Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jesus The Magician (Post 1: Introduction)

Many moons ago, when I was just a college lad, I came across an intriguing book by Morton Smith entitled Jesus the Magician. However, for reasons that I can only now surmise, I never read the book. I would have probably gotten around to reading it eventually had not my interest in Buddhism and all things Eastern replaced my interest in New Testament studies. Today, with an ever increasing interest in magic, Morton’s book has once again piqued my interest.

In Jesus the Magician Morton Smith contends that two prevailing interpretations of Jesus and his “ministry” emerged among the populace of the ancient world who had something to say about the Jesus event. The first interpretation - namely, “Jesus the Son of God,” was the position taken among those followers of Jesus who would eventually triumph in establishing their view as orthodox. The second interpretation – namely, “Jesus the Magician,” was an emerging understanding of Jesus that coexisted with the “Son of God” interpretation but was later expunged from the scene with the mass destruction of its textual sources starting at the time of emperor Constantine in 326 A.D.

In the next several weeks I will be posting chapter summaries of Jesus the Magician as I work my way through the text. It is my hope that these summaries will be of interest to those who have an academic interest in what it meant to be a first century magician in Palestine.

1 comment:

Rufus Opus said...

I didn't know you were still posting here! I'm looking forward to this series of posts. Never read Jesus the Magician, but the hypothesis makes sense. I don't have a problem, as a Christian, with him being both Son of God and Magician. In a way, we all are. He can be the literal Logos though.