“Will the Real Jesus Please Rise?” is the title of a four-part series on the historical Jesus on “Religion For Life,” a program co-produced by WETS and WEHC and hosted by Rev. John Shuck. Beginning May 17th, Shuck will interview four of the most prolific and provocative scholars in the United States, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Robert Price, and Dr. John Dominic Crossan.
The series begins with Bishop John Shelby Spong. The retired Episcopal Bishop who has written over twenty books on religion, with such titles as “Why Christianity Must Change Or Die,” “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” and “Jesus for the Non-Religious” talks about his new book, “Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World.” Bishop Spong explains the concept of midrash in understanding how the stories about Jesus came to be written. His interview will be broadcast May 17th.
Dr. Bart Ehrman teaches religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written over 25 books on early Christianity. His latest is called “Did Jesus Exist? The Case for the Historical Jesus.” He is responding to the “mythicist” movement that says Jesus is a fictional character from beginning to end. Erhman says that Jesus did exist, even though he is not the Jesus we learned about in Sunday School. He thinks Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who predicted God’s dramatic intervention that never came. His interview will be broadcast beginning May 24th.
Dr. Robert Price is my third guest. He is a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, a scholarly think tank that during the 1980s and 1990s evaluated all the traditions regarding Jesus to extricate his words and deeds from later fictional elements attributed to him. Even though the Seminar determined that less than 20% of the material attributed to Jesus went back to an historical person, Dr. Price thinks that was too conservative. Dr. Price is the author of “The Christ Myth Theory and Its Problems.” He makes the case that when you try to separate the mythical elements from Jesus, you are left with myth and no remainder. He thinks that everything about Jesus has antecedents in the Hebrew scriptures or from pagan literature. His interview will be broadcast beginning May 31st.
My final guest in this series is Dr. John Dominic Crossan. He is the current president of the Society of Biblical Literature. He along with Robert Funk was the founder of the Jesus Seminar and has written over 20 books on early Christian origins. He believes that Jesus did exist. He was not an apocalyptic prophet, however. He believes the parables are the key to understanding Jesus and his message about the kingdom of God, that comes gradually as we participate in it. Dr. Crossan speaks about his new book, “The Power of Parable: How Fiction By Jesus Became Fiction About Jesus.” This interview will be broadcast beginning June 7th.
Religion For Life can be heard Thursdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm on WETS FM and WETS HD-1, Johnson City, TN and Sundays at noon and Mondays at 1 pm on WEHC, 90.7, Emory, VA. Information and links to podcasts can be found atwww.religionforlife.me
Rev. John Shuck is minister at the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee.
For more information or interviews contact Rev. John Shuck firstname.lastname@example.org or 543-7737 or cell 423-943-0634.