Monday, February 10, 2014

In Quest of Jesus by W. Barnes Tatum (1982)

This was a text book I had back in college, 10+ years ago.  It was a class about the gospels (of some sort) and a real thinker; I remember be astounded by the different versions of the Nativity story.  I wanted to re-read the book again, and see what was so shocking.  This second time, so many years later, didn't really teach me anything new; probably because it was all ingrained all those years ago.  I did learn a tidbit about the book of Mark.  When Jesus is being arrested, a little boy wakes up, throws a blanket over himself, and goes to watch.  Mark 14: 51-52  "A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked."  It's this total piece of slapstick, right in the middle of the Bible.  I wonder if those early Christians thought it was funny?  Tatum writes that some Biblical scholars think the boy was Mark himself, and that the house where they were at was Mark's mother's house.  I asked some people about this story, and none of them had ever heard it before.  Interesting!

I think in the end the class was far more interesting than the book.

In Quest of Jesus: A GuidebookIn Quest of Jesus: A Guidebook by W. Barnes Tatum
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I first read this in a college religion class around 20 years ago.  It was a class about the four gospels, and at the time it really blew my mind (and made me more agnostic, unfortunately).  I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about; I didn't really learn anything new from this book.  I think the class itself was far more interesting and fun than just the book.  It was really more of a source book crossed with a textbook.

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