- Mr. Spong sure has been getting a lot of attention on and off line. Just
this week my theo prof remarked how John Robinson wrote the same as Spong
but much more interesting and original. There's nothing like writing a book
to bring you a certain notoriety. :-)
I read "Resurrection: Myth or Reality" before I began my university studies
and had another look at it today. In one of my readings I recall Raymond E.
Brown taking exception to Spong's claim that out of the disciple's need to
bring meaning to the apparent failure of Jesus' mission made up the
resurrection account to compensate and move them forward. I would have to
agree with Brown, this explanation seems too contrived and about as vague
as I find Crossan's.
But speaking of being vague, in a note of humility Bishop Spong does say
that after a lifetime of wanting to write a book on life after death
including 5 years of intense research decided not to because, "I still do
not know what to say or how to express my convictions on this subject except
with a consuming vagueness." For me this shows that he is not just writing
for a popular audience, he could have had another top-seller like theologian
Tom Harpur did with his book on life after death but choose not too.
Personally I find the book even at this time scholarly, much more then "The
Jesus Mysteries" by Freke/Gandy. Both have an extensive bibliography,
however Spong writes with greater insight into the scriptures and
Jewish/Greek tradition. I think this puts him into an area beyond the
"popular press." Besides if being popular is a criteria of scholarship then
where does one put Crossan who can be a difficult read but whose books fly
off the shelf anyway?
Robert G. Knight