Saving Jesus?

This is a very interesting and provocative discussion with Brandon Scott, a New Testament scholar, former Roman Catholic. He has a very interesting perspective on the Constantinian hijacking of Christianity, with its departure from Jesus to an imperialist structure. And yet…


12 thoughts on “Saving Jesus?

  1. hmmm, can ‘Christianity’ be redeemed?
    Would like to have heard the whole discussion.
    I guess it’s how one defines ‘Christianity’… my sense, based on this very short snippet, is that for him ‘Christianity’ = the Chuch [visible]… the structure/ the system. They are indeed different then, in that context.
    He then talks of defining himself as a ‘follower of Christ’ – which from where I am = being a Christian.
    So playing about with semantics, I guess the original question then becomes:
    can the Church be redeemed?
    Just teasing it out in my own mind Daniel, and will now stop wittering 😀
    Happy Saturday!

  2. Don’t worry, Nik, that is what the post was for – to stimulate thinking. Personally I think he’s a bit too radical in the choice of language.

    Still, what he says resonates with me because I have my own questions about how Christianity changed after 313, from an underground movement based on the teachings of Jesus to a power structure which emulated and adopted imperial structures without questioning them. Jesus was profoundly anti-imperialist, as he made it clear to Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world.

    How did this shift in 313 affect and shape our understanding of Christianity and church today? This is worth thinking about, I believe.

  3. I guess the question as we approach advent, with the Birth Narratives juxtaposition of two Kingdoms – the Imperial and God’s – is to ask ourselves in the church which we are really committed to. The constantinian compromise endures in our churches, and so often we do not hear the radical historical Jesus . When we look at our churches do we see faith communities committed to the domination sysytem or working where they are to liberate us from it. I suppose a bit of both.

  4. I was wondering if we can compare the evolution of the Christianity as an organized religion to the exodus of the Israelits from Egypt.
    The temptation to raise golden calves it’s not limited to ancient tribes culture though.
    Once the feeling of nearly direct connection with God felt by the first generation of …Jesus followers faded, the need for a replacement overcame the reasonable call for patience, and hope and love.
    These replacements can take many forms and have different impacts or levels of popularity.
    Still these changes in attitude didn’t change their status as God’s children. It made God’s job awfully harder to get through.
    Again, just a thought.

    • A very good thought, Sam. I wonder how much the gospel writiers sense that in the way they say Christianity developing, even at such an early stage. Exodus is one of Matthew’s big themes, with Jesus as the new Moses. It seems every time we as people move away from one of denigrating set up we create another.

  5. Thanks, Scott, exactly my point! That’s what I’m preaching on tomorrow, actually 🙂

    I’m making a parallel between the temple and its big walls and the way humanity keeps building closed systems of thought based on counterfeit certainties, in the hope of finding protection. They don’t realise that in the process they oppress and marginalize people who don’t agree with their conclusions. We are still so far from the kingdom of God…

    And yes, Sam, interesting perspective!

  6. Excellent interview. Brandon is an interesting guy. He recently stayed at my home during a lecture series for Jesus Seminar on the Road. I found him a fascinating man and an excellent presenter. I taped about an hour long interview of him and another contributing author, Roy Hoover, up in Sonoma, CA about their book called, The Resurrection of Jesus. You can hear it on their website,

    You can also hear an interview of Richard Pervo on the Mystery of Acts on the same site.

    • Daniel

      If you are interested in exploring the historical Jesus, 1st century Christianity, or the Dead Sea Scrolls you are going to love the 4 new interviews that I’ve posted on Click on “Interviews from Radio Show.”

      In Episode 1 and 2, I interview Dominic Crossan, who is a world-class New Testament scholar. He speaks about the historical Jesus, the world in which he lived, and the people whom he ministered to.

      Hershel Shanks (Episode 3 and 4) is the publisher of Biblical Archeology Review and the editor or author of dozens of books on the bible and its people. Here we delve into the Dead Sea Scrolls, the copper scroll that lists the hidden location of untold wealth from Herod’s Temple, as well as a newly discovered unexcavated cave. A fascinating interview.

      The third interview (episode 5) is with the famous author Richard Bach. He wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which sold over 1 million copies in the first year alone, Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, and many more. You won’t believe how these books came to Bach.

      The fourth interview (episode 6 and 7) is with Rabbi Joanna Wiener, the first woman in history to head a Jewish seminary and the first to introduce meditation and spirituality into rabbinical and cantorial training. An inspiring and spiritual interview.

  7. I have over 100 interviews I have had with scholars, archeologists, religious leaders, etc. that will be posted on I’ll have the first 3 up and operating by the end of the week, and as podcasts on iTunes when I can get the time to figure out how to do that as well.

    Is that you doing the interview of Brandon? Where did you meet him?

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