Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 30 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts   

Crossan and Jesus and Parables (REVIEW ESSAY)

By       (Page 1 of 7 pages)   4 comments
Message Thomas Farrell
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)

Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) April 7, 2012: Harold Bloom, a secular Jew, is a remarkably prolific literary critic at Yale University. He has adjusted the framework for determining the kinds of imaginative literary works so that he as a literary critic could discuss all of biblical literature in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible.


In his thought-provoking book JESUS AND YAHWEH: THE NAMES DIVINE (2005), Bloom makes the following observation:


"Whoever you are, you identify necessarily the origins of your self more with Augustine, Descartes, and John Locke, or indeed with Montaigne and Shakespeare, than you do with Yahweh and Jesus. That is only another way of saying that Socrates and Plato, rather than Jesus, have formed you, however ignorant you may be of Plato. The Hebrew Bible dominated seventeenth-century Protestantism, but four centuries later our technological and mercantile society is far more the child of Aristotle than of Moses" (page 146).


I basically agree with Bloom's observations here. If you have received a formal education in Western culture, you have been acculturated in the way of thinking pioneered by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in ancient Greek culture.


As Bloom intimates, it will be a strenuous undertaking for people who have received a Western formal education to recover the thought-world of pre-philosophic thought such as the thought-world in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible (except for the prologue to the Gospel of John, which is indebted to ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophic thought, as I explain below).


I should point out that the pre-philosophic thought-world in ancient Greece was dominated by the Homeric epics. Homer was the teacher of Greece. Eric A. Havelock has studied the imagistic thought-world of the Homeric epics in detail in his fine book PREFACE TO PLATO (1963) and elsewhere. I would borrow Havelock's terminology and characterize the pre-philosophic thought-world in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible as an imagistic thought-world.


In effect, the biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan undertakes to explore the imagistic thought-world of the Christian Bible in his ambitious and important new book THE POWER OF PARABLE: HOW FICTION BY JESUS BECAME FICTION ABOUT JESUS (2012). However, even though Crossan is obviously examining and discussing imagistic thought,

he does not happen to use Havelock's terminology about imagistic thought.


In the four canonical gospels, Jesus is portrayed as using parables. So Crossan examines parables in detail, especially those attributed to Jesus -- the fiction by Jesus mentioned in the subtitle of Crossan's book. The fiction about Jesus mentioned in the subtitle refers primarily to the four canonical gospels. To be sure, the four gospels are based on the historical Jesus and contain passing references to certain other historical persons and events. Nevertheless, the authors of the four canonical gospels were writing historical fiction, fiction based on certain historical persons and events. Crossan moves from characterizing as parables the fictions that Jesus used in teaching to characterizing as megaparables the four fictions known as the four canonical gospels. In a word, each of the four canonical gospels is a parable in spirit, or parabolic. As Crossan cleverly puts it, each canonical gospel is parabolic history or historical parable.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Farrell Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Was the Indian Jesuit Anthony de Mello Murdered in the U.S. 25 Years Ago? (BOOK REVIEW)

Who Was Walter Ong, and Why Is His Thought Important Today?

Celebrating Walter J. Ong's Thought (REVIEW ESSAY)

More Americans Should Live Heroic Lives of Virtue (Review Essay)

Hillary Clinton Urges Us to Stand Up to Extremists in the U.S.

Martha Nussbaum on Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Book Review)

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend