59 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 37 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts    H4'ed 2/16/13

BOOK REVIEW: Why Garry Wills Does Not Understand Catholic Priests

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   3 comments
Message Thomas Farrell
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)

Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) February 16, 2013: With all due respect for the learned and estimable Garry Wills, the historical Jesus was arguably a shaman -- indeed, a very effective shaman.


Once we understand the historical Jesus was a shaman, it would seem to follow that all of Jesus' self-described followers should also be shamans, or should at least aspire to be shamans, as Roman Catholic priests do.


I know, I know, the world's top scholar of the historical Jesus, John Dominic Crossan, who is himself a laicized Catholic priest, thinks that the historical Jesus was a prophet concerned about social justice, not a shaman concerned about a spiritual revolution among the people he was called to serve. But with all due respect for the learned and estimable Crossan, I think he is simply wrong about this. I don't think that Jesus was especially concerned about social justice. Instead, I think that the biblical scholar Marcus J. Borg came closer to the mark (than Crossan does) when he (Borg) describes the historical Jesus as a spiritual revolutionary -- in short, a shaman -- in his book MEETING JESUS AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME (1994). Nevertheless, Borg clings to certain Christian conceptual constructs about Jesus, as do both Crossan and Wills. For example, all three cling to the conceptual construct about the supposed "resurrection" of Jesus from the dead. But the claims about Jesus' appearances after his death are best understood as reports about hallucinations that certain grief-stricken followers had after his death.


Hallucinations involve apparitions, appearances that seem real enough to the people who have them. Apparitions and hallucinations involve the same psychological structure that is involved when we have dreams when we are asleep.


According to Jungian theorist Robert Moore of Chicago Theological Seminary, all men and all women have the shaman archetype in the archetypal level of their psyches. Moore refers to the archetype that shamans cultivate as the magician archetype. Thus all men and all women have the potentiality for being shamans.


Nevertheless, the world today does not appear to be in danger of having an over-supply of shamans as effective as the historical Jesus evidently was, not even among his self-described followers. Why not? Evidently, many are called to cultivate their shaman potentialities but few are chosen to be shamans as effective as the historical Jesus evidently was.


Even so, the few among us who are chosen to be shamans are not likely to be as effective as shamans as the historical Jesus evidently was. For example, psychotherapists of all stripes and spiritual directors in all traditions are called to be shamans, but they do not appear to be as effective as the historical Jesus evidently was.


Among people in the Roman Catholic Church, the few who are chosen to be shamans include ordained priests, the target of Wills' learned new book WHY PRIESTS? A FAILED TRADITION. (Viking/Penguin, 2013), and other Catholics who serve as Catholic spiritual directors.


Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

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

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; Ph.D.in 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