Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

The Bible's Better Half

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

The Bible's Better Half

Article excerpt

The immensely popular book The Da Vinci Code is a groundbreaking work that causes the reader to ask a profoundly personal question: Who did I loan my copy to and when will the five people they loaned it to give it back?

And that's not all. The book also challenges our basic understanding of biblical history and the theology that created the modern church. Even though The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction (much like the upcoming biography The Greatness of George W. Bush), its descriptions of early church history are purportedly true, leaving the reader with the disturbing notion that the creation of the Bible itself was compromised by one major problem: They left out the good stuff.

According to The Da Vinci Code (and LOTS of respected academic literature, which I would have read but for my longstanding principle of being 100-percent research-free), the Roman emperor Constantine conspired with the early church hierarchy--which may have included Karl Rove--to create a set of scriptures that emphasized Jesus' divinity rather than his more accessible humanity. Whole parts of Jesus' life and legacy have been left out, depriving us of a fuller sense of what it must have been like to be the Son of God during, say, snack time in kindergarten. (TEACHER: Goodness me, where'd all those extra cookies come from?)

Nor do we have a record of his teenage years, a typically difficult time that youngsters could better deal with had the biblical narrative included inspirational stories of an adolescent Jesus of Nazareth:

EDDIE OF HASKEL: Good morning, Mrs. Nazareth, is Jesus at home? And may I say you look lovely today. Having children at an early age certainly seems to have agreed with you.

JESUS: Cut it out, Eddie. And that reminds me, you are SO not going to be one of my disciples when I grow up.

EDDIE: Fine with me, Mr. Alpha and Omega Junior. Me and Lumpy have other plans anyway. We're going to be--get this--fishers of fish. As opposed to that wacky idea of yours.

JESUS: Whatever. Hey, Dad, can we take the car?

JOSEPH: What is a "car," my son?

JESUS: Oops. Never mind.

And while the Bible dwells on the 40 days of temptation before Jesus starts his ministry, we read nothing about the arguments he must have had with his teachers who probably wanted him to go to grad school first. …

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