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HJ and somatic experience (was JS)

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  • joe baxter
    ... I wasn t at the O Hare Terminal, Michael, but I did just as you when I saw those covers. I guess we share the same somatic responses. ... These seems to be
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 1998
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      On August 23, Michael Ducey wrote:
      >
      >I happened to be in O'Hare terminal on Easter week-end of April 9, 1996,
      >and while I was waiting for my plane to San Francisco, I noticed the
      >editions of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report side by side on
      >the magazine rack. They all featured cover pictures of the risen Jesus. So
      >I bought all three of them.

      I wasn't at the O'Hare Terminal, Michael, but I did just as you when I saw
      those covers. I guess we share the same somatic responses.

      >The cover stories of these "secular" journals
      >were all on the same subject: the impact on christianity of a group of
      >theologians who gather periodically in a format called The Jesus Seminar.

      These seems to be a semi-annual event for these mags. Christmas and Easter
      is time to write about HJ. What bothers me, Michael, is the fact that the
      mags talk about Jesus, and don't mention the man Yeshu. So there is no there
      is no there there. And, yes, as you point out, "the people who write about
      Christianity for Newsweek do not really have any existential inwardness.
      They are pure Cartesian rationalists. (Time and U.S.News were the same.)
      This is a bit distressing. It says that the literate secular culture of today is
      introspectively naive"

      >The members of the Jesus Seminar -- who teach theology at divinity schools
      >or departments of religion in various places in the U.S. and Europe -- hold
      >the opinion that after all is said and done, the resurrection of Jesus as a
      >bodily, historical event, simply did not happen. They agree with the pithy
      >pronouncement of the German theologian Gerd Ludemann that the resurrection
      >is "an empty formula" that must be rejected by anyone holding "a scientific
      >world view." The Newsweek article made the following observation about the
      >approach of the Jesus Seminar without further comment: "According to this
      >elaborate academic protocol, the Resurrection is ruled a priori out of
      >court because it transcends time and space." (p. 65)

      Ludermann apparently didn't understand the science of the relationship
      between the body and the universe; he was probably too much into his head.
      Probably constipated as hell. As for transcending time and space, who can
      explain from whence we came? And yet we do not doubt our own existence. All
      birth and all death is beyond time and space.

      Still, are you creating a JS straw man? The NT is hopelessly contradictory
      about the resurrection. The HJ movement brings us face to face with
      contradictions, and possibly leads us to the deeper waters.

      >The trappings of the minority view today are perhaps more elaborate than
      >they were in the distant past. The members of the Jesus Seminar write large
      >books and scholarly papers with hundreds of footnotes. And those who
      >disagree with them also write extensive tracts on the other side. It seems
      >to me that the books are actually a smoke screen that conceals the true
      >foundation of the difference of opinion.
      >
      >For it seems that the opinion as to whether Jesus rose from the dead or not
      >was originally a bodily perception that preceded all thinking.

      This is a little obscure. If I understand you at all, I think you mean to
      say something like: we can only know Being through our whole being, and not
      simply through thought. And since we have bodies, the sensation of our whole
      being includes the body.

      >Perhaps no event in human history is so critically and essentially
      >somatic.

      You are getting a little carried away with the romance, perhaps. Yeshu is
      not the only saint who ever lived. To put some perspective on things, it
      must be remembered that there always have been, and there always will be
      living beings just like him. It's a little one-sided to make a religion out
      of one man.

      > So, the way some one has to know that the resurrection is "real"
      >or not is the same way that some one knows that the food is good or the air
      >is bad. There is a bodily way of knowing things to which the story of the
      >resurrection makes either a valid or an invalid appeal.

      >But the books are just devices to make the decision look more rational than
      >it really is. They are most powerful for those who live in their heads, not
      >in their whole bodies. They are currency for a head-tripping sub-culture,
      >and it should come as no surprise that in this culture at this time a
      >head-tripping sub-culture should have a considerable following.

      > Real assent to the resurrection of Jesus requires a somatic experience.

      I think you are right up to a point. To know anything whatsoever about God
      requires your whole being, and not just your head. And yes, your chi.

      These folks, however, are not necessarily trying to find out about God, but
      are instead trying to find out about a man. In a way, they are keeping us
      honest. Because thinking about God too much is also not good. Two thousand
      years of thinking about the resurrection wasn't enough to create a very
      profound form of Christianity for the masses. Indeed, much of Christianity
      is a fairly absurd and close-minded juvenile religion.

      So these HJ folks are pruning the tree for us. In a way, it's kind of like
      what Buddhism did for Hinduism. It removed all the fantasy, all the thought
      about God, and sought only that which was most noble. While many HJ
      researchers may not be at that point, some are.

      Even so, you are right. The mind is a trap. Unless a man practices some
      relationship to being (as the Buddhists most certainly do) there can be no
      real development. Thus I see Buddhist Christianity as the logical
      development of Christianity as it exists today.

      Joe Baxter
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