Book Review: “Mark, Canonizer of Paul” by Tom Dykstra (2012) — Pt. 2

Chp. 3: The Chimera of Oral Tradition      Like the Aramaic substratum thesis (Casey et al) the poor oral tradition has really been taking a beating lately and seems to be going the way of the dodo. I have no problem dispensing with the oral tradition theory and so skipped this long chapter on the first run-through. Dykstra asks (41): “How can a narrative written 30-plus years after the events that it records include such vivid detail..?” And: “How is it that Mark’s elaborate narrative appeared suddenly out of nowhere after three decades?” Whoah. This dating is increasingly passé. Accumulating data are showing that the Gospel of Mark probably dates to the second century CE, not the first (hence GMt and … Continue reading

Book Review: “Mark, Canonizer of Paul” by Tom Dykstra (2012) — Pt. 1

I recently finished an excellent book by Tom Dykstra, a virtually unknown American writer whose work deserves a careful read by those interested in Christian origins. The title, Mark, Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark’s Gospel (OCABS PRESS, 2012) won’t raise many eyebrows. After all, no one questions that the Gospel of Mark postdates Paul. And most would also agree that Markan theology and Pauline theology are in virtual lock-step: salvation comes through belief that we have been saved by the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. That is the so-called Pauline kerygma. Stated baldly, salvation comes through belief (in salvation). Christianity has managed to flourish for two thousand years based on this circular proposition. … Continue reading

New translation of Georges Ory book available

The Analysis of Christian Origins (“Analyse des origines chrétiennes”) by Georges Ory has recently been translated into English by Paul Davidson. Thank you, Paul! This is a major work by Ory and runs to 92 pages in the original French edition of 1963, published by the Cercle Ernest Renan of Paris. Ory was at one time president of the CER. Three links are provided below. The first two are to Davidson’s translation. The third is the original French edition (all PDFs). Thanks also to John Felix and Neil Godfrey for facilitating this communication. I will not have time to either read or provide a review of this work until my book NazarethGate is completed this summer. Anyone who reads Ory’s work and cares to submit a review for … Continue reading

Folly 4/2: The Churches, U.S. Government, and Land—Pt. 2

[The following radio talk is excerpted with permission from the book, Atheist Heroes and Heroines by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.]      What do you suppose land is worth in New Jersey these days? Camp Kilmer had 2.87 acres and 2 buildings which had been acquired for $76,555. The government devalued this to $29,300 and then sold it to the Christian School Association of North Central New Jersey, at an 80% discount. That is, for the sum total of $586.      Aha! I see more Texas here. It appears that the Jesuit Fathers of Houston, Inc., knew that there were buildings at Ellington Air Force Base and that three of those buildings would be just dan-dan-dandy for the use of the good fathers. They … Continue reading

Folly 4/1: The Churches, U.S. Government, and Land—Pt. 1

[The following radio talk is excerpted with permission from the book, Atheist Heroes and Heroines by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.]      Good evening. This is Madalyn O’Hair, American Atheist, back to talk with you again. I try to keep current with all the land and buildings which the United States government gives away to churches—in defiance of the Constitution of the United States, of course—but I just can’t do it. The federal government can give this away faster than just one little old American Atheist Center can keep up with the records of what is happening.      The reason that I say this is unconstitutional is that I rely on one of the men who was there when the First Amendment was drafted … Continue reading

Folly 3: Bakunin on “God”

[In the early 1970s Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the late founder of American Atheists, instituted a series of talks on the American Atheist Radio Series. One of the talks dealt with the anarchist Bakunin and became a chapter in O’Hair’s subsequent compilation book, Atheist Heroes and Heroines. The text is reprinted here by permission.—R.S.] Good evening,      This is Madalyn O’Hair, American Atheist, back to talk with you again.      I have been trying for some time to get some of the works of the anarchists, for this was a group of persons absolutely dedicated to Atheism.      In America we have the unusual phenomenon of the largest anarchist group being Roman Catholic. Headed by Dorothy Day and putting out a small newspaper, this … Continue reading

Folly 2: How to Become a Saint

How to Become a Saint by Baron Avro Manhattan Author of Latin America and the Vatican (1946) Catholic Imperialism and World Freedom (1952) Vatican Imperialism in the 20th Century (1965) Vietnam: Why Did We Go? (1984) The Vatican’s Holocaust (1986); etc.      I have decided to become a saint!      In the past, when I was very naive, I thought it a most difficult job. Indeed, I was persuaded it was an impossibility—during my lifetime, at any rate. Now, however, I know better. My chances of becoming a saint are very high. So are yours, for that matter.      Before I disclose ways and means of reaching sainthood, let us first be clear on one thing. What is a saint?      It is a … Continue reading

Folly 1: Questions for Jesus Christ

     A new series on this blog, Follies of Christianity, highlights the astonishing unreason, human rights abuses, and anti-scientific myopia of religion… (It’s about time!)      This first FOLLY is a satirical letter written in 1877 by one Richard Fox. It is drawn from a book by the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair (founder of American Atheists) entitled Atheist Heroes and Heroines (American Atheist Press, 1991, used by permission). Enjoy!—RS   Questions I Would Like to Ask Should I Ever Meet Up With Jesus Christ by Richard Fox To His Excellency the Immanuel J. Christ,      If memory serves you, you probably can bring to mind that something over half a century ago I was in the habit of addressing you quite often, and … Continue reading

Appearing this summer!

This explosive sequel to The Myth of Nazareth (2008) documents astonishing scandals on the ground and a desperate race to create evidence for the nonexistent hometown of Jesus.   In softcover and Kindle editions from American Atheist Press by René Salm with a Foreword by Frank R. Zindler.   From the back cover (pending): NazarethGate follows upon the author’s controversial The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus (American Atheist Press, 2008), a groundbreaking book that itemizes in detail why no settlement existed in the Nazareth basin at the turn of the era. Evidently, Salm’s first book helped redouble initiatives on the ground at Nazareth to speedily ‘find’ evidence from the time of Jesus. Together with the recent infusion … Continue reading

Nazareth archaeology causes breakdown in peer review system – Pt. 2

My preceding post reviewed the background involved in submitting an article to the prestigious British journal, the Palestine Exploration Quarterly (PEQ). That article deals with Ken Dark’s adventurous conclusions regarding the Sisters of Nazareth Convent site, and with his several “interim” publications relative to the site. The Sisters of Nazareth Convent is about one hundred meters from the Church of the Annunciation. It has long been known that kokh-type tombs are on the premises (one with a surviving rolling stone), as well as above-ground structural remains. Dark proposes a novel and complex theory which my article shows to be totally indefensible. He argues that an habitation was constructed on the site, that it was abandoned, and that the site was … Continue reading