Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What I'm reading "Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God"

I have to say this is the first work of theography I've read. This is looking at God in a literary context.
One person calls it a "Well-written heresy." I'm only 51 pages into it but it is good. Miles basic premises are that 1. Jesus really really really is God and 2. Jesus really really did die. Of course those taken together suggest that God committed suicide. Nothing too absolutely astounding about that, but the way he tackles the issue is really cool. For example Miles emphesizes about the temptation of Jesus is not the temptions themselves, but instead the Devil trying to figure out who the heck this Jesus fellow is. Even by the end of the temptations the Devil isn't sure if Jesus is YHVH. When Jesus talks about being lifted up like the snake in the desert he is thinking about how he was the cause of the snakes in the first place, how in that case, "this incident huan crime and divine punishment are so excruciatingly ill-matched." This book is trying to get into the mind of God, the psycology of God. It almost feel midrashic, except it isn't quite playful enough, feels a bit too academic for that. Still, it is good stuff.
An interesting thing is that Miles sees Friedrich Nietzsche as one of the last people to take Jesus' message seriously. I was really stunned by it, but I think Miles has a point, the Good News is something that is "foolishness to the greek/stumbling block to Jews." It is something that one should react seriously to, "The last shall be first." "Mercy, not sacrifice" "Slow to anger" "Lamb of God" "Take away the sins of the world" etc etc. The message of Christ is radical, and if one doesn't believe it crazy.


Andy said...

I listened to the audio version of Miles' book a few months back and I agree that it's very interesting. Absolutely heretical, and yet he has more crucial insights into the true nature of the Christian message than you're likely to find in all the books at Christian Supply put together.

I was a bit put off by the rambling speculation on God's sexuality (sexual psychoanalysis is the hobgoblin of modern biography) thoguh I was more put off by its banality than because it was offensive.

Otherwise, it was a pretty interesting book.

Christopher said...

I just finished his ramblings about God's sexuality. He blatently contradicts himself at times. For example first he says the Hebrew God emphesizes sexual repression, then later he goes on to say the Hebrew God is more into sexual imagery than the Greeks of the time when he is trying to make a case for Jesus' possible sexuality.
In general it felt like that section had very little to do with the rest of the case he is trying to build now. We'll see.