“Think Different – Accept Uncertainty” Part VIII: Deconstructing the Story of the Fall
29 March 2012: 4 Comments »
The way Christians have told the Christ story, beginning with Augustine in the fourth century and continuing through Anselm in the twelfth century, is to postulate an original and perfect creation from which human life has fallen. This original perfection was first perverted and then lost by an act of human disobedience. At least that …
Question & Answer
I would love to hear your thoughts on the so-called “lost years” of Jesus. I’ve been reading some late 1880’s books about how Jesus went to and studied in India during that time. Thank you for your thoughts and for sharing them. I’ve only recently become acquainted with your work and just ordered your two newest books. I’m looking forward to reading them.
I hope your reading might take a more productive turn than those which engendered this question. Nineteenth century books or 21st century books that purport to tell us what Jesus did in “the lost years” are nothing more than fanciful fiction. There is not one shred of historical data upon which they are based. Even the phrase “the lost years” is telling. Normally, when this phrase is used, it refers to the years between the journey to Jerusalem that Luke describes when Jesus was12 and the time of his baptism which is generally set about age 30. The story of the 12-year old Jesus going up to Jerusalem and getting left behind, only to impress the Temple leaders with his wisdom, is not regarded as history by the great majority of biblical scholars. There are elements of the story of Samuel in this tale as well as a typical kind of heroic childhood story that presages the career of a great leader. The single thing to which we can point regarding the early life of Jesus is that he seems to have been a member of the John the Baptist movement prior to his own public career.
Travel to India was long and difficult in the first century and might literally have taken longer that the supposed 18 years that the myth makers have with which to work with their fanciful imaginations. Look how long it took Marco Polo at a much later time in history to make his journey to the East. If you like fiction, keep reading the stories of Jesus’ “lost years” for that is all it is.
~John Shelby Spong
Read what Bishop Spong has to say about A Joyful Path Progressive Christian Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds: "The great need in the Christian church is for a Sunday school curriculum for children that does not equate faith with having a pre-modern mind. The Center for Progressive Christianity has produced just that. Teachers can now teach children in Sunday school without crossing their fingers. I endorse it wholeheartedly."
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