Challenging Literal Christianity

Here are the midrash examples in Resurrection Myth or Reality (John Shelby Spong) that the literalists in their evangelical system fail to grasp:

1. “The birth narratives are quite obviously Haggadic midrash”
2. “who was to hail from Bethlehem, like King David”
3. “The wise men came out of the sixth chapter of Isaiah, where kings were said to come to the brightness of God’s rising”
4. “they came on camels and brought gold and frankincense … combined the elements from the visit of the queen of Sheba, who brought spices (myrrh?) to honor the king of the Jews”
5. “and the story of Balaam, a seer from the east who saw the star of David rise and came to bless the king of the Jews (Num. 22-24)”
6. “The guiding star had appeared earlier in the midrashic tradition in the stories of the birth of Abraham, Isaac, and even of Moses.”
7. “The song of Mary was patterned on the song of Hannah.”
8. “The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, childless in their old age, was a retelling of the story of Abraham and Sarah.”
9. “The vision of Zechariah in the temple speaking with Gabriel was a retelling of the story of Daniel in the temple speaking with Gabriel.”
10. “Jesus’ flight to Egypt was a reliving of Israel’s history.”
11. “Jesus’ father, Joseph, was created out of the whole cloth of the ancient patriarch to whom God also spoke in dreams, and who also served God’s promise by fleeing to Egypt.”
12. “Luke’s shepherds came out of Bethlehem, home of the shepherd king David, and the tower-of-the-flocks story of Micah 2-5.”
13. “The story of the young Jesus in the temple was patterned after Samuel and his experience in the temple.”

Revelation is a book of midrashic examples in an apocalyptic universal age. It shows how ensamples become timeless and never to be taken literally in a religious dogmatic system that bonds people to controlled slavery.

The midrash way, the path less travelled, will be resurrected.

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