sarah! We have no reason to believe Paul used the term because He thought He was speaking to the one true God. He recognized that any voice speaking to him from heaven must be coming from someone who had authority over him, and thus addressed the as-of-yet unknown person with a term that acknowledged his authority.


Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture, by Daniel Wallace, M. James Sawyer, and J. Ed Komoszewski

I have not enjoyed reading a book this much since I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Reinventing Jesus was released as a response to some of the claims made in The DaVinci Code (TDC), but unlike most of the other books released debunking TDC, this one deals with some of the more substantive issues raised by TDC with very little reference to the book itself.

Reinventing Jesus is divided into five sections:

1. Oral transmission of the Jesus story prior to the Gospels
2. The transmission and preservation of the NT text
3. How the NT canon was formed
4. What the early church thought about Jesu
5. Christianity is not an eclectic form of Greek mystery religions

Sections 2-3 are worth the price of the book. Daniel Wallace wrote the section on the NT text. He is one of the few NT textual critics in the world, so his personal insights are invaluable. James Sawyer wrote on the formation of the canon, a subject he has written about elsewhere.

The book is meant to be an introductory look at the issues. Often that means an intellectually watered down manuscript. Not this one. It is not lacking in intellectual vigor. No matter what your level of understanding, you will learn something from this book. The material is informative, and presented in a logical, clear manner. I give it five stars! Do yourself a favor and read it.