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Posted September 12, 2006
Verdict: Reality Reduced to Myth
Spong inhabits a worldview in which rationality and religion are remotely distant cousins. Through postmodern eyes, Spong sets the mythological stage upon which resurrection should be viewed. For the intellectual, the demise of objective reality and certain historical knowledge are well accepted premises secondary to limitations of language and culture. To Spong, only the ¿ignorant,¿ those who are left behind in the dungeon of ¿premodern ignorance,¿ seek pragmatic understanding of actual historical events, or apply literal interpretation to past reality. Only a ¿weak,¿ ¿pitiable,¿ and ¿frantically insecure¿ Christianity believes in the historical, physical resurrection of Jesus. To Spong, literalizing the stories of Scripture and particularly the resurrection of Christ, only serves to destroy faith (i.e., Spong¿s kind of faith). In this provocative book, Spong reaches beyond linear time and space to achieve a transcendent, symbolic truth of resurrection, comprehended as a subjective, experiential reality incorporating Jesus¿ as the ultimate ¿mythic hero.¿ Despite his avowed disclaimer against use of literal interpretation of Scripture, he vainly attempts to literally undermine and replace the persons, places, times and events of Easter. Spong grossly prooftexts and misuses scripture throughout the book. He conveniently ignores historic and textual evidences toward early creedal development, pre-Gospel manuscripts, well-established oral tradition, and the presence of contemporaneous sympathetic and non-sympathetic witnesses, while using liberal, late scriptural dating to justify his alternative perspectives. Spong commits the fallacy of special pleading. Despite his dogmatic assertion against knowledge of objective reality, he not only proclaims with confident, self-refuting certainty that Jesus actually died in Jerusalem, but that bodily resurrection of Christ, and any literal interpretation of the events surrounding such is a grossly mistaken idea. This begs the question as to how he has accessible, authoritative knowledge, the very thing he seeks to dismiss. His dichotomous views prevail throughout. One positive insight to be gleaned in these pages is Spong¿s desire and commission to live life unselfishly, guided by the amazing loving, sacrificial example of Jesus Christ. This book is true to its postmodern roots, a decided effort directed toward deconstruction of orthodox Christianity and reconstruction of Spong¿s own brand of mythology. He separates faith and rational thought, yet appeals to logic to substantiate his own religious knowledge. This is indeed `Spong¿s story,¿ a creative legend of his own with the blurring of fact and fiction to avoid direct implications of an empty tomb, to avoid the possibility of the supernatural, to avoid his unanswered questions toward life after death, and to futilely escape any arrogant positioning associated with knowledge. Spong¿s spiritual, linguistic and historical reconstructionism rejects critical historical analysis, whether scriptural, philosophical, cultural or secular.
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Posted July 18, 2002
Nothing new, or even interesting.
His scholarship is weak, which is not unusual for him, and he really hasn't begun to get into the Jewish traditions¿.. Which, even if he had, would not make him cutting edge or daring. Not really worth the time.
1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.