Two New Events at The SoL Center!

Two more events are live for registration at The SoL Center:

- Who is Jesus? What a Difference a Lens Makes w. Prof. Rubén Dupertuis

- At the Crossroads of Adolescence and the World's Religions w. Fr. Nathan Bostian

To learn more and register go here.

The Use of the Bible in Interfaith Dialogue

This is sad, but accurate commentary from True and Holy: Christian Scripture and Other Religions by Leo D. Lefebure (pp. 10-11):

In contexts where people inherit a past filled with hostility and where interreligious relationships continue to be highly conflicted, the Bible can tragically serve as an arsenal offering weapons of war with which to attack opponents. Viewed through a lens of hostility, the Bible can be interpreted as harshly condemning other religious perspectives, leaving no room whatsoever for dialogue. Most of the history of Christian interpretation of the Bible in relation to other religions has been dominated by a hermeneutics of hostility, which sees every other religious tradition as an enemy and which looks to the Bible as a resource for condemning other religions and their followers.

Was Luke the Evangelist Jewish or Greek?

Last November at the AAR/SBL Annual Meetings I heard a wonderful paper from Matthew Thiessen ("Indices of Ethnicity in Modern Constructions of 'Luke'") that deconstructed my presuppositions regarding the author of the "third" Gospel. I walked away from the session convinced that I could no longer say with confidence that Luke was not a Jew. I was interested to see that this is a question being asked by others. At the "Jewish Studies Blog" Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg wrote an article titled "Could Luke be Jewish, Possibly?" He concludes, "There are no serious reasons to continue to claim that Luke was definitely a Gentile." If "Luke" was Jewish, not Greek, does this change how we read this Gospel? 

Recycled Book Review #3: Butler Bass, A People's History of Christianity

The first book I reviewed on the subject of "church history" was Diana Butler Bass' A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. I didn't realize back then how much this book would shift my thinking. I believe it may have been my first encounter with "history from below" (the author follows Howard Zinn's historiography). When I wrote my review on August 27th, 2009, I said this, "If you or someone you know dismisses Christianity because of the crusades, or the inquisition, or bad popes, this may be a book that should be read." That said, I also expressed some concern with her entertainment of ideas deemed "heretical".

Today, though I haven't read this book in almost seven years, I'd say I stand by my recommendation and I'm a whole lot less concerned about the orthodoxy-heresy binary, a lens through which I read the book. When we think about Christianity we must consider the many, many unrepresented voices. They are as much a part of the story as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, etc. And it's often the silent majority that represents how Christianity actually functions in the world.

Read my full review here: Book Review: Diana Butler Bass, "A People's History of Christianity"

The Messiahs of Israel at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

For those who live in, near, or around Austin, TX, you may be interested in their forthcoming (4/18-19) interfaith event "The Messiahs of Israel" feat. Drs. Drs. Matthias Henze (Rice University), Kelley Coblentz Bautch (St. Edward's University), and Jonathan Kaplan (University of Texas, Austin). For more info visit their website