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  1. (This comment was originally made 1/1/05. My replies are indented)

    I hadn’t heard anything about the Judas story being added subsequent to the original gospel. Can you tell me more?

    I can certainly direct you to the first book I found on the subject. It’s titled Putting Away Childish Things: The Virgin Birth, the Empty Tomb, and Other Fairy Tales You Don’t Need to Believe to Have a Living Faith by Uta Ranke-Heinemann. It’s a really fascinating review of the emotional and cultural baggage which has been attached to what I believe was originally a thought-provoking and inspiring story of seeking and finding one’s deity.

    In the short form, the Judas story was added to move blame for the crucifixion from the Romans (who were the largest group converting to the new and fragile little cult), and point it at the Jews, who did not form a significant percentage of new converts.

    The author of the above book is somewhat acerbic in places, which I can rather understand considering she was told to keep her research discoveries silent or be excommunicated. However, it’s not her sharp wit which appealed to me so much as the research itself — it’s quite illuminating on several bible stories which had always given me that nagging, “something’s wrong here…?” feeling.

    Just spent some enjoyable moments reading your book review on Papal Sin. And submitted a comment. Enjoy the Times article. It’s one of the more thoughtful op-ed pieces I’ve seen.

    P.S. We’ve gotta get that book!

    I’m so pleased you liked the review! Hope you enjoy the book as well. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the Times article — do you know what the title was? Knowing that will make it easier to search for on the web, I think.

    The full NY Times article was “The ends of the world as we know them” by Jared Diamond, and appeared in the op-ed section today, January 1st. Sounds pretty apocalyptic, but it’s well worth reading. It refers to the rise and fall of civilizations, but is equally applicable to institutions, like the church.

    Oh, Jared Diamond — he’s a good read, yes! Check out his book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies if you get a chance. Also, I linked in a reprint of the article on the title above, since the Times requires registration. If that doesn’t work, try here.

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