|The other Jesus and Mo.|
My family held two seders this year, the first with only the nuclear Tanners and the second involving a fuller Tanner clan. In both cases, we conducted the seder briskly to skip all flummery and to keep the kids entertained.
My dad's seder talks about the Exodus a bit more than mine. He presents the liberation of the Hebrew slaves as a basis for believing all people should have political and religious freedom. I focus more on self-advocacy and self-determination.
The sermon was also dreadful. The pastor asserted again and again that Jesus REALLY DID die on the cross. Really, he did. He died.
And how do we know he really really died?
Because the details of the Gospel of Mark are not what we would expect if the story was made-up, says the pastor. Here's the passage we covered together:
1 - When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.The pastor was trying to dispel the idea that Jesus perhaps fainted and didn't die. He was also arguing against the hypothesis that the corpse was moved.
2 - Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
3 - and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 - But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
5 - As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 - “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
7 - But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
8 - Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
I won't go into the specific points the pastor made, but I want to dwell for a moment on the idea that only Mark's accuracy is at issue here. In fact, we are dealing with reliability at many levels in the Marcian account, where a fuller reporting sequence is as follows:
The young man in the tombAdd to this a muddied bed of Christian interpretation and re-interpretation, and you see my point: between whatever might actually have happened and us are layers of re-tellings, time, cultural and linguistic nuance, and beliefs based on a very different and more limited understanding of reality.
The three women
The first people they finally told
The people who heard the story from the first people
The person or group who wrote down Mark into manuscript form
Therefore, whoever produced Mark was decades away and between two and five people-layers removed from the reported events. So, what is it that is REALLY, REALLY true in the story?
Clearly, we don't know what's true. Yet many of us remain comfortable with assigning high probability that of all life forms in the universe, this one human being reversed death.
Fortunately, my home was filled with turkey, vegetables, and milk chocolate to make everyone forget the amount to cognitive dissonance required to muddle through the Jewish and Christian rituals.