June 23, 1863
J. E. Renan publishes his Life of Christ
to great controversy. The book itself was quite literary, the ideas were very contemporary, and so it was widely read.
Renen managed to take away everything that would make anyone worship Christ. Virgin birth, ressurection -- myths. Renen removed the divine from Christ and left the readers with little more than a man who was a great role model, but was misunderstood for thousands of years by people who claimed to be his followers.
Scientific method and archaeological discoveries have repudiated many of Renan's methods, and most of his findings. Unfortunately, he could easilly find a place at the side of John Domminic Crossan and the rest of the Jesus Seminar's board of scholars, as they seek to demythologize Jesus -- removing most of the biblical record in the process.
And yet, the folks at the Jesus Seminar would have us believe that their findings are new. Elaine Pagels wants us to think her writing is new and cutting edge, as well. Study history, and you'll find that we've been down both these roads before. Unorthodox Christologies come and go, but the Orthodox idea of Christ as Messiah, Son of God, God incarnate, goes on.
Today: Samuel Medley, a Baptist pastor and hymn writer (what else, for a man named Medley?).
Tomorrow: Theodore Beza, John Calvin's successor in Geneva.