Every now and then I get emails from people who are, well, not exactly fans. They have heard that I’ve said this that or the other thing, and have no interest at all in reading anything I’ve written, but genuinely want to know: Why are you trashing the Gospels?
It’s a fair question, and deserves a fair answer. I dealt with it years ago on the blog; this is what I said then.
The short story is that I’m not *trying* to trash the Gospels. In my view, what I’m doing is showing what the Gospels really are and what they really are not. And that is not a matter of trashing them. It’s a matter of revealing their true character, rather than foisting a false character on them.
I’d agree, of course, that by arguing that the Gospels are not historically accurate I am contesting and challenging views of the Gospels that many Christians unreflectively have (and that some Christian scholars reflectively have). But urging a different understanding of the Gospels is not the same thing as trashing them. On the contrary if my views of the Gospels are right, then I’m illuminating the Gospels and showing both what kinds of books they are and how they ought to be read. That’s a good, positive thing, not a bad, negative one.
I should hasten to add that the views that I have of the Gospels are not
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