Reviews for Jesus: metaphorical or literal?
Brenda Agaro chapter 1 . 7/5/2009
Great job on this essay. You made a lot of good points about Jesus and of the argument.
RuathaWehrling chapter 1 . 6/29/2007
Well, this looks interesting. I'll comment as I read:

1.) "the fascination with this prominent religious leader has only become more avid in contemporary fields of scholarship." - I don't believe you can use "avid" in this sense. Avid means "keanly desirous", not "keenly desired". As such, a PERSON can be avid, but an inanimate noun like "fascination" cannot be. Perhaps "prominent" might be more what you're looking for?

2.) "However, no one can deny the element of historicity that is contained in the Christ narrative, with the presence of the Romans occupying Judea at the alleged time of the life of Christ, the Gospels have a distinctly historical setting." - This is a run-on sentence. Depending on what exactly you mean, you could either break the sentence before "with the presence", or else at "the Gospels". The fact that I can't tell which is the desired breaking point only proves why run-on sentences are evil: they make prose hard to understand.

3.) "While we do have more textual writings on Christ than other ancient historical figures" - Well, ignoring, say, Chinese emperors and other non-western figures. But, anyway...

4.) " it is impossible to tell from the brief references Josephus made to Christianity whether or not he had any evidence of Christ’s miraculous life other than hearsay" - Well, really, if he was born after Christ's death, then it'd be tough for him to have any first-hand proof. Why would you expect him to?

5.) "Without any hard evidence of the authenticity of the Gospels, it is impossible to accurately ascertain the literal truth in the narrative." - Because of the former sentence, "the

narrative" you talk about here technically refers to Tacitus's "Annals". Be careful!

6.) "With the sources that directly refer to Christ being scanty" - *snicker snicker!* Christ is scanty? :) Look carefully at what you wrote here. What you MEANT was "the sources are scanty", but it could be just as easily read as "the sources refer to Christ as scanty"! Whoops! I think you'd best rephrase this. The English language is sneaky sometimes!

7.) "The story tells that Christ was born in a cave" - Or the better-accepted manager scene, which may or may not have been a cave. I think that most Christians are better accustomed to thinking of the manger as a barn attached to an inn, so if you want to make your point here, you'd better clarify your cave comment.

8.) "By the inclusion of this journey in Matthew, it is relating Jesus to the previous suffering of the Jewish race" - Who is "it" here? Be careful with your pronounds. Matthew was a "he". Otherwise, delete "it is" entirely and rephrase as something more like "Jesus is related to the previous suffering..."

9.) " Jesus’ asceticism in the desert is also a motif that appears in other stories about great leaders; Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, removing himself from society, while Mohammed and Buddha also received enlightenment, temptation and trials while meditating on spiritual matters in an ascetic environment." - This sentence doesn't seem to fit this paragraph. It talks about the Monomyth in general again, while the rest of this paragraph has only compared Jesus's life with Judaism.

10.) "Whether one interprets Christ as literally being of a virgin birth, or that the virgin birth is a mythical motif adopted from other cultures does not invalidate the religion or the message of Christianity." - No, but I suspect many Christians WOULD say that if Christ's death and (more importantly) resurrection were only figurative, their religion would be invalidated in some sense.

Very interesting indeed! Besides the few points (mostly grammatical) that I mentioned above, I have no criticisms of this piece. Your logic is impeccible. I am most impressed by your ability to keep this factual and non-emotional. Well done! Thanks much for the thought-provoking read.


PS: I'm adding this to my CC of thoughtful essays. Just so you know.
VenusianFlow chapter 1 . 6/26/2007
Taking the bible seriously is like taking Clifford the dog seriously.

All hail the enormous red dog!

Thracian chapter 1 . 6/23/2007
Nice essay, you definitely don't see really anything like this on Fiction Press so it was interesting to read. But in general, the stories in the bible (I know you're aiming at the christ story) aren't really meant to be taken literal (e.g. Book of Revelation (no proof of John actually writing it though)). The stories are more or less just there to teach man certain morals. Jesus did exist at one point (some people believe a certain line of French kings were blood relatives) but I doubt he was able to turn water into wine, that was probably added as an emphasis to show how great he was. There was actually a special on this at one point on National Geographic... I kind of lost what I'm getting at here so hitting "submit"...