Martin Luther King’s letter from the apostle Paul: two revolutionaries
April 4th was the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. In remembering this date, we mark the death of a martyr. The apostle Paul was also a peaceful social revolutionary who likely died a martyr’s death at the hands of the Romans. For many people, Paul was an uptight social conformist who encouraged slaves to remain with their masters (Ephesians 5-9). Martin Luther King knew better. One thing he probably knew is that Ephesians is one of the many forged letters. Martin Luther King’s letter from Paul is the post for today, but first a few comments on Paul, and why he fits so well with MLK.
Continue reading Martin Luther King’s letter from the apostle Paul: two revolutionaries
It’s mostly good that the gnostic gospels didn’t make it into the Bible.
Several decades ago, the gnostic gospels seemed to be making a comeback after a couple of thousand years of loss and neglect. Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels was published in 1979, and for the first time in a long time people outside the schools of theology began to talk about them. Often favorably, as if the gnostic gospels contained a purer, less institutionalized form of Christianity.
I bought into this in a vague way (most of what I thought about religion then was pretty vague), but recently I read The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, a collection of forty-six texts that are generally referred to as gnostic, though not all are. One is a selection from Plato’s Republic. Most seem to date from the second and third centuries CE, but the Gospel of Thomas, the most well known gnostic gospel, may have been written around the same time as the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). To make things complicated, the Gospel of Thomas contains both orthodox and gnostic elements.
After some more reading, I decided that on the whole I’m glad the gnostic gospels didn’t make it into the New Testament, or a new canon.
Continue reading It’s mostly good that the gnostic gospels didn’t make it into the Bible