1. Religious Studies professor Bart Ehrman, author of How Jesus Became God, takes on questions surrounding the resurrection: 

Was Jesus put in a tomb and three days later that tomb was found empty? Well, that’s a historical question. And to answer it, it doesn’t require any set of religious beliefs; you can simply look at the sources and draw some historical conclusions. …
Before I wrote this book and did the research on it, I was convinced as many people are, that Jesus was given a decent burial and on the third day the women went to the tomb, found it empty, and that started the belief in the resurrection.
Apart from the fact that I don’t think Jesus was given a decent burial — that he was probably thrown into a common grave of some kind — apart from that, I was struck in doing my research by the fact that the New Testament never indicates that people came to believe in the resurrection because of the empty tomb. This was a striking find because it’s just commonly said that that’s what led to the resurrection belief.
But if you think about it for a second, it makes sense that the empty tomb wouldn’t make anybody believe. If you put somebody in a tomb and three days later you go back and the body’s not in the tomb, your first thought isn’t, “Oh, he’s been exalted to heaven and made the son of God.” Your first thought is, “Somebody stole the body.” Or “Somebody moved the body.” Or, “Hey, I’m at the wrong tomb.” You don’t think he’s been exalted to heaven. In the New Testament it’s striking that in the gospels the empty tomb leads to confusion but it doesn’t lead to belief. What leads to belief is that some of the followers of Jesus have visions of him afterwards.


Michelangelo, The Resurrection (1532), Royal Collection, London View in High-Res

    Religious Studies professor Bart Ehrman, author of How Jesus Became God, takes on questions surrounding the resurrection: 

    Was Jesus put in a tomb and three days later that tomb was found empty? Well, that’s a historical question. And to answer it, it doesn’t require any set of religious beliefs; you can simply look at the sources and draw some historical conclusions. …

    Before I wrote this book and did the research on it, I was convinced as many people are, that Jesus was given a decent burial and on the third day the women went to the tomb, found it empty, and that started the belief in the resurrection.

    Apart from the fact that I don’t think Jesus was given a decent burial — that he was probably thrown into a common grave of some kind — apart from that, I was struck in doing my research by the fact that the New Testament never indicates that people came to believe in the resurrection because of the empty tomb. This was a striking find because it’s just commonly said that that’s what led to the resurrection belief.

    But if you think about it for a second, it makes sense that the empty tomb wouldn’t make anybody believe. If you put somebody in a tomb and three days later you go back and the body’s not in the tomb, your first thought isn’t, “Oh, he’s been exalted to heaven and made the son of God.” Your first thought is, “Somebody stole the body.” Or “Somebody moved the body.” Or, “Hey, I’m at the wrong tomb.” You don’t think he’s been exalted to heaven. In the New Testament it’s striking that in the gospels the empty tomb leads to confusion but it doesn’t lead to belief. What leads to belief is that some of the followers of Jesus have visions of him afterwards.

    Michelangelo, The Resurrection (1532), Royal Collection, London

  2. jesus

    christianity

    resurrection

    history

    bart ehrman

    religion

  1. In his novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish writer Colm Toíbín imagines Mary’s life 20 years after the crucifixion. She is struggling to understand why some people believe Jesus is the son of God, and weighed down by the guilt she feels wondering what she might have done differently to alter — or ease — her son’s fate.
Imagining such violent events as the crucifixion, he says, “is really, really serious work. In other words, you have to go in and pretend … it’s happening now and go into absolute detail, so you’re almost working in the same way maybe a painter is working … [except] that it’s occurring word by word, sentence by sentence.”

You can hear Toíbín’s full interview here
The novel is now out in paperback.


image: Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice. Photograph: Mauro Magliani/Alinari Archives/Corbis via guardian

    In his novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish writer Colm Toíbín imagines Mary’s life 20 years after the crucifixion. She is struggling to understand why some people believe Jesus is the son of God, and weighed down by the guilt she feels wondering what she might have done differently to alter — or ease — her son’s fate.

    Imagining such violent events as the crucifixion, he says, “is really, really serious work. In other words, you have to go in and pretend … it’s happening now and go into absolute detail, so you’re almost working in the same way maybe a painter is working … [except] that it’s occurring word by word, sentence by sentence.”

    You can hear Toíbín’s full interview here

    The novel is now out in paperback.

    image: Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice. Photograph: Mauro Magliani/Alinari Archives/Corbis via guardian

  2. jesus

    mary

    the testament of mary

    colm toibin

    religion

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  1. John Collins, author of The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography, tells Terry Gross about how his scholarship gives him the long-view of religion:

One of the things — especially if you study The Old Testament — one of the things that it gives you is freedom to criticize your religious tradition. … One of the classes I’m teaching at the moment, we’re going through the prophets and the prophets criticize the temple and the king and the use of tradition and just about everything else in sight, and they do so with the vehemence that the Vatican has never dreamed of. There isn’t a prophet in The Old Testament who wouldn’t be excommunicated if he were a member of the contemporary Catholic church for the sheer vehemence of their criticism of the tradition.

Image of Qumran Cave 4 where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by Randall Niles via Flickr.

    John Collins, author of The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography, tells Terry Gross about how his scholarship gives him the long-view of religion:

    One of the things — especially if you study The Old Testament — one of the things that it gives you is freedom to criticize your religious tradition. … One of the classes I’m teaching at the moment, we’re going through the prophets and the prophets criticize the temple and the king and the use of tradition and just about everything else in sight, and they do so with the vehemence that the Vatican has never dreamed of. There isn’t a prophet in The Old Testament who wouldn’t be excommunicated if he were a member of the contemporary Catholic church for the sheer vehemence of their criticism of the tradition.

    Image of Qumran Cave 4 where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by Randall Niles via Flickr.

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Dead Sea Scrolls

    John J. Collins

    Religion

    Christianity

    Judaism

    Religious History

  1. The church doesn’t say that the ordination of women is not possible because somehow women are unfit to carry out functions of the priest, but because on the level of sacramental signs, it’s not the choice that our Lord made when it comes to those who act in his very person, as the church’s bridegroom. And you can say that sounds like a lot of poetry or you know, how do we know that’s true, but if you’re a Catholic, this is part of our sacraments and practice for 2 millennia, and it’s not just an arbitrary decision of male oppression over women.

    — Bishop Blair Explains Vatican’s Criticism Of U.S. Nuns

  2. catholic church

    religion

    leonard blair

  1. The question is, ‘Can you be Catholic and have a questioning mind?’ That’s what we’re asking. …

    — Sister Pat Farrell [full interview here]

  2. sister pat farrell

    catholic church

    religion

    vatican

  1. Women theologians around the world have been seriously looking at the question of: How have the Church’s interpretations of how we talk about God, interpret Scripture, organize life in the Church — how have they been tainted by a culture that minimizes the value and the place of women?

    — Sister Pat Farrell

  2. sister pat farrell

    religion

    catholic church

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  1. Our works are very much pro-life. We would question, however, any policy that is more pro-fetus than actually pro-life. If the rights of the unborn trump all of the rights of all of those who are already born, that is a distortion too — if there’s such an emphasis on that. However, we have sisters who work in right to life issues. We also have many, many ministries that support life. We dedicate to our lives to those on the margins of society, many of whom are considered throw-away people: the impaired, the chronically mentally ill, the elderly, the incarcerated, to the people on death row. We have strongly spoken out against the death penalty, against war, hunger. All of those are right to life issues. There’s so much being said about abortion that is often phrased in such extreme and such polarizing terms that to choose not to enter into a debate that is so widely covered by other sectors of the Catholic Church — and we have been giving voice to other issues that are less covered but are equally as important.

    — Sister Pat Farrell, on today’s Fresh Air

  2. npr

    sister pat farrell

    religion

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  1. Everything you need to know about how they see Obama was what happened at where Bryan Fischer works with the American Family Association shortly after the election in 2008. The group, which calls itself a Christian ministry, passed around a picture of Obama’s face, which they had blended with that of Adolf Hitler. And they sort of posted it on the wall and all laughed at it. It showed Obama with a little Hitler moustache and swastikas behind him. They have attacked Obama relentlessly since his election in 2008. They regard him as the avatar of godless socialism.

    — Jane Mayer profiles Christian radio host Bryan Fischer on today’s Fresh Air.

  2. Bryan Fischer

    radio

    american family association

    politics

    religion

  1. He wants to shape the policy of the Republican Party because he hopes to change America. He’s evangelizing to make America more in line with his Biblical views. On his own, he probably defines such far out views that there’s a tendency to dismiss him. But what makes Bryan Fischer worth paying some attention to is that he’s part of a larger group — a bloc of voters, the evangelical white voters — who have become a very well-organized and very significant part of the Republican Party at this point.

    — On today’s Fresh Air, Jane Mayer from The New Yorker details how a Christian radio host from Tupelo, Miss. is pushing far-right and anti-gay policy decisions on the Romney campaign and the Republican Party.

  2. jane mayer

    bryan fischer

    politics

    religion

  1. I would probably have to say that reading fiction — those stories fill the space that other people might use religious stories for. The bulk of what I know about human life I’ve gotten from novels. And I think the thing about novels that make them important to the people who love them is that there’s always another perspective.

    — Tom Perrotta on fiction vs. religion

  2. tom perrotta

    the leftovers

    fiction

    religion

  1. I haven’t lost my faith but I’ve lost my religion. I still believe in something so deeply. … I’ve never really gotten past that quote from Anne Frank in her diary, where she says that people are really good at heart. But I feel like the Catholic Church – no – the Catholic hierarchy has been disinviting people like me and especially women like me for so many years that I finally took the hint.

    — Anna Quindlen on religion and faith [full interview here]

  2. anna quindlen

    religion

    catholic church

    faith

  1. I don’t have any real spirituality in my life — I’m kind of an atheist — but when music can take me to the highest heights, it’s almost like a spiritual feeling. It fills that void for me.

    — Jack Black on Fresh Air

  2. jack black

    music

    religion

  1. But as everyone should know by now, liberties begin to erode when you have laws that are too widely drawn. And laws which say that under no circumstances can a court take any account of the Shariah are necessarily discriminatory. They’re necessarily over broad. And they necessarily create communal dissention for no good purpose.

    — Sadakat Kadri on the movement to ban Shariah law in America.

  2. shariah law

    islamic law

    sadakat kadri

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    politics

  1. One thing I realized when traveling around the Muslim world is how closely these hard-line interpretations of Islamic law are associated with political consternation and turmoil. There isn’t a country anywhere in the Muslim world which has been applying Muslim laws continuously for hundreds of years and which is drawing on genuine tradition. It’s a revival of supposed traditions which don’t really pay much heed to history at all.

    — Sadakat Kadri on interpretations of the Shariah over the last 40 years.

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  1. The argument just tends to get so confused these days between people who attack the Shariah when actually what they ought to be attacking is the hard-line interpretations of Islamic law. By attacking the Shariah, basically a huge amount of mistrust and incomprehension is created between Muslims and non-Muslims. Because as far as a Muslim is concerned, an attack on the Shariah is an attack on God.

    — On today’s Fresh Air, English barrister and historian Sadakat Kadri describes 1400 years of Islamic law and how it’s changed over the centuries.

  2. shariah

    sadakat kadri

    heaven on earth

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