Τετάρτη, 15 Μαρτίου 2017

Neil Godfrey : review of Jay Raskin : The Evolution of Christs and Christianities


Raskin, Jay : A PhD in philosophy, adapted his thesis for publication as The Evolution of Christs and Christianities, which analyzes the gospels through the lens of his background in film studies. He writes: “I am doing narratological archaeology…. I use the jumps, contradictions and unusual constructions in sections of the [gospel] narrative to reconstruct the earlier layers of that narrative.” My review on Amazon.
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Gospels through the prism of film studies,
July 30, 2006
 
This review is from: The Evolution of Christs and Christianities (Paperback)
Jay Raskin analyzes the gospels through the lens of his background in film studies. Raskin's knowledge of film makes him more keenly aware than most that cuts and changes in film sequences are evidence that those film sequences were filmed at different times and later edited together for special narrative effects. So when Raskin sees what he takes to be similar types of narrative cuts and breaks in the gospel texts, he explores the idea that such narrative 'intercutting' is likewise evidence that those different story sections were originally composed at different times and subsequently woven together for the special narrative effect of the whole.

These original scenes that are so often disjointed, even contradictory, lacking a plausible narrative sequence, he argues, would originally have been composed within earlier narratives in such a way that would have made better sense than they currently do in our gospels. Later editors have selectively chosen some of these episodes and rearranged them over time to produce the gospels we know today.

By analyzing and deconstructing the 'intercut' narrative breaks and each narrative chunk Raskin believes that he can deduce the most likely original connections between these disjointed episodes. He writes: "I am doing narratological archaeology.... I use the jumps, contradictions and unusual constructions in sections of the narrative to reconstruct the earlier layers of that narrative." By thus reviewing then reconstructing these story elements into what are argued to be more plausible narratives settings, contexts and sequences, Raskin arrives at some astounding conclusions about the original stories from which the Christianity emerged:

-- early stories of John the Baptist were adapted into stories about Jesus

-- a crucified Samaritan magician named Simon was the source of the gospel crucifixion scenes

-- there existed a "proto-Christian" church led by James the Just who was esteemed as a martyred "christ-like" figure.

Raskin also builds on his "film deconstruction" technique with modern feminist literature studies (alongside references to Nag Hammadi gnostic texts) to argue that a woman (Mary?) wrote an early Christ play that may have been loosely based on real events

So from where did the current very different view of Christian origins derive? Raskin argues in an interesting opening chapter on the possibility of Eusebius being "the master constructor of the still dominant paradigm of Christian history." This is probably the most persuasive section of the work.

Raskin is approaching biblical studies as an outsider bringing new paradigms (derived from film and feminist literature studies) and asking fresh questions and arriving at radically different answers. His sources are predominantly web-based, and these are not inconsiderable with such a wealth of ancient documents now available on the internet.

Readers more familiar with much scholarship not available online that deals with many of these sources will wish Raskin took time to address its conclusions as well. By presenting new methods and answers without addressing longer established methods and solutions (explored most thoroughly offline), and arguing their comparative inadequacy, Raskin's book lacks full persuasiveness.

Raskin nevertheless admits many of his reconstructions "are problematical because we have no outside evidence for them." He counters, however, that "if we do not assume that such earlier narratives existed, we are left with a multitude of narratological problems....." (p.36)

Readers can expect to be challenged with original solutions to these 'narratological problems', with fresh paradigms for deconstructing and reconstructing the gospels, and with the implications these have for our understanding of Christian origins.
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http://vridar.org/whos-who-among-mythicists-and-mythicist-agnostics/

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