In American politics, there are people who call themselves “Constitutionalists” and I am not one of them. I am glad this country has a constitution and rule of law, but I think the constitution has a major flaw.
The constitution was a compromise between various conflicting political philosophies — and with a little study, those conflicts are apparent. And it is for that reason, that it does not take much effort to get the document to say what you want it to say. Thus we have fluxing “interpretations” and amending over the last two centuries. The constitution’s flaw is that it is does not have one voice. But this is only a flaw when you assume it does have one voice.
But enough politics — I try to avoid politics on this blog, but instead, I am using the example of the US Constitution to point at a similar principle in the Bible. The Bible is not homogenous. Even narrowing down to the Gospels, it is obvious that there are many different Jesuses in the gospels. And history shows that people pick out their favorite Jesus to champion their favorite causes.
The New Testament Jesus is hugely mythologized. I won’t go so far as to say that there was no real person called Jesus upon which some of these various puppet Jesuses are based, but I really don’t think we can figure that out. But often Christians and Atheists alike think they can tell us who the real Jesus was, what he taught and what he was trying to accomplish.
I think it is important to not buy into the myth that the New Testament (or the Constitution) has one voice. The different voices are most instructive and far from trivial.
(1) This post was inspired by two posts:
- By my conversation over at the excellent blog, “Groping the Elephant“
- By an interesting post concerning another upcoming book by David Fitzgerald. I am not sure if Fitzgerald fits into the supposed “mythicists” camp but I still find much of what he writes informative.
(2) See my post: The Homogenized Bible