6 April 2006 - Thursday

Biblical hype

It looks like journalists can be an awfully superstitious lot. They sometimes seem to read history the way eBay users look at grilled cheese -- hoping for something magical to happen, something to overturn dull likelihoods and constricting plausibilities.

Take, for example, the Gospel of Judas. The text itself seems to be a document we've known about for a while from other sources, and it's certainly not the first heterodox writing from early followers of Christ. So what's with this BBC article?

Judas Iscariot's reputation as one of the most notorious villains in history could be thrown into doubt with the release of an ancient text on Thursday.
Could be thrown into doubt? Is this as sophisticated as the BBC's historiography gets? Maybe the headline should be "Scholar shocker: Text of heretical text heretical!" Or maybe "Gnostic gospel contains Gnostic teachings."

Now, here's a Reuters report:

The New Testament says that Jesus walked on water, but a Florida university professor believes there could be a less miraculous explanation -- he walked on a floating piece of ice. ... Nof, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, said on Tuesday that his study found an unusual combination of water and atmospheric conditions in what is now northern Israel could have led to ice formation on the Sea of Galilee.
In other news, modern genetic research has shown that all first-century Galileans were probably morons.

Seriously, all three NT accounts of the event stress that (a) the sea was very rough and (b) Jesus walked all the way up to the boat and got in. If we take these key elements as inaccurate, then I suppose ice is possible; so is a raft. Let's do a botanical study to see whether wood and reeds floated in the first century.

| Posted by Wilson at 14:34 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Humanities Desk