Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Jesus ‘did not exist’ – priest claims

An Irish Dominican priest is under investigation after claiming that Jesus Christ “did not exist at a historical individual”.

Fr Tom Brodie, who recently stepped down from his position as director of the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick, claims his book Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery aims to “develop a new vision of Jesus as an icon of God's presence in the world and in human history”.

The Irish Dominican Friars rejected suggestions that Fr Brodie had been forced from his position in Limerick, however, the order has vowed to investigate the book.

In a statement, the order said “the Irish Dominicans take seriously the contents of the book, notably the author’s conclusion that ‘Jesus did not exist as a historical figure’. This Fr Brodie sees as flowing necessarily from his tracing the literary background to the New Testament. The Irish Dominicans are following the process within the order’s constitutions for handling disputed teaching. This involves a committee of scholars examining the book and reporting on it. In their examination and in their report the author has a right to present his views. This process is still ongoing, and remains confidential until it has concluded."

“The Irish Dominicans intend, in coming months, to publish reviews and assessments of Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus in their magazine Doctrine & Life,” the statement added.

The cover note of the book says: “The work of tracing literary indebtedness and art is far from finished but it is already possible and necessary to draw a conclusion: it is that, bluntly, Jesus did not exist as a historical individual. This is not as negative as may first appear. In a deeply personal coda, Brodie begins to develop a new vision of Jesus as an icon of God’s presence in the world and in human history.”

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