Jesus for the Non-Religious
Recovering the Divine at the Heart of the Human
is John Spomg’s latest book.it is also his best.
In his summun bonum, the ex-bishop of Newark sums up in concise form the biblical evidence for Jesus. The difference between Spong and Catholic exegetes is that he dares go to obvious conclusions about the nature of the scriptural portrait. Virtually the whole of the Gospel story is crafted within the metaphors and liturgy of Judaism.Jesus is the lamb of Passover and the scapegoat of Yom Kippur, hence the now outworn “blood language” of atonement theories which make no sense to moderns. We need a new way of speaking about Jesus within a new cosmology.
Scholars have always seen the miracles as externalized signs of God’s reign. When they become literalized, we miss the point. The resurrection stories are similar. In general the gospels are not history. There is very little unvarnished history here. What there is is a way of speaking about the man for whom many, “God was in Christ”, a life of extraordinary depth of humanity’s capacity to reflect the divine. Jesus breaks through all tribal boundaries which exclude people—count religious boundaries here as well.
Jesus is the great revealer of the mystery we call God.And contrary to Tom Harpur, he really lived!
The best part of this tome is Spong’s analysis of “religious anger”, a constant throughout history. The same religious anger which incensed the hierarchs of the Jewish establishment of course will be turned on Spong as he attempts to remythologize Jesus for non-believers. He’s on to something here.
Well worth a read.