JESUSGATE: A History of Concealment Unraveled by Ernie BringasJESUSGATE: A History of Concealment Unraveled by Ernie Bringas

JESUSGATE: A History of Concealment Unraveled

byErnie Bringas

Paperback | August 16, 2012

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Jesusgate seeks to assess the "Jesusgate phenomenon"-the fact that Christian leaders,
by acts of both commission and omission, have seriously neglected their responsibility to
share with the laity important information about the origins of Christianity and the Jesus
tradition. As a result, there is a significant gap between what scholars know and what lay
persons have been led to believe. Author Ernie Bringas explores how this information gap
has affected the quality of life at personal, political, and scientific levels.

Ernie Bringashas a Master’s of Divinity from United Theological Seminary,Dayton,Ohio, and was ordained a minister of theUnitedMethodistChurch. Presently, he is an adjunct faculty member teaching Religious Studies atGlendaleCommunity CollegeinArizona.  
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Title:JESUSGATE: A History of Concealment UnraveledFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1.6 inPublished:August 16, 2012Publisher:Rainbow RidgeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:193790704X

ISBN - 13:9781937907044

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Reviews

From the Author

WITH GRATITUDEHere are some of the qualities I look for when I hand my manuscript to someone for review. First, I look for someone who has a sharped, educated mind, a willingness to help, a strong backbone to express honest opinion. To that end, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the following people. In alphabetical order: Dave Bourquin, Dr. Robert Erickson, and Al Gunby. The shortness of this message flies in the face of their many contributions and my immense gratitude for their help. An extended "thanks" to Dave, who fielded all my thorny grammar issues.I should also reprise my deepest appreciation for Dr. Erickson's insightful suggestions regarding this work. For example, his counsel led to the WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT sections of this work, and also to a much more refreshed bibliography. His promotional advice was also most helpful, and I am grateful for his unwavering support.I also want to thank my publisher, Robert Friedman, who would not allow this work to go unpublished. Not only does he reflect the qualities mentioned above, but he was also willing to put his initiative and expertise behind the publication of this work. Thanks, Bob.Last, but not least, a special thank you to Jonathan Friedman for the creative layout design of this book's cover and content. I also appreciated his meticulous attention to my editorial concerns.

Read from the Book

JESUSGATE, AN INTRODUCTIONThis is not a religious book; it is a book about religion. Specifically, this work seeks to assess and unravel the Jesusgate phenomenon. The term Jesusgate, used herein, indicates that Christian leaders, by acts of commission and omission, have seriously neglected their responsibility to share with churchgoers, vital information about the origins of Christianity and the Jesus tradition. As a result, people have been rendered religiously illiterate. An incredible knowledge gap has ensued between what scholars of religion now know, as opposed to what lay people have been ledto believe (be they parishioners in the pew, or persons on the street). Welcome to the gap. (The phenomenon I call Jesusgate will be fully explained in the early chapters of this work.)For the past three centuries, scholars of religion have sounded the clarion call hoping to reduce this knowledge disparity. But most of society remains unaware or misinformed (some important exceptions to be noted later). Having served as a minister in the United Methodist Church, I can definitely attest to the dominating influence of religious illiteracy. When I speak of religious illiteracy, I am not referring to what laypersons may or may not know about biblical content. Someone may well be able to quote you chapter and verse and yet be totally unaware about the findings of biblical criticism. Clearly, the information accruing from religious scholarship over the past few centuries has not trickled down to the general population.Mass ignorance about this informational divide floats the illusion that everything is perfectly normal. Sadly, people everywhere are caught in a lockstep procession of antiquated beliefs; oblivious to vital information that would liberate them from many of the obsolete notions they presently hold to be sacred. They remain unaware of the findings from religious, academic studies begun as long ago as the Enlightenment of the seventeenth century, especially in the area of New Testament scholarship. Shockingly, then, people today possess the religious mentality of those living prior to the seventeenth century. This all sounds unbelievable, but it's true.As we shall see, the gulf between scholar and layperson has created much more than religious illiteracy. It has also fostered many serious problems on all levels of human interaction (be it familial, social, religious, political, scientific, you name it). The signs and dangers of antiquated belief could easily be detected in other disciplines, such as medicine (beware of the doctor who suggests bloodsucking leeches to alleviate your headache). This type of discernment is sorely lacking in the religious arena and society as a whole. How could it be otherwise when most individuals are thinking at a level of religious understanding that predates the seventeenth century! No other field of thought has suffered such a prolonged, arrested condition within the general population.The responsibility for this outdated mind-set must rest primarily with the clergy. The dialogue from the movie, Cool Hand Luke, sums it up nicely: "What we have here is the failure to communicate." The Jesusgate phenomenon-the clergy's inability or unwillingness to inform, and the subsequent rise of religious illiteracy-is the starting point for everything that follows in the main body of this work. In an effort to help abate the Jesusgate influence, this work will describe the clergy's role in creating and maintaining this informational chasm. More importantly, it will showcase the numerous findings from biblical scholarship that have accrued over the past several centuries, findings that make the beliefs of most people indefensible.As noted earlier, this deficiency of knowledge is not restricted to any one group; it permeates all segments of our society. This is not to say that all Christians and non-Christians are religiously illiterate. Indeed, there are pockets of lay people who are well-informed about the findings of mainstream scholarship that have emerged over the past three centuries. Nevertheless, the number of informed, versus those who are uninformed, is dramatically lopsided in favor of the latter. There are over two billion Christians worldwide, and I would estimate that less than one percent of them know much about the findings of higher criticism.Thus, the lack of understanding within the ranks of the laity remains unchecked.For the record, this is not an anti-Christian work, nor is it pro- Christian. It may seem anti to many readers because the knowledge being presented is almost the direct opposite of everything believers and nonbelievers have ever heard about Christianity. As humanly possible, however, this data is presented from a fact-based, academic viewpoint. The approach is primarily historical, not religious. I am drawing from the concrete knowledge that scholars have at hand. For example, scholars know to a certainty that we do not possess any of the original biblical writings. However, as we noted in the opening segment, not all issues are so easily discerned.Accordingly, there are some issues of belief that remain outside of the scholar's reach. Was Jesus really the Son of God? Is there life after death? Are angels real? Is God on the side of Muslims or Christians? The foregoing questions are prime examples of metaphysical (beyond the physical) issues. Biblical scholars who stay within the constraints of their discipline cannot make these determinations. This does not mean that scholars are without opinions about these topics. But when they do offer opinions on these abstract or "supernatural" matters, it is only within their capacity as believers or unbelievers, not as scholars.Christianity is still my religion of choice even though my efforts to convey "new" knowledge may be misconstrued in the opposite vein. My goal is to diminish religious illiteracy, so that we may continue into the twenty-first century with intellectual integrity when contemplating the substance of religious teaching. But I do confess that popular Christianity (what most people believe) no longer speaks to me or for me. If I call myself Christian, it is simply because I believe-as one example-the perceptive teaching of the New Testament to "love the neighbor," which I might add is not exclusive to Christianity. I should also say that I do not embrace all of Christianity in the literal sense (the Virgin Birth, for example). The following pages will make it plain as to why.

Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue: Things You Should Know

Jesusgate: An Introduction

Intro to Chapter 1: Hollywood Days

CHAPTER 1: Prepping for Jesusgate

Intro to Chapter 2: Basking in the Limelight

CHAPTER 2: Jesusgate

Intro to Chapter 3: IQ + KQ = RQ

CHAPTER 3: Scholar Shock

Intro to Chapter 4: The California Sound

CHAPTER 4: Jesusgate 1

Intro to Chapter 5: The Fickle Finger of Fate

CHAPTER 5: Jesusgate 2

Intro to Chapter 6: Was it Something I Said?

CHAPTER 6: Jesusgate 3

Intro to Chapter 7: Que Sera, Sera

CHAPTER 7: New Testament Potpourri

Intro to Chapter 8: "I'm Dropping This Class"

CHAPTER 8: Who Wrote the Book of Love? (Part 1)

Intro to Chapter 9: (In {Or Out Of} Key)

CHAPTER 9: Who Wrote the Book of Love? (Part 2)

Intro to Chapter 10: Abraham Who?

Chapter 10: Heeeeere's Johnny

Intro to Chapter 11: High Noon

Chapter 11: Prophecy and Jesus (Part 1)

Intro to Chapter 12: Dear Karen

Chapter 12: The Birth of Jesus

Intro to Chapter 13: The Church of the Wildwood

Chapter 13: The Birth of Jesus

Intro to Chapter 14: American Idol

Chapter 14: The Divinity of Jesus (Part 1)

Intro to Chapter 15: American Idol (Almost)

CHAPTER 15: The Divinity of Jesus (Part 2)

CHAPTER 16: Epilogue

APPENDIX A: The Weakest Link

APPENDIX B: Women and Textual Criticism

APPENDIX C: New Testament Authors

APPENDIX D: Epic of Gilgamesh

Endnotes

Directory of the 75 Scholars United

Index

About the Author