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On 9/4/2018 at 1:14 AM, thormas said:

I like Spong and Borg but I believe that both have preconceived takes on Jesus and Christianity that influences what they interpret. 

I'd have to agree with you there Thormas.  I think their respective takes on God/Jesus/the Bible are influenced by their desire/choice to hold onto Christianity.  That said, I find their views a completely feasible alternative to much that is taught to be 'true Christianity'.  I certainly found both of them very, very comforting when I was dealing with hell anxiety (a hangover from fundy Christianity).  They and Bart were my introduction to an alternate view of Christianity that I never even knew was possible.  

Whilst I'm yet to formally read any of her works on biblical scholarship, I've been watching some talks and debates involving Francesca Stavrakopoulou whose specialty is the Hebrew Bible.  She's not a very subtle atheist when it comes to bible commentary, but her work seems very interesting to me.

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They do want to hold onto Christianity, which is fine, but they seem to take stances (generalizing here) and then look for biblical 'proof' rather than approaching the Bible as objectively as possible. For example, Spong has said that Paul was gay and he, Spong, thankfully provides great support for and cherishes the LGBTQ community. But Paul doesn't have to be gay for a Christian to disagree with the Church's historical opposition to that community and its people. Borg, if I remember correctly, paints a very different picture than biblical scholars who point to what seems to be a Jesus who was an Apocalyptic Prophet (not how Borg pictures Jesus). I never considered either man to be biblical scholars.

I too like both and they have provided a great service and much is feasible. Speaking of Hell, Ehrman is writing a new book on the After Life and on his blog was speaking of Jesus's understanding of Gehenna: it seems Jesus didn't believe, according to Ehrman's scholarship,  in eternal torture but that (my words) bad people simply no longer exist, while the good live on. Now, if this is what the best scholarship indicated Jesus believed - I simply don't agree with Jesus, a man, about this. I don't feel the need to deny this research, simply to say, I think on this Jesus was wrong (god forgive me). My concern is that a Spong or Borg would have the need to 'see' something different in Jesus' belief that would be palatable for modern people (might be wrong ??). Would they accept a Jesus who believed that bad people simply stopped existing? Perhaps?? 

I am not familiar with Francesca (will check her out) but I like the fact that Ehrman is an agnostic/atheist and tries to be as objective a historian as he is able and I then like to compare his take to others. 

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