Time again for my weekly Readers’ Mailbag.   I have three questions to deal with today, one that is substantive and about the New Testament, one about my personal life as an evangelical turned agnostic, and one about my views of the beginnings of life!  Quite a mix.

As questions occur to you, please feel free to ask, either in a comment on this post or in an email.  If it’s something I can handle, I will add your question to the list.


QUESTION:  You have pointed out that Jesus was rejected by his family, and by his listeners in Nazareth and other towns & villages of Galilee. What do you think is the main reason for this widespread rejection? Is it because of his apocalyptic message?


RESPONSE:   This question gives me the opportunity to make an important distinction that I’m afraid I have not always been careful enough to make on the blog.  It is the distinction between the literary reading of a text and the question of historical reality.   When I have been talking about the “rejection” of Jesus by his family, townsfolk, and others, it has always been (or at least I have *meant* it to be) about how Jesus’ ministry is portrayed in the Gospels of the NT – especially the Gospel of Mark.   That is, I have been describing a narrative, seeing how Jesus is *portrayed* as being received by others in a literary text.  That is a *different* issue from the question of how he was *actually* received, historically.

In Mark’s Gospel

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