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Gnostic Texts - Poem by gershon hepner

Described as snobbish and elite
by Garry Wills,
what the Church wished to delete
provides me thrills.
I’m thinking of the Gnostic text
that, somewhat rude, is
opposed to those disciples vexed
by deeds of Judas,
proposing that he was opposed
to martyrdom,
which Christians have so long supposed
to be the bomb
that made so popular the myth
this text explodes.
Like Pagels, I am happy with
such Gnostic codes.

Inspired by “Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity, ” by Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King (New York: Penguin,2007) , and Gary Wills’s description of second century Gnostic texts such as “The Gospel of Juddas” as “elite and snobbish” in his book “What The Gospels Meant, ” reviewed by David Gibson (“What Jesus Really Did, ” NYT, March 2,2008) :
“What the Gospels Meant” starts straightforwardly with a helpful explanation of just what a Gospel is: “a meditation on the meaning of Jesus in the light of sacred history as recorded in the sacred writings.” Wills then parses the Gospel of Mark, the earliest account, as a “report from the suffering body of Jesus, ” written to comfort early Christians facing persecution. Matthew’s is the teaching Gospel, recounting many of Christianity’s most familiar sermons. The erudite Luke presents “the reconciling body of Jesus, ” a Gospel of poignant stories like the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan that display the humanity of Jesus and the universality of his message. John is, as ever, the theologian, a prophetic voice from “the mystical body of Jesus.” Yet the paradox of modern Christianity is that the growth of biblical scholarship, and the fervor of believers in sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) , has done so little to affect the mass of biblical illiterates who proclaim their convictions about what Jesus would do while knowing precious little about what he actually did or, more important, what he meant. Neo-atheists aren’t much better, sneering at Christians but displaying ignorance about Christianity. And neo-Gnostics — academics and acolytes who claim to channel the rebel spirit of various early Christian offshoots — routinely confer on “elite and snobbish” (Wills’s phrase) second-century texts an authority they rarely grant to the canon. Such literalism sustains a fragile faith.
In this sense, Wills is a dangerous man. He does not create a foolish consistency out of differing Gospels, but underscores the attributes of each narrative to highlight truths more crucial than whether there were four discrete Evangelists, or whether three wise men actually followed a star in the East. The credulous will be shocked by his rationality, while skeptics will be scandalized by his respect for the faith. To be sure, Wills includes asides that will win few points with Rome, like his claim that the virgin birth “is not a gynecological or obstetric teaching, but a theological one.” And he throws in facts that can be mischievously tossed out at family gatherings or, worse, to the pastor after Sunday services — for example, that the crown of thorns was probably a wreath of acanthus leaves. (Wills also provides his own translations of the original “marketplace” Greek, though I’m not sure that killing the “pampered” calf or hearing that the Word became flesh and “bivouacked with us” will catch on.)


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Poems About Narrative

  1. 1. Gnostic Texts , gershon hepner
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  3. 3. Experience The Divine - Best Gift , Margaret Alice Second
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  6. 6. Torquing Torus , gershon hepner
  7. 7. Words Of Wisdom For The Rare Homo Sapiens , Dilantha Gunawardana
  8. 8. Passage Of Love , Dilantha Gunawardana
  9. 9. Eureka Rings A Bell , gershon hepner
  10. 10. Scripture Of Zen , gershon hepner
  11. 11. Scripture Of The Zen , gershon hepner
  12. 12. Deft , gershon hepner
  13. 13. Emulation , gershon hepner
  14. 14. Frankly, My Dear , gershon hepner
  15. 15. Scarlett And Melanie , gershon hepner
  16. 16. Kara Mustafa , gershon hepner
  17. 17. When Life Is Not A Drama , gershon hepner
  18. 18. Alankar(Decor) -205 , Indira Renganathan
  19. 19. The Idea And The Image Of The Dark Daugh.. , Bijay Kant Dubey
  20. 20. Psalm-41 , Walterrean Salley
  21. 21. Growing Darkness (Rev) , Margaret Alice Second
  22. 22. Endless End , Udaya R. Tennakoon
  23. 23. Speechless , Sadiqullah Khan
  24. 24. Smooth And Amiable, Opaque , gershon hepner
  25. 25. Each Morning At The Breakfast Table , gershon hepner
  26. 26. Boredom , gershon hepner
  27. 27. Genius , gershon hepner
  28. 28. Day Slice , Bill Grace
  29. 29. The Paparazzi Historian - Viii , Sadiqullah Khan
  30. 30. 2010/06/30 Siren Song (Rev.) , Margaret Alice
  31. 31. Tell Me , hasmukh amathalal
  32. 32. Joseph's Gloss On God , gershon hepner
  33. 33. If I Really Want It , RIC S. BASTASA
  34. 34. 'Now, Heart' - Some Of What I Remember W.. , Warren Falcon
  35. 35. Open Up Your Wallets... , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  36. 36. Alankar(Decor) -98 , Indira Renganathan
  37. 37. Kulwant Singh Gill As A Poet , Bijay Kant Dubey
  38. 38. Camouflaged Flaws In Reality (Revised) , Margaret Alice Second
  39. 39. The Classics , Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  40. 40. It Isn'T Traditional , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  41. 41. Triptych , gershon hepner
  42. 42. Which Is; Which Is , Luis Estable
  43. 43. Girl And Gun , gershon hepner
  44. 44. From....Ll , Morgan Michaels
  45. 45. Deeds And Relationships , gershon hepner
  46. 46. Pure Music , gershon hepner
  47. 47. All-Knowing Author (Rev.) , Margaret Alice Second
  48. 48. Resonances Come From What We Don'T Under.. , gershon hepner
  49. 49. Kebyar Dance , Ahmad Shiddiqi
  50. 50. The Foolish Servant Reads The Palm In Hi.. , nimal dunuhinga
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