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Journal Entries - Bible Topics

Excerpts from 92 Personal Journals (1979-2002) of Philip G. Roets (1921-2002).

Suggested entries with unique perspectives by Philip Roets:

Abandonment: April 5, 1991

Judas : January 17, 1996; May 10, 1998.

Leadership: August 19, 1995; August 20, 1995; November 6, 1995; May 20, 1997; May 29, 1997; June 7, 1997; July 5, 1997; June 18, 2002.

Married & women clergy: May 31, 1994; March 23, 1999; June 23, 1999.

Self-identity of Jesus: June 17, 1997; Feb 2, 1998.

History of Israel: Dec 21, 1981; Dec 16, ‘96; Feb 2, ‘97; April 26, ‘97; June 28, ‘02.

July 11, 1979.
The Bible is only a collection of human, limited knowledge. But its study provides a constantly deepening and unfolding insight into our immediate world. It deals with real questions and problems of our world and how to help others to work in the solving of them.

January 11, 1980
There is a power that is beyond me, the individual person. This power is seen in nature. The wind, the storm, the weather - all are more powerful than I.

At first they struck fear into the heart of man and he tried to placate them. Then he began to see them as a source of good and evil so he began to worship them. Then various codes of law or conduct toward each other were referred to this God. But always this God was out in the distance and unapproachable. Wisdom was fear of God.

Then Christian thought began to develop. God was seen as father because men were to be brothers. And then the very spirit of family that was to exist between husband & wife, between parents & children, between family & family, was seen as this power greater than the individual. This spirit is God. If and when this spirit is established then all tasks can be accomplished and enjoyed. Disharmony is the opposite of God -- that is Satan, the adversary.

January 12, 1980.
The text of 1 John 4:19-20 says: “If anybody who says he loves God whom he cannot see and does not love his neighbor whom he can see is a liar.” This is the negative part of the picture. The positive aspect is the love of neighbor. This spirit of peace is the springboard from which all other work takes its strength.

January 17, 1980.
The notion of forgiveness is presented in Matthew 18.

Too often forgiveness is seen as a simple “I’m sorry” and then the whole issue is swept under the rug. Forgiveness demands at least two people. Each is helping the other to see where the improvement is possible or necessary and each helps the other to take the step forward.


February 24, 2980.
Gospel story tells of Christ being tested in the desert. The desert was and is the place of testing. Here it is easy to lose the sense of direction and get lost. In the desert it is easy to see the mirage because that is what a person wants so badly. As the Arabs say, you can simply be swallowed up by the desert.

Three basic guidelines were given to offset these difficulties. Man has to earn a living but there must be a plan for this. Secondly, this plan has to proceed from produce or foresight. It doesn’t just happen. Finally, he must not stop short on an intermediate or partial goal even though this may seem easier and sufficient.

These are valid principles for life of any person. Plan wisely - look ahead - keep reaching out.

February 25, 1980.
Ezechiel is talking to the leaders who are in the neo-Babylonian captivity with him in the 6th century B.C. They had been laughing at his warning to repent and lead morally good lives. Then the bad news came. Jerusalem had fallen. The Temple and palace were a shambles. Then they ran to the prophet for consolation. Ezechiel told them of a shepherd-leader who would come sometime and lead them back. Ezra and Nehemiah did this a few years later.

The first Christians and Jesus applied this notion to him. Jesus was the fulfillment of this dream-shepherd. But his application was unheard of. He would separate his flock. Only the sheep would be kept. The sheep were those who helped others in their daily needs. There would be nothing spectacular. But the reward would be the unity and community that lend strength and ability to their lives.

February 29, 1980.
Ezechiel was the first to speak clearly of the sense of individual responsibility for one’s acts. Throughout the rest of the time in the Old Testament period, this notion was more and more developed. The entire teaching of Christ is based on this concept.

June 8, 1980.
The most basic need in a family spirit is forgiveness. This presupposes that there will be failure by everyone and everyone is supposed to forgive. Each needs a strong dose of patience, kindness, adaptation. All of these qualities are as much a part of this spirit as joy, love, hope and the like.

June 13, 1980.
Love is the center of the Gospel message. I can see how Luke, a man of the Greco-Roman world, was so taken with the simplicity and yet the revolutionary quality of this key idea. John could boil it down to such simple words. “By this shall all people know that you are my followers in that you have this love for each other.”

August 6, 1980.
This is the theme of Qoheleth in the Greek world of the 2nd century BCE: Things were constantly changing and yet nothing was totally new. We talk about great discoveries, inventions, conveniences of now. But Isaiah was talking about the same questions or points in the 8th century BCE. Everything is new for us because it’s our first time around. That’s life.

October 26, 1980.
This notion of the kingship of man is a highly developed biblical idea. One of the fundamental notions about kingship is the use of one’s talents.

The special note about talents in the teaching of Christ is that he does not favor the loser. The one who had received the minimal had buried his talent for fear of losing it. In the reckoning he lost even that talent because he had not used it, and was excluded from the kingship. The one who already had ten talents received more.

The teaching of Christ stresses that no matter how small the action, if it is the result of your industry, it will be fully rewarded.

December 27, 1980.
St. John the Apostle was the bright-eyed, omniscient, infallible, short-tempered teenager who first met Christ. He in turn brought James - the other “Son of thunder” or “loud-mouth.” John became simply a “favorite” or “close friend” of Christ. We get a deep insight into the personality of John from his Gospel, his first Letter and Revelation. And because of this I think we get a deep insight into the personality of Christ.

January 28, 1981.
The Genesis account takes issue with the subjugation of woman in the Greco-Roman society. In Genesis 1:26-31, the writer stresses that the sexes, male and female, are not something that happened by chance as the myths thought. This difference is something that was planned as in every other aspect of creation. It is the climax of the complementary aspect of all creation. No part of creation or the universe is independent of the other and so no part is slave or servant to the other. Each is individually important on an ascending scale. Then man and woman are presented as the peak or highest level.

In Genesis 2, the writer stresses how everything is made for the good and use of man, except woman. Without her he cannot succeed in any way or be happy. With her, he can reach his fulness but only if he sees her as his partner and true equal.

March 25, 1981.
Mary and Joseph were a young couple. One of their children grew and produced in such a way that the “holy spirit,” proclaimed by Ezechiel in 538 b.c., was evident through his life.

Luke was intrigued at the role played by the Jewish family in the formation of this child and use of his abilities. So he wrote his whole gospel from this viewpoint. Then he showed how this same spirit gave rise to and formed the Christian community.

June 2, 1981.
It’s a real delight to get outside early in the morning and look at the new growth of the plants. This is the aspect of creation or nature that delights me. Already in the 5th century B.C., the biblical writers were marveling at the Wisdom of such a plan. They stood in awe of the one who could make such a plan. - ‘Tis great!

June 12, 1981.
The book of Genesis is the book of origins or perhaps I could say it established the dignity of man in its full reality.

The writers stress that the actual origin is hidden or unknown because no one was there to witness it. However, as we look at the universe from the world in which we live, we can see that there is a definite plan being followed. Today we call this the balance of nature, the web of life, the food chain, and the interdependence of all things on each other. This plan is well thought out and geared toward success. But the plan does not run itself. This is the work of mankind. His place in the plan is the controller, the leader, the user. He can accomplish this only in a society founded on mutual respect and understanding of each other.

That is chapter one of Genesis. Then successively we get the origin of society in marriage, the origin of problems against this society in greed. anger, quarreling & selfishness. The writers present no empty idyll or utopia. Selfishness will always be present. It is the duty of those who know better to remove the selfishness, to establish harmony & peace, and to give success to the overall plan.

The book ends in a story of the failure against the plan and the way in which the failure could be turned to success. The stories of Adam, Noah, Sem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are all of unending value. The circumstances change but the questions, problems, and successes remain the same.

August 16, 1981.

No matter when I’ve sat down to work on the biblical ideas, I have always felt a surge of enthusiasm. I see the answers to all the ills in the world because human problems have been solved by suffering and fore-sighted people through the centuries. Those people had lived in the East and the West as leaders and slaves, domineering and submissive, and their thinking men and women had evolved a philosophy of life that adapted itself to all new situations. There are no ready-made answers for utopian existence in the Bible. There are guidelines to be thought through in each situation.

There is an ever present danger in the study or use of the Bible. People want to invest it with magical formulae and power. They want to see instant holiness, happiness and success just because they read the words or hold the book.


August 17, 1981.
I have thought much about heaven or after life in reference to the term, “Kingdom.” Mt. 25:31-46 is the climax of the development of Kingdom in that gospel account. It is often referred to as the judgment scene. I prefer the term “self-identification.”

First of all, it is a universal scene - everybody is included. Then Jesus is referred to first as the Son of Man. This is his act as The Human Being. In the next sentence he is call “The King” and God is the Father. The picture described is the firm, final and eternal establishment of the brotherhood of man in the fatherhood of God. Verse 34 is the one that always catches my attention.

Welcome, people happy in your Father. Accept as your inheritance the kingship prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Then comes the really consoling part. Christ is talking. He says, I was hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger, sick and in prison. And you cared for all my needs. Christ as the first-born in the family identifies all the brothers and sisters with himself. Thus the family of mankind is being established.

That list is drawn up according to the life circumstances of those days in the Roman Empire. Today the list would be longer and a bit different but the idea would be the same. You identify yourself as a child and heir of the family of man by the way in which you help those around you to become truly human.

Heaven will be the full enjoyment and continued living in this human family. The other side of the picture is the emptiness, waste, and frustration of not belonging simply because a person did not use the opportunities offered.

August 18, 1981.
Coping with sufferings is a major topic in the first years of Christianity because suffering and hardship were almost a way of life for a lot of them.


September 21, 1981.
Sin is the failure to produce, to develop, to create, to establish meaning to life and self-identity. Then death is empty because a person has become nothing. This is the danger of structure. There is a tendency to become parasitic and just hang on. This is the part that Christ condemned in the Jewish religion of his time and which he would excoriate today. For Christ, religion cannot produce puppets.

September 28, 1981.
Who or what set this plan (of the world) in motion and what keeps it going? I enjoy thinking about the question but I never get any closer to the answer than men like the authors of Psalm 8, 103-105; the Book of Job; the Book of Wisdom, or any of the New Testament writers. I know the role that is mine. I live life as fully and sincerely as I can. I certainly had no awareness of this life before I was conceived and born. Yet I can enjoy it. So also I think the John 3:5 notion of “palingennesis” - rebirth, could be an answer. This time it would be “I,” the person, that I made myself who is reborn.

October 25, 1981.
I have the quotes from the Prophets here in front of me. Even though I was somewhat aware of the tone of the prophets I did not know how negative they were until I actually looked for texts. I have exactly twelve and all of them are from Isaiah. When I think how much this Old Testament was and is used by the theologians and preachers, there is little question as to why their picture of God becomes so bleak and their outlook on life so pessimistic, with the over-emphasis on sin and punishment.

This is what makes the Gospel message so different and amazing. Christ reacted against the negativism. He turned the threats and punishment on those who were insincere and dishonest - the Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees. He was kind and gentle and tender toward those who were the victims of this narrow outlook. Then the communities founded by Luke and John especially turned the whole picture around in a teaching filled with salvation, community sharing, love expressed in action, and positive human worth.

November 10, 1981.

We had always been taught that the Old Law was a law of fear and the New Law a law of love. It is easier to threaten than to win by other persuasive words. Punishment brings immediate compliance in most cases even though it is not a willing obedience.

This contrast explains why the teaching of Jesus took such a hold in the beginning. But then as the leaders saw how much individual responsibility the New Law demanded, they turned back deliberately to authoritarianism and emasculated Christian freedom and growth.

November 15, 1981.
As I have been looking for (Biblical) texts, two points that are hitting me the hardest are:

1. The belligerency of almost all the writings previous to the Scribes from about 300 B.C. The didactic and Wisdom literature has a lot of positive, creative thinking advice. Then from 50 B.C. to the NT writings, about 50 A.D., this warlike attitude reached its worst peak.

2. There has to be a constant awareness of the meaning of “life of faith.” As I read synopses of books and read the account of all the outstanding evangelists in the papers today, faith for them is a return to blind superstition. Faith is a weakening crutch when it should be a creative productive prod. This is an emphatic point of all the NT writings and becomes stronger in the later NT works.

December 6, 1981.
Yesterday, as I was doing the famous Isaiah 9:6 text: “A child is born to us - a son is given to us,” it struck me why this was so important to the Matthean communities. Historically, the Jewish King had sacrificed his first born in the phallic cults. The prophet had upbraided him for the idolatrous murder. Then he had another son and Isaiah wanted the king to get back to the worship of God.

In the post-factum introduction to the life of Christ, Matthew saw the same event of importance for the same reason to the New Testament people. The Jews had turned more and more to the sensual lustful religion of the Greco-Roman world. Christ had called them away from this to the ideals of the Father. Therefore “A son has been born, has been given us.” Just as the child of the king in the OT was a symbol of the favor of God to start again. so the birth of Christ was in the N.T.

December 7, 1981.
The pagan religions were convinced the gods were, for the most part, fickle. Therefore a person was at the mercy of their whims. Hence all the superstitious were ways to pacify the gods especially by giving up your own valuables. All suffering, misfortune and failure, all enmity and misunderstanding were due to man’s failure to placate the gods. This made life a very despondent picture.

Then came the Jewish god. He was just, holy, understanding, kind - but omniscient, all-powerful and ready to punish all evil. He would take up the cause of the righteous people but not necessarily in their lifetime. It might come about only three or four generations hence. Finally, they were sure it would all balance out with the coming of the Messiah.

Jesus comes and gives us the New Testament picture of god. He is a Father in whom the family of man is to be established. Jesus talks very little of the future in the sense of the next life. He stressed that there is no love of God nor service of God except the love, service and sacrifice that is made to and for your fellow man. All prayer, all religion forgiveness had to take place in the immediate part of the family of man in which you lived. The final outcome of Christ’s way of life would be a peace, harmony, understanding, service and mutual love of each other based on your love of self.

Luke stresses the day-to-day living. Matthew & John show the importance of daily living but definitely talk of a final squaring of accounts so each receive true justice. They don’t say how or when. That’s as far as the Christian message goes. All the emphasis should be on the establishment of the ideal here & now.

December 20, 1981.
When the Apocalyptic writers and the New Testament writers wished to give a person the highest praise, they said simply he was a “just” man. Hence from 400 BC to 200 AD the term “just” or “wise” tells a person what they expected of a human being.

December 21, 1981.
As I listened to the reporter describe Begin’s (Israel) misuse of history to support his ruthless policy, I wonder why no diplomat or official confronts him with the facts. The only source Begin has for his co-called great history is the sketchy account of the Old Testament. In most instances, this is written in a condemnatory and threatening manner because the Jews were not living according to their ideal and therefore were finally rejected as a people.

Seemingly, 3700 years ago the nomads who were the ancestors of the Jews left Ur of the Chaldees, near the Persian Gulf and started their centuries long trek to Egypt. There in Egypt, these ancestors joined the Hyksos or foreigners who ruled Egypt for a few years. Then the natives enslaved all the Hyksos including the Jews. Finally these slaves saw a chance to escape and took off for the desert. After a few generations of rebellion, civil wars, and other fighting they arrive at the trans-Jordan area and begin to slaughter the native Philistines. This state of warfare went intermittently from 1250 - 1000 B.C. Then finally under the leadership of Saul and David the Jews established themselves as the rulers of Palestine. Solomon organized the Kingdom and had a lot of international power because he controlled the crossroads between Egypt and Europe and the Middle East. His rule was terribly oppressive. Upon his death there was a civil war and a split in the Kingdom - 929 B.C. Thus there was a united people in charge of Palestine for exactly 75 years.

The kings almost vied with each other for corruption, oppression, and injustice. The prophets alone spoke out strongly and bitterly against these kings. Then in 722 B.C. the Northern Kingdom was overrun and destroyed by the five kingdoms to the East. Then in spite of warnings and pleas by prophets, the southern Kingdom in Jerusalem was decimated in 588 B.C. and the small group of Jews was taken into the neo-Babylonian captivity. Finally in 538 B.C. the remnant was allowed to return as a slave group to their home country. From that time to 1947 A.D. the Jews were never again a free nation with a country. Then in 1947 A.D. the new Israel by physical force and intrigue took back what they claimed is their country or homeland, given to them by their God. But they fail to say that the same document which gives them the land takes it away once and for all because of infidelity.

December 26, 1981.
The sources of the OT teaching are the prophets. These men were primarily concerned with leaders and a people who were openly & deliberately failing in their ideals. Therefore the prophets spent most of their time condemning and rebuking. All of the writing is hindsight - what could have been. All of the OT is composed after the failure of the Kingdom has already begun. The last writers begin to look to the future. They talk positively of wisdom but develop their ideal by painting a dire picture of the opposite. This is a whole new insight on the OT for me and shows again how much Christ and his followers were different.

January 13, 1982.
“You are the salt of the earth.” is a favorite for succinctness, clarity and fulness of meaning. Few people fail to understand the importance of salt for seasoning. Salt is also used to preserve meats, to melt ice, to freeze water. So valuable was it that Roman soldiers were often paid in salt. Hence they got their “salary.”

Each individual is to be a seasoning of all the people & events. All the good qualities of each person are to be intermingled and yet keep individuality. Each person gives and receives. This will make the Christian or human society.

January 21, 1982.

Christ says, “I have come not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.” Success built on the detraction of others does not last long. With one sentence the whole of Christian thought is founded on a solidly positive outlook. The basic failure of mankind as shown right from the Adam & Eve story is to put the blame on someone else. This lets the guilty party avoid his own failures or do nothing about them. Christian thought is self-centered as a starting point. You must love yourself first or you have no value for others. And you must correct yourself first or improvements will never be well-grounded.

January 26, 1982.
What is the after-life? Or what will it be like after death? In 1st Corinthians 15, the whole chapter deals with resurrection and after life. One of the explicit questions is: what will it be like. Paul, or in this part of the letter, Luke answers: “We don’t know. Look at the seed put into the ground. Who could guess the plant or the tree or the flower or the fruit that would come from it?” I really like this answer. If the initial egg & sperm cell are able to contain all the genes that develop into me and my talents, I cannot see such a wise, orderly plan going “poof” into nothingness at the moment of death. I like the New Testament term for death - palingenesis - a rebirth. We start over from where we are at that moment of development to become a more complete or perfect being. The one difference is that it is no longer a period of testing but a period of fulness and arrival.

In 2 Timothy, Paul uses the 3 comparisons: the athlete who has played hard and is now recognized in the Hall of Fame; a soldier who has fought hard but now the battle is won; a farmer who has worked & toiled and now the harvest is gathered into the barn and he can enjoy the fruits of his labors. However, he starts to plan for next year.

February 7, 1982.
Biblical faith is merely the awareness of the wisdom garnered from life by people of all ages. In daily living this wisdom is tested, expanded, adapted, restated, and handed on. This kind of faith is a truly human asset and demands constant reassessment but it does not demand a lot of clever teachers. It needs only the people who live the faith they believe and hand on by example. It is not something added to life but is life itself and the personal reasons for living the way you do. Therefore “the just man lives by faith.”

February 8, 1982.
The notion of harvest and daily life is new to the Christian thought. The Old Testament outlook was always into the future. Some time the people would arrive. Some time the Messiah would come. Some time justice would be fulfilled. But Christ turned the point of emphasis. We are here. We have arrived. The actions of daily life are always to be the “harvest.” Harvest time was a lot of work but it was also a time of peace, joy, satisfaction and fulfillment. The fruits of the labor & expectation were rolling in. Today, if our life is lived in this fashion, the same sense of accomplishment & satisfied joy should be ours in the work and at the end of the day.

July 3, 1982.
Much advice of the prophets was geared to the electing of civil officials. The people of those days did not elect or vote. However, the prophets were continually talking about the qualities an official should have. I could write a “Guide to Voting from the Prophets.” There are solid guidelines for a voter in the ideals of the prophets.

January 1, 1983.
The prophets are counselors, legal advisers, public consultant, reformers. Isaiah comes in three packages. Isaiah I is an advisor to Kings and leaders. His primary concern is to describe “holy” in a practical way. Isaiah II is more of a counselor-reformer. He is one of the leaders and he wants to point out the full significance of authority and obedience. Isaiah III is a counselor-encourager. He sees the frustration of the small group and wants to stir up their goals and pep.

January 18, 1983.
The Christian ideal gives inner strength. The Bible describes people in flesh and blood circumstances of daily life. They faced the same choices we face. Sometimes they followed their ideals; sometimes they did not.

If the ideal of Christ, or the truly human ideal can be revitalized in any lives, it will make people happier and more productive in their world. This is the genius of a really human ideal. It builds for the good of the whole society of man but the building blocks are the individual worth of each person.

October 16, 1983.
This is the third time in history this move was initiated. The tribes of Israel tried it in the general rebellion of the slaves against the dehumanizing forces of Egyptian power. They expressed their ideals in the Mosaic code which was based on the dignity of the individual and the sense of individual responsibility and collective cooperation. The whole plan was summed up in the Qahal (Qahala), the gathering. These were small groups, never to exceed 20 adults.

The plan gradually evolved into a power structure and the same kind of enslavement they had run away from. Jesus rebelled against the structure by recalling the Qahal. In Greek, this is “ekklesia” and “koinonia” is the “gathering” and “sharing.” The plan or ideal was to establish the dignity and sharing of this with each other.

Gradually, the monolith called the Church became a power structure, working from the top that took the vitality and vigor out of the ideal.

December 29, 1984.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about the Bible and its teachings. I’ve gradually come to see evolution of fundamentalism as a consequence of the notion of inspiration. The first time there was an open admission that the Church as a whole did not control western society was in 1893 with the issuance of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum. This unleashed a whole wave of letters through Vatican II. The teachers in the church were given freedom to think clearly about all aspects of human life and its relation to Christian doctrine. Immediately the central authority began to fold & the stranglehold of the Papal domain began to relax. If John XXIII had lived and stayed in the front as he was in the first session of the Council, we would have a wholly new church - or rather, the church as it was in the first centuries without the persecution. But John died and his followers quickly closed the openings and returned to a tight fundamentalist approach. The truly aggressive teachers left. Some stayed and continued to do their bit and the rest formed communities and groups and talked.

The Christian ideal has an inherent power because it is human. If this power is allowed to develop inside human society, the sense of peace, creative productivity and sharing could be established.

July 1, 1985.
As I watched the hostages being brought to freedom, last night, I kept thinking of two notions that have been striking me so forcibly the last few weeks. The first is the fact that the Arab world felt they had been openly robbed by the Israeli movement in 1947. For centuries the Arabs had lived there in their nomadic way. Then Israel, with the backing of the U.S. and other powers, simply shoved the Arabs out and claimed the land for themselves.

The resentment of the Arabs smoldered until they are strong enough to strike back at everyone until they get their land back. Israel has developed the country so it is more desirable for the Arabs.

Secondly, the hatred that has kept the Jewish people united is strong. As long as this hatred is alive, I foresee wars and threats of wars. It’s true, they have been brutally treated because of their racial unity. Yet, their whole philosophy insists they must never become a living part of any nation in which they live. The U.S. is the only country where they have been fairly well integrated.

July 2, 1985.
I can remember when the Dutchman, Schillebeeckx, first broached the subject (of the Resurrection). It really shook the Catholic world of biblical scholars. Then Dominic Crossan picked up the question and pursued it here in the United States. It was the first time I saw Ahern and Murphy and McKenzie go quiet. They never once discussed the point in writing and refused the question orally. All three gave the same replies. They respected the scholarship and thoroughness of the two writers but unless they could present the whole question, they did not want to open the discussion.

In actual fact, it pulled the floor right out from under all organized apologetic courses and fundamental theology books. It put responsibility for action and decision back on each individual and restored the center of the Christian ethic. The organized church could never accept this and so discussion was stopped.

January 9, 1986.
In the late 30’s and early 40’s, the position of Halley’s Comet was a huge topic of discussion among Scripture men. They wanted to use it to date the birth of Christ from the star over the house in Palestine in those days. They figured it was Halley’s comet that appeared in 12 BC. of our calendar. Therefore Christ was born in 13-12 BC. This date also coincided with the miscalculations in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, Christ was born in 12 before Christ. (This was considered a tremendous joke in fundamentalist circles and a giant step forward in biblical groups.)

The other point was far better taken. The description of the end of the world in the Apocalyptic literature and in the Apocalypse of Matthew, c. 25, was taken from the descriptions and fears and superstitions about Halley’s Comet. The Comet had appeared in 64 AD. Matthew’s Gospel was in its final version about 100 AD.

February 23, 1986.
The notion of God gradually evolved. By the 7th century, Jeremiah saw that the notion of God had to be divorced from plurality and idolatry. Then the next century Ezechiel and the group called Isaiah II & III stressed the idea that God is really “spirit.” This was the real breakthrough and dividing point in theology. From the 5th century BC to the 3rd century AD there was a steady growth in the notion of God in spirit. Then the legalistic categories reestablished the personal alterity of God and all the other bilge developed. This totally emasculated the true notion of God and the developmental influence of the Christian ideal.


May 6, 1987.
I’m thrilled with the Zarim’s theory about the literary origins of the 1st eleven chapters of Genesis. I couldn’t count the number of theories I’ve read on those few lines of the Bible. Bea made the statement at a gathering of Biblical scholars: “If you can explain Gen 1-11, the rest of the Bible is easy. They are the foundation of the structure and the key to the puzzle.”

The Bible is a collection of short writings flowing from the Jewish culture in the face of other cultures through the centuries. The Bible is important because of the formational role it has played in western civilization.

June 27, 1987.
The basic message of the Gospel especially as modified by Luke is a good human ideal. He founds everything on the dignity of each person. This struck Luke forcibly because of his gentile background and the Greco-Roman world.

I don’t think Christ himself ever said anything except his plea for the poor Jews who were overrun by the Jewish and Roman leaders. Christ was a strong social reformer, highly gifted, totally dedicated, fearless in the face of inhumane structure. He died in the same martyr frame of mind as the Maccabee family in the century before. He had intense followers the same as they (Maccabees).

When the Romans took the ideas, they spread to all the Roman Empire. They rewrote the ideas in the legalistic structural framework of the Roman mentality and society.

July 6, 1987.
The Pax Romana of pagan Rome lasted as long as the Roman armies could keep the rest enslaved. It was the peace of distraction. The Peace of the “Holy” Roman Empire consisted of a series of wars and building of cathedrals. The peace of the post imperial period has been two World Wars.

July 23, 1987.
The Smithsonian film on Islam was informative. I was happy to hear the stress the Islamic teaching places on literacy. Ed Arbez traced this same picture for us at the beginning of Arabic class. In the 9th & 10th centuries the Islamic scholars saved the whole Greek tradition for the Western World in Arabic. The system of Arabic numeration replaced the cumbersome Roman numeration system. The stress on the constant renewal of the Koran to fit new circumstances is also a big plus.

You talked about faith and its strength. I think you have a lot of faith - not in a god you cannot see or some miraculous way of dispelling difficulty. You have faith in human capabilities but it is tempered by each person’s limits & efforts and by the cooperation of people who work in the same area.

It involves a struggle for each person of each new generation. We know from experience how necessary this is. If too much is given to a person, it is not appreciated and is soon gone or neglected.

As for life hereafter or some sort of continuance in being, I feel sure each person continues to enjoy what he/she has made self to be. I don’t know how because it is the next stage of life.

December 25, 1987.
Our celebration of Christmas was the essential meaning of the day. There was delight in sharing. The family sang together. There were the traditions and others picked up through the years

The notion of the Kingdom of God or the Reign of God as the establishing of the family of man is the thought that appeals most to me and is at the basis of biblical ideas.

The phrase “of God” in Greek is the epexegetic genitive. This means the Kingdom which is God. When John says in his first letter “God is spirit,” he is saying the same thing in a clearer fashion. God is as real and as powerful as the spirit of mankind established by the sense of family built up from the basic family unit at all times. It is universal in scope but always local in practice except for occasional large gatherings.

March 29, 1988.
Last night's program had a long treatment of the notion of evil in philosophy & theology. The question of an all-good God permitting the just to suffer all the evil unjustly never proved a stickler for me. I never saw God as all-good. The depiction of the deities by the pagans clearly had much evil even in their good gods. The Old Testament always presented Yahweh as a vengeful God if people did not follow his plan. The Apocalyptic tradition the 1st century BC gave us "Satan" or the "adversary." The Gospel writers developed this notion of God as Father and Satan as the rebelling angel. Theologians developed a demon to cover every possibility.

June 20, 1988.
The crudity and barbarity of the fertility rites appalled and disgusted me. The apocalyptic writers of the OT, starting with Ezechiel, began to write against them.

Then the synoptic gospels offered the various aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven as the counteraction. Finally by 125 AD the Joannine writer was able to take the analogies of Life and Death, seed, plant and fruit, death and renewal, and show how all of these were to be established in this life by the sincere respect and love the people had for each other, and shared in their community meals or family meals. I think the "ritual" as seen in John was every meal (evening) was to be an expression of "Koinonia" as the Passover had been for the Jews. The Christian life would then change death into life as Christ had done by his willingness to die for his ideals.

This, I think, is the essence of Christian ideals. It is a philosophy of life with no community larger than the local one, no ritual other than a family meal or a potluck supper, and no organization other than world about them. This would become "the eternal life" of John - the life that would last forever.

June 22-27, 1988.
The Bible is rife with contradiction and variations. No one tried to scrub up the original writings. Only the preachers and teachers later on tried to make a system of Semitic story.

July 4, 1988.
To Telos (Greek) means end in the sense of fulfillment or fulness. Matthew goes a step farther in his summary of the Gospel story in the last 3 verses of the Gospel (28/26-28). "Go forth: Make disciples (Amen) of all nations. Behold: I am in your midst until the ‘synteleia‘ (Greek word) of the world."

The Christians are not to be an isolated little people like the Jews. They are to go everywhere. They are not to live in ghettoes but to mingle with everyone and bring about "the perfect & harmonious working together of everything in the world." This perfect harmony is "I am" or the Divine Presence.

All this would be readily understandable to Matthew's readers: the Jewish Christians. It had to be explained and applied for John's Gentile followers. He called it "love eis telos" (cc.13-17)

November 13-14, 1988.
The basic ideas of the creation story is in Genesis 1-3. Out of the primeval chaos or mass was "fathered" a creature who was as weak as the "dust" around him. Yet he possessed "life." These creatures are to possess and govern the world around them by constant growth. They "possess" each other but this possession is "fleeting." Growth is a matter of testing and measuring up. There are no shortcuts and the major dangers to harmony will be deceit, anger and violence.

As the society progresses, 3 other men appear: Saul, David, Solomon. Progress must be made by a "request" from the group. This request must be based on "love." This love must be expressed in "Wisdom." This is an ideal picture of individual and community responsibility that did not reach fulfillment in OT.

November 28, 1988.
“Fiddler on the Roof” was certainly a play worth seeing. The playwright captured the essence of the Jewish struggle throughout their long history. Their ethnic strength lay in their strong attachment to tradition and the inner band of unity that this established. The man was the head of the household but the woman truly ran the household and controlled the thinking. The gradual merging with the Gentile population through marriages of the girls gave them contact with the other nations. Their business "savvy" and shrewdness gave them control of the purse strings. The persecution they endured gave them an inner strength that is still alive.


March 8, 1989.
I did a lot of thinking about the motion of “baseleia” or Kingship in the Bible. It is a verbal noun in Greek and means the action of "kinging" as in a checker game. It is not the defining of a set territory like "kingdom" in our English sense. The first time the idea is broached in 1050 B.C., Samuel gets extremely upset and then tells us what a king will do. His dire predictions are fulfilled and the people are wiped out.

Then Christ comes along and the people want him to be a king. The people still have the OT notion of king and kingdom. Christ then develops his idea in keeping with and developing further the ideas of the prophets and wise men of the OT.

The basic NT idea of kingship means that each person is made "personally responsible" for his or her own development and how this is to be carried out by oneself and in relation to others. The kingdom never ends because the person is continuously growing or developing.


March 16, 1989.
I had to take time out to verify a lot of texts from the Hebrew to the Greek to the English in OT, and from Greek to English in the NT. I want to verify each passage before I use it.

May 28, 1989.
The more we talk about the meaning, value and power of love the more I see the dynamic force of love as portrayed in the Gospel and how the notion was emasculated over the centuries. Love is an active giving, an active receiving, and a mutually active give and take from that initial exchange. As soon as either party takes the active exchange out of love, it loses its force. The Gospel story is bound up in the word "love" but it is a living responsible force.

January 25, 1990.
I see a lot of value in many of the ideas contained in the Bible. It is not because they are unique but because they are common heritage of human beings. The Bible is a work of authority to myriads of people and can serve as the structure on which to build

February 2, 1990.
I don't think the Gospel message and goals are any greater than the Hindu or Moslem. It's just that a huge segment of the world accepts the authority of the Gospel even though they don't understand or follow its implications and principles. Many are fundamentalists who mouth the words pietistically, bow their heads ceremoniously, shout Amen and then live as they "dam-well please." Others are reared in ritualist tradition as in the Catholic Church. If certain rituals are followed a heavenly reward is automatic.

I propose the basic message of the Gospel is personal responsibility expressed in continual growth as a better person. This responsibility is to be expressed in all circumstances of daily life.

February 19, 1990.
I really enjoy the study of sheep herding and sheep dogs and the shepherd. When I was working on the meaning of shepherd in the Biblical literatures years ago, I read a lot about this phase of sheep herding. The Palestinian picture, of course, had none of the finesse of these sheepdogs (on TV). Their flocks were usually about 30 sheep maximum. A teenage boy took care of them most of the time. They were more like individual pets than herd animals.

March 22, 1990.
The Joseph story in Genesis was the first break through in the re-interpretation of the Biblical story. Dibelius proposed that this whole story was a separate account written by the Priestly editors in the post-exilic period. It was all hindsight interpretation written in story form. The stories were fables to make a point: The disintegration of the kingdom was due to a basic inability to work together as found in all the tribal groups of the middle east.

May 17, 1990.
I have been working on this "Gospel" notion over the past couple of months. First, I keep mulling over the term itself. "I have good news (gospel) for you!" This was a term started by an educated teacher among the Jews, Isaiah III, about the 3rd century B.C. It was chosen clearly as a reaction to the Greek Wisdom of the pagan world. Luke, a non-Jew, brought it over into the Christian perspective. So the aspect of "good news" is always there.

Then each collection of stories and sayings develops one key aspect of the news. The Petrine (Mark) message stresses the vitality & dynamism of the story. The Pauline (Luke) points constantly to the justice or "wholeness" of the story. The Matthean picture is the orderliness of this Kingship. The Joanine picture brings every detail down to the effectiveness of true Love.

May 18, 1990.
Bultmann & Dibelius introduced the necessity of knowing "literary forms" in order to get the literal meaning of scripture. The Biblical writings expressed the realities of their time, place and people. They can be understood accurately only if the cultural background of the writers is understood.

In the first few generations, there was no problem. The writings were in their culture. Then the Roman mentality took over and the theologians began to impose their ideas into the foreign culture. The 'good news" was emasculated and the dogmatic structure was born. This gave rise to the hierarchy and the vitality of the gospel message was buried in terms and laws.

June 20, 1990.
The Article on the (Dead Sea) Scrolls was of interest. Skehan, Arbez and Hartman were saying in 1947 that it would be years before the scrolls were available to all scholars. They pushed for copies and we had the copies of the Isaiah scroll and the Battle between the Children of Light & Darkness already in 1948.

The article suggested the possible influence of the "Essene" group on Christian communities. It was well-established that there was a close tie-up between this group and the Joanine communities. The literary use of Light & Darkness in the Joanine writings would show this. The tradition about John as the favored disciple and his being put in charge of the women and Mary also point in this direction.

I can still hear Skehan telling about the scrolls. He stressed how many of the pieces were too small to be read with the naked eye, how little they were, and how much patience it took to fit two pieces together without forcing them.

June 27, 1990.
I see Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) has spoken for the Vatican again. They (teachers) are not to veer a smidgeon from the straight and narrow. This certainly fits the picture of the man who held forth in his pompous asininity years ago at Marquette (university). He (Ratzinger) proceeded to lambast and belittle American scholarship and orthodoxy. His audience went from full house to a dribble. They didn't even have the proposed dinner.

September 4, 1990.
The Gospel message is simple, universal, totally human, and leads to true cooperation if understood and taught.

September 11, 1990.
As I read the article on M.J. Lagrange and Alfred Loisy, I got a lot of perverse delight. Both men attacked the same teachings of the Church and theologians. Loisy was condemned and kicked out as a Modernist. M.J.L. built up the credibility of the L’Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, got control of all the archeological studies of the Biblical Lands, established the Revue Biblique as the only Catholic scholar’s Biblical magazine and established the only Biblical doctoral program.

I’m sure I read everything M.J ever wrote. The Revue Biblique started in 1920. We had every issue in Oc-oc. As a student I started at the beginning and read up to 1948. I translated many of the articles for other students and made notes on almost everything M.J. said. I used some of his ideas for my presentation in Fundamental Theology in the seminary.

M.J. taught opening that there is no biblical basis for papal infallibility - even though it was defined in 1870.

September 15, 1990.
The short title to each Biblical pericope is the key. I thought of one for the Parable of the Sower. It would be “ A Bumper Crop - Each Year of Your Life.” The Prodigal Son could be “I Want to Go Home!” Moses with Israelites at the rock in the desert - “I Don’t Believe It!” Noah hurrying the animals along - “Move Along - This Won’t Let Up for Days!”

September 17, 1990.
There is a basic message on human values in the Biblical story. It was conceived and written by ordinary people. It was intended for common people to establish peace, harmony, happiness and productivity.

September 19, 1990.
I finished writing on the Prodigal Son and the Parable of the Sower. They sound “good” but there is a certain “zing” that is missing. I puzzled over both pericopes and tried various re-hashings but I am still not satisfied. I ran paper copies of both and read them from the paper. Now, I’ll move on to other titles and come back to these later.

I don’t want the commentary to read like a homily or sermon. I don’t want it to sound “preachy.” I want it to have the zest of good news. When a person brings “news,” the listeners are automatically fired up and want to listen. If it’s “news,” they talk about it and hand it on to others.

September 20, 1990.
I finished 7 of the 8 parables in Matthew 13 yesterday. This chapter is one of the most important in Matthew’s presentation. It is the easiest to understand but many false ascetical ideas have been drawn from these 8 parables over the centuries.

September 30, 1990.
I have the biblical stories (commentaries) from Genesis complete. I wrote them in 3 sections. The first creation story is called “The Right of Eminent Domain.” The second creation story is entitled, “Happiness is a Reward, Not a Gift!” Finally, the “The Joseph Saga.”

The stories are refined to a good format but I have not added the final touch to any of them. I want each story to stand independently.

I have handled the Bible-Science controversy to my satisfaction. The Bible stories, following the Semitic mentality, always ask the question “Why do things happen?” They are not concerned with “how.” Science is concerned with “how.” There is no conflict between the two accounts. Bible and Science complement each other.

August 5, 1991.
You mentioned you wanted the abandonment of Christ included in my commentary on his life. There is certainly enough evidence for it in the Gospel stories. First of all, he never was accepted by the “powers” in Jerusalem. He was a common laborer from an obscure village in Galilee. He had never attended any of their schools. So he was on the “s___ lists” of those who claimed authority.

He challenged the leading parties of the day: Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees he told off publicly in the excoriating list of “Woes.” The Sadducees he drove out of the temple with a whip & dumped their money table on the floor.

His apostles - Judas, his treasurer, sold him out for the price of a slave. Peter, his leader, told everyone he had never heard of him. The other ten took off and ran. John, the teenager, came back on Calvary. At the foot of the cross were his mother, Magdalen and a teenager. On the Sunday before, the crowds couldn’t shout their approval loud enough. On Friday, the same crowds couldn’t cry their hatred loud enough. Many of them were the same crowd he fed in the desert. They were the sick he cured, the blind he gave sight.

Yes, he was abandoned and destroyed physically. But his message won out for a few years. Some of the people came back and followed his ideas and ideals for awhile. Then, at the instigation of the same Jewish leaders, Rome started a new persecution. In 313, with the Edit of Milan, the persecutions were over for a few years until the structure of the church took over.

October 25 1991.
I really enjoyed the Fiddler on the Roof as a story filled with deep feeling. Some of the scenes really get to me even though I have seen them repeatedly. Part of the appeal of the story is that it is so true to the development of the Jewish mentality from the very start in Egypt. When they are being persecuted they pulled together and salvaged a life from the wreckage. When they are at peace with the world, they cut each other. They have an intense family loyalty and yet they can sever all ties and never relent.

February 7, 1992.
You asked, last night, what is the Christian message. The origin of the ideals is in the Gospels and New Testament. However, they were written for the first century and early second century. They were to be adapted to the life and culture of each place. But the militaristic regimen of the Roman Empire was adopted by the Church in an absolute way with the Council of Nicea in 326 A.D. The Apostles Creed was substituted for the Gospels, and Canon Law took over. The structure of the church was like a dome that sealed in and imprisoned the dynamism of the Gospel.

April 29, 1992.
I’ve thought of more people since the TV program on the Scrolls. Schiffman was moaning because Jewish scholars were excluded from the studies and the scrolls were divided among non-Jewish scholars and taken out of the country. That is certainly an imperfect, short-sighted picture of reality.

First of all, Sukenik made no decisions on his own but went immediately to the L’Ecole Biblique to ask M.J. LaGrange and Roland DeVaux for their opinions and advice. The “Jewish scholars” were the Rabbis of the time and they were much like the Rabbi in “Fiddler on the Roof.” They could read Hebrew words and then spout Talmudic or Mishnaic applications. These men were not equipped for the grueling work that was involved (scrolls).

Pat Skehan, Roland Murphy and Ed Arbez went over for a summer. Pat felt it was much more important for him to keep the Semitics dept at Catholic U alive. Arbez could not stand the political intrigue between the OP’s and SJ’s. That’s why he left Jerusalem in the first place. Murphy got his SSL and came back to keep the CBQ afloat. The Revue Biblique and the Biblican kept us in monthly touch with all developments.

As they continue to study the Scrolls, I predict that there will be closer and closer ties established between the Joanine Christians and the Essences or Hasidim. The basic point is “Light and Darkness.”

July 27, 1992.
The basic ideals and goals (Bible) are tremendous. The Christian goal was to live in the midst of the world and gradually to change the human race into the true family of mankind through harmony, peace and love. There was to be no added structure imposed on society. By 313 AD, the Christians had succeeded and the Roman Emperor joined them. Then started the ossifying structure that destroyed the living dynamism of the people. Ritualism, liturgy and legalism took over.

September 10, 1992.
Creation story is a topic that should be discussed because of all the flack about evolution and creationism. The Biblical writer did not even consider the question as to “how” the world came to be. Their concern was “why.”

The key word is “Bara,” which means simply “he begot a son.” The existence of the universe is the evidence of the fatherhood of God which founds the brotherhood of men. As one writer said, God gave us grain but not flour, He gave us fruit but not pies. Everything is here for people to use in order to enjoy.

September 11, 1992.
The topic that has snagged my interest is the opening of Genesis and the opening of John's Gospel. Comparisons between the two pericopes abound. However, many of them presuppose production from nothing as the main point of Genesis and the Divinity of Christ as the principal point of John. Once these presuppositions are in place everything is twisted and turned to fit the ideas.

In reality, the Genesis account explicitly teaches one point: the way in which the human family was supposed to manifest the fatherhood of God in the world about. The family failed often.

Finally, Christ comes along and the Word or Plan of the Father is expressed. Hence in the life of Christ and those who lived his ideals, we could finally see the purpose of the universe. The role of Christ's followers was to make the plan of the Father a reality and establish the "Spirit of Christ” in the world.

October 28, 1992.
There is strong evidence that the author of Song of Songs is a woman and probably was one of the foreign wives of Solomon.

The author mentions all the controversy through the ages about this book. There was a battle royal at Trent because many Bishops thought it was lewd and salacious. The monks were never to read the Bible. Alphonsus (founder of Redemptorists) was opposed to this prudishness.

November 16, 1992.
A prophet was a person who used hindsight to get insight to produce foresight. He looked at the past and saw the pattern of events. He looked at the present and saw what was happening. Then he concluded from the principles of cause and effect that this would be the course of the future. Matthew presents the “fulfillment” in the same order. He sees what is happening in the life of Christ. He looks back a sees what was foretold.” He concludes “This is what we were waiting for!”

December 12, 1992.
Paul had some physical basis for his dyspeptic behavior. In Acts we get a description of Barnabas and Paul together. Barnabas was called Zeus and Paul was called Hermes. Zeus was the Greek for Jupiter or Jove, the leader of the gods. He was pictured as a large, well-muscled, slow-moving, deep-voiced person. Hermes, on the other hand, was the Latin Mercury, the messenger of the gods. He was short, wiry, speedy, tenor-voiced, spoke in clipped tones and brooked no delay or interference. That tells us a lot about Paul’s temperament.

Paul had a chronic sickness which knocked him flat for a day or two regularly. Luke was his personal physician. Barny Ahern said the descriptions sounded like stomach ulcers to him. Ireneus talked about it a few times but he clearly did not like Paul’s approach to life.

March 16, 1993.
Last night’s classes were really interesting. I summed up the Judaic philosophy of life by reading several of the Proverbs. Then I gave a summary of the development of the New Testament and explained the Beatitudes and Parables of the Kingdom in Matthew 5 & 13. Finally, I concluded from the 5 key ideas in the Last Supper talk of John 13-17. The reaction was great. Everyone just sat there when I said class was finished. Then there was almost an outburst of talking. One of the ladies said, “It really makes sense when you get the right translation and know where it came from.”

July 18, 1993.
The most important point that needs discussion is the word “faith” or “belief.” These two words are a transliteration of the Hebrew (word written in Hebrew) - which is used often in Old Testament from the time of Isaiah (8th C. BC.) and all thru the New Testament as (word on Greek). The word means: I understand, I am convinced, I am committed, therefore I will act accordingly. If anyone of these steps is omitted, it is not the Faith that the prophets and Christ called for to change the world.

August 23, 1993.
The ideas about the equality of women in ancient Judaism and the early days of the Church are not new. The interpretation of the Bible with male dominance actually does not start until Augustine at the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century. His influence, with his twisted ideas in several areas, runs through the whole doctrine of the Western or Roman church. In fact, until Albert the Great came along in the 12th century and Thomas in the 13th, no one dared to go against Augustine opinions, real or imaginary.

However, the idea that women will be able to reverse this male dominance in the Roman structure seems almost impossible to me. If they had the equivalent of a Jesus Christ who was willing to throw the whole structure over board, they might gain a hearing. However, the ecclesiastical courts will never buy the change and the civil courts are out of their jurisdiction.

My suggestion would be to start their own Church and work from scratch. I proposed this separation years ago to major superiors of nuns with regard to Cardinal Protectors. Some did it with success.

August 31, 1993.
The new attempt at peace in the Middle-East is making the headlines today. They are trying to offset 33 centuries of antagonism, enmity, greed and brutality carried out in the name of God and religion. Since Yahweh was on their side and was all-powerful, they had a “right” to take over the land, property and possessions of the natives and destroy the native civilization to establish their own.

Later on, the Roman Catholic structure sent its armies into the same areas to offset the trouble in Europe and to pick up land and coins for the Vatican treasury. Yet, the Judeo-Christian faith is supposed to be rooted in love of the neighbor, doing good to the enemy and helping those who hate you. The Good Samaritan would be laughed out of town, today in many a Judeo-Christian setting.

September 17, 1993.
The basic word for church in the basic Judeo-Christian writings is “gehal,” “gehala,” and its Greek equilvalent, “ecclesia.” The meaning of all three is the same. It is an action word meaning “The Gathering.” The emphasis was always on the “getting together,” the active deliberate choice of “gathering.” It would be exactly like the family reunion we just attended. A date is decided, the calls and invitations go out, everyone reserves the date and all the people “gather.” That is “gehal” or “ekklesia.”

When all are gathered, they have the “Koinonia” or ‘sharing.” They share their company, their conversation, their food and drink, and go away enriched and ready for life again. This meaning was attached particularly to the one cup of wine at the “Seder” because of its historical significance. This cup shared was designated as the living symbol of Christ.

December 26, 1993.
Our popular account of Christmas is a mixture of the Gospel stories.

February 4, 1994.
(Phil was asked for biblical information on divorce). I have the main ideas and connecting summaries but I still don’t have the full picture. I have to show the gradual growth of the notion of marriage, its breakdown in the last centuries of the OT times because of “porneia.” Then we have the restatement of the ideal in the NT and the explicit wording that this is a return to the pristine ideal. Mark and Luke make no exception. However, Paul explicitly states that the ideal is to be sought only if both parties get along. He is talking of a marriage - one pagan and one Christian. Paul’s exception is in vogue before the Gospels and Paul says it is his adaptation. Then Matthew says the marriage bond holds except for “porneia.” He states it twice. So the ideal stands but exceptions are possible and needed. These adaptations are made now because of the needs of the times.

February 15, 1994.
Jealousy and envy are the ever-present bases for disunity and are present from the beginning - Cain & Abel.

March 8, 1994.
Last night in class, I described the actual physical size of the Promised Land. This always stuns students and they can’t imagine why it would be of importance until I describe the Roman Road system from Rome to Egypt by a land route. This system was well defined long before Abraham ever arrived.

March 12, 1994.
The first Christians are all convert Jews. The “old Testament” was the only revelation they knew. Once they accepted Jesus as the Messiah, they went back into “Old Testament” ideas to see how he fulfilled them. Paul does the first writing and is long gone before a gospel is written. Paul is a “ranting visionary” and says explicitly his ideas are from his “vision,” not physical contact.

March 28, 1994.
Ordinarily, I did not spend time (in class) on Mark when I was teaching the Gospels because almost all of his material is found in Matthew & Luke. I now see that this shortchanges the whole picture. Mark is closest to the form of the Kerygma or initial profession of faith made by the early converts. It is evidence of the oral tradition as handed on by the community in Rome and derives from Peter.

April 2, 1994.
Mark’s Gospel originally ended with the empty tomb, the visit of the three women, and their fear. They told no one. Nothing is said about any appearances of the Risen Christ. Then later on, the last paragraph is added with a quick summary of the three appearances.

Secondly, the synoptics clearly present the whole public life of Christ as covering one year, no more. John seems to stretch the events over two or three years.

Jesus was a simple artisan who worked in wood or stone. He was a deep thinker and a leader by temperament. He was a nobody from Nazareth in the eyes of the leaders in Jerusalem. He went about talking his ideas and quickly had a following so he picked out some helpers, the 12, and started to work the crowds. He went to Jerusalem to get recognition but his temper flared in the Temple, and the leaders decided this was one more fanatic who had to be silenced by death. Jesus did not flee because he was convinced of his ideas and work, and figured they would go on even better after his death.

However, as the sufferings and death unfolded, his courage hit bottom a few times and he expressed his fears. He died. He became a hero. His work went on.

Did he truly “rise” from the dead or are the various apparitions simply the discovery of his true meaning and value by his followers? This is a dilemma that has not been resolved.

April 7, 1994.
Last night’s class really sparked alive. We had come to the end of Luke’s presentation of the final days of Christ and his presentation of the final picture of mankind and the world.

Christ teaches the key notion that the world must come to its “telos.” This means “end” in the sense of “completion.” As in Genesis, the picture is a place of harmony, peace and creativity through the governance and use of mankind. When mankind establishes the universe in this perfection, then all people will share according to the degree they have developed themselves in this lifetime.

April 12, 1994.
Acts is an account of those first days up to about 64 AD.

April 13, 1994.
The Gospel according to Matthew gives the most developed and lengthy explanation of the relation between the Old and New Testament. It was the most commonly used by the early theologians and the most refused and detested by the Jews. If the Jews accepted Matthew, there was no longer any reason for their existence as a separate people. The Messiah had come and they had to get in line or be reaching for nothing. When the first generation Christians moved their headquarters from Jerusalem to Rome, the principal cause for antagonism was gone. So the Jews followed them to Rome and stirred up enmity between Christians and Rome - and got Rome off the Jews’ back. The spirit of “community” became the spirit of enmity and hatred and has continued on both sides for 20 centuries.

April 14, 1994.
It was interesting to read the questions the students would ask Christ if they could talk to him in person. Most questions can be answered from what has been said by him or about him in the New Testament. The others will have to wait for the personal meeting.

April 24, 1994.
The Bible remains a book of mystery through ignorance. I want to show its importance not as a Book of “Faith” but a testimony of basic human values and principles.

May 19, 1994.
I looked up the background on the ideas of a female God which the group of women were crying for. J.L. McKenzie has some good points in the Jerome Biblical Commentary. He wrote the essay on the Names of God in the Bible.

The points at issue in the women's conference were not really derived from the Bible. Their objections were due rather to the male-dominated church and society in Christian times. The Old Testament pictures gave great importance to women all the way through the story from Eve to the Mother of the Maccabees.

May 31, 1994.
The anomaly of the situation is absurd. Only women can give birth to a baby but the men baptize them. Women have always prepared most of the meals in the home but they cannot prepare or present the liturgical meal. Mothers have always been the confidants of their children but they can't preside at a Christian Bar Mitzvah-confirmation. Mothers have listened to and counseled their children in problems but only the male ear can hear confessions. The majority of those who care for the sick are women but they can't do the ritual for the sick and dying. Marriage is not a marriage unless the woman formally consents.

So what does (Holy) Orders mean except a fear that someone will show up the emptiness of the vaunted (male) supremacy.

June 1, 1994.
To get back to the dignity of women in the life of Christ, J.L.. (McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible) points out that the NT does not present revolutionary teaching but the example of Christ is very instructive. His parables feature women that are out of harmony with the times. He performs miracles for women just as for men: Peter's mother-in-law, daughter of Jairus, women with hemorrhage, woman of Syria, woman with deformed back, widow of Naim. He accepts the anointing by a woman and defends her publicly against criticism. The women were the first to meet him after the resurrection. He had a close relationship with Martha and Mary. There are other examples but these show how openly and clearly Christ went against the Roman and Greek ideas of the times.

July 3, 1994.
I want to outline the Biblical approach to the origins of all things. The biblical writers were not even concerned about how things came to be. They knew all things came from God and were dependent on Him. The question was what is man's role in this picture and how can they carry out this role harmoniously and responsibly.

By wasting our time and discussion on creationism, we avoid the important questions of bringing the world to serve its true purpose.

August 6, 1994.
Yesterday, I outlined the ideas on the Biblical notions of Peace. Shalom, and its equivalent spellings in all the Semitic languages, is a central word. In fact, the initial greeting in all these languages is called the Salaam. The exchange of the Pax in the Church liturgy was always supposed to be a highlight of every ceremony

The Biblical notion of Peace is the sum total of all that is good for a person physically, spiritually, mentally and morally. People were not only supposed to wish peace to each other but to work to make it happen.

The old Romans talked about the Pax Romana. This, however, meant cessation of war because no one was able to stand up against the Roman Legions. Gradually the church took over this notion and the full meaning of peace was shunted aside.

August 17, 1994.
The two OT prophets from 520-515 BC were Hagai and Zechariah. The remnant had arrived in Jerusalem in 538 BC with the destruction. None of these people had been there and they had heard only the tales of glory while in captivity. Now they saw the reality and sat on their hands.

Finally, in 520 B.C, Hagai started to push them to action. He knew that temple had to be rebuilt as a symbol of hope. He talked for 5 years and in 515 B.C. the temple was up. It was a far cry from the glory of Solomon's Temple but the prophet told them not to worry. A person greater than Solomon would enter their temple. What he meant, no one knows. Later on, when Jesus entered this temple, the saying was applied to him as a prophecy.

The conversion of the Remnant was short-lived. They were soon marrying the pagans and joining the cults. In fact, apart from a few spurts of conversion, the religious history of the Jews was downgraded right to the taking over by the Romans in 70 B.C. and the final destruction in 70 A.D.

October 12, 1994.
As I was working on Matthew, I saw how political the opposition of the Jewish leaders really was. Christ was campaigning for what he considered the true and basic meaning of the Law and morality. He did not belong to any of the three ruling groups: Pharisees, Scribes or Sadducees. He did not even come from Jerusalem and was an itinerant campaigner. He had a real sway with the "crowds" and he did them lots of physical favors by way of healing and feeding.

The Jewish leaders tried first to stop Jesus by ridicule, legalistic criticism, and "hounding." They attacked his followers but the followers were smart enough to let Christ do the talking. Christ did not stay in town overnight and did not camp in the same place all the time. When they finally caught Christ, it was because he deliberately walked into their hands. It was time to back his talk with action. He deliberately chose the time of his death.

October 20, 1994.
The Pope is shown with a book entitled “Traceat Muilier in Ecclesia “ - “The Woman is to Shut Up in the Church.“ The fact that this is a direct quote from Paul only (not Christ), who applied it to a specific group in Corinth, concerning only one issue, is not mentioned. The Pope is presenting it as “Apostolic Tradition.” The fact that Hebrew and Greek word and “Ecclesia” (church) refers only to the one idea of “gathering” or “getting together” is not mentioned. The structure of the “church” is modeled on the Caesars and pagan Rome.

November 7, 1994.
We talked about good & evil. The notion of good is whatever is fitting or pleasing. This has been the notion of good in every philosophy and civilization. The only difference has been in the people to whom it applies. All societies had their two basic groups - whatever they were called - masters and slaves, rich & poor, rulers and ruled. Only the upper class had rights to anything. The rest of the people were mere chattel or property. Hence good was defined by what was pleasing or fitting for the upper class.

This was the basic change made by Christian teaching. Everyone, all people, had equal rights. In the beginning, most of the Christians were from the "under" class so they lived this universal standard. Then some of the upper crust converted and the old class system returned. The official teaching has never changed on the books.

The notion of love is another aspect of this same principle. The basic rule is Love Yourself - share your love with others. This mutual love will be the expression of love of God. As Jesus says: "That's it! You don't need any other commandments if this love is established."

November 21, 1994.
We talked about Christ, last night. The more I hear you describe some of your gifted students, the more I think this is a good description of Christ. At the age of 12 in the Temple, he had to take the standard test to see what he had learned at home and in the synagogue. He answered the questions and then asked questions of his own. The adults were amazed at the questions and his proposed answers. How often your gifted students do the same.

Jesus started out on his own and continued to talk about his ideas. He decided something should be done about the way the Torah was being taught by the leaders of the Jews. He started an itinerant teaching job, which was quite a common practice at the time. His basic ideas developed and he got a group of followers as they all did. His followers continued to grow until it became a nuisance to the leaders and Jesus was stopped. But the followers were convinced and carried on his ideas. Many groups developed but four main groups stayed alive and what we have comes from them. (four gospels)

November 24-25, 1994.
I have thought a lot about who Jesus Christ was and what he was like personality-wise. He was an ordinary artisan, probably working in wood, in a tiny northern village of Palestine, with Roman soldiers patrolling everywhere. He was a sharp kid and filled with questions about the Torah and good at spouting these questions. He moved over to the Lake area and developed quite a following of people who liked his kindly ways and his ideas. He was on a collision course with the leaders of the Jews because he was rocking their boat. He avoided their clutches until this became a nightmare. Then he began to brazen out their opposition even though he knew it would mean his death ultimately. He chose to die for his principles rather than lead a life of running and hiding

I'm not sure what to hold about the Resurrection. The first Christians saw the value of his message and began to live by it. The notion of Christian sharing quickly caught on and the Gospel picture of Christ and his teachings is given us from the way it had developed in certain area from 70-125 AD.

The persecutions by the Romans insured the vitality of the first groups and their independence. When Constantine converted in 313 AD, he brought along the structure of Rome and the official religion status. In short order, the vitality and adaptability of the "Way of Life" was swallowed up in Laws, Hierarchy and rituals.

November 26, 1994.
The four Gospel pictures are the "belief" stories developed by 4 different groups. There were many others but these four gradually received acceptance. They approach this person, Jesus, from 4 different viewpoints. The Matthew picture is "kingship" and how the true Kingdom of Happiness can be established if the ideals of Jesus are followed. Mark shows how Peter approaches these same ideas in Rome. Rome revered power so Mark's picture has the minimum of teachings and the pictures of Jesus in his power to help others. Luke is far more of a writer. He picked up a vision from the teaching of Paul. Luke weeded out all the brash words and anger of Paul and presented the picture of "salvation," i.e. what it takes to establish a "healthy human society." John was overwhelmed by the "plan" of the whole picture from the starting point in Genesis to the end in their work. This "plan" was simply God speaking the Word of God through the ages until it reached fulness in the commandment of love in Jesus. Now the fulness could come if people would cooperate.

December 12, 1994.
John opens the public life of Jesus in Jerusalem with the clearing of the Temple. John's account shows the personality of Jesus best. Jesus is a man who likes to think out loud, ask questions, pose answers. He has a quick and hot temper and publicly attacks the leaders verbally and physically. When he thinks he has established his ideas well enough, he is willing to die for them and does so.

December 21, 1994.
In a concordance all 4 gospels are mangled. The gospels are four individual independent accounts of the way in which the life of the first Christians was seen as "Good News" in the Roman world.

The gospels took their name from their origins. Mark is written by the followers of Peter. They saw how powerful the plan of Jesus was in the face of slavery, idolatry, lust and all the other corruption of Rome. Luke was with Paul and came to the Gospel from the pagan world. Luke was an educated man, worked with the sick and ailing, and saw what a "saved society" could be and do. His special genius was to extend this Good News to all people and especially the role of women. The people following Matthew saw the fidelity of God to his plan and were looking for evidence of fulfillment of previous promises. The followers of John were into their 5th generation Christians before they recorded their summary. Their insight was the most complete. The writers were clearly literary scholars and used their abilities to present the Good News.

Mutual love is the basic aspect of the Good News in John. It is presented in a strong intellectual way that can appeal to everyone.

I think it is a good idea to study the same incident in the various gospel stories. However, the purpose would be to see the varied touch of the artists, not to push them together

December 22, 1994.
The true message of John’s Gospel is the basic human values we need. It is the only message that escapes fatalism. I refuse to become a doomsday seer. There's good in the world and it's up to us to bring it out.

January 8, 1995.
I have thought more and more of the mental processes or steps by which Jesus arrived at his ideas and convictions expressed in the Gospels. Each of the Gospel stories is a description from a different aspect. He was a gifted person, with intense reactions to people and events around him. Matthew presents everything referencing the OT. Luke sees it all from the viewpoint of salvation. John is interested primarily in the source or creation. Mark sees it all as power.

January 10, 1995.
Luke's account of childhood leads into his adult life. Luke was the only writer coming at this whole picture from non-slanted viewpoint. He was well-educated. He would know all the vagaries of the Roman and Greek idolatry. He learned about Judaism from Paul. He saw the Christian ideal as the answer to the problems of the times.

No Gospel stories present Christ as a quitter. He confronts the leaders and their false ideas. We are told several times that he hid or left to avoid being taken. Finally, Christ decided he had to end his life where his talking was, and he went on public trial.

January 11, 1995.
The notion that Christ willingly went into circumstances that meant his death is true. Jesus was convinced he could not establish his ideas and convictions to the world until he faced the leaders of the Jews publicly. Such confrontation was legitimate in the Law but the leaders saw Christ as too much of a threat because of his popularity.

January 14, 1995.
I've imagined Luke to be quite a gentle person, with a wealth of patience and approachableness second to none. I think this was the reason he could be with Paul for so long, watch his self-centered flares of temper, and edit his mean, blistering letters.

We had a long discussion at a Biblical meeting on the personality of Christ. There were about 15 of us sitting around. Roland Murphy brought up the question. He ignored the whole theological question about the 2nd person of the Trinity. He was just interested in how Jesus appeared to people. We finally decided it would depend on which Gospel writer was talking. Luke draws a word picture that is much like his own personality.

January 18, 1995.
I thought of a better title for the topic I have worked out: "Who Did Jesus Christ Think He Was?" He saw himself as the fulness of all these various people because he learned from each and imitated each of them. The Gospel picture is not so much who people thought Jesus was but who he thought he was.

January 19-20 1995.
As I go through all the great characters of the OT, I see that each has some special story about his origin and the special intervention of God. The more I think about this, the more I am sure it is an attempt to give each patriarch a special relationship to God from the start without making the person "divine" as the myths of idolatry made their heroes. So when the story of Jesus is told after a few generations, the same process is repeated in Luke, Matthew and John. He is specially related to God but not divine.

January 22, 1995.
I have the texts on forgiveness from Old and New Testament lined up and a commentary on each. I decided to rearrange the text according to ideas rather than chronologically. I'll start with a note about the gradual unfolding of the idea from BC and AD.

Sometimes it is easy to see the balance between justice and mercy or punishment and forgiveness. At other times, this decision is far more difficult. I believe the rights of everyone have to be presented and judged, not just the rights of the evildoer or criminal. Punishment should not become revenge but the feelings and rights of the injured party have to get full consideration. It is clearly a thorny problem and the biblical picture will be one viewpoint.

January 23, 1995.
As I worked on Luke, I was struck by the number of times Jesus asks who people think he is. Jesus had an identity crisis throughout his lifetime. He had a completely different picture of the role of the Messiah than did the teachers and leaders of the times. He saw at the age of 12 that his ideas were new but acceptable to the teachers in some sense. He saw how eagerly the crowds flocked to him but he knew it would not last under any stress. He had given the apostles special instruction and they missed the point constantly. Luke stressed that before every important decision he spent the whole night alone going over the pros and cons in his mind.

The fact that there were over 100 Messiahs who had popped up the previous few years didn't help the picture. He knew from the experience of others how fast he would be deserted.

January 25, 1995.
Luke's description of Agony in the Garden is the most graphic because he wants to bring out the major internal struggle of Jesus throughout his whole life.

As a young boy, he received a thorough and clear picture of what the term "chosen People" really entails. He did not meet the legalistic, shallow approach until his Bar Mitzvah in the Temple. He was accepted as a brilliant kid by the leaders but he saw how asinine their teachers were. He felt an unshakeable urge to teach the true meaning of the covenant. Gradually, the idea of his own New Covenant and new "Qoheleth" - church - took shape. But he saw that this would mean total rejection and death. He fought this internal battle all his life. He felt he had to express his ideas and he wanted nothing of the pain and suffering.

The issues came to a head. He ran away several times. Then the last night, he fought it to a standstill. He decided "I have to do what I know is right regardless of consequences." Then the struggle was over and he said "Let's go!"

February 4, 1995.
The topic is Spring. We used to cut the potatoes (an eye in each piece) and then plant them. The new plant came up, bloomed and in June we started digging new potatoes. Very often the little piece of potato would be clinging to the roots, all dried up. But there would be 8 or 10 nice new potatoes.

Jesus used this very example for the meaning of death. If the seed doesn't die, it remains alone. If it dies it bring forth a whole new crop. So death is the stepping stone to new life. What is it like? Christ risen gives some answers. Mary Magdalen looked right at him and didn't recognize him till he spoke. Then he would suddenly appear and disappear. His goal in life was to bring this world to "completion."

How do we do it? He emphasized "Koinonia" or "sharing." Once we established human sharing, we'll stop stupid useless wars, fights and destruction. Cooperation will bring total completion..

February 8, 1995.
I finally figured out the answer to a major question that has stumped me for years. When Jesus was here working the crowds, he did a lot of miracles. In the first days of the Church, the Apostles were in on the miracle regime. Then this power stopped. Why?

I think John tells us. He calls the miracles "signs." That is, these extraordinary deed were "signs" of what we as followers and by "sharing" were to do in our world. We were to care for the sick, help the poor and needy, educate the people, etc. Jesus did all these things by miracles in order to get the show started and point the way. Now we do the same thing by ordinary cooperation.

Hospitals, nurses, doctors, medical personnel, restaurants, grocery stores, clothing marts, - all these businesses and institutions are the fulfillment of the ideal if they operate on fair and just principles. Over and above this, some works of almsgiving are needed. It makes sense.

February 15, 1995.
The Pax Romana was in vogue at the time. To the Romans, the word Peace meant only cessation from war because all other nations were too weak to face the Roman might. Luke is completely taken with the Biblical notion of Shalom and is developing (it). John has it summarized in one statement of Christ at the Last Supper (14:27).

February 17, 1995.
Matthew and John are in the form of a treatise. There is a definite theme stated in the beginning and it flows through to the end. Luke's Gospel is tidbits strung together. Each one is a unit by itself. I think that is why we have about five major themes listed for Luke. It also comes from an earlier date.

The other deeper reason is that Luke is attempting to summarize the picture as preached by Paul. As we can see from the Letters, Paul was all over the map ideologically and geographically.

February 18, 1995.
As I came to the end of Luke lots of pieces fell into place. First of all, Luke had developed the 2nd Adam theme of Paul in Romans. The first Adam was a lump of clay who received a breath from God and became a living being. The second Adam officially began his career at the Baptism when he received the "holy Breath" from the Father. With this breath, Jesus became his special "Son" as the Chosen People were supposed to have been, and as David and the Kings were supposed to have been.

Then Jesus has the Apostles wait in the Upper Room until they receive the Holy Breath which we can send only after atoning for the death penalty of the first Adam. This he did by rising from the dead and ascending to the Father. The role of the Christians is to share (Koinonia) this Holy Breath, the new creation, and spread it to the world. The church is the Qahel, the gathering of each little group to strengthen each other for every job, emergency problem or sorrow.

February 22, 1995.
Up until the 10th century BC, we have no "Bible writings." Then the oldest writers start and talk about "elohim," "the gods" or "the dieties." - exactly as the people around them did. Then throughout the rest of the OT writings, the major question was "Who is God?" Each teacher or writer had a new or variant idea. The latest idea or notion was that of "Father." That is where Jesus and the NT begin.

Then the emphasis shifts from God to people. Jesus is concerned about how and why people should live together in peace, harmony and lead productive lives.

February 23, 1995.
What we have about God is the thinking of people down through the centuries. The non-biblical picture was quite engrossed in the gods of the fertility cults and the practices that resulted. The Greek and Roman gods were the product of a "war mentality" and "world-conqueror attitude." The Biblical picture came from the need for a moral life and basic reason for an honest, just and fair society.

The Israelites did not follow the guidelines of the teachers most of the time but there were new teachers for each generation who were convinced and developed the ideas and principles farther. Jesus was just one more in this line of teachers with the distinction of developing the picture more in detail.

February 27, 1995.
I have been writing the picture of God as depicted in each of the books of the OT. The didactic literature are the most satisfactory for the quest. We are down in the post-exilic times into the Greek period. The question of a true balance between the justice and holiness of God and the suffering of people is a very urgent quest. None of the writers came up with a complete answer and none was satisfied.

The New Testament picks up the same questions. Christ and the first teachers stress that true "koinonia" or "full sharing" among all people is the only possible answer. This sharing takes effort at all times, and it only takes one person to spoil it in any group.

This is why the communal meal among a small group of friends was to be the principal source and sign of the sharing. A few outsiders were to be invited into the meal but the group was to be small enough for everyone to know each other. The ideal is there. It is expressed in the summary of how to pray, the Our Father, and the guidelines of action, the ten Commandments.

March 3, 1995.
The OT finally arrives at the notion of God as eternal and universal Father. The New Testament picks up this quality. If God is Father than all mankind is the family of the Father. The universal brotherhood of all people is in the Fatherhood of God. The teachings of the New Testament develop what this brotherhood has to be and how it is to be accomplished.
Now I can finish writing "Who Is God?" I like what has developed.
(Editor’s Note: "Who is God” monograph is on this website.)

March 14, 1995.
The more I read and study the writings of St. Paul, the more I am sure Luke had an editorial hand in all of them. Luke's Gospel stresses the place of women and their equality to counter the attitudes of Paul. There is no doubt Paul is a misogynist and the structured church took all his ideas and incorporated them into laws, especially in the 1918 Code.

March 21, 1995.
We know the Infancy Gospel (Luke) was not part of the original Kerygma as is seen from the Didicahe and Mark's Gospel. These were written as introductions toward the end of the last century. Hence all these scenes of magic, annunciation, birth and shepherd and Angels would be literary creations to give an intro to the whole story. That would also explain why these scenes do not become important in Art until the time of Francis of Assisi and later.

March 22, 1995.
You said you had not heard the theories about the early or introductory parts of the Luke’s Gospel. This was the first part of the Gospel story questioned as historical accuracy. These were being challenged when I first entered the field in Oc-oc in 1943. George Corbett presented a very good summary in Apologetics and was immediately challenged by Boucher, the scripture prof. George talked it over with John Zeller who was still alive and in Oc-oc. He came to class and gave a tremendous presentation.

Our oldest documents, Didache, Apostolic Kerygma, and Apostolic fathers, do not comment on these parts of the Gospel. Mark has introductory stories but starts right off with John Baptist preaching and baptizing.

As the Gospels according to Luke and Matthew were edited, the community or writers seemed to think an intro was necessary. So Matthew tells stories about kings and wisdom. Luke stresses stories of shepherd, angels and the importance of Mary as an educator and source of the ideas. John tells his story in relation to the whole creative plan and parallels the creative Word.

Once we realized the difference between western and Semitic history, this all made sense. The Apostolic Patres would be the only witness of the value from ancient times and they are not concerned with the question.

March 23, 1995.
I realized that we have harmed the picture of Christ as a real man by talking about "prophecy." He talked about his suffering and death often because he was worried about it. He knew exactly what it would entail because he knew how much he antagonized the leaders, how much they hated him, and how the Romans put people to death. The voice talking from the sky is simply a way of saying he is the new Moses. The dove is saying he is the new Noah. The Son of Man is the hero of Daniel. The Son of God is the King of Israel. These are not presented as prophecies fulfilled but as categories of thought which the people saw in Christ from thirty to a hundred years after he died.

This is the first time I have spent so much time on Mark and I'm glad I am doing this work last. Because he wrote a generation or two earlier, and for a different audience, many of the developments of ideas are not present because the questions had not yet arisen.

April 1, 1995.
I have finished the commentary on the 4 Gospels. It is a work I started in 1963 and did not finish because I couldn't find answers that satisfied me at that time. I was bound in by a lot of dogmas and theological opinions which I did not accept and could not dodge.

This time, I could read and explain freely according to the basic rules of all linguistic interpretation. I always thought the picture of Christ appeared to be pietistic or contrived or unreal and there was always this (topic of) dual natures in one person. With anyone else, such a personality would be called schizoid.

Now, Christ becomes a real person. He has no formal education in any school. He was the gifted kid. When he came in contact with the official teachers in Jerusalem, he was amazed at their interpretation of the Torah. He spouted off and the teachers listened. When he came home, he continued to mull over the big questions. His answers were more and more divergent. Finally, at age 30, he decided to speak his piece. Other men around him spread his ideas farther.

He worried about and was afraid of the violent end that would come soon. He knew what was coming. He was torn between his ideas and the opposition.

April 2, 1995.
Mark will be the shortest commentary but the other three are about equal in length. I reviewed all 4 and am pleased with the results. They represent years of study, discussion and teaching.

The picture of Christ is as a very real man. I think he is the son of Joseph and Mary, like any other child. The word "parthenon" which Jerome translated as "virgin" is "queen-mother" everywhere else. The position of "queen-mother" was the second in all kingdoms.

Jesus himself was a gifted child, a Lone Crusader, and a fearless talker. He had insights into the real meaning of the Torah which he got from his family and community in the synagogue of Nazareth. At age 12, he learned how off-base the official teachers were and began his opposition. At age 30, he decided his passion was to work the whole nation. Only after his death did his followers see him as a great religious founder.

April 5, 1995.
The title Gospel or Good News According to Matthew or John, tells us little. So I'll use something like this: Good News: You Can Live in a Kingdom; Good News: Salvation is for Everybody; Prayer Helps If you Do it Rightly; Women's Rights and Dignity Restores; The Good News: True Love Conquers All; True Love is Service.

These snippets touch the essence of the message immediately. Then subheadings will show how they are developed. None of the commentaries is long or tedious - yet each is thorough and solid.

April 7, 1995.
We are told to imitate Christ was a God-man. He was sinless. He couldn't even be tempted. Then how are we supposed to imitate him? Then came all the double talk about having the beatific vision but suspending the effects. It was like having the movie but not turning on the machine. Now I can show a Christ who was especially like Abe Lincoln - a man who had to make huge decisions and had to make them mostly alone.

April 13, 1995.
I have thought and thought about who killed Jesus and the relationship of Christians and Jews. First of all, Luke tells us in Acts that the Christians continued to go to the synagogue or Temple for prayer services. However, they always ate their special meal together in one of their homes. The special part of this meal was that there were no clean or unclean foods. They ate what pleased the taste. Secondly, the special cup of bread dipped in wine was passed around at every meal instead of just at the Seder. Jesus had taught that a lot of dietary laws and ritual practices, especially about the Sabbath, need not be followed because they were Pharisaic interpretations and impositions.

In John's Gospel., the term "Jews" is used and always refers to the leaders in their opposition to Christ and is a term of disrepute.

Who put Jesus to death? Pilate ordered his death and Roman soldiers carried it out. However, all four of the Gospels stress it was because of the insistence of the Jewish leaders who stirred up the crowds. In fact, Pilate tried several times to get him freed but the leaders of the Jews insisted on the death penalty. They can't pass such a penalty and so they hand him to the Romans.

April 19, 1995.
"Liturgy” means the "work of the people." The liturgy was to be the contribution of the people to the ritual of worship in contrast to the role of the priest. There was to be nothing ritualistic. It was to be as free and adaptable as the meals in various homes.

April 20, 1995.
Who was Jesus Christ? Over the years, I have put in many hours looking for answers. The main problem, prior to a few months ago, was that I always started with a certain number of unestablished premises. He was the God-man. He was the second person of the Triune God. He became man. He sent the Holy Spirit, another God-person. He knew everything as God but he had to learn everything as man. The God and man were perfectly united in the one person yet knew everything without flashing it to the human mind. - When I questioned all of these, I was told the infallible Pope said I couldn't (question). - To say the least this was a jumble.

Now I start with the fact that he was a true human being who gradually became convinced he had to do something to put the world straight. He came to see the personal danger involved. He was frightened by the danger and ran time and time again. Finally, he figured he had laid the foundation well enough that he could afford to die. He was sure he would be raised from the dead in keeping with the Jonah story of the Old Testament.

He pondered the prophets - wise earnest men who preceded him and came to a deeper insight into their messages. He knew he was on the right track because he shared in the special curative powers of previous prophets.

We have four accounts of his life that were written before the last Apostle died. These we are sure were accepted as authentic accounts by the various communities. Now it is up to us to put these stories in their historical setting, learn what they have to say, and apply them to our world, today.

May 4, 1995.
In Mark, Jesus is a challenger of the status quo - Jewish or pagan. He sees a need to shake society up and establish a new unity.

Luke comes from several aspects of society as he knows it. First, he is a medical doctor of the times and his first contact with the ideas of Christ came while he was treating Paul's illness. Luke's first notion is "Salwa." We translate that in theology as "salvation" and then start talking about the soul. Luke saw the notion as "health" - total health - physical, mental, emotion and spiritual. This was the first offering of Christ. Secondly, it applied to all people, poor and rich alike. Thirdly, it gave true human dignity and partnership to women.

Matthew saw everything as the full picture of what was promised. Matthew sees everything that precedes Christ as a sort of “negative" from which the true picture is to be developed. This developed picture will involve a "Moses" or leader who outlines the road to "happiness." It will present a "king" and "kingship" in a real and detailed sense. Jesus will be the Qoheleth, the Gatherer, through his "church." He will work toward real "sharing" by all people. He will establish the Fatherhood of God through the Brotherhood of man.

Finally, John says the whole picture boils down to "love" but love means honest service of each other in all details of life. This love and service will establish the "holy Spirit" or the bond of community among all peoples.

This was a huge picture and one which Jesus already glimpsed at the age of 12. He and John the Baptist talked about these ideas again and again. Finally, John started out to tell the world. Six months later, Jesus shows up. I don't think he intended any more than to join up with John. Then his ideas took over and mushroomed. He had to avoid the authorities. Finally, he could get away no more - so he decided to leave it to the followers.

His "tetelestai" or "it is consummated" in John means: "I've done my best! I've done all I can! Now the rest is up to you!"

The first Christians got the message and carried it out. By 326, the Council of Nicea, the structure was taking over. Gradually, this structure put back the very society Christ condemned as static, too heavy, and destructive.

May 15, 1995.
There is no doubt the term "Jews" has a pejorative meaning in most contexts. The use in John's Gospel was the one stated and commonly used by the Israelites at that time. The term, Israelite, was the generic name as Israeli is today. The Jews were the "Judaei" or the tribe of Juda who governed the south of Palestine and especially Jerusalem. They were hated by the rest of Israel because of their superiority complex and control of all the temple donations and tithes that had to be paid 3 times a year. If there was any fighting in wars, the "Judaei" were automatically the officers and the rest were the foot soldiers.

Hence it would be a distortion of John's picture of Jesus to remove the word (Jews) because of the present day slant. An introductory note to the Gospel should suffice to put the picture in focus.

May 19-21, 1995.
The most basic point is the notion of the Church. Jesus clearly taught only two qualities were necessary. It was to be holy and go everywhere. These two qualities are also the only two mentioned in one Didache and the Apostles Creed. The notions of one and Apostolic did not come in until the Great Schism in the 11th century or the Reformation in the 16th.

The word "Ekklesia” (Qahal) is an active word and emphasizes that the "elders" are "gathering" the flock wherever they go. The notion of top heavy structure and hierarchy were not envisioned or started in Apostolic times.

May 23, 1995.
Jesus Christ is a man to admire, listen to and accept. He had strong convictions about life on the daily level. He was quick to express his ideas and he liked to accept a challenge and debate. His ideas are needed in today's world.

May 27, 1995.
You asked, last night, when all this imposed (church) structure was started. It covered several years. We know that the age of persecution ended in 313 AD Before that, the life of the Christians was too "iffy" to make a lot of plans. St. Ireneus was a disciple of St. Polycarp who was a convert & disciple of John the Apostle. Ireneus did a lot of writing which is all extant in the Migne collection of the Patres.

By the year 380 AD, the Latin tongues had replaced the Greek and the Bible translations were unnumbered and ranked from poor to miserable. St. Jerome was an outstanding scholar in Greek, Hebrew and Latin. Pope Damasus I ordered Jerome to make an accurate translation of the whole Bible into Latin. He completed the work and presented it to Damascus in 384. It was a masterpiece.

Instead of making the translation official, he let the priests of Rome use it and comment. These men started to read and were incensed that Jerome changed or dropped so much "garbage." They wrote their texts right into the copies again. Damasus was so "scared" he said not a word and gave no approval to the work of Jerome.

From 384 to 1563, the Latin text, now called the Vulgate, went from miserable to the bottom. Finally, at the Council of Trent in 1563, the Vulgate as it was then read became the official text of the Roman church. If the originals did not agree, they were wrong.

In 1942, Bea finally sneaked a copy of the encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu" (DAS) under the pen of Pius XII and he signed it. Pius XII was amazed when he later read the letter but it was official and he was afraid to retract. Finally, the original languages of the Bible came to the fore.

The new approach to the Bible began but many Scripture profs were afraid to change their approach.

I started my formal study of Sacred Scripture (SS) in Oc-oc in 1943. I did not even hear of the encyclical letter, DAS, until 1948 in Washington at C.U (Catholic University). Fortunately, I got immersed with great teachers: Pat Skehan, Roland Murphy, Lou Hartman, Ed Arbez, and Mike Guenthaner, Then I went to Rome and had Lyonnet, Bonsierven, Dyson and Vogt.

I came back to Oc-oc and started to teach what I had learned and had one "hassle" after another with Coyle in Dogma and Boucher in SS. After 3 years, they left me alone but expected any day to see me boiled in oil.

In 1954, I started the program for the Norbertines in DePere and the priests in Milwaukee. From that time, I continued to gain ground, credibility and acceptance except from the CSsR faculty in Oc-oc.

It was a long road which has reached a summit in the work I have now written. I have now answered questions that were smothered in the time of Jerome. Now I can sail on.

May 28, 1995.
There are several key ideas that form a springboard for all the others.

The first and most basic is a notion of Christ which makes him a real man, highly talented, moved profoundly by the hypocrisy and chicanery of the leaders in society at the time, and filled with a sense of urgency to do something about the situation.

He was well aware that he had to act fast because his total opposition to the leaders would mean persecution and death in a short while. He was scared of this and worried about it all his life. The regular power of miracles was a seal of approval from God that all could see. However, this power was quickly closed off because the church was to grow by harmony and peace it established in society.

June 1, 1995.
As I listened to the discussion of Science and Creationism. I personally would hold that the whole book of Genesis is folklore and myth. The first edition of the Old Testament in existence is the Yahwist. This comes from the time of Solomon, 10th century BC, I think this is the first time the Israelites were developed enough to ask questions about their origins.

They had some oral traditions that had been handed down but not written history. So they made up the names Abram, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel and wrote the stories. The Egypt story is basically true. They were a group of slaves in Egypt in the “heyday” of the Pharaohs. All the other stories about plagues, etc, were the effects of the storytellers and natural phenomena of Egypt. The dividing of the Reed Sea is a natural effect of the Sirocco, even today. The Moses story would be part fact and part fiction. The fact would be the knowledge of the desert possessed by a nomad chieftain. The fiction would be all the added details of burning bushes, etc.

Their “history” starts with the settling in Israel and the founding of the Kingdom and then the Prophets. All these facts were set down with a flourish but it was the Elohist editors who brought the mystic balloon to the ground.

Mankind through science is to control, manage and develop the universe and bring it to perfection. The more the scientists learn about the inner working of things, the more this development takes place. The main focus of the Bible account is that all this has to be learned and developed for the good and growth of all people .

June 27, 1995.
The Old Testament was written in bits and snatches. The oldest part of the Old Testament (OT) is a couple of verses in Genesis. Then with the arrival of Solomon, the real editing of the OT began. This was 10th century BC. First, there was the Yahwist edition (J) in the 10th century BC. Then came the Elohist (E) in the 9th century. the Yahwist-Eloist (J-E) were combined at the same time. With Isaiah I, in the 8th-7th century, J-E took over and the prophets entered the picture. In the 7th century, under the influence of Jeremiah and Baruch, we get the Deuteronomic and then, J-E-D. After the Exile, in the 6th and 5th century, come the Priestly edition and the J-E-D-P.

The text was handed on without much adding or changing until the Greek scholars came into the picture. The LXX (Septuagint) translation was made by some group and the variants of the editions were swallowed up in the Greek translation. The last books of the Apocalyptic tradition were written in Greek, such as Wisdom of Solomon and many of the Psalms.

The Greek language carried over into New Testament times and only the original Matthew was written in Aramaic or popular Hebrew. Greek fell into disuse and Latin became the common language by 300 a.m. In 380 AD, Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus I to translate the whole bible into Latin.

Jerome finished the work in 384 AD and gave it to the Pope. The translation was excellent and immediately rejected by priests and teachers because faulty translations had been corrected or dropped. Damasus was afraid to make Jerome's translation official. The Latin text was butchered until 1563 with the Council of Trent. Then the current Vulgate was made official and took precedence over the Greek and Hebrew. The result was chaotic for "true" theology.

Finally, in the 19th century, the German school of Tubingen under Dibelius and Bultmann began to move to the original Hebrew and Greek. They were Protestants so all this work was suspect and rejected out of hand by Roman authorities. In any conflict between Latin and the original languages, the Latin took precedence.

Tubingen was open-minded and invited Catholic scholars. The Dominicans responded and established the L'Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem with LaGrange in the late 1800's. They worked well with Tubingen and were thus suspect by Rome.

In 1909, the Pontifical Biblical Institute was established in Rome and given to the Jesuits who had no scholars at the time. However, they quickly developed great men. Among them was the German Bea. He had been to Tubingen often and respected Dibelius and Bultmann and they respected him. However, the original languages were suspect by Roman authority until 1942 when Divini Afflante Spiriti (DAS) and the underhanded way that Bea got Pius XII to sign it.

Then in 1947, the Qumran scrolls were found and our present Biblical era was off and running. I came into the graduate program of Semitic Studies at Catholic U. in 1945.

To answer your question, the various traditions of the OT can be easily seen only in the original Hebrew. They were clearly known and taught at Tubingen in the 19th century. They were rejected by Catholic theologians as protestant propaganda. The Dominicans (O.P) school in Jerusalem worked from the originals from its foundations but the degrees from the L'Ecole Biblique were not recognized by Rome until about 1960. Then they were tolerated only. DeVaux was told he would have to get a degree from the Pontifical Biblical Institute (PIB) if he wanted to teach in any Catholic University. M.J. Lagrange was never declared a heretic but there was a strong whisper in Rome. For years, the Revue Biblique (magazine) was not on the shelves of the Vatican Library.

There's a lot more but this is enough for today’s note.

June 28, 1995.
I’ll continue into the New Testament, from yesterday. For centuries, Paul got most of the attention. His writings were almost all “moralist” which was the style of the “church teachers.” The Gospels were seen as simplistic stories that were read for a few minutes in the liturgy and then something else was talked about.

The approach was always the Concordance of all four (gospels) in an effort to fit details into a preconceived time line. It was like taking four masterpieces of four different artists, mashing them all together, and then saying we have a work of art. Actually, we have destroyed all four. This is what the concordance of the Gospels did and this was the only way the Gospels were studied until the 50’s. In fact, many Scripture profs were still doing the “harmony” and “life of Christ” style in the late 60’s.

This is one of the reasons why my commentaries are vital. Each Gospel story is a separate unit. Each comes from a different tradition and stresses a completely different aspect of Christian living.

June 29, 1995.
The Letter of Peter is a perfect introduction or outline to Mark. The letter of John is an intro to John, The letter to the Hebrews develops a couple of Joanine ideas and is from the same source. The letter of James is a strong parallel for Matthew.

July 18, 1995.
The oldest tradition (in OT writings) is the Yahwist (J) which dates back to the time of Solomon - 10th century B.C.

The time of Solomon was the era of the first real scholarship and writing. Prior to that time, especially in the time of Saul and David, everything was war of aggression and mopping up. Some of the Psalms date from the time of David because he was the Gene Autry (cowboy) of the military camps. He would be responsible for the brutal war songs and a few of the pious shepherd lyrics.

The next big influence on the OT would be Elijah and then Isaiah I, Jeremiah, Ezra, Isaiah II & III, Nehemiah, and then the Wisdom writers. These people were all trying to save the people or save a remnant. The influence of the Greek philosophers came in the last 2.5 centuries B.C. This influence brought about a whole new editing of everything that preceded and an intellectual struggle against the Greek approach to life.

July 19, 1995.
The Moses Story will run from the bargaining with Pharaoh and the departure from Egypt to looking at Palestine from the East bank. Then it will become the Joshua Story up to Samuel and the Kingdom. I have developed each prophet individually but they are a unit in the Old Testament and have to be presented in ways other than mere chronology.

July 21, 1995.
The David Story has to be handled very carefully because it is a story about a likeable boy, a talented young man in music and poetry and history, a teenager in favor with the king and in danger for his life when the king had a "down" day or week, a "bloody" warrior of the times who did not hesitate to swipe another man's wife and they try to cover his tracks by murder, and a national idol as the years wore on. This David Story will have to be told as it is in the Bible and yet I’ll have to figure out a way to make him a presentable "hero" today. - It will be a challenge, especially where we have Nathan, the royal adviser, constantly trying to bring him in line. He can't plead ignorance of mentality of the times.

July 25, 1995.
I finished the David Story. Solomon is just tacked on as he is in 1 Kings. He'll get more space in the Wisdom literature.

The Prophets were outstanding men from 11th century BC with Nathan and then Elijah down to Malachi or the final version of Daniel. They saw the failure of the leaders and the people, and they spoke out. Some were mistreated. Some were tortured and killed. All were ignored.

A gifted student like Jesus at his Bar Mitzvah shook the leaders in Jerusalem. His family was a nobody. He came from nowhere. He had no schooling. Yet he could answer questions in clear and startling depth. He could ask questions that stumped the establishment. But the incident was only a bubble on the ocean. Only when he started his itinerant work 18 years later did they sit up and take notice.

July 26, 1995.
I got a good start into the Prophet Story of the OT. I am glad to finish with David and Solomon. I know they became great heroes and idols in the later Jewish lore. However, the life story of each is of a conniving, domineering potentate who took advantage of position to walk over all people. David had a couple of boys just like himself who gave him lots of grief. Solomon's women squeezed him where it hurt many a time. The chosen people were anything but idyllic.

Now I start the individual stories of the prophets. These were men who couldn't stand the politics of the kings and upper society and made their opposition known. Amos and Daniel are my favorites as people. Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezechiel have the most in human values. I had to tone my language down in bit in the David story.

Writing this whole picture is a real delight. I taught a lot of these ideas before 1969 but I like my picture, today, much better.

July 30, 1995.
I'll finish the "tacks-on" of Jeremiah: Lamentations and Baruch. Lamentations is a beautiful piece of poetry and a great commentary on Jewish history of the period. Because of the subject matter, the songs are hard to adapt to pleasant situations. The church liturgy confined them mostly to Holy Week.

Ezechiel will be stimulating because of his development of personal or individual responsibility. He did a lot of weird antics to get attention but he really talked straight from the shoulder to the people. He was in the neo-Babylonian captivity after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.

Daniel is the last of the major prophets. His time period is the death knell of the Greek period in 167-264 B.C. and the rule of Antiochus the Terrible. Greek philosophy and ideas began to take a nose dive and yet the best wisdom literature of the Bible comes from that period.

July 31, 1995.
I think I have wrestled the questions about Lamentations and Baruch to a solution. I am going to include both of them with Jeremiah but explain Lamentations from the double catastrophe in 587 and 167-164 B.C. The first date deals with the Destruction of the people and the effects of war in Judah. The Temple is partially wrecked but standing. The second date is the desecration of the Temple with the Abominable Idol.

The second blow is by far worse in the eyes of the prophets and the true Israelites. They never really recovered from that blow.

Under the Romans, the Jews revamped the Temple and made it look good again because the Romans were into architecture and sculpture so heavily. They encouraged the conquered peoples to build for the glory of Rome. The Romans saw all temples as shrines honoring their gods and the gods of the conquered people became minions of the Roman gods.

I like Daniel's approach to the problems better. Jeremiah sees the problem clearly, preaches and teaches against it, but is overcome by the magnitude of the difficulties. Daniel comes right out swinging verbally and singing. He particularly enjoyed interpreting the "handwriting on the Wall."

August 5, 1995.
Each minor prophet developed some particular aspect of society and the rules that govern people toward the goals of that society. The fact that develops most is that these men (prophets) were talking to a particular group of people, in a set of historical circumstances, about a particular code of religious beliefs, and yet, what they say pertains to many people of all times.

Jesus Christ and John realize, as young teenagers, that this is the heritage they have received. Yet the official teachers were hiding the real message under a plethora of ritual practices.

Jesus taught against this falsification, and then restored and developed the teaching of the prophets and wise men. The first Christians followed his lead gladly. Then the Roman structure began the same destructive ritualism and codification of doctrine. Finally, in Trent in 1563, this practice was sealed and the living Christian Faith became the Catechism of Trent and its sacraments. John XXIII tried to resurrect the spirit but died too soon.

August 8, 1995.
I finished the Wisdom Story or the Didactic Literature of the OT. I have Tobit almost complete and am ready for Judith and Esther. Then I complete the picture from 1 & 2 Maccabees. Then the editorial work begins. I've been through all the writing 3 or 4 times but now I can pull the various parts together.

I like the term "story" for each part like: Joseph Story, Moses Story, David Story, Prophet Story, Wisdom Story, Jesus Story. The word "story" bespeaks a certain amount of history told in an imaginative way. That's "Semitic history."

August 9-12 1995.
The OT was written as guidelines for Jews in the post-exilic to Apocalyptic periods. Jesus and first Christians gave their version of it.

August 14, 1995.
I did a lot more thinking on the first group of Christians as outlined by Luke in Acts. He says the whole group in that upstairs apartment consisted of the Eleven Apostles, Mary, the mother of Jesus, a few women and some cousins of Jesus. Luke tells us they were in a quandary as to the starting point. However, as he describes what happened, I think I can add a lot of details.

First of all, Peter was talking - as usual. He said they had to elect a sub for Judas. Peter had been completely "shot down" on the notion of a return of the Davidic Kingdom with him as "big boss." Luke is pointing out that Peter didn't have a clue as to the message of Christ.

I think Luke points clearly to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as the "behind the scenes" organizer. She had understood the message of her son. Now she stirred alive the "Holy Spirit" which Luke says she had from the very conception of Jesus. Gradually this Holy Spirit showed itself in an enthusiasm to get out and tell others about Jesus and his message of "Koinonia" (sharing) - the mutual sharing with each other in true love. There was no "hop-heavy" structure - just a "community" of people living their daily lives and enjoying each other.

August 16-18, 1995.
As I am working on the Acts and see the workings of the first Christian communities, I see the same basic truth. Peter was the leader but his decisions were challenged and discussed by the hoi poiloi. He had to explain and justify his actions. Can you imagine a group of people in a small town challenging the Pope, today, and even be heard? You can't even get a 20-minute audience in a large group without pulling strings.

The Popes have been sovereign rulers, military marshals, dictatorial moralists, grasping financiers, but democratic leaders they have never been. The dynamic power for social good that is supposed to be at work in the world has been curtailed by the (name withheld by editor) and their ilk locally and the Popes and Bishops worldwide.

August 19, 1995.
The more I think of this theme, Leadership in the Bible, the more I realize how central it is and how many varied examples of leaders are to be found in the Bible. The keynote of Christ's teaching was The Shepherd. The main idea of the shepherd was that he was out in front leading the flock at all times. The sheep were never driven like cattle. Gradually the notion of authority became the driver, the authoritarian pounding from the top. Superiors made all decisions and inferiors jumped to obey. The creativity and strength of the Christian teaching were destroyed.

Peter makes decisions but he offers than as opinions to the people. They frequently object. Then he has to establish the opinion by reasons. James and Paul tended to be authoritarian. The people definitely objected to Paul. Then Barnabas would bring him in line. Nobody got to James and he ended up a grump as is seen in his letter.

August 20, 1995.
I'm into Acts and the missionary days of Paul. Paul was really angry at Mark for "desertion." Even Luke could not tone that down. However, this is also the time where Luke tells us he joined the group. So Paul was suffering much more from his chronic sickness. Some of the early Fathers thought it was some form of seizures. We know it was very painful and he was always treated gently by Luke.

Paul was certainly not liked by many people. The Jews hated him as a deserter and traitor. They were on his case everywhere. The Jewish Christians hated him because he was intelligent, expressive, and popular with some people. The Romans hated him because he had citizenship rights and flaunted them. Paul expected and tolerated no "weakness" as he saw it. To say the lest, he could be a royal pain in the "far forty" but he did a tremendous amount to apply and develop the teaching. Timothy's mother, Lydia, was the only one who told him what to do.

August 21-24, 1995.
The approach I am developing is in keeping with the meaning of the writings themselves and the Apostolic Fathers.

September 4, 1995.
Matthew was writing his story from the viewpoint of King and Kingdom. He tells the story of the Wise Men following the path of the sun from the east to the home of the new king. The Sun was the first of the stars created in Genesis to put all creation in light. Wisdom had resided in the east but was now to come to the new King, Jesus. The gifts of king were laid at his feet.

Luke is interested in the new Adam so he has everything center around the "holy Breath" which replaces the breath of the 1st Adam. The new Adam will be a shepherd so he has shepherds come to the manger. The stories are created to fit the reality which is Jesus in each case. The Romans were brutal toward the Jews but the Jews turned the same venom and brutality on the Christians. This brutal conduct has dominated over and over in the co-called Christian era and precisely because the principles of Christ are ignored or turned into a type of stoicism or fatalism.

September 11-16, 1995.
"Koinonia" is an action word in Greek as indicated by the "ia" at the end. Hence it should be translated by "ing." "Koine" means that which is "common to all" or "shared by all." For example, the Greek spoken by everyone and used in the New Testament is called Koine Greek, the language used by everyone.

So, says Luke in Acts, the trait or characteristic that made the first Christians effective was "koinonia" or "sharing." To put this conviction into words, each person would have to say: "This is mine but I am willing and glad to share it with you." This is the Holy Spirit which Jesus could not give while he was here but which he gave shortly after he left.

This means that as long as Jesus was present and visible, the group would depend on him. As soon as Jesus was gone they would realize what he had talked about and be filled with this "Holy Spirit" of sharing.

There was the noise of a great wind which filled the upstairs apartment. This was the same creative breath of God that brought about the whole of the first creation. Here it was at work in the new creation. It came in the form of tongues of fire to indicate that this Spirit was to spread and engulf the whole world. This would be a reversal of the harmful disunity caused by the Tower of Babel.

The Holy Spirit it the conviction of personal worth and ownership which is freely and willingly shared with others. This new truth took the Roman-Greek world by storm and worked wonders all the way to the conversion of the Emperor himself in 312 AD. Then the "structure" began to evolve, and by 365 AD the council of Nicea sounded the death knell of the new creation.

September 17, 1995.
I have a rough draft of "Holy Spirit" written. However, I have to get to all the references which are numerous, and see the variants of the basic idea. This idea has given a real impetus to the deepening of the ideas of the Christian message and dynamic force. As I read the papers and watch TV, I am reminded of how much these ideals and principles are needed in the world, today.

We have about 16.5 centuries of legalism and ritualism to set aside so that we can see the real value of the message of Christ. The inquiries are in the market place. We have to get the answers there.

September 18, 1995.
At the beginning of the 1st millennium of the 20th century, Jesus was born and presented his ideas. The Roman Empire was opposed and tried to physically destroy the ideas and followers. Yet in the space of less than 300 years, the Roman Emperor himself accepted the ideas and ideals of Jesus.

The Christian ideal spread and had great influence. Then the ritualism and structure destroyed the vitality of the teaching of Jesus. The 3rd millennium of the Christian era would be a great time to restore the vital influence of the Christian ideal.

September 25, 1995.
My article on "Holy Spirit" is by no means in its final stage. As I was re-reading what I had written so far, I realized I should be using Isaiah 11:1-2 as the introduction. Chronologically, he is writing and teaching in the 9th-8th centuries B.C. He is the first to mention and describe this Holy Spirit. Then the Priestly Editors use the concept in the opening account of creation in the 7th-6th centuries B.C. Isaiah clearly says the Holy Spirit is made of wisdom, counsel, fortitude, and the base or foundation is reverence and respect for Yahweh.

When Jesus is talking at the Last Supper, in the long reverie of John, he stresses that this gift of the Holy Spirit is his final and parting gift. The Holy Spirit is now called an "Intercessor,” an "advocate" a "counselor." It is a gift from the Father but it can be given only when Jesus is gone.

This I think was the primary concept or social awareness of the 1st followers of Jesus. By their sharing with each other they formed a presence which was Jesus Christ - alive and working in the world. Paul calls it the "Body which is Christ." It is this Holy Spirit which forms or established this "Body."

September 28, 1995.
I'll have to decide how I am going to use the entries on the Holy Spirit. Luke and John are the two that are strong on the Holy Spirit. Luke uses the term everywhere in the Gospel and Acts. For him, the only sense of the phrase is the sense of sharing with each other. This gave them their meaning in life, made them recognizable by others, and brought people to know and join them.

John stresses more the approach of Isaiah. John points out how this Spirit works in the individual and what are its component parts.

October 5-8, 1995.
The co-called papal infallibility is not supported as far as the Bible is concerned. It was not an official teaching until 1870 and then it barely squeaked through. Matthew is the only one who talks about the point and he says explicitly that the Papal authority is a "kepha" a foundation, not a final seal that is slapped on the top. He uses a "totality phrase" to indicate that it is a judgment type of authority = not a directional.

October 14, 1995.
I started my unifying work on the bible, and I am happy with it. I took the one phrase "The Human Story as Told in the Bible" and started with Genesis. Each book is summarized into one sentence developing this theme. One point about Genesis: the opening sentence of the Bible which comes from the 10th century BC says" In the beginning, a god begot as a son the heavens and the earth." Even with all the later editings, the writers left the generic word "a god." The proper name, Yahweh, was never inserted although it is used in the 2nd account in Chapter 2 , "A god, Yahweh…."

Another description phrase I will use is: "Earth to Heaven: One Lifetime." or "C'est laVie!" or "Murphy's law: God's Law!", "Blue Chip Stock" or "Bottom Line" or "Buyer's Market" or "C.O.D," "Down Payment" or "Fringe Benefits" or "installment buying" or "Take Home Pay," or "Work Ethic."

All of these phrases will be marvelous to give a different twist to all the ideas. These are solid ideas but they tie together the parlance of daily living and the Wisdom of the Ages.

October 16-18 1995.
As I was listening to public radio, I was hit with a new description of the prophets. They were the "newscasters" of their day. They observed and commented on the events of the day, predicted outcomes and advised modes of action that were needed. John Baptist bridged the crossover from preparation to fulness. Jesus Christ started the full program.

October 25, 1995.
You mentioned the Resurrection. This was a question thrown at Paul in his missionary groups. The people had not seen Christ and they questioned Paul's sanity. His answer was clear: "If Christ had not risen from the dead in reality, we are of all fools the greatest." The teachings of Jesus were fine but the evidence for the truth and value of these teachings depended on the Resurrection from the dead. Jesus stressed that his resurrection was the prototype of all that came after him.

The body will be the same so that it is recognized but its qualities will be heightened. I see it in the sprouting of every seed. The tulip bulb, for example, doesn't look like much. Yet the bulb sprouts and the plant comes forth and there is the beautiful flower. No one could imagine or predict it. The same is true of the human body. The resurrection will be the full flowering. Just as planting the seed is essential to getting the harvest so death is the source of full life.

November 4-5, 1995.
The break through for me came in ‘94 when I finally realized what the “Holy Spirit” was. Then Jesus became a man with ideas out of sync with the authorities of the time. The Triune God who wasn’t a 3-headed freak finally came to rest.

God was perceived as Father and origin of all the universe in some way. “How” was not even considered. The only point of importance was “why.” Jesus was seen as “the man”, the 2nd Adam, the person whose ideas could get people back on track. He could do his job only if his followers were bound together by the “true spirit.” This spirit was a bond of sharing and giving in a world of selfishness.

Now I have the Creation Story, the Patriarch Story, the Noah Story, the Joseph Story, the Moses, David, Prophet Stories. These are all stories told in Semitic fashion to make a point.

November 6, 1995.
After reading the commentary I wrote on Kepha in Matthew. I realize I have more clarifying to do. I have to show the two-fold aspect of authority and leadership in the church. Matthew stresses the foundation notion and all the varied aspects of Kingdom. John develops the whole notion of Shepherd or Pastor and the flock. The totalitarianism, dictatorial, infallible, absolute and final authority pattern developed by the Papacy and hierarchy is in direct opposition to this picture. Various people rebelled against the idea but were totally squelched or expelled. Finally, in 1879, Vatican I was able to enact the Edict of Infallibility against great opposition. From 1870 to Vatican II, there was no recourse. Then John XXIII stepped into the picture and started an aggiornamento and reversal of the picture. He died and the most that happened was they threw out Latin, turned the altar around and said anyone could handle the wafer even without consecrated fingers.

The basic principles and ideals of Christ and the Gospel are still very much needed. How they will be put before the world, I don't know. Books will help but today the media will have to get in the act.

November 10, 1995.
I didn't get much writing done, yesterday. I had all the references to Peter as "Rock" or "Kepha:. I was looking each one up in the Hebrew when I suddenly realized I would find "Kepha" nowhere in the Hebrew since it is Aramaic. First of all, Yahweh is the "Rock" on which the stability of the people is founded. Then Moses strikes the "rock" and they get water. In fact, they carried a piece of "rock" with them in their wanderings.

Now, Christ tells Peter he is to be the "rock" on which the stability of the community is based. He has power over the "Kingdom of death." This is a promise of Resurrection to all. He has the right to include or exclude people in the church. The word "church" is a new one in this passage.

Then John presents the same ideas about Peter as the shepherd who knows each member of the flock and leads them in safety to food, water, shelter and rest. The "infallibility' notion is certainly a misnomer and false application of the post-Trent period. In fact, it is a restoration of a notion in the Judaism of the Scribes and Pharisees which Christ condemned explicitly.

November 21, 1995.
The teaching, ideas and ideals (in NT) are supposed to be updated constantly by the living community founded on them and in them.

November 25, 1995.
Each of the books of the Bible is centered around certain events, teachings and people. The Biblical writings are not history in the western sense of the Word. They (gospels) were the memories of certain people as they saw their application in the 1st century and a quarter. Why not take them from there and carry them up to date?

December 3, 1995.
I have several topics or questions I want to develop as I did the question "Who Is God?" or "The Holy Spirit." I find it very interesting to follow the gradual unfolding of an idea in the course of the centuries and in answer to the historical problems and setting. The individual writers or teachers put their special touch on each development. This brings the whole idea of the Bible alive.

December 20, 1995.
As the Old Testament ended, there was serious question as to what lay beyond death. The Jews had settled it for themselves in the early post-exilic writings, about 500 B.C.. For the Jews who lived and died faithful to the prescription of the Torah, they would go to the "bosom of Abraham." However, if they failed against the Torah, they were excluded from Abraham's presence and there was no interaction between the two groups. This place was a constantly burning fire as in the Valley or Hinnon or Gehenna. This same figure used for the NT picture.

In the NT, those who lived by the law of "love" went to the presence of God the Father and the whole family of man. Jesus says explicitly what is the basis for the sentence: Everything depended on how your life was lived in the service of your family, friends, neighbors, people you worked with and for, and strangers. The demands were not gigantic: You were to share what you have and what you are. If you shared you were identified as a child of the father. If you did not share, you excluded yourself from the family. Only the selfish, egotistical, self-righteous bastards will be excluded.

December 27, 1995.
I maintain we have to return to the true and full message of the Gospel and actually live it. This means a full sharing of responsibility and goods in a truly human way. It does not mean that I sit back and moan because someone has more than I. It means I exert my full potential and work with and for others and myself to reach my goals. The Christian ideal is Koinonia (sharing), not "handouts.

December 28, 1995.
I read through parts of Mark Story. Mark clearly has the least to say and is almost totally repeated in Luke and Matthew. There is no difficulty in seeing why he became the companion of Peter. He wasn't fiery enough for Paul and he didn't stick to a tough job. Barnabas would have been too slow and laboring for Mark. Peter's tendency to jump in with both feet before he tested the water, his ability to blurt out, and his working in Rome would all have appealed to a person like Mark. John was also a teenager.

January 17, 1996.
Judas Iscariot has almost always been written off as a total loser. When anyone is bad, he is compared to Judas. Yet the man never expected Jesus to be taken. Jesus had walked out of tight situations so often. Only when he saw Christ condemned by Pilate and the cross beams on the shoulders, did Judas realize the magnitude of his error.

Then he openly admitted his failure, was truly sorry and confessed to the priests - the wrong ones. He should have confessed to Jesus. Peter's failure was far greater even after explicit warning. However, he went to Christ and received pardon. I, personally, don't think Judas was condemned after he hanged himself. He just didn't produce as much as he could have.

January 19, 1996.
Paul was born in 10 AD and converted in 24 AD. He studied in the school of Gamaliel which was considered one of the strictest. Paul was strict even according to Gamaliel's standards. He died a martyr in Rome in 67 AD. So he was 56 when he died. This puts a wholly new slant on Paul for me. I understand why the community in Rome wanted to get him on the road. I also understand his acerb tongue much better.

January 20, 1996.
I have mulled over and over the ages of the Apostles and Paul. I don't know why I always thought of them as old men, apart from the presentation in art and sculpture. Christ himself and John Baptist were 30. Christ died at the age of 32 or 33 in the year 27-30. Paul was converted in 34 and the Christian community was five to seven years old. Paul was around Rome until 39 and then was sent on his first trip by the Roman Community.

Paul urges Timothy and Titus not to let people make fun of or ignore them because they were so young. They were both young kids, at home, when Paul converted the families. They took a shine to him and accompanied him.

January 31, 1996.
I finished reading my work "Who Is God?" according to the Bible. It would make a good text for Sunday School or Bible Classes.

I am firmly convinced that the word "Elohim" was used deliberately in the "Elohist" editing of the OT. It is a plural in Hebrew and would indicate more than one god. It could also be the generic word "The Deity" without stressing one or many. The Elohist was codified during the time of Isaiah I, Hosea and Amos. These men were preaching constantly against the "many gods" notion and the fertility cults that ensued.

The text gives a new slant to the meaning of the OT teaching. People are interested in finding a fuller meaning to life.

February 8, 1996.
Paul started writing his letters at age 40 and died at age 57. Irenaeus maintains that Paul wrote very little of the letters. He fired them off in a passion of temper or anger or anxiety or self-pity. Then the writer, mostly Luke, tried to tone the language down.

February 22, 1996.
Some of the people in the Bible were important only in the Bible Story. Others have a permanent value in the world today.

One example is Moses. First, there is the period in which he grew up in his own home through the fast thinking of his sister, Miriam. Then he had a background in Egyptian thought and rule. Then he spends several years in the desert. This readies him to lead the Israelites through the desert. Finally, he gives them basic laws that are the foundation of all western civilization today. Then he dies before he actually enters the Promised Land.

March 4, 1996.
The Gospels use two words: “Pastor” and “Minister.” Pastor is the Latin word for shepherd and this image is primarily being in front and leading. You have to know the flock but the primary job of shepherd is to get food and water for the flock and protect them against enemies. Minister means you work with individuals. You learn their specific needs and then offer suggestions. Then it is up to the people or the flock to do their part. You can show, lead and help but you can't do for them.

March 12, 1996.
Jesus and his group (men, wives, children) were eating the Seder (Last Supper). This was the meal that celebrated the Exodus and freedom. Christ said, "From now on when you eat this meal, it is to have a new meaning - the deliverance from sin and death by my sufferings and Resurrection." That's it. Beautiful - simple!

March 22, 1996.
The 2.5 hour workshop topics for the sessions would be:

1. Who Is God? (as presented in the Bible.) This would entail the idea that he is Father, holy, kind, just and wise. This would be presented by the prophets as newscasters of those days and other OT writings.

2. Is Jesus Christ Relevant Today?
This would consider the Apostles, the first Christian community, and the true notion of Church as a gathering - holy and universal. Any church that measures up to this notion of holiness is the Church of Christ. Contrast the 10 Commandments of the first Moses with the 1 Commandment of Love of the 2nd Moses(Jesus).

3. The Creation Story:
The story of "Why" all things were made, not "how."

March 24, 1996.
"Who Is God?" clearly stresses that the OT was a supporter of many gods until the Yahwist editors in the 9th centuries BC. "Is Jesus Relevant" has to present him as true man, but only man; a gifted person with whole weight of the world on his shoulders. "Creation" stresses that the Bible teaches only "why" - not "how."

March 27, 1996.
It took the Hebrews centuries to go from many goods to only one God. Then the notion of Father developed especially in the prophets. The true aspect of Son or Child began to grow in the Wisdom literature and was fully developed in the ideas, ideals and teaching of Jesus. When Jesus left, the followers inherited the "Breath" or "Spirit" of Jesus as the bond that gave them life.

March 28, 1996.
The Old Testament presents a Father who is a provider of all basic tools (Gen), a person who lays down the law (Ex), a person who details the rules and regulation of each day (Lev), a person who helps to pick up pieces once the kids see their mistakes (Num), a person who helps to start all over after total catastrophe (Dt), a person who helps in the first steps of a project (Jos), a person who inspires leaders in time of need (Judges), a person who notices every good dead, no matter how small (Ruth), a person who inspires and strengthens a wise counselor (1 & 2 Sam), a person who believes in ambition if it is controlled (1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chron).

The Gospels are the stories of a son who works with his father. The Acts & Letters and Rev are the stories of people who are conscious of the needs of others and ready to share. "Are you hungry?" Have some of my lunch! "Are you cold?" Take my sweater. Service to others replaces sacrifice.

April 2, 1996.
It's too bad the women in the Church who wanted to squelch the male tyranny and dominance didn't use all the examples of women in the OT who had to save the people when the male leaders fouled up the situation. - The Popes and Bishops were just too strong from Trent (1563) onward. In 1918, with the writing of the new Code of Canon Law, the doom of all women and laypeople was settled. Julius Caesar could not have set up a worse scenario. John XXIII was the first one who tried to alleviate the mess. He died. His successor died or was "bumped off" and the male domination returned.

April 3, 1996.
John's purpose in writing was to encourage the Christians who were being severely persecuted in Rome about 80-85 AD. At the same time, he did not want the Roman authorities to understand and get new ideas for persecution. At that time, the Jewish authorities had fanned alive this idea of Kingship and that the Christians were out to overthrow the government of Rome. John adapted the Apocalyptic style of Ezechiel and Daniel. The writing has unique ideas but they have to be presented in proper light. Down through the centuries the writing has been misconstrued to predict every catastrophe that ever happened. The "end of the world" people use it constantly.

John was completely taken with the idea of the "new creation." His Gospel is presented as the "7 weeks" of the new creation in contrast to the 7 days of the 1st creation. The apocalypse is divided into the "7 beatitudes" or 7 sources of Happiness.

April l4, 1996.
The article (magazine) on the Resurrection of Christ was well done and interesting. I didn't find anything new because all these points were brought up in our commentary by Simon & Dorado in the seminary. The most difficult question was with Mark's Gospel. His Gospel ended with the death and burial. Chapter 16, the story of the Resurrection, was added in later manuscripts.

There is no doubt that almost all the actions of Christ are given symbolic meanings in the Gospels. So much of the interpretation was read back into the stories from theological theses and art works.

The whole virginal conception and birth are clearly a misreading. The text says Mary was a "Parthenos." This is a Greek word used everywhere and always meant "Queen Mother." The Parthenon was the monument of the Queen mother of the gods. I think the story is a simple story of a regular conception and then all the frills were added as in the stories in the OT. The important point is what are the stories teaching.

April 14, 1996.
The Bible should be taught as Semitic history without any proselytizing. Jesus Christ did not start a "religion." His intent, as the first Christians saw it, was to make sure that the human culture be in control of society and lead all creation to its full destiny.

April 15, 1996.
There is a need to settle this so-called conflict between science and revelation. I kept returning to the opening account of Genesis. The writers had little idea of the make-up of the universe. Nor were they concerned about "how" it came to be. Their one thought was its purpose, the "why" of its existence.

God is shown as looking at his handiwork and said, "Isn’t that great?" Today, as astronomers probe the outer space and come up with their gigantic finds, the approval of God would be even stronger. He would be clapping his hands, grinning from ear to ear, and shouting. "That's what I've been trying to tell you! Don't get bogged down in some selfish squabble when there is so much to see and learn and use." There is no conflict.

April 17, 1996.
The Passover was celebrated by the Jews every Sabbath with a special week at the feast of Pasach. The whole meaning was a recall of the liberation from slavery into the freedom of the Promised Land. Jesus and his group celebrated this feast and at the very end he said, "Now let's give this whole ritual a new meaning. I am the Passover Lamb and each time you eat this meal, recall my victory over death and sin for all mankind." That's it!

It is identically the same idea as a birthday dinner for your Mom, or a wedding anniversary celebration. Each time the people gather in church, it is to celebrate the new "Lamb of God" - Jesus Christ.

April 18, 1996.
I was certainly glad I read my commentaries on the Last Supper in the 4 Gospels and in 1 Cor. The idea of Christ as the Paschal Lamb is well developed in each place. John's Gospel starts right off with the idea at the Baptism.

As I said, I have succeeded in nullifying the Scriptural foundation for most of Trent (1563). I see more clearly why so many theologians were up in arms at the Council and for years afterwards. However, they were told to crawl into their shells and hush up or they would be "exterminated." So many left and the others shut up.

May 2, 1996.
As I was working on the 10 commandments, yesterday, I came up with several little ideas that were new to me. For example, the presence of God - We have all the descriptions of his personality in the Books of the OT. Each stresses some aspect of Father. If these attributes become clear to us, then his "presence" is not in heaven somewhere. He becomes as close as a parent when we say "I could just hear Dad talking over my shoulder." "I could just hear Mom saying..." - They may be miles away or dead and yet their presence is real because we know them so well and know how they react.

May 3-4, 1996.
I've thought and re-thought about the 10 Commandments since last night. They are stated in the negative. They were intended to set the downward limits. I didn't think of this but that's exactly what Christ said to the young man in the Gospel. He made a clear contrast between the negative guidelines of the OT and the positive guidelines of his teaching. I will introduce the positive note.

May 6, 1996.
As I talked to our neighbor last night, it was beginning to get dark and a star or two were clearly in the sky - or a planet as the case may be. I think of my commentary on Genesis as I look at the sky.

God was sitting with a vast stretch of desert in front of him, leading to the great drop-off or abyss. He decided to make some light. Then he needed some lamps to carry the light so he made a real big one for the day and a lesser light for the night. But the moon was not quite bright enough so he made a lot of small night-lights and put them in the sky.

The whole picture is beautiful imaginative poetry written originally in the Bible in the 10th century BC - in the time of Solomon.

May 7, 1996.
That basic idea on "Advocate" runs through the whole idea of "spirit" and "holy Spirit" so I'll have to re-read and edit that notion. The "positive notion" of each of the 10 Commandments (10 Cs) is a magnificent approach but I have to get it all in line. I had a lot of success with the First commandment, yesterday.

May 8, 1996.
I finished the work on the Holy Spirit and rounded out the first five of the 10 C's. I get a better picture of what I am trying to do with each of the Commandments. I also spent time reading through the Psalms, Wisdom, Proverbs, and Sirach to get some of the better quotes. I wrote the citations down and then I can decide which ones I want to use as samples. The author of Sirach was surely vehement in his condemnation of idleness. They had a lot of communal living in his time and I'm sure there were many parasites, leeches and barnacles among them..

May 14, 1996.
Jesus worried constantly about what people thought of him. He was thoroughly convinced that his ideas were the right interpretation of the picture. He was really shaken by the murder of his cousin, John Baptist. They were close friends. He enjoyed the acceptance of the crowd but knew how easily they could be swayed against him.

At the end, he had to make his momentous decision. Should he take off and hide as he had done before? Or should he go out and die unjustly for his convictions? He wrestled the doubts to a final acceptance and then went out to meet the crowds.

May 29, 1996.
The Romans talked constantly about "Pax." The Roman peace was definitely a cessation of war. They greeted each other with the "Pax embrace" and always sent people on their way with the phrase "Vode in Pace." Christ and his Apostles certainly knew this.

At the Last Supper in John's account, Christ says explicitly, "My peace I give you - not as the world gives" - not Roman "pax". Then he describes what his peace is. The Christians used the Roman greeting with the Christian meaning.

May 30, 1996.
The idea of only one true church of Christ is the tenet that has to go first. The Didache and the Apostles’ Creek say only, "Holy and Catholic. (universal)" Each of the communities established by Paul was independent. The Council of Jerusalem merely made suggestions

June 9, 1996.
The "Koinonia" or "sharing" of the Christians was to be such that human society would be reformed from the inside out. The only command was truly "love of your neighbor." i.e. helping those near you according to needs. The story of the Good Samaritan guides us.

June 22, 1996.
Topic: God and the problem of evil. We know for sure this was a serious and common question at the end of the OT period. The book of Job is a thorough presentation. However, they came up with no solution and that's where the NT picks it up. The Christian writers come no nearer to a solution except to affirm that it is the function of human beings, by their cooperation and brain power, to remove and heal as much of the evil as possible.

Governments, at times, have truly worked to remove social ills. The medical people have succeeded in removing or curing many physical ills. The scientists are working constantly to uncover the hidden nature of the world about us. Educators are striving to raise the intellectual level of the people to be able to think, read and learn more. The media are tools for speedy spread of all this learning but so far concentrate most of their attention on what goes wrong.

June 23, 1996.
Topic: “Found Son” Prodigal Son. Of all the stories of parables that Christ told, this one stands at the top of the list for beauty, meaning and universal application. Every family that ever existed had its problems and this story presents the basic themes that strike at the roots of every family.

July 1, 1996.
I think I have the key to the biblical notion of God. The special name is "Yahweh" which means "He who caused to be." It is similar to Rumpole of the Bailey and his name for his wife: "She who must be obeyed." The Jews had no notion of who God is. They were convinced there was only one rather than multitude of gods as the other religions had. He was seen as a "surrounding presence" as is an earthly Father or Mother. Long after the parent is gone or separated from the child by distance, the child senses parental presence and acts accordingly. The child complies, rebels or modifies the standards.

July 3, 1996.
I have hashed and re-hashed that idea of god as "surrounding presence.” I remember using the term in my classes before but never with the significance it has for me now. The Bible does not present and define notion of a "person" deity. That was the gist of the fertility cults. Their followers manufactured these deities to suit their purposes and justify their ideas, actions and superstitions.

The Biblical notion is to look at the order and greatness of the universe as the Hebrews saw it and say "there has to be a plan." With our deeper probing of the world around us and the advances in scientific technology in the last few decade, the biblical notion would be ever stronger. There has to be a plan and a planner. This interrelated set of laws could not have just happened.

The notion of "Father" was the most natural to develop. Each of the writings of the OT presents this "Father" from different viewpoints. However, when they talked about after-life, they referred to going to rest "in the bosom of Abraham“. Only with 2 Maccabees in the last century BC do we get a more developed notion. Then the whole picture of the NT is how to react as a true child of the family. The entire theme is the Brotherhood of Man in the Fatherhood of God. It's up to people to remove the ills of the world by their interaction and cooperation.

July 6, 1996.
This Surrounding Presence will revolutionize the whole picture, especially the Gospels. Luke, as usual, hits the nail on the head in the Temple scene at age 12. The whole plan & purpose of Christ's life is summarized as "caring for my father's business." I think a lot of the details of those infancy stories are all imaginary or taken from the OT. They are like the Preface written after the book is written.

July 8, 1996.
I have been toying with the introductory ideas in the Gospels in my head. Mark has no introduction. He starts in medias res with John Baptist. Luke has all the stories about the "Holy Breath" of the 2nd Adam in contrast to the "tainted breath" of the 1st Adam.

Matthew describes the origins of the real Kingship. John goes a step farther. He goes back to the Creative Word which we could see in everything that existed except the human race. People had never cooperated enough to manifest the Word in its fulness. Finally, Christ comes with his perfect cooperation and we see what the Creative Word can really do.

Christ's plan is simple. People have to help and work with each other. They do not need a new society. They had only to work with each other and help each other in all the problems and difficulties of daily life. Then the ills and evils of human society will be removed. The evils of castes, segregations, and domineering will be removed by a true Brotherhood in the Fatherhood of God. This is the "Word made flesh" to continue until the works is complete "tetelestai." (Greek)

July 10, 1996.
The purpose of the OT stories is to show how the events in the lives of the Israelites show they should develop a true spirit of cooperation, love and brotherhood in this surrounding presence of the Father. The prophets were men who felt morally bound to bring the people in line but never really succeeded.

Jesus and John the Baptist discussed these ideas constantly. They were truly gifted kids who felt an obligation to do something about the problem. John the Baptist spoke out openly and drew down the wrath of Herodias who got his head to roll. Jesus was bolstered up by the open reception his ideas received from the people. However, he knew his days were numbered and he was scared.

July 18, 1996.
The judgment scene at the end of the Matthew Gospel is the best picture of the whole idea. "Come, beloved of my Father! Enter into the Kinship (or be kinged) as intended from the beginning. For I was hungry, etc. The judgment scene is exactly like the checker game. Death is the moment when a person reaches the other end of the board. Then he'she is "kinged" and can enjoy happiness forever. Each move on the board was an action of daily life.

Chapter 13 of Matthew is the full description of this "kinging."

July 20, 1996.
I have all my ideas written down. Their value will grow in the next 10-20 years because there is a wave of interest in Christian principles and Bible study. My picture makes Christ a man of his times who sees a need for reform and sets about doing it. The fact that the Gospels are the actual product of the 2nd to 4th generation followers shows how the ideas were lived in difficult circumstances.

July 30, 1996.
Jesus escaped from his suffering and death on several occasions. Finally, he decided there was no escape so he let himself be taken.

The fact that Christ decided his was a ""sacrificial" death was his own idea. The Jewish teachers of the time were not expecting such a Messiah. Their Messiah was going to be a conquering hero, a new Joshua who would smite the Romans left and right.

July 31, 1996.
A desert locust or grasshopper of biblical infamy is one of the plagues of Egypt. A large swarm can consume 20,000 tons of grain and vegetation in one day in their migratory flights. We did not have the locusts in Kansas in the 30's but we certainly had their next of kin. Today, they are destroyed by airplanes who dust in front of them.

August 1, 1996.
Jesus Christ was a gifted young man who saw clearly where the world should be headed. He and his cousin talked about these ideas for years. Then both of them felt the inner drive to do something. Luke stressed that Christ was always afraid of the end result.

August 4, 1996.
Luke was a gentle person who could easily offer sympathy to anyone. He was a companion of Paul in his worst days. He edited all the letters of Paul and this was his 3rd work that the early church writers talked about. He is responsible for 1 Cor. 13 - the description of human love. He added it to the letter of Paul because Paul had been so downright mean in the first part of the letter. Paul tells us explicitly that Luke wrote some of the letters as he dictated them. Then Paul added a note in his own hand.

The first Christian community had the whole gamut of human beings exactly as we do today. Even after 20 centuries of so-called Christian living, we are not much closer to the ideal than they were in the first century. It is not the fault of the ideals, principles or plans. It is the fact that we still have not lived them. Christ centered his teaching in our relations to each other. It was not ritual or parade or pomp of any kind. Just day-to-day living and working together.

August 5, 1996.
I like the way I developed all five of the Joanine writings. Each time I read the summary of the Apocalypse, I visualize the Old Roman forum, the Palace of the Caesars, the Circus Maximus and the Coliseum. This area was in its heyday at the time John wrote the Apocalypse. He wrote it to encourage the Christians being persecuted in these places for the entertainment of Caesar's guests.

It's amazing that we make such a big to-do about the Jewish Holocaust and overlook the identical event from 60-313 AD. It was the Roman government instead of the Nazi group who was in charge. The Christians were stuffed into the "prisons" which are still extant and killed as the "worst kind of Jew." Rome did their killings in order to purge the world of the "Jews" and to establish the "pure" Roman race.

The Trastevere section of Rome is still inhabited by the "down and outers" exactly as it was by Jews and Christians in Roman period. History doesn't change much. - the same events with different actors in a different place.

August 10, 1996.
The feminist movement will have lots of grist for the mill in many OT writers and in Paul in the NT. Christ amazed the Apostles in his attitude toward women because he considered them fully human.

August 14, 1996.
As I read through the women of the Bible, I get an even better view of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Mark does not stress her role at all. This was the earliest approach. Then Luke presents her as the excellent teacher of Jesus in those first 12 years. He develops his picture as the new Hannah, Mother of Samuel. Matthew stresses the Queen-Mother role in the Kingship of the Father. John makes the whole picture revolve around the new Eve with the new Adam.

August 16, 1996.
Every age, every country, every culture has its heroes, heroines and villains. Today, heroes develop quickly, last a short time and are replaced by new ones. Our heroes and heroines are displayed on products, in papers and magazines, on radio and television and in movies. Through books we reach to the big heroes of the past.

Among the Israelites or Jews, the only medium was the Bible. These were kept only in synagogues and the Temple. The stories were read, memorized and retold by parents to children. This teaching was primarily the work of the mother in the first 12 years. At age 12, the boys were tested in the Bar Mitzvah to see whether they could pass over into adult Jewish life. Then the father took over to prepare his son for a trade.

Girls were not neglected. There was a regular testing at age 12 but the girls were to use their knowledge as mothers. The girls were call the "Bat Mitzvah" or "daughter of the Law."

The whole story of the Chosen people was developed around the men and women of the past. Some were fictional, some were for real. The good and the bad were included to make clear the personal choices that had to be made.

These stories were all of the Semitic mentality. The writers were interested not so much in "what" happened as "why" it happened. If facts didn't accomplish this goal, the facts were changed and retold.

August 20, 1996.
As I reviewed John, it dawned on me that the so-called words of "institution" from the Last Supper are not found in John's account at all. Yet he has five full chapters, 13-17, describing the conversation and teaching of Jesus at that last meal. If this statement of Christ was so meaningful why was it omitted from John entirely?

Today, I wrote on the Letters of John and the Apocalypse. Three notions stand out about John. He was only 13 or 14 years old when called by Christ. He was a favorite and well liked by all the Apostles. Christ publicly called John a "Boanerges" or "son of Thunder.” He lived to about 100 AD and saw 3 full generations of Christian living.

August 26, 1996.
Each time I think about the age of the Apostles, I get a whole new wave of understanding of the NT story. You asked how the Apostles supported themselves. There are two indications. They continued to do fishing but Paul and Peter both state that the Apostle has a right to expect his livelihood from his work. They probably followed the practice of the Prophets and the teachers in the last century B.C. They were fed by various people with whom they worked.

September 2, 1996.
I like what the NT tells us about this after-life in the Gospels. Jesus was the same person. He had the same body even to the points of scars or eating. Yet he was totally different and was going to full union with those who had gone before.

September 11, 1996.
The first time the Israelites tried to piece a story of their nation together was in the 10th century B.C. Solomon and his court were in their quest for wisdom. They had at least four different traditions, perhaps as many as ten, to pick and choose from. From the 10th to the 1st century B.C. the OT story was written and rewritten until we get it's final form. The New Testament has the same kind of editorial history except it is much shorter.

September 17, 1996.
As I worked on the Introduction to the Gospels, I came up with a format that ties them all together. Mark has nothing about the early life of Jesus. Paul has nothing in his letters. So the first writings went strictly with the public years and work of Christ.

Then Luke asked Mary for some of her recollections of those first days and we get his account. Matthew wanted to lay the groundwork for the Kingship of Christ. He "rigs" the genealogy so that is says "David" 4 times. He parallels the story very close to that of Abraham, Moses and the chosen people in Egypt. John is interested in showing the new creation, the second Adam and the second Eve, Jesus and Mary. He develops the 7 weeks of the new creation (parallel to 7 days of creation) and then writes a prologue to introduce it.

September 22, 1996.
My head has been swimming with ideas on the Intro to the Gospels last night. I went to sleep with this jumble and woke up trying to sort out all the pieces. The first Christians, as is clear from Paul and Mark, did not even talk of the childhood or youth of Jesus. They took him in his public life where he was first known and considered how they could develop and the ideals he had set.

The societal state of the Roman world and its functions have to be kept clearly in mind. Unless a person was a "Roman citizen" he had no rights. The upper crust of society represented about 3% of the people. They spent their days and nights between the circus Maximum and the Coliseum. They were given lodging in the huge palace of the Caesars if they were from out of town. The peasants were to be content with the "cibus et circus." The Roman army was constantly occupied with conquest and maintenance of the Empire. The system of roads, laws, and standards of measurement were firmly established by the Romans. Their system of taxation was the steepest ever decreed.

Into this world came two young men, John and Jesus. Both were Jews and both were convinced they should do their part to resurrect and fulfill the ideals of their forefathers.

The key point of the Jewish message was Daniel - again, a young boy who did wonders in the reign of an oppressor worse than the Caesar. From Daniel came several ideas - including the title "Son of Man" which Jesus took for himself. Daniel was almost a fatalist - it was "do or die." The mission of the Jewish people had to be fulfilled or be lost.

September 26, 1996.
I worked on the Intro to the Gospels. I don't want the concordance approach because that puts all four accounts together like a pot of mush. Yet, I do want a comparison to emphasize the individuality and richness of each account.

September 30, 1996.
I am puzzled by the names of the 3 angels mentioned in the OT. All of them are from the last couple of centuries B.C. The prophets of the same period all have the name "Yahweh" in one form of another. Micha-el, Rapha -el, - all have the abbreviated name of "Elohim," the generic "deity." - I'll have to see if anyone has mentioned this idea.

October 4, 1996
The whole Biblical picture is divided into two contracts or agreements. The first is called the OT and the central question is "Who Is God?" All the writings of the OT stress more and more that he is a Father. Then Jesus Christ comes and he shows how this Fatherhood of God should affect people. He shows how to establish the Brotherhood of Family of mankind. Jesus dies and the first Christians establish the "Holy Spirit" or the "sharing" with each other necessary to manifest the Brotherhood of mankind in the Fatherhood of God.

We don't need any special church or ritual. We just have to make sure that the "community" of mankind is really a "community," a sharing with each other. The first Christians did this. Then Constantine set the church free and the static, separate structure arose and gradually destroyed the "community.

October 6, 1996.
OT develops different aspects of the Fatherhood of God. The Gospels tell the story of Christ's plan to establish the Brotherhood of man. The gist of the Good News (Gospel) is how this Brotherhood is to be accomplished practically. This is Mt 5:1-13, the Beatitudes.

October 8, 1996.
The notion of the "holy Breath" as contrast to the "tainted breath" of the Old Adam is almost spelled out in actual words in Luke.

Christ is on the cross. In Luke's Gospel. he speaks tree times. First, he asks that all his persecutors be forgiven. Then, he promises Paradise to the one thief. Then he says "Father, into you hands I put back my breath." With that he bowed his head and died.

He has died for the failure of the first Adam. Jesus gives back the breath that had been given him. Then he rises from the dead, and he has the "holy Breath" - the breath of the new Adam which he offers to all who accept him.

One of the first rules of Exegetic work is that a word has the same meaning in any given context unless the writer explicitly indicates change. The Greek word here is "to Pneuma" or the Hebrew "Ruah." There is absolutely no doubt about its meaning as referring to the actual breath which gives life or removes it.

Now the picture is completely rounded out. The work of the first Adam was thwarted by his disobedience and the punishment was death. The second Adam atones, gives back the breath, dies and gives new life with New, untainted breath to all who accept.

October 9-10, 1996.

In Biblical circles, if I saw some hope of changing things or honest inquiry, I made my ideas known. If I saw Bishops, priests and other clergy who were frozen in place. I just walked off.

October 12, 1996.
I finally resolved the Holy Spirit question about the speech of Gabriel to Zachery and Mary. Luke is pointing out that the plan of salvation began with the "new" or "Holy" breath of the new Adam, even though Jesus had the breath of the Old Adam until he died. Then on the cross Luke, and Luke alone, gives these "last words" - "Father, into your hands, I give back my breath." Jesus bowed his head and died. He rises with the Holy or new Breath of the new Adam, and this is the source of "power" in the Christian Koinonia.

October 13, 1996.
I can tie the whole picture to the words "Bara, Son of Man, Holy Breath (Spirit), and koinonia." That does it all. The followers of Christ were to be fully conscious of the community that held them together, gave them stability and made them a force for good and social reform. They were to be constantly aware of themselves as the ekklesia, the Gathering, in every part of society.

October 15, 1996.
I want to make clear the difference between "stories" of the Bible and western "History." The Semitic mind is not so much concerned with what happened or how it happened. The Semitic mind is always asking the question why. So whether Yahweh made all things from nothing and directly, or whether he set the process in motion and evolution did or does the rest is beyond the Bible writer's ken. He sees facts or makes up facts to make his point.

October 17-18, 1996.
1. The Bible is not a book in the ordinary sense of the word but a collection of writings that were put together over a period of at least 12 centuries. All of the writings were handed down orally for centuries and finally, in the 10th century B.C., Solomon and his scholars decided to put the traditions in writing.

2. The Bible is Semitic history, not western history. This means that the writers are interested in the "Why" of events rather than the "what." In fact, if the facts don't fit the story, the facts can be changed, dropped or added to.

October 20, 1996.
Yesterday, I worked on my composition "Who Is God?" As the OT ends, the picture is still not fully developed and the major problem is the suffering of a person who is really good. God's speech to Job in the final scene of the book gives the state of the picture at that time.

The New Testament picks up these ideas and develops the full picture of the Fatherhood of God by describing the Brotherhood of man and the way it is to be accomplished. Augustine is the bright boy who missed this picture. He took the Apocalypse of John, which described the Roman persecutions and what was to happen to the Romans, and applied it to the death of an individual person. This put the whole notion of punishment, terror, and hell-fire into theology. Over the centuries theologians and preachers drew on the hellfire and damnation picture and emasculated Christian teaching.

October 26, 1996.
The unwed mother has been a subject of reproach in society among Jews and Christians. Chapter 4 of St. John's Gospel treats of a specific incident in the life of Christ. Jesus was at the well in Samaria. A "public" woman walked up. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. She was amazed that he would even talk to her. The Jewish leaders brought a "sinful" woman to Jesus for stoning according to the Mosaic Law. Jesus said, "Let him who is without sin among you throw the first stone." - They left!

November 5-6, 1996.
Moses is the most influential leader of the OT and the man who has the most influence on the shaping of modern thought and action through the Ten Commandments.

The "Matthew group" thought so highly of Moses and his writings that the Jesus story according to Matthew is divided into 5 major parts to correspond to the Pentateuch. There is an intro to a conclusion to tie the whole story together, and constant reference to Moses to show how Jesus in his work and teaching fulfill what Moses started.

November 7, 1996.
There is no doubt of the importance of Moses in the history of the world. The Bible account has added a bit of flourish to some of the details. For example, his very name, Moses, is the Egyptian word "mosis" which means "son." Most of the Egyptian rulers and leaders had the name of some god and "mosis" for a name. Examples are Tuthmosis, Ahmosis, Ramesis.

The Hebrews couldn't have such a name so they called him "Mosheh" or the one "drawn out" and referred it to the incident in his life as a baby. Moses as leader was called a "pillar of cloud" by day and the "pillar of light" by night. He protected the people against heat and darkness. He sat on Mt. Sinai or "jebel Musa" to develop the code that would serve as a basis for all their laws. He did such a good job that the same code is still the basis of all law and morality today.

Moses was a brilliant man but had a very short fuse! He could and did get angry, upset, disgusted, scared, and all at the same time.

November 8, 1996.
Bible Stories is the accurate description of OT we studied or read in grade school. There was no attempt to present it as a history. The stories were told for the moral that each one presented. The entire Bible, Old and New, is written in this fashion. The only book that resembles western history is Acts.

The first person who goes beyond Moses is Jesus. He recalls what Moses taught and then carries the teaching a step further. This is why the Jewish leaders wanted Christ out of the way, and why the Jewish people were so vehemently opposed to the first Christians.

November 15, 1996.

I used to think that the diet of "locusts and wild honey" was evidence of how John "roughed" it in the desert. Actually, both of these were considered a delicacy by the Egyptians. J.L. says they fried the locusts like a French fry and they made a nectar of the honey and let it age into an alcoholic drink. So the Bible story is saying that John did well for himself. He dressed in primitive clothes and was unshorn so he gave a startling appearance as he lambasted the wickedness of all, especially the leaders.

November 21, 1996.
There is no statement in the NT about only one true church. As a matter of fact, all the communities founded by Peter and Paul were independently governed by the "elders" of the place. Several women are mentioned as leaders in the society of those days.

The Apostles' Creed is a summary of the beliefs in "Didache tun Apostolon" - The teachings of the Apostles, date about 150-175 AD, says only "holy and universal." There is no mention of one church until after the Council of Nice in 325 AD Even then, the word "one" was not put in the Nicene Creed.

We have to get rid of the "divinity" of Jesus, the notion that "holy Spirit" is a person rather than the "Breath of the New Adam" which was given at the new creation.

At the Last Supper, Christ was talking about the "Passover Ritual." He said, "From now on this is to be a commemoration of my victory rather than the exodus from Egypt. The evening meal, the Eucharist, was exactly that - a happy "get-together" - a shared meal.

November 22, 1996.
Christ's last words in Luke are, "Father, into your hands I put back my breath." Then he breathed out and bowed his head." The Old Adam had tainted that first breath, so the second Adam gave it back. Then he gave the Holy Breath as the end of new Adam. It's all there, word for word, in the Greek except that for centuries, the basic rules of reading were ignored. A word has one meaning in a given context unless the writer clearly demands another.

November 28, 1996.
You asked when the change in the study of SS took place. Actually, at Trent in 1563. The Bible was called the handmaid of Theology. This was brought about by the rebellion of Luther and a lot of his companions. The theologians put Thomas Aquinas on the pedestal and the Bible would be used only as a secondary proof of the theological statement.

In 1911, the PIB was established in Rome. The profs and students were considered next door to heresy. M.L. LaGrange and the OP's started the L'Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem and literally told Rome and the Pope to "go to hell." For years they were considered heretics but no one in Rome would tackle them because of their scholarship. They published the Revue Biblique (RB) from 1890 onward. We had every issue in the library in Oc-oc and when they moved, the bastards burned the whole set.

No one ever read the RB in my time except myself. The finding of the Scrolls in 1947 and the work of men at CU in DC and the L'Ecole Biblique finally put the study of SS on the front burner. However, in 1952, when I started to teach in Oc-oc, there were only 3 of us in the whole state of Wisconsin with graduate study and degrees in SS.

December 6, 1996.
Last night, you were talking about God and his meanness because of all the ills in the world. It is true, God, if he is omniscient, omnipotent, and all the other "Omni's" could have made this a paradise as is stated in the earliest picture. However, he wanted people to think for themselves, to work together, and discover the way to make nature and the world about us work for us.

It is no more unkind of God to allow people to be hurt because they have not learned enough than it is for you to let a child make a mistake in school or life so that he/she will learn from the mistake.

This process has worked well. The cooperation of scientists, doctors, educators, financiers, farmers, laborers has brought about untold benefits, and there are a lot more there. However, people and nations don't always work together. They are greedy, jealous, envious and downright mean. They cheat, lie, steal and kill to get everything for themselves. This antagonism, enmity, warring stalls or stops human progress in all fields until peace is restored.

God cannot be called mean or hateful or at fault if we want our freedom of choice. He could stop us but he would stifle all creativity. So it's plan A - cooperate with each other to achieve all the creative good available in the world.

December 7, 1996.
As I ponder over your questions about God, I realize how often the question has been raised in the Bible, especially in the didactic literature. The entire book of Job is a discussion of this very point.

Job is a good man in every sense of the word and he has prospered marvelously. God looks at him as a real exemplar. Satan, the adversary or the evil enemy, is introduced. He laughs at the goodness of Job so Job is afflicted with every kind of loss. His three friends give long speeches on the hidden sins that Job must have committed. Finally, Job throws a challenge at God and God appears to answer his questions and objections. Job does not really get an answer because God stresses that the workings of the universe and the place of humans in that picture is too vast for the human mind to grasp and master all at one time.

In the New Testament, the writers do not treat the question directly. Christ stresses how people are to act toward each other in order to establish the true brotherhood or family of mankind. When the earth is brought to its "fulness" or "completeness" (to telos) then the Fatherhood of God will be truly understood and enjoyed.

December 14, 1996.
Jesus had one concern: to establishment of the "brotherhood" or "family of mankind" in the everyday world. He did not preach a lot of dogmas, special philosophy or any ritual. Those are all "trappings" (not the Christian message) which have gradually usurped the real ideas of Christ.

I think the time will come when the true message will again be accepted and spread through the world on the modern media.

December 16, 1996.
As we watched the first half of “Fiddler on the Roof,” I was reviewing the history of the Jewish people from the beginning. How much of the Patriarchal story is fable and how much fact is hard to say. Most of the problem of dating comes from the centuries of taking the biblical years as absolute and starting the world in 4000 B.C.

For centuries, science said the world was much older but no accommodation was made. Then we finally admitted the mss (manuscripts) evidence of the OT editings and placed the earliest writing in the time of Solomon in the 10th century B.C. We then turned to Egyptian history and realized the Hyksos or non-Egyptians ruled Egypt from 1650-1250. In 1250 B.C. the real Egyptians took over again and the foreigners were expelled or escaped.

The Exodus story starts at this time and much of the story is written like folklore. We know what the writers wanted to teach about the people and their relationship to Yahweh. We don't know what really happened.

The Maccabees story is told much like some of the tales of the settlers and native-Americans in this country. Then Israel comes into the Western world and the conflict between two mentalities continues. Israel succeeds and fails. They are accepted and persecuted. Now they want the land again.

December 19, 1996.
I think it is absolutely essential to take each gospel story as it stands and avoid all the "harmonies." Then we take the terms on their biblical meaning. Jesus is son of God exactly as Adam, the chosen people, and "wise man" and King David were called "Sons of God." They had a special role to play in the plan of the World according to the Bible Story. The Holy Breath is the Breath of the new Adam to replace the "tainted breath" of the 1st Adam. The Pope is to be a "foundation." The church is to be "holy" & "universal" but nothing is said about "only one."

December 20, 1996.
I was reading over the 3 sets of Beatitudes, yesterday. Paul has a set of 7 causes for happiness at the beginning of Ephesians. They are concerned primarily with the manner in which the Christian community is to form the New People of God by mingling with the world roundabout. The isolation of old Israel is to be abandoned.

John, in the Book of Revelation, describes how the people in Rome at the end of the first century are to establish their happiness in the midst of persecution. He was talking about the Trastevere section of Rome and the plight of those people because of their near-slave condition and the persecution by Roman society. Matthew broadens this notion of happiness in relation to the whole mankind at all times. This happiness is not merely in a future heaven but is to be established right here on earth. All the conditions are spelled out.

It's a very pleasing and realistic picture if we ever return to the ideas and ideals of Jesus Christ as lived by the first Christians.

December 25, 1996.
The central story of the human race is set by the Christian tradition in a cave or house in Bethlehem. Eastern and Western Christians do not quite agree on the basic story but agree on the fact. Jesus Christ was born. It's too bad the churchmen and theologians took a simple folk story based on the same kind of hero stories in the OT, and turned it into a western medical account. The worst idiocy was the translation of the word "parthenos" from the Greek. The word was reserved to Athena by the Greeks as the "Queen Mother" of all the gods. They built the "Parthenon" as her castle and throne. "Queen Mother" meant she sat at the right hand of Jupiter or Zeus as second in command.

This was the notion Matthew emphasized in his presentation of Jesus Christ, the King and his Kingdom. Luke stresses Mary as the mother of the savior and salvation. John takes a wholly different tack and sees Mary next to the New Adam as the New Eve.

The ideas and stories are marvelous but they are stories as in the OT beginnings. They are stories to tell "why" not "what."

December 27, 1996.
Today is the beast of St. John, the Apostle. He is the Man to whom a tremendous amount of our authentic tradition has been traced. He was a "Neaniskos" when he was called. This meant he was 13 or 14 years old. He and his brother, James, were called the "Boanerges" by Jesus. In our English today, this would be translated as "Loudmouth" or someone always "running off at the lip." The key incident is the time that they are refused hospitality. John says, "Wipe 'em out! Call down some fire and brimstone!"

According to the Apostolic Father, Irenaeus, who personally knew John in his old age, John never changed. He wrote the Apocalypse when he was about 71-73 years old. There is nothing tame in his attitude toward the persecuting Romans.

December 30, 1996.
The progress being made in the medical field on epilepsy is marvelous. In the Gospels, the epileptic is explicitly depicted as a person possessed by the devil. In fact, the cure of the epileptic was the occasion for the open antagonism between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. This boy was brought to Jesus by his father. Jesus cured him in the middle of one of his seizures. The Jewish Leaders said his power came from the Prince of demons. Jesus just laughed at them. He asked how their medical men were able to cure the sick. The Leaders were caught in a bind and shut up. But they decided at that moment that Jesus had to die.

January 17, 1997.
The strongest point that needs developing is the notion "Son of Man." I have every reference lined up from its origin in Daniel to the 4 Gospels. The phrase is clearly a reference to "Adam" and means "real man" or the “Adam who responds to Yahweh” as intended from the beginning.

The second notion that has to get full treatment is the "qahala" or the "church" as first presented. The Biblical meaning has one meaning - the "gathering" of people or animals. It is not a separate entity. It had two qualities: "holy" and "everywhere." How this was done depended on each locality. The oldest creed outside the Bible, the "Apostles" creed" says this. It comes from the Didache.

January 20, 1997.
I thought a lot about the personalities of the apostles and Christ because of the incident with the Samaritan at the well in Sychar. The fact that Christ even talked with her, a Samaritan and a woman, was far more daring than asking a black person to eat with you in the deep south in the 1930's. It just wasn't done. Then the whole group of people came out to see Christ and were captivated by him.

Now the apostles arrive on the scene. They have just been to the McDonalds or Burger King or Herod Quick Stop of the their times. They have food but it looks like there might be a fight first. Then I remember that all of these men were in their late teens or early twenties. They were from Galilee. They hated Samaritans. They were led by Peter who always acted first and then thought about it. All hell could have erupted. Christ calmly keeps control and the incident stands out in John's mind the rest of his life.

This has brought the Gospel story alive in a way I have never seen it before. So often, John's account was considered stiff and formal. This is because we don't make the incidents alive with people in them. The Nicodemus in Chapter 3 will be a real thriller. That wedding feast in Cana has all the makings of a great story.

February 2, 1997.
I finished my notes from the JB up to Exodus yesterday. Then I pulled up my commentary on Genesis to see how they compared. I have Genesis divided into the Creation Story, the Noah Story, the Patriarch Story, and the Joseph Story. What I intend to do is to edit the notes into the commentary at the proper places. The picture will be more complete and all my ideas will gel better. There are a few basic facts in the OT and the rest is a story much like the parables of Christ in the NT. It is Semitic history but not western history. The Semitic mind, even today, is not interested in the "what" of the story rather than the "why." They do not hesitate to add, omit, or maneuver facts to teach their point.

The origin of Israel in the east, near Iran or Iraq is a good guess because of the huge migrations in the 19th and 18th centuries B.C. This would be the Patriarchal story. Then there was a terrible famine and everybody headed for Egypt, a land of plenty, because of the Nile.

The Hyksos, or foreigners, took over in Egypt for about 2 centuries and all non-Egyptians rode the gravy train. About 1500-1250 B.C. the Egyptians came back into power and enslaved every non-Egyptian. The principal work was making clay brick and building.

Then about 1250 B.C. there was a huge exodus of non-Egyptians from Egypt, so the exodus story is told in this setting. All the other details of the stories in Genesis are very probably literary trimming. These were written down in the 10th century for the first time under Solomon. Then they were edited over and over again down to the 1st century B.C. The prophetic movement was an effort on the part of serious reformers trying to restore the true greatness of the people.

Jesus Christ was the last of these reformers. At first, the Jews and Christians were together. Then 68-90 AD, the Jewish nation was decimated and the followers of Christ were on their own.

February 3-4, 1997.
We were talking about events that take place in our lives and where God fits into this picture. I know a lot of priests and theologians taught the picture you describe and then try to use all sorts of mental gymnastics to explain the seeming contradiction.

The writers of the Bible clearly faced the problem, especially in the last two centuries before the Christian era. The writers ended with Job, Sirach, Proverbs and Wisdom.

Then Christ came along. He presented what I consider the full picture. God is a Father, a truly loving parent. All people are his children. He helps them but like every good parent, he knows there is a time when the child has to operate on his/her own.

You have done it thousands of times with kids in the classroom. You explain the lesson clearly. You leave the floor open to questions. Then you give the assignment. You walk around looking over their shoulders. You see them making a mistake. Sometimes, you point at it. Sometimes you ask a question. Sometimes, you just let the mistake there. The child has to learn from mistakes.

God made everyone of us free. He set the standards of cooperation, effort, mutual love, kindness, etc. However, not all people cooperate. This creates problems for innocent people. But God wants the world to grow up. He is not mean, inconsiderate or lacking in love any more than a parent who lets his child fall off a bicycle or stumble on roller skates to develop a sense of balance.

God made the universe a place of unlimited possibilities. Mankind is beginning to unfold more and more of these. The motor and the car were a giant step forward. Yet every day people use cars carelessly and injure or kill innocent people.

February 8, 1997.
Yesterday, I was writing a short notion of each Gospel for the presentation at Harold’s church. I finally have a single word to describe the key trait of each Gospel. Mark is chronologically the oldest and his is “Kerygma” the “Proclamation.” This Gospel story is just a bit beyond the basic truth a person had to profess before baptism. Luke is “Salvation.” However, I am using its more generic word. Luke was a medical doctor. As such, he was concerned with health. The Greek word he uses is the basic word for “heath.” He is concerned with Jesus as the source of health in every sense: physical, mental and spiritual. Matthew is the “kingship” and how each person is to share in all aspects of this Kingship. John is “Service.” He is concerned with the full practical application of “love” in daily life. This will be expressed and seen in all the interaction of Christians with all people. That’s the whole picture: A proclamation of universal health in establishing of Kingship in the service of each other.

It’s a great program! It worked wonders for about 3 centuries and then was buried under the Mound of Popes, rituals, sacraments and buildings. -- Aggiornamento is needed.

February 17, 1997.
I was looking at my summaries in the Books of the Bible. I came to 1st Corinthians where Paul talks about the Eucharist. There is no doubt he is talking about the “basket supper” where everyone brought food. The problem was that some people, especially men, just drifted into the assembly for a “free meal.” Paul laid down the rule - No work - no eat! Everybody is to carry his share.

Paul says explicitly this is the commemoration of the Last Supper. The difference between Paul and the gospels is that Christ is talking explicitly of the new meaning of the Passover Meal. From that time forward, his followers were to celebrate the Passover in memory of his delivering them from the slavery of sin. The old Passover recalled the deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. The communities of Paul had this Lord’s meal, the basket supper, every time they met.

February 20, 1997.
I was mulling over the numerous churches or groups that have been established in the name of Christ. The Vatican denies legitimacy to all of these except the Eastern Uniate group. The answer of Christ was explicitly the opposite. The Apostles had gone out on mission during the second year of Jesus’ public life. They met some people who were teaching in the name of Jesus but they did not belong to the 12. They came running back to Jesus and wanted them stopped. Jesus just smiled and said, “Let them alone. If they are not against us they are for us.”

There is the principle of unity and growth that allows everyone to work together and see all their talents and zeal.

Another time, the Sanhedrin wanted to condemn the work of the early church. Gamaliel, a Pharisee, finally made himself heard. “If this work is from man, it will fold naturally. If it is from god, you had better tread softly, lest you find yourself fighting against God!”

How easily all the bickering and division in the Christian world could be settled if these principles were followed.

February 21, 1997.
The original prayer of the church was the collection of Psalms. These were read, sung, recited or chanted. Originally, all the Psalms were “occasional” songs to commemorate or describe some event, action or person and to express the people’s feelings.

These Psalms were taken right over into the Last Supper. We are told Christ and the Apostles chanted the final psalms on the way to the Garden of Olives. The first Christians continued this practice at their community suppers. Then the monks took over and spread the Psalter through the whole day and night.

The Our Father was to have been a short outline for meditative prayer. Chapter 17 of John is one example. This was the notion of prayer we were taught in novitiate by John Zeller and which I follow through the day. Sometimes, I have questions to answer, problems to solve, works to do, people to meet - what have you.

February 23, 1997.
Each time I work on Mark, I realize I am listening to what he heard from Peter. I can certainly understand why Peter was picked to be the rock bottom of the church. He was certainly not a deep thinker. John wins that category easily. He was not a person everyone liked because he was so blunt and did not hesitate to hurt feelings. He was fearless and that’s what was needed in a hostile Israel and Rome. Walking around on the lowest floors of the catacombs of Callistus always made me think of Peter. They dated back to his day.

February 25, 1997.
The Four Gospels roll into a beautiful whole without sacrificing their individuality. The Gospel stories clearly show Christ arriving at these ideas gradually. He saw the problems, especially the rejection and abandonment, and it really scared him. However, he was convinced he was on the right track and he kept pushing forward.

He was raised from the dead to show us just a bit of what we were working for. Then he left for good and offered each person the opportunity and the challenge to share with him.

February 27 - March 1, 1997.
It is extremely helpful to see all of Paul’s letters as the opening years of the NT period. These letters are the first works Luke completed. Out of these letters, Luke saw the need of a full picture of the teaching and heritage of Christ. So he wrote his Gospel. Then he saw the need of a short description of some of the workings of the early church. So he wrote Acts.

March 2, 1997
The OT summaries fell into place. I’ll write a short intro in front of the books as I did for the NT. Then I’ll jot down the various editings and dates in the ten or twelve line summary I have. Then I’ll show the progressive growth of the writers in this notion of Son of Yahweh. Daniel ends the whole picture with the Son of Man - his title for the True Adam. This is the title Christ uses for himself all the way through. John prefers the term ‘Son of God” or “Son of Yahweh” because of its notion of the Chosen People or the Chosen One.

The OT is rich in human ideals constantly rooting themselves deeper. At the same time, the writers present the sad mess that results where these ideals are ignored or deserted. The Wisdom literature of the last two or three centuries B.C. is clearly the crown of the long story. Job tackles the major question of a morally good person who suffers much. How can we talk of a holy, kind and just God when good people suffer? The answer is still the same as it was then. Part of the answer lies in the failure of other people to measure up, to understand and use nature. The other part of the answer is that we simply can’t get a full perspective on life until we die.

March 6, 1997.
I put the finishing touches on the bible summary. The best part is the proper place for Paul. His personality was against him so the group in Jerusalem put him on the foreign missions. This kept him out of their hair for a good while. Luke was his saving angel. Luke was a physician - firm principles but kindness at all times. His Gospel and Acts are the outgrowth of his own personal thrill at the real meaning of life. I think he is responsible almost totally for the description of love in 1 Cor, for all of Romans and Ephesians. These were the result of his thinking and conclusions on the teachings of old and New Testament ideas.

March 7, 1997.
The OT book that stares at me constantly is Proverbs. That is a collection of Wisdom from the ancient Egyptian, Semitic and Greek cultures all pulled together in the 4th to the 3rd centuries B.C. I can open the book to any page and get lost in a reverie of ancient wisdom as it fit the modern world.

March 11, 1997.
You asked what I talked about last Sunday. The basic theme was the Fatherhood of God in the Brotherhood of Man. That started the whole session with real enthusiasm because they “brother” and “sister” each other constantly. Then I referred to the Our Father and “hallowed by thy name.” We have the family name of the Father. It is our job to do nothing to disgrace the family name but to promote it at all times.

Then I discussed the true meaning of literal sense in each literary form. Finally, I was ready for the gospel according to John. I explained “kata” according to John, “Simeon” (sign), John’s word instead of “miracle.” Then I took the development of the words “Son of God” through the OT to Christ. In succession, I talked about “In the beginning” in Genesis and John, John Baptist - forerunner, cousin, friend, metanoia (change of heart) AMEN (faith) Lamb of God, Sin of the world, Woman, Mary, Holy Spirit from Is 11:1-2. Samaritan Woman, Good Shepherd (pastor) and breath of Life, Garden of Failure and Garden of Obedience.

March 25 1997.
Today is the feast of the Annunciation. The story is told in Luke and I think it is just that - a story/preface to Luke’s Gospel. I’m sure it is Luke’s literary development to his questions to Mary, “What did you think of your son when he was little?” Mary could look back like any mother and describe her child. As she listened to the gifted kids, Jesus and John, playing and talking, she could see that both of them were going to do big things. She recognized the talents of her child and the social conditions of the times and knew her son would do something about them.

March 27, 1997.
I want to edit my ideas about Mary in Luke, Matthew and John and then show how the NT writers compared her to the OT women. Luke sees her as the new Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Mary’s Song, the Magnificat, and Hannah’s song are almost the same.

Matthew sets Mary before us as Queen Mother and presupposes we see her role in educating and guiding the new King. John develops her role as the new Eve at the side of the New Adam in his public life.

April 7, 1997.
As I listened to the report on the scrap in Israel and the cries of innocence on the part of Netayahu, I thought back to the book of Joshua. The Israelites had finally finished their years of wandering in the desert. They were on the east bank of the Jordan near the lake of Galilee. They were set to go over and take the land from the natives by physical force.

Three tribes looked at the land on the east side. It was far better farm land and grazing land. They decided to stay put even though there would be the physical separation from the majority. All hell broke loose. They said these people were shirking their duty to fight for the land. The answer was very prompt. They insisted their fighting men would be right with the others. They would merely settle their families and property and they would ask nothing of the Cis(west) Jordan side of the land.

All problems were settled and the plan went through. After a few years all major places were taken and the Trans-Jordan (East) tribes went home. However, their crops were far better, their flocks were beautiful and they could trade with the non-Israelites on that side. Then the leaders of the Cis (west)-Jordan insisted these people had to pay greater tithes.

So the Jordan-Israeli fight of today is nothing more than a continuation or rerun of the past.

April 8, 1997.
I read over the Intro to the picture of “Who Christ Was and What he thought of Himself.” We know from Luke’s account which has Mary as its source that Jesus was a very bright boy. In fact, he had the teacher’s union standing on its collective ear at his Bar Mitzvah. He and John B were close companions. Finally, they both decided it was time to move. Jesus was more scared as he worked along. He ran away several times and then decided to stand and face the threats to prove his sincerity.

April 9, 1997.
The more I read over my development of Jesus in the New Testament, the more I realize how we have perverted the picture for almost 17 centuries. Jesus and John B. talked over these ideas throughout their lives in Nazareth. Already at age 12, Jesus spoke up in the Temple itself. Finally, John Baptist decided he had to act. He lived out in the desert as a hermit for a while. The people were curious and thought he might be the Messiah they were looking for. They flocked out to him.

He began on their lives first and demanded total and sincere conversion. Then he attacked the leaders, especially Herod and the Pharisees and Sadducees. Herod wanted to kill John but was afraid of the people’s reaction.

Then Christ starts his work. He went down to John at the Jordan, First, Jesus picked up on Daniel, the last of the writings of the OT. He took the “Son of Man” title which in Hebrew would “Son of Adam.” He saw the implications right from the start as Matthew points out in the temptation scene. Jesus realized he had to pick up where Moses left off and form a people of God. As Daniel had said, “the Handwriting was on the wall.” for all to read.

Jesus was scared but courageous right from the start. He knew he could never finish the work in one life time so he gathered a group of special emissaries and trained them. The more public he went, the more in danger he was. Finally, he quit running, proved his convictions by his death and left everything to his followers.

April 12, 1997.
At no time did the teachings of the New Testament in the 1st Christians say there was only one God, only one church or only one religion. Jesus Christ presented what he saw as the fulfillment of the Jewish faith and the picture of the world as he saw it.

His emphasis was that God is a kindly, wise, holy, considerate Father. He wants people to be his children and form a family. The followers of Christ would do as they did in Rome. - life their lives and win followers through admiration. There was no special church building or liturgical service. When they ate their evening meal, they always had the symbolic cup of bread and wine to signify sharing.

All the rest of the picture is the result of a structure, a hierarchy, a standing army, and a world to conquer, Now we have 17 centuries of error to remove - and that’s what John XXIII saw.

April 17, 1997.
Baptism was the official immersion of the child or adult into the community. Confirmation was the age at which the child assumed adult responsibility. Eucharist was the family get-together. Penance was making sure you apologized to anyone you offended or accepted the apology of others to you. Extreme Unction was the final good-bye to a member of the community who was going to his/her reward. Orders was the appointment of one or two older people (presbyteroi) to lead the local community. Marriage was the sign to the world that community was based in the home and family.

It is really a simple plan. The growth was not by condemning or destroying other beliefs and groups. The growth was to be by acceptance of people who saw and wanted to belong.

April 22, 1997.
Each time I think of the so-called conflict between the Bible and Science I could tack the members of the Council of Trent on a post the way Luther nailed his 95 theses.

The more I think of the discoveries of science through the centuries, the more I can see God grinning with delight and saying, “I told you it was very good!”

One of the real anomalies of the opening line of genesis is the fact that God is called simply “Elohim,” or the generic word, “deity”. This was being edited the first time in the reign of Solomon, the 10th century B.C. In spite of all the successive editings down to the first century B.C. the writers did not add the proper Jewish name “Yahweh.” Yet, the second account of creation in Chapter Two, which is older, has “Yahweh-Elohim.” “Tis a puzzlement!

April 25, 1997.
Almost everyone is interested in knowing something about his/her past. It is a national past time among all known peoples. They concocted fanciful heroes and tales and always had some kind of supreme or higher being who looked out for their welfare and had to be pleased and placated in varying ways and degrees.

One of these stories is the Bible Story which begins with group of nomads who call themselves the Hebrews and Israel. The story begins with a group of founding fathers known as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. They get their start in Ur of Chaldea and migrate westward into modern day Israel. They are enslaved in Egypt and come up with their Liberator and Lawgiver, Moses. They get to the land they want to settle, cross the Jordan River and settle in the small land of the Philistines. Joshua is the leader.’

They are not a unified people but a series of independent tribes or clans fighting frequently with each other. Finally, a national unity is established under men called kings. The three who governed the whole group were Saul, David and Solomon. This period of Kingship lasts from about 1100 to 950 B.C. Saul was a military leader who degenerated into a psychopath filled with jealousy and envy. David was a military leader. Solomon was more of an intellectual. During his time the first written accounts of the Story of Israel develops.

To tie their national story with the whole universe, the origin of all things is traced to “The Deity” - “Elohim.” The writers were not the least bit interested in “how” this origin took place. They were interested in “Why?” The whole of the universe was made to establish the “family” or “brotherhood” of mankind in the “Fatherhood of the deity.”

People rebelled against the deity and another hero was raised up to save the universe from total destruction. This man was known as Noah. With these ideas as introduction, Abraham is presented.

By the time of Solomon, 950 BC., there was a sense of national unity. With his death in 930 BC this national unity was totally disrupted into two separate national groups. The north (10 tribes) called themselves Israel. The South (2 tribes) called themselves Juda.

April 26, 1997.
I’ll continue with the Bible story. Israel in the North and Juda to the south were set up as separate camps in 929 BC The northern people had to come to Jerusalem if they wanted to fulfill their liturgical obligations. The Temple and its Liturgy were in Jerusalem. So for at least 3 weeks out of each year the faithful from the north came south.

Then, the central section began to intermarry with the native population and they were considered ethnically tainted. They were called the Samaritans and were on a social rung lower than any animal. Thus, the land was divided into three sections: Juda to the south, Galilee to the North and Samaria in between. The Galileans were accepted by the Judeans because they contributed to the financial upkeep of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem.

In 722, the Assyrians came from the East and demolished the North or Israel. They slaughtered most of the people and took the rest captive back to Assyria.

The Kingdom of Juda managed to stay afloat until 587 BC. The neo-Babylonians swept in and defeated them and those not killed were deported to Babylon. That was the end of the Kingdom as such.

Cyrus, King of Persia (modern Iran) put the Babylonians down. In 538 BC he established a policy that all captives who wished could go back to their homelands. They would remain captives but they could work their lands for the good of Persia.

The first wave of Jewish captives returned to Jerusalem. They had been born in captivity. They had heard all the stories of the glory of the Temple and the great city of Jerusalem. When they arrived home, they were aghast. The place was a shambles and other nomadic people had taken over.

At the urgings and promises of the leaders, the Temple was restored in 520-515 BC. A few of the people lived truly holy lives. The rest adapted more and more the surrounding customs and actions. This remnant went farther and farther from their ideals until the Torah was a lot of empty words and the liturgical worship was an empty farce. A few isolated individuals and families persevered in the Jewish ideals.

There is one little ray of light in 167-164 BC. Antiochus the Terrible was the oppressor. A small handful of zealous faithful fought for their Law, customs and worship. These were given the nickname of the “Hammer,” The “maqqabah.” In English, they are called the Maccabees.

Finally, the Greek civilization took full sway and the remnant of the people of Yahweh was isolated in society.

This is by no means the whole story. This is the historic backbone. Leaders rose up to guide and lead the people to the right track even though the majority did not listen.

These people were called the “nebiim” or “prophets.” The term means a person who is a “moralist’ telling his listeners how they should act. It also means a person who talks about the future in a very special sense. He or she looks at what is happening right now and predicts the dire outcome if the mores do not change.

The first of these moralists preachers were called “Shophetem” or “judges.” Only a few of these were better than the common run of people (Then we meet Nathan.)

The last and greatest and most influential of all the Judges was a man named Samuel. He tried every way possible to keep the presence of Yahweh and his plans, ideals, and laws before the people in their lives. He failed and the Kingdom began.

Nathan rose up as a moral guide, particularly for David, but was poorly accepted. Then the father or founder of the Prophets arose. His name was Elijah and his disciple was Elisha. In spite of their advice and warnings in word and action, the kingdom went steadily away from Yahweh and moral lives.

Then came the “writing” prophets whose words, threats, ideas and admonitions were put in manuscripts for better preservation and wider use. Four are called Major Prophets because their messages are many and long. Others are called Minor Prophets because we have fewer or shorter writings. Major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel and Daniel. Minor prophets are all the rest.

Isaiah lived in the late 8th century BC. His primary concern was the “Holiness” of Yahweh that was supposed to be manifest in the lives of his people. His primary concern was the northern Kingdom because they were soon to be annihilated by outside enemies and Isaiah saw this as punishment from God.

About a century later, another prophet arose. We have no name for him but his teachings were attached to original Isaiah. His contribution is the 4 “Servant Songs” which Jesus and the first Christians saw as perfectly fulfilled by Jesus. Still another part is added later, the work of another teacher. He was of great importance to the Christians because John Baptist was forerunner of Jesus.

Then comes Jeremiah just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. He begged and pleaded with his contemporizes to repent and change. He was beaten, imprisoned and mistreated in every way. He foretells that a new and eternal Covenant will take the place of the abandoned Old Covenant. This covenant will be written on the hearts of people rather than on pieces of stone.

At almost the same time, another major figure, Ezechiel, rises up to guide the people in the Babylonian captivity. They are blaming everyone else, especially their ancestors, for their misery. Ezechiel stresses the notion of individual, personal responsibility. Finally, in the 2nd century BC, arises a young teenager, named Daniel. He is best known for his depiction of the “Son of Man” or the “new Adam” who is to come. When Jesus begins his work, this is the title he used at all times. He stresses that he is correcting the mistake of the first Adam, disobedience, by his life and death of perfect obedience.

How much the contemporaries of the prophets understood of these messages, we do not know. In the light of the life of Jesus, we tend to put the meaning back in the time of the prophet.

The twelve minor prophets also have important messages. The prophetic movement ends about 400 BC with Malachy. Daniel is an apocalyptic teacher rather than a prophet.

Following the prophetic age, we enter what is called the “didactic” or “Wisdom” age. The teaching is the same but more highly developed and geared especially to counteract the shallow “wisdom” of the Greek period. The Wisdom literature carried right down to the arrival of the New Age or the New Covenant.

All the Jewish world was looking for a “Messiah,” an “Anointed” of Yahweh. This person was to throw off the shackles of the pagan rulers and re-establish the “temporal” kingdom of the Jews. This kingdom would rule the world.

Many men rose up to claim this title but they were quickly killed and their influence destroyed by the pagan overlords.

Finally, two teenage boys, cousins of each other, appear on the scene. Their names are John and Jesus. Their mothers were cousins and very good friends. They visited a lot and so did the boys.

At age 30, John began his public career as itinerant preacher and prophet. He demanded a total change of heart and conversion of anyone who followed him. Six months into his public mission, Jesus walked up to be baptized by John. John wanted Jesus to take over. Jesus disagreed. He went back to Galilee and began to present his ideas. In short order he had a big following. He picked out 12 men and sent them to spread his ideas faster.

He summed up his whole “Good news” in true love - That is, service of others in their daily needs. This message was to change the whole world. The true Brotherhood of Man would show forth the full fatherhood of God. That is the total message. When it is a reality, the world will be ‘complete.”

May 2, 1997.
I am amazed at how perfect the plan of John Baptist and Jesus Christ is for today’s problems. If we can restore true “community” as the Christians had it for the first 3 centuries, we have the answer to all social and individual problems. No problem is beyond an answer but it has to be sought together.

We have been in the habit of setting Mark’s Gospel aside because it doesn’t say a word about the early life of Jesus. Everything he has in his Gospel is found in one of the others. Actually, Mark is the story as it was told by Peter. He started where the “community” began with their first meeting on the Lake. All the concerns of Luke and Matthew about early days was a later curiosity. The Christians were to wield their power for change on the street level in their daily lives. There was no structure. That’s why we can’t find any hidden treasures. The closest we come to archeological digs are the catacombs and they were cemeteries. The only remarkable thing about them is the “tufa” stone.

They like to say St. Peter was buried beneath the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica. No one has ever established this by any evidence.

May 4, 1997.
The basic message of the entire Bible is to give us what the Judeo-Christian world has figured out or developed about God and its relationship to him. The writers and teachers of the OT did not spend a lot of time trying to figure out the nature of god. They stressed his holiness and concern for mankind and the whole universe.

The New Testament took on new emphasis. Not much is said about God or his nature but all the emphasis is on human harmony.

May 12, 1997.
I have been thinking of the topic of Leadership in the Bible. (book Phil and Lois planned to write) This theme is the heart of the message in both Old and New Testament. In the OT, there would be many ideas in the study of Moses in all his moods.

Jesus clearly saw all the burdens and problems and tried every excuse he could muster to get out of the chore. Finally, Yahweh just says, “Get moving!” Moses shows fear, doubt, anger and the whole range of emotions in his years at the helm. There is the story of the 12 scouts and the ten who flatly refused to take the risks. Caleb and Joshua admitted the problems but wanted to move forward.

The judges show us a lot of failures with a couple who are great leaders. Deborah is one of the greatest. Samuel is outstanding in many ways and circumstances. Saul, David and Solomon are prime examples of what “not-to-be’ as leaders. The prophets present pictures of leadership in the face of great odds.

There are lots of women who are outstanding in the OT. Proverbs 31:10-31 is a beautiful description of a leader among women in that 5th century BC. Judith, Esther, Ruth are some more. The possibilities of this topic in OT alone are almost limitless. We would treat the sources simply as ’stories” handed down the Judaic culture.

Lois adds: Phil died in 2002 and I cannot complete this book alone.

May 13, 1997.
As I thought about the Biblical notion of leadership, I realized we have lots of parables in the NT precisely on the topic. The word that is used in Greek is ___(Greek). All translations have “Kingdom.” It should be “kinging” because the  (eia) in Greek is the equivalent of the “ing” in English.

Now put the word “Leadership” in place of “kinging” and you have all the comparisons to develop the notion. We would say, “Leadership is like the grain of wheat. When the farmer sows it, some of the grain falls on the footpath and the birds gobble it up. Some of it falls among the weeds and they choke it out. Some of it falls on stones. It sprouts but soon dries up and dies. Some of it falls on good ground and yields 30, 60 or 100 percent.”

Apply this on the footpath: people who are willing to be followers at all times. Among weeds: people who will lead if there is no difficulty. On stones: people who start well but fold in the face of difficulty. The good soil: leaders vary in ability, application and results. The principal notion of Leadership in OT & NT is the shepherd.

May 16, 1997.
My head is really rambling with ideas on leadership as expressed in the Bible. The prophets are outstanding men who rose to the occasion each time they saw a need. Some were strong enough to have their say and thwart any physical reaction. Others suffered at the hands of those they corrected.

The prophets were “seers” in the sense that they read the effects of evil in the future generations unless it was corrected. They were “moralists” insofar as they pointed out clearly what morally good actions were at the time. Being a prophet was not an hereditary role. When Samuel was on the point of dying, the people said they would not accept his sons as advisors because they were some of the worst public offenders.

You mentioned John Baptist having a lot to do with the formation of Christ’s outlook. That is true. They complemented each other.

May 18, 1997.
Paul has been held up as a great leader for such a long time. He had a deep sense of drive and urgency. He was fearless in the face of opposition. However, he was too domineering, whiny and bitchy if things didn’t go his way. Luke saved his butt most of the time.

May 20, 1997.
Christ had two favorite aspects of leadership in his thinking. First and foremost, a leader has to be a shepherd - a person who knows each member of his flock individually and well, and is up front calling to them to follow him. Secondly, a leader is a “Kepha,” a bed rock, on which the whole building can safely and firmly stand. The authority of Christian leadership is not top-down domination but a rock-bottom support that makes growth possible for everyone.

In the OT, everything that precedes Moses looks forward to his coming and work. Everything after Moses looks back to him and explains or adapts what he said. Moses is in the center of the story.

Then Christ says, “This is what you heard from Moses, Now I’m telling you.” Christ repeats the basic plan of Moses and then lifts it to new heights and possibilities.

The oldest evidence of a written text in the OT is the Yahwist editing - shortly after the time of Solomon 900-850 BC There may have been some written parts of the OT before that time but we have no evidence. All the stories of Genesis would have been as oral tradition handed down from generation to generation and editing to suit circumstances as they were told.

This chronology is essential to any development of ideas from the OT. The NT is much easier because of manuscript evidence and a shorter time lapse, 100 years at most.

May 22, 1997.
Each time I woke up during the night, I thought of Moses. He is the epitome of biblical leadership in the OT. So the whole message of Matthew’s Gospel is the depiction of Christ as the New Moses.

The two great saviors and leaders of the OT, Joseph and Moses, get their upbringing, learning and leadership from the Egyptians. Joseph goes in as a teenager and becomes so Egyptian even in appearance that his brothers don’t recognize him. Moses is taken to the court as a baby and becomes totally Egyptian except he remembers his background from what he learned from his mother.

Joseph was a savior. Moses was a Liberator, leader, lawgiver and counselor. Joseph is presented as a spoiled brat and is tossed in the well. Moses saw all the problems and looked for and found solutions. He lived in the desert, married a girl from a desert family, took care of the flock for several years and knew all about desert life.

He really hesitates to take on the liberation of his people and yet he feels an obligation. He gets very excited and then has a hard time speaking clearly. The more I think about this, the more I think of standing in front of the statue of Moses in Rome, carved by Michelangelo. Moses looks as if he is just ready to speak. It would be great if the statues of Moses, David, Peter and John suddenly came to life and appeared on the 6:00 news for several days.

May 23, 1997.
I was able to get the basic picture of Moses as the central leader of the whole OT on the disks, yesterday. I am fascinated with all the insights this picture of Moses is pointing out in the OT for me.

Moses sent the 12 scouts ahead of the group to look over the land and people of the Philistines. The scouts came back and all agreed the land was indeed a prize to be coveted. However, ten of the scouts said they could not possibly conquer the people. Two of the scouts, Caleb and Joshua, agreed it would be real work but with the help of Yahweh they could take the land. Moses went with Caleb and Joshua. Then Moses realized he was not going to be in for the finish so he appointed Joshua to take his place. Moses looked across the Jordan and saw the land but he never entered it.

Ordinarily, such a man would soon become a memory as the history moved on. However, all the teachers and prophets from that time forward, 1250 B.C., updated, applied and lived by his teaching. Any time a plan succeeded in the OT, it was attributed to the wisdom of Moses. Solomon gave himself the title of wise man but he was clearly pompous after his first years in office.

Then Christ comes. He and the Baptist pick up the Old Moses theme. J.B. insists the people have to live the principle and ideals of Moses. Jesus goes a step beyond. He says Moses was right for his times but now they have to go forward.

May 27, 1997.
I was reading the commentary I wrote on Gen 1-3. The more I think about the literary facts we have, the more I see the importance of stressing the actual time of writing. For centuries, theologians took it for granted that Moses lived in the 15th C BC. He composed the first five books of the OT about 1140-1400 B.C.

Then we started to learn more about the Hebrew language and realized the oldest part of the OT could not have been written prior to Solomon in the 10th century B.C. Then we found evidence of words of Aramaic origin that were not in existence until the 2nd century B.C. Finally, we realized that the OT was edited over and over again. The final editing was in the time of Daniel in the 2nd century B.C.

I’m wondering if the whole patriarchal picture of Genesis is a series of stories that were made up to give a little group of “escaped slaves” a national background. The real hero of the entire OT story is an Egyptian noble who led this group of slaves out of captivity. His name is actually Egyptian for “son” and the Hebrew writers try to explain it from a Hebrew root.

The first actual history in the sense of factual data would be the small band of wanderers crossing the Jordan and striving to settle in an already inhabited land. They had their “General Custer” and he led them to conquer the local groups and take over the land.

The whole picture changes when John Baptist and Jesus Christ decide to give more depth and meaning to the “people of Yahweh.”

May 29, 1997.
I have the notion of Leadership in the Bible reduced to a simple phrase: The Fatherhood of God in the Brotherhood of Man! Biblical leadership is the establishment of a true family in unity, harmony, sharing, idealism and effort.

All ancient peoples had their folklore or stories of origin. They were always connected with some superior beings. They invented these beings according to their needs, and developed rituals, practices and superstitions to suit their purposes.

Out of this vast agglomeration of ancestral stories arose the story of Israel. It would probably never have continued except that these people settled in the land of the Philistines and took it over.

Then the Roman Empire came through with their Interstate system of highways. They wanted a land route from Rome to Africa and especially Egypt. So they overthrew the Israelites and carried their story back to Rome. Later on, the successors to Israel and the followers of a New Moses, the Christians, came to Rome. They were a real threat to the sense of Roman tyranny. They were to be erased but the process didn’t work. Finally, Rome capitulated and the ideal of the Bible was on its way to fulfillment.

Then the structure of the church replaced the structure of the Caesars and we are still far from the Brotherhood of Mankind.

June 1, 1997.
Moses has the focal position in the whole story of the OT.

Matthew was a Jew. He was a tax collector. He appreciated the importance of Moses in the story of his people. Matthew was a renegade according to the Jewish leaders of his day because he worked for Rome. He despised the leaders of the Jews of that day and delighted in giving the full curse in as pronounced by Christ.

Luke as a medical doctor and is concerned with the total healing power of Christ’s message. He stresses the kindness of Christ. John sees the picture all the way to the beginning. For him, Christ is the true Adam. He sets mankind on a path that can achieve the harmony and peace God intended from the beginning.

June 7, 1997.
As I think of leadership in the NT, the notion all boils down to the “Koinonia,” the real sharing with each other. Luke stresses this point in the opening verses of Acts, and says it was the secret of the power and success of those first Christians.

In Peter’s picture, in his letters especially, the key note is always to have the reason for the hope that is in you. This fits the picture of Peter. Hope meant always looking forward to what could and should be done.

Matthew sees leadership in the empowering of yourself with the strengths of a king. He describes this fully all the way through his Gospel in a logical unemotional pattern. Jesus is the fulness of Moses. Jesus is the Leader, the Liberator, the Lawgiver. His work will make every person (seed) no matter how small, into a big tree to bear fruit galore.

John sees the leadership as the Shepherd, out in front, knowing and leading. Paul does not contribute much because he was usually “raising hell.” The positive parts of his letters are the work of Luke.

June 8, 1997.
The TV program dated the heyday of the Greek from 2000-1500 BCE. I recalled how important these dates were. The Hyksos or non-Egyptians took over the rule of Egypt about 1700 B.C. There was definitely a Greek influence here. Then the native Egyptian came back about 1259 B.C. and enslaved all foreigners.

The Egyptians were noted for their building and writing but they did not have the influence on thought of the Greek philosophers. The LXX (Septuagent) translators were a group of Greek-speaking scholars in Egypt. They had a facile command of Hebrew and Greek. They were also well aware of the great Greek philosophers.

For centuries the Greek translation of the OT took precedence over the Hebrew text. Most translations of the Bible used by theologians up to 1942 were all faulty translations of the Greek.

June 12, 1997.
For a long time, Virgil’s poetic descriptions of the Sun, Moon and stars and the vault of the sky were considered the astronomical science of the Roman world. They are not. Virgil was a great poet and presented the world in keeping with poetic license. All educated Romans read his works but when they wanted to take over more of the world, they read Caesar’s Gallic Wars. The Roman civilization produced great writers in spite of its elitist/slave society and all the destruction of human rights. Only certain people had the privilege of being “citizens” and only citizens counted as people. Peasant and slaves were always expendable.

This is the world into which the ideals of Jesus Christ came. He taught the value of every human being and the necessity of “sharing” at all times. It took the Christian society just short of 3 centuries to establish this ideal. In 313, Constantine accepted Christ and the Roman philosophy began to change. 13 years later, 326, there was a fully structured church and the return to paganism began.

The various orders of monks and nuns were founded by men and women to re-establish the basic Christian ideal. In every case, within a few generations, reform was needed because the structure was destroying the ideal. Right now, the structured church is feeling the effects dramatically in the closing of seminaries and monasteries.

June 17, 1997.
I look more and more into the message of Christ. Once we get rid of the “divinity” ideas we can see Jesus for what he really was: a very bright boy from a working class family. He saw the mess that had developed in the world and saw how the leaders of his people failed to lead. He and John Baptist discussed these ideas and finally decided to do something about it.

The first Christians caught the message and the ideals and the enthusiasm. The only problem was Paul - the convert rabbi! He never did understand the true picture. The Christians in Rome decided to get rid of the problem by sending him out of the area. Paul was a domineering, cantankerous, self-pitying know-it-all. Fortunately, Luke edited all his letters and they contained some positive ideas.

July 2, 1997.
The Old Moses was Liberator, Lawgiver and Leader. Then Matthew develops the picture of Christ as the New Moses.

Matthew’s Gospel is used more than the others in theology and in the Liturgy. This usage is clearly the result of reducing the Gospel to scholastic syllogisms. The real parallel between the Old torah and the New is not developed. The fact that the word “basileia” should be translated as “kinging” rather than “kingdom” is constantly overlooked. Vogt stressed this at the PIB. I brought it up at a CBA meeting and Barney Ahern and others jumped at the concept. They had never heard of the translation and yet it is in every Greek grammar. “eia” in Greek shows action, like “ing” in English.

July 5, 1997.
Moses has importance for the western and near-eastern world. He was well prepared for his life’s work as an Egyptian prince and as a nomadic shepherd in the desert.

Moses had the insight to see what needed to be done, the foresight to know when to do it, and the hindsight to learn from successes and failures. The law that he worked out in the Ten Commandments has never been surpassed and is still the basis of all human law and society. His presentation of a “Deity” is one that can be used by anyone. He presented him as the one who is the origin of this universe, who continues to care for it, and toward whom everything moves to reach fulfillment.

Then Moses lay down the basic rules that are needed to achieve this goal. He did not make a lot of rules but only those needed to keep order and achieve success. After his time the teachers and leaders multiplied rules and regulations. The Prophets saw the wisdom and simplicity of Moses and kept trying to bring the people back to it.

July 6, 1997.
My head was really full of ideas during the night. They seemed to be rolling over each other and tagging one another to see if they fit together. The central position of Moses in the OT is just as forceful as the central position of Jesus Christ in the NT. The major fact that runs through the whole picture is that the New Moses wanted to avoid the exclusiveness of the Old People of God. The Israelites took up the fertility cults of the people around. The Prophets hammered away at keeping the Israelites on a separate wave length. They were to be totally separate from the society around them.

The new Moses, Jesus Christ, wanted just the opposite. They were to be recognized by their sincere kindness toward each other and toward all the people among whom they lived. The final cup of wine and the dipping in of the bread was the symbol of this sharing.

The old Torah was still in vogue as far as it touched their lives and was brought forward. The central event of the life of Israel, the exodus from Egypt, was commemorated each year by the Passover meal. Jesus kept the meal but dropped its old meaning and said it was to be remind the Christians of Jesus. Paul talked about the new freedom but he is actually the source of a lot of OT customs.

The plan of Jesus worked. In about 270 years, the Christians overcame the persecution of the Romans and converted the Emperor. The Romans marveled at how the “Christians loved everyone.”

July 7, 1997.
I see how the book of Genesis fits into the picture now. The story of Israel starts with Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. The whole of the history of mankind up to that point is summarized in Genesis. We can easily see how this whole Genesis story is borrowed from existent stories of other people. Then it is retold from the viewpoint of one only God, Yahweh, and fertility cults are banned. The first actual writing of the story was in the time of Solomon and was very short. Successive editings added details.

July 13-14, 1997.
My head is filled to overflowing with new ideas about the basic message of Christ. Once we see him and John B as two young men living in the midst of the legalistic milieu of the Jewish leaders and the domineering, destructive ideas and ideals of the Romans, they make good sense.

Christ saw that his ideas were quickly accepted but the basic ideal was missed. The world had to be changed. Lasting change is achieved only from the inside out. So his whole message boiled down to his followers interacting by kindness and consideration on the society in which they lived. They would be recognized by their kindness and generosity toward each other. They would restore human dignity by their sharing and kindness (Koinonia). The huge churches (buildings) throughout the world are the symbol of the “dead weight” that oppresses the world in the name of religion.

July 16, 1997.
The link between Old and New is the “cousins” as Luke presents them. Jesus is the first of the New Teachers. He stresses an easy formula for changing the whole world. That formula is personal sharing with all the people in your life. Luke stresses this picture as a doctor-soteria/health. Matthew sees “kinging”- basileia. John stresses huisthesia -sonship- the fatherhood of God in the brotherhood of man.

July 17, 1997.
The prophets sought to establish the “people of Yahweh.” They worked toward establishing an oasis in the midst of a huge desert. The oasis failed and the desert was still dry.

Christ broadened the vision to the whole world. He was offering as his parting gift the “Holy Breath” (Holy Spirit.) A new creation was to take place. It was to include the entire world. It was to replace the original “creative breath” which had been tainted by the failure of mankind. Christ’s followers were to bring the world to “completion.”

The world is to accomplish its original purpose. That’s the work that has to be done and this is the thread I have to weave through it.

July 23, 1997.
John Baptist (JB) is talking about the people of Yahweh and what they have to do to carry out their mission. So he is primarily concerned with the goals, ideals, and laws set by Moses. JB is looking back. Christ is convinced that the sights have to be set in the future. The Chosen people have failed to carry on their vocation. Now the appeal has to be put out to the whole world. The new stage is not preparation but fulfillment. The end of the world (The Telos) will come only when people bring it about. The world is to end in the sense that the cherry blossom reaches its goal when the cherry is produced. Then the cherry goes on to carry out its work.

The idea of terror and destruction is all from the Apocalypse and is a description of the Roman tyranny of the first centuries.

July 24, 1997.
John Baptist (JB) is a prophet and is concerned primarily with the straightening out of his people. He is a moralist and a seer: a prophet in both senses of the word. Christ is concerned with the whole world. He sees the basic truth about the human race. They have to develop the “Holy Spirit” or breath to take the place of the selfish or tainted spirit of the first Adam. This Holy Spirit is true sharing of all people with each other.

July 26, 1997.
I read through my commentary on John 13, yesterday. Chapters. 13-17 of John are a gold mine for the teaching of Christ. Chapter 17 is John’s version of the Our Father. It is really a great development of the meaning, purpose and manner of prayer.

Each time I read this 4th Gospel story, I start with the picture of John’s first meeting with Christ. He was 13 or 14 years old. He was busy cleaning up the nets to get out fishing on his dad’s boat. By temperament, he was a “boanerges” - a “son of thunder” He was a sharp kid and always on the cutting edge wanting to get things done. The Gospels say clearly he was a favorite of Christ. On Easter Sunday, he took off and arrived at the tomb, first. Then he hesitated to barge right in, so he waited for Peter. In many ways, he was like Daniel and the 3 teenagers in the OT.

He lived beyond the turn of the 1st century. Then his Gospel story was published, about 125 AD posthumously. What a reunion that crew must have had when he died. Everyone was there ahead of him and in came John - “big grin on his face.” and a simple “what’s up?”

July 27, 1997.
I read John’s Gospel and his letters. I have Letter to Hebrews with that disk because we don’t know who wrote it but I think it is closest to the ideas and style of John. However, it does not have the clarity of ideas or expression found in John. It clearly is in a class by itself, but it has always been accepted as canonical even by the earliest Fathers of the Church. So it was left in the Canon by Trent. It’s one contribution is about the priesthood of Christ being “according to the order of Melchisedeck.” Therefore, it precedes the Levitical priesthood.

August 12, 1997.
I was reworking the composition “Who did Jesus Think He Was.” He did not want to be called the Messiah because of the militaristic connotation of that term with his contemporaries. He was a bright boy and young man who saw the need to establish personal responsibility that had been stressed so much by Ezechiel. He realized he would run afoul of the Jewish leaders - as he did. He knew that the ritual of the Temple, Sabboth and Feasts was empty show and parades. He knew the final outcome would be a Roman trial and execution. He knew his work would continue only if he had a strong nucleus of dedicated followers who caught his “Spirit.”

The key to his success was the raising of Lazarus from the dead and then his own resurrection. The Apostles finally caught his “Spirit” after he was gone and the work continued.

August 13, 1997.
You said you used to believe in god and a plan, etc. You still do. You believe in the basic principles of cause and effect. You always ask, “What happened here?” “Why did this happen?“ That is all that is meant by God in the thinking of early people. They looked at the whole world around them and they knew there had to be someone or some thing in charge of all this. They called this person or thing “Number One.” They knew nothing about it or him or her except in the world about them.

Gradually, the whole notion of a supreme being evolved. This being was called El, Elohim, Elihim in the semitic world; Theos in the Greek world; Deus in the Latin World; Gott or God in the German world. Gradually, people developed stories about this supreme being.

The Hebrews called him Yahweh (He causes to be) and developed a picture of Father and children. The Hebrews were primarily interested in what he would or could do for them. Finally, when they were destroyed except for a handful, Ezechiel, one of their teachers, talked about a human being’s personal responsibility to self and others and Yahweh. This idea grew and slowly became the official outlook of the Hebrews or Jews.

Jesus picks up from that point. He keeps alive the notion of Father - but his emphasis is on the responsibility to self and others. So much does he emphasize this that he says “anyone who says he loves God whom he can’t see and does not love his neighbor whom he can see is a liar.” “By this shall all people know that you are my convinced followers in the love you have for each other.” - You still believe this! A lot of the “pious rot” developed by theologians and the church never was true.

August 15, 1997.
I’ve mulled over this whole picture of Mary & Joseph. Mary was a great Jewish mother and Christ gave her public credit for the start she gave him. Joseph was a regular father and husband but he died before Jesus was of age. The first Christians honored Mary but she had no special authority. Luke makes a special point of emphasizing that he talked of Mary about the early years.

John was the young man to whom Jesus entrusted Mary as he was dying.

August 16, 1997.
I’ve been analyzing the Gospel according to John. The first collection of John started with the wedding feast at Cana. John wanted to point out what established the confidence and belief of the Apostles in Christ. After the 7 sections or weeks of the new Creation had been developed, then the Intro was written. This does not come until about 125 AD

The big question in the writer’s mind was “Who or What is Elohim or God?” After studying every preceding presentation, they concluded he was the Speaker or the Word. When he spoke, things happened. Finally, this Speaker took visible human shape in the form of a man who lived right with us.

He was a man who could speak and things happened. He spoke and water became wine. He spoke and bread and fish multiplied. He spoke and a corpse, Lazarus, came out of the tomb. He was visible human evidence of the power of this Speaker. He is the new Adam and Mary is the new Eve. Now mankind had a second chance to develop what the Word or Speaker gave us.

How did John prove this? He didn’t. This is one explanation of the universe which became popular and spread. The value and power of the theory is quickly lost by taking it as a scientific explanation of the universe and denying the science that developed. Now there is intellectual conflict where there should be harmony and growth.

August 18, 1997.
You were talking about starting your own religion. You would need some special objective or goal that all followers understood, wanted and worked for. You would have to decide on the key ideas or principles necessary to attain this goal. Then you would have to decide when and where you would meet and how people would be introduced into your group.

Christ did the same thing and ran into absolute opposition. He picked his followers on whom to build and the church was off and running. Rome opposed the whole program and literally tried to kill the followers. Pagan Rome finally accepted the ideas and ideals of Christ and the church was off and running. Then the leaders lost sight of the goals and organized the program to a static death.

August 19, 1997.
Last night, as our host watched wrestling on TV, I felt like I was sitting in the coliseum in Rome in the 2nd-1st centuries B.C. The upper crust of the Roman world was entertained by the gladiatorial bouts. The fighters were picked from among the slaves and given special treatment as long as they put on a good fight. They fought with swords or daggers or knives. They wrestled each other and wild cats, especially lions imported from Africa. The fate of a loser was decided by the whim of the crowd. Thumbs up means you lived for another bout. Thumbs down meant you died on the spot. The lions, of course, took care of any person they bested.

From about 60 AD to 313 AD the Christians were frequently substitutes for the bouts with the lions. The Apostolic Fathers left us many descriptions of the bravery and the suffering of these people.

August 27, 1997.
The Biblical picture on personal responsibility is interesting. When the story of Israel got started, the people were ready to blame and fight each other, to fight between families and especially between tribes. They were a motley “herd” and the first leaders and teachers all stressed unity and family and peace. This evolved into a sense of “corporate responsibility” in which no one was at fault. The people blamed all their troubles on their ancestors.

This approach changed officially with Ezechiel at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC and the neo-Babylonian captivity. From that time on all the official teaching stress was laid on the individual and his/her accountability for actions. Jeremiah, at the same time, said the Old covenant is washed up. The New and Eternal Covenant will be “written on the heart of each individual.” That was the official position when Christ arrived on the scene.

However, the Pharisees (Separatists) blamed Rome for all problems. The Scribes were their minions and they explained the whole Torah in this fashion. So the people began to look for a Messiah who would crush Rome and put Israel on top again.

John Baptist and Christ realized how ridiculous this teaching was. They took it upon themselves to preach and teach individual responsibility. This truth is the core of Christian life. If a sense of individual responsibility is truly established the wrongs of the world can be righted.

August 28, 1997.
I can see how John became a favorite of Christ and was not resented by the others. He would have been 13 or 14 at the time of his calling. He was called a “son of thunder,” “boanerges” (teenager) by Christ. This meant he was a talented teenager who did not hesitate to speak up on any topic. He lived to be 100 and was well into his 80s when he wrote the Apocalypse. The book is in the style of Ezechiel and Jeremiah and an outright attack on the whole Roman system.

He was pursued far more than Paul by civil authorities. John is called the “Apostle of Love” but love for him is a living dynamic force that changes the world one person at a time. John is given credit as a martyr even though he died a natural death.

September 1, 1997.
John (Gospel writer) was dead for a few years. His followers gathered together some of his ideas. It dawned on me what John was like in his first and last meeting with Christ before his death.

He was 13 or 14 years old at the time of the first meeting. He was bright kid and into everything. He would be like an 8th or 9th grader today. A few years later, he was about 16 as he stood at the foot of the Cross. He was told to take care of Mary as his mother and she was told to work with the small group as the New Eve.

Then came Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene runs to tell the Apostles of the empty tomb. Peter and John run to the place. John stops at the entry but Peter barges right in. How many times John must have replayed these scenes through his long lifetime. His Gospel is the story of his reactions.

September 10, 1997.
I like what I have written on the Eucharist. It makes sense. It is so clear in the Gospels that Christ was talking only about the Passover Meal and was giving it a new focus. This meal was to recall his death and resurrection from that time forward. The communities set up by Paul started to have the commemorative cup at each common meal. That was the sum total of the meaning.

September 13, 1997.
I read through my writing on the Prophet Story from Elijah to John Baptist. The line starts and ends with men almost exactly alike in temperament and approach. Both of them were “moralists” or “reformers” and both of them saw clearly and predicted the outcome of the failures of the people. Both of them worked in the desert area east of the Jordan. Both were pursued by the authorities. Isaiah clobbered his pursuers. John Baptist was jailed and killed.

September 15, 1997.
As I read the article on St. John’s Gospel and his use of the term “The Jews,” I have never had any doubt he meant it as a term of disrepute. There is also no doubt that he meant the “leaders” by this term. John, in no way, meant this term, the Jews, as an ethnic slur. He meant merely to remind these leaders that they had led the people up a blind alley and had never had sense enough to turn around and come out.

I think these ideas should be clearly stated in a prenote or preface to any translation of John’s Gospel. I don’t think the term should be dropped from the Gospel because of a modern meaning in our world. Either we accept literature as it was written or we destroy history.

September 16, 1997.
I read two of the articles from the Interfaith paper. Both men have degrees in Jewish studies and both are Jewish by nationality. One article is all concerned with the bad name the Jewish people have had ever since the time of St. John and his Gospel. The writer certainly falls short in his estimate of time. The Jewish people have been despised and overrun since 722 B.C. with the Assyrian sac of Samaria and the northern Kingdom. Then in 587 B.C., the Babylonians walloped Jerusalem and Juda and used the term “Jews” as a hate word from that time forward. The prophets, one after the other, tried to warn and counsel the leaders. Their words fell on deaf ears and they explicitly persecuted and killed the prophets.

Persia offered the Jews a new start and a few of them used the opportunity but were soon at odds with everyone. The Romans, in 68-70 AD, put the final touches to the picture. Juda had never recovered from that defeat. The Romans took delight in persecuting them.

After 18.5 centuries, the modern “Israel” tried to lay claim to all the biblical Palestine including the East Banks of the Jordan and the Lake of Galilee. The Palestinian Arabs resented this intrusion and Israel is back to the picture of the Exodus and the crossing of the Jordan under Moses and Joshua. The Catholic Crusades also toss a fast curve to the picture. So I’d say, Yahweh meant what he said when he told them of reject under Daniel.

September 19, 1997.
I went through all the passages in St. John’s Gospel where he uses the word, “Jews.” There are 33 incidents. The most condemnatory is Pilate’s question, “Am I a Jew?” Also it is in John that the leaders shout, “We have no king but Caesar!” I can surely understand why the Jewish people object to this language if the name is used in the modern pejorative sense.

John’s gospel is also the one that stresses the low esteem that the people in Jerusalem had for the people of Galilee and the people of Samaria. Of Nazareth, the leaders say “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” They saw Galilee in general and Nazareth in particular, as the center for criminals and crooks. That’s why the title on the cross “Jews of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” is so detectable to the leaders. John says Pilate put that title in 3 languages on the cross so that all people could read it.

There is also the incident with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus asks her for a drink. Her answer is “You are a Jew and I a Samaritan, and you are talking to me?” She did not know he was from Nazareth because they were coming from Jerusalem.

September 20, 1997.
I'll spend more time on that Joanine project about the Jews. I consulted Hatch-Redpath, Gesenius, Jerome Biblical commentary and my Greek texts, yesterday. I have all that data recorded. I have all 37 passages in John typed out.

The term "Jews," is used to mean the leaders of the Jews in their open hostility to Christ. It is used to mean all the members of the chosen people simply as their official title. It is used by Pilate to show his total detestation for the Jewish people which was partly the official Roman attitude and partly Pilate's special dislike for his job. He thought he deserved better.

Paul's letter to the Romans uses the title as an honorable name. In the OT, the name becomes the official title after 587 BC. and the destruction of Jerusalem.

September 22, 1997.
The world is in dire need of the kind of life Jesus Christ proposes. It won't come by mumbling prayers or following rituals practices.

September 25, 1997.
Commentary on Acts is ready but I have to do a little more on Romans. That is by far the most complete of the Pauline letters and was at the heart of the whole problem in 1517 with Martin Luther and the authorities in Rome.

Looking at the whole question, 480 years later, the whole problem and all decisions at Trent in 1563 could have been sidestepped easily. First of all, Luther was a Scripture scholar far ahead of his times as can be seen by his writings still extant. Understanding Faith in its full Hebrew sense as he did, his statement was true. A person is to live by Faith alone.

Understanding Faith in the narrow catechism sense of the Roman authorities and theologians of the time, Luther was a heretic. Luther was crude and thumbed his nose at the Roman authorities. Rome was on its high horse and turned away in a huff. The Dominicans tried to speak up but were told to be quiet.

Then the Latin Vulgate with all its mistranslations was given authority over all original texts. The academic mess grew steadily worse until 1943 and Bea's tricking Pius XII into signing Divino Afflante Spiritu (must study Scripture in original languages).

October 1, 1997.
As I was reading through the Gideon Bible (in motel room), I was amazed at the poor translation. It uses archaic words. Word order is difficult in many places. It is important that translations be accurate but also that they are in the vernacular of the time and place.

The original writings were all in the popular form of the times. The New Testament was despised by classical Greeks because it was written in “koine” or "common" idiom of the first centuries. Scholars had to write special grammars to explain this common usage.

We were taught both the Koine and classical Greek in DC and in Rome. In fact, Marty Higgins, Greek prof at C.U., would not pass a student who did not learn the classical usage. He also insisted we should not reference the Koine as inferior. It was "popular" as in the language of newspapers and magazines.

October 4, 1997.
Yesterday I worked on the languages of the Bible. I did not bother to give a complete development to the notion before. Now I think it is a topic that should be treated. We have the Hebrew of the OT as it now stands. There is question as to whether it was ever spoken in this formal way. Then we arrive at Aramaic in some of the last books of the OT and the original Matthew was written in Aramaic.

Greek was the common language of the early Christians outside of Palestine. So all the writings of the NT are in Greek.

This is "koine" or "common" Greek in contrast to the classical of Homer. I read the article on Greece in our Encyclopedia and found it well done with three or four cross references I still have to look up. The early Fathers of the church wrote in Koine Greek. The Migne collection was about 125 volumes of the Latin Fathers. We had the entire set in Oc-oc and that was one block of books that was burned when the CSsR sold out.

October 5, 1997.
Yesterday, I worked for a while on the "Languages of the Bible." Then I ran through my series on "Who Is God?" in the Bible. I had read another article on the popularity of this question. It is not so much "Is there a God?" but "Who" or "What is God?"

There have been as many different answers to this question as there were different cultures. Almost all of them had multiple deities and a hierarchy within the ranks. These gods had to be flattered, appeased, and called on in various ways and rituals and signs.

The one basic notion of God in the Bible is "Father.” This idea becomes stronger and stronger until Jesus propounds his ideas by his life and words.

The one point Jesus stresses is that there was to be no ritual other than a community meal from time to time. His followers were to change the world by the example of their sharing with each other in daily life. Gradually, this community meal, a pot-luck supper, became a daily occurrence. According to Irenaeus, this frequency was to make sure that all the followers, especially the poor people, were properly fed. Today, the breakfast or supper is considered an extra or sideline.

October 15, 1997.
I taught that the Bible is a source of basic human principles. I made major changes in my thinking along the way.

I really like what I have now because the whole picture is within the grasp of the human mind. There are no mysteries that must be taken on faith in the infallible authority of some Pope or Council. The very notion of Original Sin and its consequences is a farce. The human race still falls back regularly into acts of meanness and brutality. This simply shows the work still to be done.

October 16, 1997.
The Holy Spirit as the sense of sharing and community gives so much power to the whole picture. The basic fact that this Spirit could not develop as long as Christ was present was so evident. They figured Christ would do the talking and be there as a buffer against all problems. When he was gone they had to develop a real community and work together or the plan was destroyed. So Luke describes this new spirit as the counteraction to the selfishness of the Tower of Babel. From Babel onward, people could not work together. From Pentecost onwards, they could form a true Koinonia (sharing) and solve the world's problems.

October 17, 1997.
The work I did from my note in the JB yesterday on "Holy Spirit" was beyond my wildest dreams. The note refers to all the passages in which the "Spirit" of Yahweh is used. It is always a reference to that initial "breath" or "spirit" which God put in people to give them life. That breath was tainted by the selfishness and rebellion of mankind. Christ gave us the pattern of sincere “love" or “unselfishness," gave back that old and "tainted" breath, and left us with the "holy Breath." This breath is the spirit of sharing and serving each other which is the only source of true and lasting peace.

October 18, 1997.
I have a huge job to do on the Holy Spirit as I mentioned. It is the basic truth of the whole Christian picture. When that spirit is truly established the human race will become what it is supposed to be. It will use the earth and all its properties according to plan. Until then, we will continue to see wars and fighting and meanness.

October 21, 1997.
I'll work on the "Spirit" today. The topic is far more inclusive and interesting then I imagined. The "breath" or "Spirit" always has identically the same meaning as in Genesis 2. Yahweh forms the piece of clay and breathes into it the "breath of life." This points out the close relationship between God and man and the interdependence of all people on each other.

The "holy breath" is the removal of the "tainted breath" by Christ who bestowed of the "new Breath" after the Resurrection. The description of the gift of the Holy Breath is "tongues of fire." Fire is the symbol of mission as in Moses and Elijah. The form of a "tongue" is to indicate how this mission is to be carried out by teaching, not force, fighting or wars. The Gift of Tongues was the power to speak in this new spirit.

October 30-31, 1997.
I have been wrestling with the question "Who is God?" for three days. I have the series of 8 articles on one disk about the topic. I started to re-read them and suddenly I felt that I was just skimming the top. So I started back through my Biblical evidence. The earliest dated writing of the OT comes from the time of Elijah or later - that's 9th century B.C. At that time, they used the generic term "Elohim" which is "a deity." Then they started in Isaiah to talk about "Yahweh" - he or it who causes to be.

Then came all the prophets and teachers of the OT. Their one goal was to establish and maintain a society of their people in which everyone got along and worked together. They were to be the "model family" of the human race. For this they needed a "common father." So the Father was born. Then all the qualities of this Father were developed for the guidance and imitation of the people.

November 2, 1997.
I have a huge idea bouncing in my brain. Elohim was the generic word for any "Deity." "Yahweh" was the special name to signify the God of Israel. This name, too, is generic in that it stresses he is the source or cause of all things and keeps them in existence.

However, the word "Bara," is from the Aramaic-Hebrew of the 2 to 1st century B.C. It means to "beget a son." The last writers of the OT stressed the Fatherhood of God to establish the Brotherhood of Man. This is the point from which John Baptist and Jesus start. The followers of Jesus were to infuse this "brotherhood" in the society in which they lived. It took almost 3 centuries to convert Rome. Then the world was to follow.

November 4, 1997.
As to the notion of a God or a deity, almost all cultures had something. The genius of the Hebrew God is that the teachers of the OT took God out of the sky and made him an unseen but surrounding presence. He was a kind of Father figure. Jesus Christ went a step farther. He stressed the "brotherhood" of all people in their daily lives because they all have one God as Father. The proof of a real God would be the depth, sincerity and universality of true "brotherhood" or "community.

November 5, 1997.
I am anxious to develop this biblical notion of God. I knew something big was roiling around in my head. Suddenly, the picture fell together. All the pagan cultures had a hierarchy of higher and lower gods. One couple was always supreme.

These gods had all the fickleness of their human followers. They were easily offended and then they flung out their punishments. It could be crop failure and starvation. It could be defeat at the hands of the enemy. The difficult part was what to do to assuage their anger.

From the very start, Moses meets Yahweh on the mountain and brings his presence right to the people.

November 6-7, 1997.
I'll get some time on my comparison between the Biblical picture of God and the attitude of all the pagan cults of antiquity. How much of the early biblical "History" is fact and how much is imaginative story is hard to say.

The creation story is a borrowing from the pagan mythologies which is re-written by the priestly editors in the 6th century BC, and again in the 2nd-1st century BC by the Apocalyptic editors. The final creation story is written with one idea in mind. The whole world in which we live is to manifest the Fatherhood of Yahweh. He is not sitting in the sky or some high mountain. He is a "surrounding presence" manifest by the true "Brotherhood of man."

The "patriarchal stories" are an attempt to give an historic setting in time and place by the beginnings of the Hebrew people. Genesis 11-59 covers a period of at least 600 years, 1850-1250 B.C. Then comes the Moses story. This begins on a mountain top and comes down to earth. Instead of a myriad of orgies and fertility cults, Yahweh sends down a Moral plan of action that has become the basis of all law and rights and duties in the western world. This first version was developed by Moses and more in detail in the "Sermon on the Mount."

November 13, 1997.
I was reading my basic article on how to read the bible. In it I stressed the need to know the literary form in which it was written, the people for whom it was intended, and the meaning of the words in that original language.

As I look back at the Council of Trent in 1563 and see the high-handed, authoritarian way in which the Council members acted, I was surprised only Luther had rebelled. Yet that council and its pronouncements held sway in all Catholic schools of theology until 1942. Then Bea had to slide the encyclical letter into a pile of papers.

Lyonnet, SJ, in Rome at the PIB was the first person I met who saw the whole picture and was able to teach it publicly.

November 15, 1997.
I have thought about Christ starting his work. He had doubts about himself as seen in the number of times he asked who the people thought he was. He was an idealist in that he was convinced of what had to be done. This would bring on the anger and opposition of the leaders both of his people and the Romans. His knowledge of people was good but fallible in that his leader denied him and his treasurer sold him. Jesus was quite a man and left his mark on the world.

November 18, 1997.
The biblical writers did not bother their heads about "how" the world came to be. Their one thought was "why." The first writers used the generic word "'asah" - which means simply "to make." In the last century BC, when the Greeks were talking about "How," the writers of the Book of Wisdom said simply it developed from "Hyle amorphi" - a " formless mass." St. Thomas, in the 13th century AD, developed the 5 arguments of "causality." Again, he did not touch the question "how." He just stressed that everything came from the power, wisdom and goodness of God.

Evolution is great evidence of Wisdom and power. Anybody could take boards, nails and tools and make a wagon box. But it takes a tremendous wisdom to make a little seed that grows into a big tree which can provide the lumber.

November 19, 1997.
The work I did on Proverbs is applicable to the questions of the day, One of the major issues is the place or role of women in our society today. The Roman milieu definitely saw woman as an inferior being but the Bible did not!

From the very start, woman is presented as a partner equal to man on all scores. The Book of Proverbs ends with its elegant poem on the true dignity of woman. This was written and sung at a time when the Greek civilization saw women as sexual playthings and servants. It was sung as an aria or solo at the Jewish gatherings in the synagogues. Then the examples from Jewish history were recalled - Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Ruth, Judith, Esther.

November 26, 1997.
I reviewed my writing "Who is God?" There is no doubt about how much it is needed. The notion of God prevalent among Christians today is clearly a relic of the pagan gods of Greek and Rome.

The Biblical notion is so clear. We don't and can't have any true picture of God. We can only point out aspects or qualities that we think he has. Each book of the OT is a masterpiece in this way. When we get clear to the end (of OT) we get a treatise like Job which challenges everything said about God up to that time.

December 29, 1997.
Yesterday, I read again the writing I have done on who Jesus Christ is, and is he applicable to our life today. As he himself said explicitly in Luke, Matthew and John, the whole of his teaching plan and goal is harmony, community and sharing among all people. He did not develop a complicated theology or set of laws. He took the basic foundation of all society as expressed in the 10 commandments, applied them a bit more and said "That's it!" The description of the first Christians in Acts and Paul shows that they lived by this plan.

Originally, a new meaning was to be given to the annual Seder or Paschal meal. It was to commemorate the work of Jesus Christ as the new Moses rather than the Pascal Lamb of the Old Moses. This action was to be seen in the Cup of friendship which concluded each Passover Meal. Each participant dipped a piece of bread into the final cup of wine and that was it.

The Pauline communities extended this custom to every community meal which was held on each Sabbath. However, this weekly participation was strictly voluntary.

January 1, 1998.
The Biblical message is clear, concise and needed in all ages. It has to be kept in its pristine simplicity. To Luke everything boiled down "Salvation" and how this would lend dignity to all members. His story of the two sons is the heart of his picture.

Matthew saw everything in the promotion of Kingship. This Kingship was multi-faceted and took numerous stories to show its meaning and value. For Matthew each individual succeeds or fails according to the way in which they help each other.

John stresses that everything is love and love is service to and sharing with each other.

That's the whole message. Other "dogmas" are baggage tacked on.

January 4, 1998.
I think we will see the real message of Christ restored to its pristine vigor. Christ said in so many words: The whole of religion is the way in which we get along with each other, and make sure that we share with others what we have and are. On this basis, true happiness is found in this life and the next.

January 10, 1998.
I just looked up the “Shepherd” image in the Bible: Psalm 22(23), John 10, Ezechiel 34. Yahweh refers to the people as “his” flock. The leaders are the shepherds of the flock and they are leading the flock astray. Ezechiel was the prophet in the neo-Babylonian captivity in 597 B.C. He was taken with the first wave of captives. He was totally ignored. Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem and was equally ignored.

January 15, 1998.
Matthew has the most complete line up of the Beatitudes. He presents them as the preamble of the Sermon on the Mount by the new Moses. The first step at understanding the beatitudes is to be aware of the contrast between the Old Moses and the New Moses. All the way through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Jesus is saying "This is what you heard before. Now I am telling you.”

If we translate the word "blessed" as "Real happiness is" then we get the true meaning of the message of Christ. His ambition was to offer a pattern whereby people could establish happiness everywhere. The whole picture, Beatitudes in MT, deals with the manner in which we relate to each other and all the things around us. It is not a pattern of austerity and denial but the use of all things according to their purpose. This presupposes study, growth and sharing.

January 16, 1998.
Jesus was clearly a gifted child as is pointed out in the Lukan tradition. He had very clear ideas about official teachings and was recognized by many of the teachers in his Bar Mitzvah. He began his public teaching career because he saw a serious need to get down to basics. The Jewish leaders had turned the message of Yahweh into rituals and legalism. Christ boiled his whole message down to the manner in which people worked with each other in daily life. There was no special ritual or liturgy or building. They got together for pot-luck suppers and discussed their needs and topics of interest.

January 23, 1998.
The personality of Christ is intriguing. Like Abe Lincoln, he is the country boy who came out of the hills of Galilee with a vision. His people were being torn apart by the Roman domination, their own lust for idolatry and a sense of needing to be somebody special.

Christ saw the heart of the problem. They did not need structure. They were to be a "kahal" or "ekklesia" or "gathering" in the midst of every nation in which they lived. They were to turn the whole world around by their example of friendship, service and sharing. These ideals would go against the grain of the pagan nations but they had to be followed. They were followed almost 3 centuries and it worked. The emperor became a follower of Christ.

In this whole picture, Christ is a strong convinced leader, always fearful of the demands to be made on him personally and whether he could or would measure up.

February 2, 1998.
The more I think about Christ, the more I admire him.

Christ saw the vocation and role of his people in the plan unfolded with Moses. He knew the efforts of the prophets and the failure of people to listen. Then he saw the so-called leaders of his time and the way they were destroying the message and people. He couldn't help himself. He had to speak out strongly even though it meant suffering and death.

February 4, 1998.
I've been thinking more and more about Christ and the burden he carried with his high idealism, his sensitive nature, his origin in "shantytown," the opposition from the leaders of his people and the despisal of the Roman authorities.

Peter was the source of Mark's picture of Christ and so often Mark is just ignored because everything he has to say is found in one of the other Gospel stories. Peter's most basic idea comes from his own failure. He says, "You must always have a full reason for the ambitions and hopes that are in you.."

Peter didn't. He always acted and then asked himself "Why." He was certainly the right man to pick as the Kepha or foundation of the ongoing society. The ambition of the first Christians was so simple. They wanted to have a profound effect on all of society by the way they worked and shared with each other.

Luke gives the details. For him, everything revolved around the "Holy Spirit," the high-minded sharing that was called for. Everyone in the world was called to his ideal, not just the Chosen People. Women had to be given equal status.

February 18, 1998.
Mary is presented as the Queen Mother because her son is King. Yahweh is God and Father. Jesus is the first human being who carried this idea to full flower. The Holy Spirit is the sense of community or sharing that we want to establish. For 2.5 centuries, the followers of Christ were just another group of Jews who lived in the Trastevere section of Rome.

February 19, 1998.
Yesterday, as I mulled over ideas in my mind, I questioned how much of the Gospel story is real and how much is the product of the first Christians’ imagination and creativity. We know that the whole Bible is the product of the Semitic mentality. We know that their notion of history is not so much "what" happened as "why" it happened. We made the mistake of reading OT as western history and ended up with gibberish. We read the Gospels as Western history and ended up with a ridiculous set of contradictions.

We know there were more Gospel stories written but at the 1563 Council of Trent four were chosen as the most representative. The historians at the Council maintained these were the only four that could be authenticated. However, we have a lot of writings from the Apostolic Fathers in the Vatican Museum. These have never been thoroughly read because of the danger of destroying the books. Perhaps a time will come when these ancient documents can be used.

March 3, 1998.
As I sat in that chair in the living room and looked at the picture of Christ, he takes on a whole new meaning for me. I see a man who was sensitive to the needs of the people near him. He realized at his Bar Mitzvah how useless the Jewish religion had become. It was a lot of meaningless quibbling over the correct way to write the Hebrew letters and applications to daily life that were legalistic and empty. So as a teenage, he decided to upset their applecart. Upset it he did.

He worked at home as an apprentice to Joseph, his father. At age 30, he left to see the world and to see what he wanted to do with this life. He quickly saw all the gross injustices imposed by Rome and the Jewish leaders on the hoi polloi. He was angry and decided to protest loudly as John, his cousin, had been doing for about 6 months.

His basic idea was that sincere love had to be revived in the world. But love was not merely an emotion. Love meant sharing with all the neighbors around them. This sharing or Spirit would soon change the world. To remind them, he told them to share the bread and wine in memory of him rather than the Passover Lamb.

March 11, 1998.
If we could just return to the basic truth that Christ was a great man and leader, a person who saw the need to update the following of God's ideas and ideals, then he could have a real start.

Baptism: - an act of immersing the child or adult into the community.

Confirmation: recognition of teenager as an adult in the community.

"Orders" "holy orders" - "laying on" of hands to signify which "elders" represent the community officially.

"Eucharist" - a community meal with the "friendship cup" that was a memorial to Christ rather than the Paschal Lamb.

"anointing of the sick" - to heal or prepare for death.

"Confession." - public admission of sin and asking God to forgive.

March 19, 1998.
For a long time St. Joseph was seen in the theology of the churchmen as necessary baggage. They were quick to point out he was the foster-father of Jesus and only a companion to Mary. The fact is Mary is called "The queen-mother“, not "virgin". She is to conceive in the "Holy Spirit," that is, the spirit which is to pervade the Christian community. I think Joseph is the real father of Jesus and real husband of Mary. When they tell Jesus "his brothers and sisters" are in the wings, they are real family.

April 9 -10, 1998.
You mentioned the 3 Jewish feasts - Hanukah, Yom Kippur and the Pesach or Passover. The Jews have kept heir national group alive in every country and civilization since Father Abraham.

They have been on the bottom of the social heap and they moaned and groaned. They have been on the top of the pile and they ground everyone down who opposed them. They have a tradition of being great financiers and this is the way they gain control. The Bar Mitzvah is the most important date in a boy's life and of his family.

Jesus Christ was a Jew who had a totally different philosophy of life. He was hated by the Jewish leaders and turned over to Roman authorities for his opposition. When Pilate tried to turn him back into their courts, these leaders replied, "We have no power to kill!" They wanted him dead so Pilate did their dirty work.

The Good Friday liturgy in the Catholic liturgy turned into a morbid dive. The words on the cross were gathered into a single group and then presented as something tragic. Actually they were words of victory in each Gospel. John and Mary had to be the source of whatever Jesus said because they were the only ones present. - John was a kid and Mary was really grieving.

April 18, 1998.
Mort Zuckerman wrote a full two page editorial in the U.S. News and World Report this week. He is commenting on the situation in Palestine. He could just as well have gone back to the OT, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 Kings and copied his writing from there. Only the names were different. Saul was the King. David and his 600 were the Army and they were destroying the native Palestinians so that the tribes of Israel could move in.

David finally got the upper hand. He and his men slaughtered mercilessly in the name of Yahweh. He became King on 1012 BC. He lasted 40 years. Saul took over and he lasted about 40 years. With his death, the ten northern tribes broke away from the south - Juda and Benjamin. The Northern Kingdom was destroyed in the 8th century and Jerusalem fell in 587 B.C. From that time to the present day, the picture has been the same. Only the names and weapons change.

April 22, 1998.
Mark's version of the life of Christ is the oldest of the 4 Gospels. Mark was the companion of Peter all his last years. He had seen the condemnation of Christ and his punishment and death. He was an eager youngster and went with Paul but quickly left him. Then Mark worked with Barnabas for a bit and then as the companion of Peter.

The first Christians were not out to form some kind of separate society as the Jews had done. They were to be part of the society in which they lived and worked to establish a true "sharing" based on sincere love. This is what Christ meant by his "Gehala" or "Church." It was to be recognized and attract followers because of the sincere practical love the people had for each other.

The only characteristics the first Christians laid down for the "church" was to be "Holy" and spread to the whole world. As long as this concept was in vogue the work Christ envisioned was carried out.

April 29, 1998.
The idea buzzing around in my head has to do with the 12 apostles and why Jesus picked those men out of all the possible. Peter was to be the Kepha or foundation and yet Jesus said he would fail miserably in the big challenge. He did fail but he went on to become a great leader for over 30 years. John was a young teenager, 13 or 14 years old. Yet Jesus saw him as a real pillar of strength. He confided Mary to John's care. James and John were Boanerges, sons of thunder, because they were always ready to go in swinging. A more unlikely group seems impossible and yet they did a tremendous job.

May 4, 1998.
I think the one who intrigues me the most is Barnabas. He is not one of the twelve but he was a really strong person. He was able to put up with the moods and tyranny of Paul through the entire first journey. He took Mark whom Paul rejected and helped him develop into a great person. In Migne's Patres Apostolici, there is a whole section on Barnabas. Lyonnet talked about him quite a bit.

May 7, 1998.
I had a fine day beginning my spade work on the Apostles. There are fifteen who received the name - the original 12, Matthias who took the place of Judas, Paul and Barnabas.

The twelve who were with Christ during the public life did not really get the key message as Luke points out clearly in Acts. Only after Christ was gone did they realize that the key message was the "Holy Spirit" - the sense of community and sharing. This basic idea would turn the world from a self-centered, destructive group to a creative productive unit to establish peace and harmony.

They started off by putting all their goods in common. They quickly dropped the practice because of greed and disharmony. By the time the group was firmly established in Rome, about 40 AD, they were noted for mutual love and sharing. This lead to the persecutions by the Roman leaders and led to a flocking of people to join up.

Finally, in 313 AD, the Emperor is converted, the persecutions stop. In a few generations, the top-heavy structure begins and squashes the ideals of Christ. With the council of Nice in 325 AD the frozen structure is in place.

May 8, 1998.
I finished reading all 77 references to the Apostles in the NT. I have some of these ideas already developed in a separate article and in the commentaries on the New Testament. Now I want to pull them all together and see the picture as a whole.

In the first years, the Apostles were the leaders. Then they appointed presbyteroi or elders to take charge when they were working elsewhere. Out of this simple picture came the "priests," episcopoi (bishops) and archbishops, cardinals and Pope. With Trent in the 16th century, this was given as the leadership in the Roman structure. A clear separation between clerics and laity was established. The Code of Canon Law was frozen into 2414 canons in 1918. All other laws were declared null and void. Rubrics and liturgy became the "church Life" and the church had destroyed the work of Christ and restored the Saddusaic form of Judaism.

May 10, 1998.
I think Judas comes off with a worse popular picture than should be. As he was hanging on the cross, Christ proclaimed his universal forgiveness of all who had wronged him. Judas was certainly not excluded. His crime was certainly not as cowardly as that of Peter. All of them deserted Christ in the end, except the teenager, John.

May 11, 1998.
I spent the time on the personality of Jesus as the Gospels present him. From his first days he learned the true meaning of the plan of Yahweh as it had been presented by the OT writers. He showed how much he had mastered these ideas and thought beyond them at his Bar-Mitzvah test.

He realized that the whole goal of the previous revelation was to establish an earth peopled by people who shared everything. The details he did not give. He outlined basic ideas and ideals and expected his followers to adopt and adapt as they lived.

May 15, 1998.
I do a lot of thinking about the person who was Jesus Christ and I really like him as a man. It's a shame we lost the real person the first Christians knew and came up with God-Man farce and then spent all our time trying to justify the pagan concepts.

That Last Supper was a real meal like the one we had at Norma's last night. You prepared the crock pot. Norma supplied a leftover salad and strawberry pie. We ate and enjoyed each other's company. We played a game of Scrabble and went back home.

Jesus and the 12 were having a big dinner recalling their past history and drank the friendship cup. When they came to the end of the meal, he said, "From now on, eat this meal in memory of me." He knew he was going to let himself be taken.

May 23, 1998.
My head has been buzzing with the image of Christ. Part of this was occasioned by your question, "Why did he go to Jerusalem when he knew what was going to happen?" He stressed again and again that he didn't want such an end but he knew it was inevitable.

I think the public life lasted only one year as Synoptics indicate.

May 25, 1998.
I woke up to the words of Christ talking to Peter. He says, "You are Kepha, the foundation stone, and upon this Kepha I will build my kingdom (ekklesia-gathering). The gate of ge-hinnom (gehenna) will not prevail against it. Whatever you decide, I'll back up."

The "valley of Hinnon" was the temple dump where all the remains of sacrifices were dumped and burned. Christ is promising that nobody will be excluded from this church or gathering. Later, in the same gospel, he says there is only one reason why a person can exclude him/herself. That is the refusal to share with others.

May 26, 1998.
I like what Edersheim (author) has to say about the mission of Israel, how the people failed even though the prophets tried to wake them up. Then Ezra gave them a new destiny out of the exile and the people worked for a few years. Then they complained that life was too tough and turned to paganism again. The teachers, Daniel and the Macabbee boys, made a try at reform. Then what had been Israel, a people, became a few orthodox families who were faithful in spite of the general failure. These were sincere believers like Zachary, Elizabeth, Joachim, Anne, Mary and Joseph.

Out of these people came a John the Baptist and a Jesus, men who decided to pick up the pieces and do something. Both of them had great followings among the ordinary people. Both were killed by the leaders but finally their work moved on. Their real success was that they got out of Jerusalem and went to Rome. They actually lived the message of Jesus. They established real community. Then the Papal Structure, the new Pharisees and Sadducees, approach took over.

May 29, 1998.
There was a lot of friction between Alexandria and Jerusalem.

The Jews in Alexandria had made matters worse by building a Temple almost identical to Solomon's colossus. Then the Greek-Jews carried on the whole ritual in Alexandria. In the 11th century AD, we see the same animosity and hatred between Rome and the Greek in the Catholic fold.

John XXIII settled the whole dispute with simple statement. He was told that the Eastern Prelate wanted to walk parallel with him. Protocol urged the Pope to lead and have the place of honor. John XXIII shocked all by saying, "I don't care where they walk - front, back or even, as long as they don't block my path." - With that statement he laid to rest the centuries old fight.

It's a lot like the Apostles who tried to keep the kids away from Christ. He said, "Let them alone. If you don't become as open as these kids, you won't even see the Kingdom of God."

June 3, 1998.
John Baptist is the last of the OT prophets and the intro to the NT teachers. Jesus is the foundation of the NT teachers. John is a combination of Moses, Jeremiah, 2nd Isaiah and Daniel. He is a prophet in the sense of a moral teacher. He doesn't hesitate to foretell the dire consequences of the immoral failures of the present. Jesus is a teacher of how the present must be the solid basis of the future. The future lives in the present as the apple in the seed. The seed produces the tree and the tree produces new apples, year after year.

June 4, 1998.
As I worked on John Baptist yesterday, I saw that I had missed the major point of his character - pointed out by Christ himself.

The Jews were expecting the return of Elijah before the coming of the Messiah. When asked about this, he said simply, He's already here! and he pointed to John the Baptist.

Elijah in the OT was a real "blood and thunder" preacher. The leaders of the Jews wanted to kill him again and again. Each time he outfoxed them. John B. certainly had this tone in his public work.

June 9, 1998.
Last night, as I was waiting to fall asleep and often this weekend, I thought of how real Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Apostles and the other members of the Gospel days have become. When I read lives of Christ before, or read about Mary and Joseph, they were always unreal.

Now I see Jesus as a person who was really puzzled by his ideas and goals. He saw how foreign his ideas were to the official teachings of the day. Yet he liked to get along with people and live in harmony. J.B., his cousin, was more of a confronter and spoke out at meetings to whoever was there. Then John left and started his own approach with warnings and threats and uncompromising attitudes.

Jesus gradually decides he has to do his bit. He picks up some fishermen and tax collector and starts for Jerusalem. The people liked what they heard and saw but Jesus was continually wondering about his true identity. He did not want to get into Roman or Jewish politics. Yet he had a drive that told him to forge ahead. In short, he is a real person with a goal, filled with dangers and yet is impelled from within to keep going.

June 10, 1998.
I thought, again and again, about Joseph, Mary and Jesus in Nazareth. The kids in the area would have popped in and out of the house as kids do today. There would have been a “hi, Mary,” “Hi, Joseph, Where’s Jesus?” Mary would have a piece of bread or a cookie for them. She would have had no premonitions of what Jesus and John would do in their adult years.

They were real people, not pedestal saints.

June 14, 1998.
I did not realize JB was such a fascinating and key person until we talked about the two cousins being together. They traveled to Jerusalem together three times each year for the major feasts. As a result both boys had a firsthand picture of the weaknesses of the Jewish leaders. They had a chance to discuss these ideas thoroughly as they walked along. We are told explicitly the type of clothes worn by John. He had the “camel’s hair” cloak which would be the equivalent of jeans or overalls and a tee shirt. The flowing robes as seen in art works is misleading. They were ordinary kids in ordinary homes with all the questions of such boys.

June 15-16, 1998.
We could call J.B. “John, the Dunker.” “Baptize” in Greek means to put someone or something completely under water in order to wash it totally. With the crowds he had, he must have had a lot of aides to get the “dunking job” done and still do all his preaching and teaching. Fortunately, the Jordan is deep enough at that south end and the shoreline runs down to the water. This was the same area where the Israelites crossed the Jordan under the leadership of Joshua when they first came out of Egypt. Moses also stood on the east side and looked across the Jordan but was not allowed to enter because of his momentary doubt early in the trip.

June 17, 1998.
The pagan influence and practices of Rome became evident. The lip-service of the Sadducees and the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees became ever more open and the sincere Jews discussed and condemned it..

I think Joseph would have spoken in these discussions and I think Mary and Joseph discussed the matter in the presence of Jesus. I see Mary and Joseph as outspoken young Jews who were convinced something had to be done. Jesus picked up their attitudes and ideas.

Zachary and Elizabeth would have a different approach. Zachary belonged to the priestly group and clearly was out of sync with their shallow hypocrisy. He would have talked about this openly with Elizabeth and JB got his education in this setting. Then Jesus and JB exchanged ideas.

June 21, 1998.
The more I read the more I am convinced the notion of “church” in the Gospels and among the first Christians was no structure at all. They were a group who lived the ideals of harmony and sharing wherever they were. They had “potluck” suppers which were the Eucharist and then the “elders” explained more and more of the “Holy Spirit” which was to pervade all of society through them.

June 24, 1998.
I was more and more impressed by the simplicity of the teaching of Christ and how often he stressed that one point. The Christian Way of Life is sharing with others in every need. The whole judgment at the end of life is based on this one point.

July 6, 1998.
The more I think about John Baptist and his cousin, Jesus, the more intrigued I am. JB had gone off to the east side of the Jordan to live and think. People started to come to him so he did an “Amos” job on them. He stressed how miserably they were living their ideals as the people of Yahweh. When they saw he tackled everyone, even Herod and Herodias, they thought he might be this warlike Messiah they had come to expect.

Then the cousin, Jesus, shows up. He is just as convinced of his ideas but he is more the Isaiah type. He is forceful and can become vehement as he did in the Temple on one occasion. But in general, his ideas and message are more the harmony that has to be developed by true community or sharing.

These two cousins brought one age of the world to an end and introduced the new one. Jesus says this is the final stage because we have to establish the “telos,” the fulfillment of all things into perfect harmony.

July 13, 1998.
I have thought often these last few days about the Baptism of Jesus as recounted in John. Jesus came up from the water and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rested above him and a voice said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am completely pleased.”

What john is uniting by the dove is the Flood Story and the Jesus story. The flood story says that the whole world was flooded because of sin and corruption. The dove is the symbol of a second and final new beginning in a man filled with the Breath of Yahweh. He is the new Adam establishing harmony, community and sharing. If we can realize this harmony and sharing we can change the world.

July 14, 1998.
I want to write a comparison of the picture of Christ as presented by the four different communities. I will avoid the destructive practice of harmonizing the Gospels. This destroys the originals and gives us some unreal pictures.

Mark is presenting the Christ that Peter preached in Rome. Luke is presenting the picture as he deduced it from the work of Paul and Barnabas. Matthew is giving the Christ that he personally knew. John is telling us what Christ meant to him from the time he was a 13 or 14 year old boy to the end of a long life in the midst of the Roman persecutions. John, the Boanerges, the Son of Thunder, is still my favorite picture.

July 22, 1998.
The world into which Christ was born and lived was domineered by the Roman war machine and the Greek philosophy as adapted and curtailed by the tyranny of Caesars and their world full of slaves.

This Rome left us the huge stone monuments of the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, the Palace of the Caesars and the Roman road system. Palestine was a key area of this road system for a land route to Egypt and the Middle East. Pilate and the other civil rulers were puppets of Rome. The Jews were constantly talking of the Messiah who was due any day and would re-establish the temporal supremacy of the Chosen People.

In this setting JB and Christ taught the true notion of King and Kingship. They and the message were totally rejected.

July 23, 1998.
The more I read of Paul, the more I see how theology was deprived of Christian ideals when Paul was the primary source used.

For the most part, Paul’s letters are an answer he gave to some problem in a (specific) community where he worked. Luke edited all the letters but had a hard time dressing them up. The good part about Paul is that Luke wrote his Gospel and Acts to give a positive and full picture.

As a medical doctor, Luke was interested in “soteria” and “Soter” -Greek for “health” and “health-giver.” Luke saw the message of Christ as the source of health in every sense of the word. His primary point is that this “health” is offered to everyone, everywhere, for all times. The “poor” are in no way excluded as they were in the Greek and Roman world because they were looked upon as a sub-human group. The dignity and importance of women were to be upheld.

July 24, 1998.
As I work on “Jesus Christ in the 21st century” I keep recalling the circumstances of the 1st century. Rome itself was a city of magnificent buildings and architecture. I recall walking through the entire palace of the Caesars and looking out over the Circus Maximus on one end and the Coliseum on the other. The Roman elite did not need TV, radio or fast foods. They needed no air conditioning. They had all their entertainment live. They had banquets that went on for weeks. They had slaves with fans to keep the air moving.

The Jews of that time were thinking constantly of a Messiah who would conquer Rome and give all this luxury to them. Over a 100 Messiahs arose in the time of Christ. As Gamaliel said, “Each was quickly exposed as a fake.” Then Christ comes with a whole new way to change the world by “sharing out of sincere love.” The Romans laughed and the leaders of the Jews hated and wanted to kill.

July 25, 1998.
I woke up during the night and immediately started to think about “Jesus Christ in the 21st Century.” The idea is intriguing and has unlimited possibilities. The “open secret” of his plan is true concern for all the people with whom you live and interact.

The Gospels present four aspects of this “sharing.” Mark takes Peter’s idea of “apologia.” You must always understand the reason for your actions. Luke says it as “soteria” or health of others in the full sense of the word. Matthew says it is “Basileia” or the happiness established by everyone being a “king.” John says it is all “aesthesia” or sonship. The brotherhood of mankind is to manifest the fatherhood of God. These are the key notions that were understood and lived for a while. Then the structure blotted them out by ritualism.

July 27, 1998.
I have done more thinking about Christ and his message the past few days than I have ever done before. He was really a terrific man. He saw clearly what was the cause or basis for all the vicious rivalry and antagonism in the story of mankind. He was so convinced of his ideas that he taught them publicly for at least a year. By that time he had the whole of authority roused against him. Jesus was willing to die to prove his sincerity. He worked some miracles in his time but he said the real miracle would be the harmony in the lives of the people who followed his ideas.

August 3, 1998.
I have the key ideas from the Gospels about Christ and his mission and ideals summed up from Mark, Matthew and Luke. I’ll do John today. Then I can finish “Jesus Christ in 21st Century.”

The key to the whole picture is the word “Qehalah” in Aramaic or “Ekklesia” in Greek. Both of these words are translated into Latin and English as “church” and referred to the structured society or building, set apart from the people and other buildings. The intent of Christ and the understanding of the first Christians was a group of people who lived their ideas and ideals in daily life and infiltrated society like leaven in dough. Their influence would gradually redeem or rebuild the society of their times according to the ideals of Christ.

August 7, 1998.
Women were not put down or ignored in the society of the OT. Eve is clearly a companion of Adam, equal in every way. He is Adam of “clay,” she is called Eve of “life.” The punishment for their failure is not “work and childbirth.” These were the “blessings.” Adam and Eve were to work together in the care of the garden and their great blessing was to bear children together.

After they failed, the blessings remained but difficulty was attached to childbirth. The wives of the patriarchs were extremely powerful - Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel.

The loss of respect and second place for women starts with David and Solomon. But when the people were at the bottom of the barrel, some women saved the day. Thus we have Ruth, Deborah, Judith, and Esther. When Mary is presented in the Gospels, she is the one on whom the whole work of Salvation depends in her “consent.” She is the Queen-Mother in Matthew. She is the “woman”, the new Eve, at the side of the new Adam in John. Mary is given a position of leadership in a special deposition from the cross in John.

Through the centuries women have been outstanding in all their work in teaching and care of the sick.

August 17, 1998.
To get a good summary view of the message of Christ and his ideas and ideals, I use Paul to show how he carried the ideas to the pagan world. He is the clearest evidence that the “Eucharist” was the pot-luck supper they had when they assembled. His problem was that some of the people tended to get drunk.

Then we have the qualities of human love in I Corinthians. This is early editing added by St. Luke.

The world into which the first Christians walked with the message of Christ was just as selfish, sinful and inhuman as ours is today. The major difference today is the speed with which we can communicate with any part of the world.

August 25, 1998.
I realize how little real credit we have given Joseph, Jesus’s dad. We are told he was a “technician” - that is a man skilled in his trade. He probably worked in wood and would have taught Jesus as he worked and Jesus played in his shop.

September 15, 1998.
I like the 4 key words I have for the 4 Gospels. Mark takes on Peter’s term “apologia.” This means a clear understanding and conviction that lead to action in every aspect of life.

Luke develops everything as “soteria” which means “health” in every sense of the word: Physical, spiritual, mental, individual and community. His editing of the qualities of “love in 1C:13 is a development of this basic idea.

Matthew is concerned only with “Basileia” which means “kinging” as in the game of checkers. The term stresses the power for good in all people who develop “community” or “sharing” in the full sense of the word.

John stresses “huisthesia”, the power to become a true “child of the father” if you have a sincere love that is expressed in “service” of all people in your life.

With a message (Gospel) so basic, all evil would be overcome. However, it is constant work.

October 2, 1998.
I am firmly convinced that Jesus was only human. He and JB discussed the coming of the Messiah as did everybody at the time.

Jesus saw the plight of the ordinary people and how they were being ignored or sold out by the leaders. So he developed his ideas as to what should be done. There was nothing bombastic about his ideas or style. Out of all his friends and followers he picked twelve young men to continue his work.

The word “miracle” in the sense of the “unusual” or “beyond nature” is not used in the NT. The word “simeion” or “sign” is used most of the time.

October 26, 1998.
The whole judgment scene according to the gospels in Christ’s own words was the Fatherhood of God expressed in the Brotherhood of man by the way in which they shared with each other. This was the Holy Spirit

November 1-2, 1998.
God is not sitting there as some stern judge. Christ’s picture was simple. Answer the one question, “How did you respond to the needs of the people around you.” This sharing or harmony determines how much you could enjoy all of eternity. This point is crystal clear in all of the Gospels. It is spelled out in detail in Luke, Matthew and John.

November 24, 1998.
The OT Kingdom, in practice, fell far short of the ideal and was gradually wiped out in 587 B.C. Then the people and prophets started to look to the future restoration. The people were sure the revival would be a temporal world-wide supremacy. This was still the expectation in the time of Christ. So Christ presented a completely different notion as developed in Matthew and somewhat in John.

November 25, 1998.
Matthew’s Gospel is the only one to mention the visit of the Wise Men. Scientists looked for evidence of this special star. Yet it is clear they are talking about the sun. This is the star that rises in the east and moves to the west. The Wise man simply followed the lead of nature to find the New King. Then they gave him the gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. What really happened is guess work.

Abraham had traveled from the east with the migrations of his day. He had settled in Palestine as did all the other travelers because it was the first habitable land they entered. Some went north and on toward Rome. Some went south and on to Egypt. Others stayed in Palestine and Abraham was one of these.

To fulfill that trip of Abraham in the life of Jesus, we have the story of the Magi. It is a story full of symbolic meaning for the later life of Jesus. What the actual event was, is hard to say. The meaning is clear in the conclusion of the Gospel writer.

November 27-28, 1998.
Matthew had been a tax collector for Rome in his home town. He was hated by his own people as a traitor. He was despised by the Romans as socially inferior but tolerated as long as he paid his share on time. It was an easy way to make money because the collector could keep all that was over his quota.

I thought of Matthew as older than the others but the fact is that Rome hired tax collectors in their late teens and early twenties. They were easier to control. Older men hesitated to work for the enemy.

Matthew had the mind of a financier. His Gospel follows this pattern. He describes what was said or done by Jesus or the crowds. He draws on texts from the OT to show how this had happened before. Then he drew his conclusions. I contrast him with John who was a young person with high emotions.

December 5, 1998.
Most of the known religions prior to Judaism made man a minion of the gods and subject to their whims. The picture of Yahweh is different from the start.

Yahweh was the source of the whole universe. Everything in it has a purpose which will gradually unfold. The role of mankind is to bring about that unfolding by work and harmony.

Gradually, the picture of this God unfolded as a Surrounding Presence who was always waiting for people to take the next step forward. Often, because of greed or selfishness, they took many steps backward through murders and wars.

Finally, one man, named Jesus, came up with a plan that would achieve the “telos” - the purpose of all creation. We will see the full Fatherhood of God in the Brotherhood of Man.

December 6, 1998.
That’s why Jesus Christ sums up the whole meaning of life in the one word “Koinonia” or sharing. “As often as you did it to anyone of these, my people, you did it to me!” He meant what he said and this will be the measure in which you share in the next life.

December 9, 1998.
The “James” who authored the Letter is a puzzle since we have no idea what James it is. Because of content, I think it is James, the brother of John, the apostle. His key idea is the necessity of “good works” to make your Faith real. John says the same thing about love. The letter of James was given a backseat because of the controversy with Luther and his use of the letter at Trent.

December 12, 1998.
As I looked at the bright sun on the way to the PO, I thought of the Magi and their visit to Nazareth. They said “We saw the Star in the east and we have followed it here.”

For centuries, scientists have tried to locate that special Star. It’s been there every day. The “Star in the East” is the sun. This was Matthew’s way of saying that the whole universe pointed everyone to the new King. Matthew says explicitly they were living in a “house” in Nazareth at the time of the visit.

Who were these “Wise Men” and where did they come from? I think they are an allegory or story developed to show what kind of kingship Jesus would establish. Gold says there will be wealth beyond compare. Incense says there will be sacrifice and oblation. Myrrh says there will be work and hardship.

This is the introduction to the Matthew story. Later, in Chapter 13, Matthew gives the basic qualities of this Kingship: its power, its ideals, its extent, and its way of being established in daily life.

January 1, 1999.
The secret to understanding the Holy Spirit is to keep the basic meaning of “spirit”. In Hebrew and Greek, it means “breath” as the sign of life. Adam was a lump of clay until Yahweh breathed in the “breath of life” and he became living. Then the first Adam failed and had to be replaced. Mary and Joseph started off the “new Adam” with the “holy Breath.” The New Adam left the “holy breath” to his followers. This Holy Breath is seen in harmony and sharing.

January 4, 1999.
The theme of Matthew is “Basileia” of the Heavens - “kingdom of god.” This is a Greek “eia’ ending which always gives us an “ing” word in English. It refers to something that is being done right now. The only equivalent is in checkers. A person moves to the other end of the board and says “King me!” Then his checker takes on new power.

Matthew says a follower of Christ is “kinged,” Then he describes all the powers of the process. It is not a quality that takes you out of the world but gives you the power to live in harmony in the world.

January 5, 1999.
The idea of “kinging” is even better than I expected. The first Christians did not see themselves as founding a separate society. They were convinced of the sense of “sharing” that Jesus propounded. They were to carry this ideal into the world in which they lived.

The memory of Jesus was to be kept alive by the followers who were convinced and lived their ideals.

January 6, 1999.
I have been smiling gleefully at the full description of a Christian in the Son of Man’s own words in Matthew.

It takes in the whole notion of “son of Man” from David which is the phrase for the “new Adam” or the “real Adam.” Then it gives all the personal qualities of “kingship” which have been ignored in formal theology. Finally, it describes exactly how the “Harmony” or “koinonia” is to be established in the whole world by the lives of the followers of Jesus. Then the clincher is that this is a foretaste of what heaven is all about. Heaven is this “koinonia” with no glitches.

January 7, 1999.
I lined up all the ideas on “Kingship” in Matthew. The part that strikes most forcefully is the clear description we get of heaven or after life. It is identically the same notion of “sharing” except the people involved are extended. All the people who measure up from the beginning of time will be there. We can know all these people and share our ideas, accomplishments and questions with all of them.,

January 18, 1999.
Homosexuality was a common part of all fertility cults of all the ancient peoples. The most prevalent was men with men and young boys who were conscripted for the royal courts in Rome, Athens, Egypt, the Middle east countries. The prophets were always warning against the practices but the people went for it wholesale.

Lesbianism was also common in the harems but no one made much of the problem because women were considered mere chattel.

January 22-23, 1999.
We know from Paul’s own statements that Luke edited some of his letters. We know from the Apostolic Fathers that Luke is credited with 3 major works yet we have only two in the New Testament.

My own conclusion is that Luke edited all the letters of Paul. The editing was done to remove some of the mean, self-centered comments of Paul. Luke tried to tone Paul down. First Corinthians was such a violent Pauline attack that Luke included this picture of Christian love to give a positive conclusion to the mean attitude of Paul.

January 26-27, 1999.
The shepherd is an perfect picture of Christian leadership.

February 4, 1999.
“To telos” are two important words. They mean end as “complete fulness.” So the end of the world is not a moment when the whole world disintegrates. It means when the world is brought to its completion or fulfillment. We need only think of all the progress that has been made in the last fifty years by way of discoveries and inventions and we can see that the “telos” is an ongoing process.

When Christ was dying on the cross, his last word was “tetelestai.” He bowed his head and died. This is the verbal form of “telos” and means “I have accomplished all I set out to do.”

February 6, 1999.
This morning I reviewed all the books of the Bible from the viewpoint of “Story” instead of (factual) history. I have this written but I have thought of a lot of refinements.

Genesis: The story of beginnings.

Exodus: The story of deliverance.

Numbers: The story of deliverance - continued

Leviticus: The story of ritual and sacrifice.

Deuteronomy: The story of the covenant renewed.

Joshua: The story of entrance into the Promised Land.

Judges: The story of leaders, good & bad.

By using the word ‘story” we go back to the approach of years ago. We avoid the scrapping about “history.” They are stories, some fact and some fiction, that answer the question “why,” not “how.”

February 18, 1999.
I started to re-read Josephus. He was frequently quoted in reference to the Bible. Like Augustine Josephus had an opinion on everything, liked to be on the cutting edge and often proposed opposite ideas in various presentations. I’ll read more today.

I think the first generations of Christians has a good grasp of the ideals and plans of Christ. They lived as a group and infiltrated the society in their daily lives. The leaders of the Jews saw them as a threat. Rome was not about to buy a plan the exact opposite of their philosophy. Today, the Christian ideals have to be re-presented.

March 1, 1999.
The real goal now is to write a description of Jesus, the Christ, as the people knew him during his pubic life. You said he should have left Jerusalem and he would have escaped death. I think not.

Jesus did not plan to do all this work by himself. He was a starter but his ambition was to get his message to the whole world. For this he needed convinced followers - able and willing to spread out and work on their own. This would not happen until he was gone and they caught the “spirit” as a personal conviction. So he “died” for his plans to show how convinced he was, and was raised from the dead as he had done for Lazarus.

March 10, 1999.
I thought of a title for Paul’s letters: “The story of Paul, the correspondent, and his editor, Luke.”

March 14, 1999.

The first writings of the New Testament era came from Peter. These are the Good News as Peter saw it and written by Mark in his Gospel and the two letters of Peter. The key thought is in 1 Pet. 3:15. To be a follower of Jesus, you must always have a firm conviction for your personal hopes, ideals and goals. This can be easily understood because it was the opposite that led Peter into his gigantic personal failure. He was not convinced until he made his mistake and learned the true meaning of the message of Christ the hard way.

Paul is a strong character of the overbearing domineering type. Fortunately, he hired Luke as his physician and Luke edited some of the harshness out of Paul. Both men were outstanding men and served during the Roman tyranny and the Jewish hatred.

March 15, 1999.
Paul’s letters are the oldest writings of the NT except for the gospel according to Mark. Each letter has at least one good positive point. Paul certainly set the stage for downgrading women. Yet Luke is the one who gave women their equality in the Gospel and Acts. Paul was really mean, assertive and pompous.

March 20-21, 1999.
St. Paul started a group and then put an elder in charge. They gathered for their “basket suppers,” talked, encouraged each other and went on. The only problem was “freeloaders.” They brought no basket but dug into the food brought by all the others.

The elders were called “presbyteroi” in Greek. That’s the word that becomes ‘sacerdos” or “priest” in Latin.

March 22, 1999.
We were talking about my writing, last night. I am not really concerned about the publishing at present. The writing is achieving two goals. Number One: I have a far keener insight into the persons of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. From what they accomplished, they were certainly Family #1 in the Jewish world. They were extraordinary because they did so many ordinary things well. They deserve the highest praise and respect and honor but it should never degenerate into maudlin drivel.

Secondly, my mind is constantly at work with new ideas and viewpoints into this big picture.

March 23, 1999.
You mentioned the two basic teachings of Christ. First: “Kepha” or “Bedrock.” and “Shepherd” as known in those days in Palestine.

Kepha in Mt 16:18. This notion stresses that all authority is a foundation on which the ideals of society are to be built. Authority was never to be a roof that clamped down from the top, Kepha or foundation stressed the ever broadening growth that was to develop.

“Shepherd” stresses that authority leads - not drives or pushes. The shepherd is out in front leading and calling. The shepherd knows each sheep individually and promotes the good of each. The sheep need only to respond.

This last figure was stressed in John’s Gospel as Christ addressed Peter three times after the Resurrection. His question: “Simon, do you love me more than these? Then Feed my Lambs. Feed my sheep: Take complete care of the flock.”

The word “Pastor” was kept so that this aspect of leadership would never be lost or changed.

March 24, 1999.
There is no doubt the NT presents “Son of Man” as the primary title of Christ. Whether this self-generated or developed by the early Christians is not certain. There is no doubt, the early Christians looked on Daniel as their favorite. Regardless of the origin in the NT, the title will give a living vibrant picture of the personality of Christ.

March 29, 1999.
The first major use of the title, “Son of Man” is in Ezechiel. It is used over and over in the one passage where Ezechiel is given his mission - to go into exile with the first wave of Jews captured in 597 B.C. He is to convert the captive Jews and turn them back to Yahweh.

They did not listen and figured Ezechiel was just a pessimist. Yahweh would take care of them as he always had. The title "Son of Man" in this context refers to the universal aspect of Yahweh's plan. The stress is on "personal responsibility" throughout Ezechiel.

The next OT use of the phrase "Son of Man" is in Daniel in the 2nd century B.C. This is the reference referred to in the New Testament. The key notion here is the "new Adam." The old Adam failed to become true man as Yahweh intended so the Messiah is to atone for the "Old Adam" and establish the "real Adam." All the New Testament references will deal with the qualities of the "new Adam" from his first public adult appearance at his Baptism to his death on the cross when he gives back the breath of the first Adam.

When Christians live in the "Holy Breath" they establish the New Adam or true man.

April 2, 1999.
Yahweh uses the phrase, "Son of Man" 16 times when he is giving Ezechiel his mission in 596 BC. In this case, the phrase is stressing that it is God talking to man. Man's job is to carry out the mission fully and faithfully.

Then Daniel uses the phrase in 167 B.C. as a special title for the Messiah and points out the special qualities he will have to carry out his mission. It is this reference that is used in the Gospels, especially Matthew and John in the NT. Jesus refers to himself by the title in numerous circumstances. Whether he actually used the title or whether the Gospel writers used it of Jesus is hard to say. There is no doubt it was a favorite designation.

April 9-10, 1999.
When the writers gave us written accounts of the Resurrection in the Gospels, they were writing with their background of 1800 years of Jewish thought and in Semitic terms. Jesus Christ was presented as the fulfillment of their expectations but not in the way they expected.

When Jesus began his work, he was in a world dominated by the forces of Rome and the wild dreams of the Jews that they would see the restoration of the "Kingdom of God" by the world triumph of the Jewish people. The Messiah would do all this.

Jesus in no way wanted this kind of picture. He was to establish the "Koinonia" or community of all people in the Fatherhood of God seen in the Brotherhood of man. This was to be accomplished by the group of followers who would live his ideas and ideals and bring the whole world to admire and imitate.

April 11, 1999.
Yesterday, I read through part of my commentary on John's Gospel. This is an early literary development of the 7 weeks of the new creation compared to the 7 days of the first creation. Christ is described as the New Adam and Mary is the "Woman" - the new Eve.

The Gospel received it's final editing about 125 AD. Jerome says it was written as a tribute to the work and long years John had put in for the establishment of the Christian community. He had lived through the several waves of Roman persecution and had seen many a friend and convert die in the area at the Coliseum.

April 12, 1999.
I have been comparing the richness of the writings of the Bible. For a long time, the value of the individual writing was almost destroyed by the effort at "concordance." Everything was jammed together and the individual works were destroyed. It is like taking four art masterpieces of the same theme, jamming them all together, and then calling it a masterpiece. All four individuals works are gone and the result is a meaningless mishmash.

April 15, 1999.
John stresses that the whole idea and ideal of Christ is the mutual service and sharing with each other because of love. The first Christians had a grasp of this essential message.

April 17, 1999.
"Son of Man" is used in Ezechiel where Yahweh is speaking to the prophet. The meaning in Ezechiel seems to stress the distance between God and man.

Then Daniel picks up the phrase several centuries later and gives it a clear turn to the future. Some person will come and will be called the Son of Man because he is willing to work with God in his plan for the universe. This is the passage quoted in all the Gospels as fulfilled in Christ. Christ uses it of himself in numerous passages. He is always emphasizing how he is presenting the key ideas and ideals of God as Father to man as son.

“Son of Man” is used often by Christ in connection with his "identity crisis." He knew what he was convinced he must do but he knew and was afraid of the total rejection this would bring. Yet he knew he had to follow his convictions or he would be a rank impostor.

April 18-19, 1999.
We talked about the message of Christ and what theologians and churchmen have done with it. When Christ came, the leaders of the Jews, Sadducees, Pharisees and Scribes had destroyed the message and calling of Israel. The Sadducees stressed the tithing for the Temple and all the material aspects of Jerusalem and the feasts and the Temple. The Pharisees were the sticklers for the minutiae of legalism and the Scribes fed the fanaticism of the Pharisees.

Christ removed the empty formalism of the Jewish practice. The message of Christ is service to each other. The "ekklesia" or "Qehala” is the "gathering" of the people and their sharing with each other. There was never to be a new big organization. The organization was already present. It was the civil society of each time and place. The followers of Christ were to live in this society and change the selfishness and greed by their example of harmony and sharing. This is what they did in the first 2.5 centuries and by 313 AD, the Roman Emperor himself was a Christian.

April 26, 1999.
Because of the time in which Jesus lived, he was convinced something had to be done to turn the human race away from crimes of hatred, murders, theft, wars. All these attitudes destroyed. So Jesus came up with his plan. It all boiled down to the one notion of harmony and sharing based on mutual respect. This was the "Holy Spirit" that he bequeathed to his followers.

His followers would be called his "gathering." They would live in regular society and by their "Holy Spirit" they would lead people to admire and imitate and change.

April 27, 1999.
As I read through some of my writings yesterday, I found a lot of ideas about "spirit" or "breath" as it develops through the Bible. The "lump of clay" received a "breath" in his nose and became a living being. Then Elijah had a special "breath" that made him the father of the Prophets. Other prophets shared in the "breath" of Elijah. Isaiah described all the effects of this "breath" in the just person. These were call in the Roman catechism the "seven gifts of the Holy Spirit."

Then the "Holy Breath" shows up in the NT. Mary shared in it before the conception of Christ. Finally, Christ says he has to leave or the Apostles will never get the "Holy Spirit." They will be dependent on him .Once Jesus is gone, the Apostles will develop this "holy Spirit" - the special gift of sharing and harmony.

The more fully a person identifies self with the Holy Spirit, the greater the person becomes. This is the only point of judgment at the end. According to the degree in which a person shared with the people around him/her, the more real and developed the identity of the person. If there is no Holy Spirit, a person has no identity.

April 29, 1999.
I have had oodles of mental delight talking with the real Jesus Christ as he was known by the Apostles. I think two things are contributing to these pictures. First, I have been reading some of my previous writings. The book on People in the Bible has presented the "brothers and sisters" of Christ. These were the other children of Joseph and Mary. One of them is the person who tried to get Jesus to keep quiet because he would embarrass the family. Another one told him to do some of these great deeds in his hometown so the neighbors could see them.

April 30, 1999.
I want to do a complete study of "Vengeance" in the Bible.

The English word is far too restricted for the Biblical idea. In our language, the word means literally "getting even" with someone for a real or fancied wrong. "Getting Even" is the starting place. Then the avenger goes farther. The Biblical words mean a just requital without making matters worse. It is a delicate balance of justice, equity, fairness, forgiveness and harmony.

The people were not about to reach this ideal. So Yahweh says he will take over. The Jews established the 3 Cities of Refuge or Sanctuary on each side of the Jordan. This was to insure a fair trial for any accused. They were greatly abused.

Jesus handles this idea several times in the NT. The parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the best developments. Peter thought he was really generous when he offered to forgive up to 7 times. Jesus' answer was “70 x 7.” The first word on the Cross showed Jesus practicing what he preached.

May 6, 1999.
The letter of Jude is only a note of 25 verses. There was a lot of discussion of his identity. There is a Thaddaeus in one list of Apostles and a Jude in another. Many think these two names refer to the same person. The note is short and hard to define. It was considered authentic.

The gist of his note is a strong warning to avoid falling into sinful habits, especially those connected with the fertility cults. The people he addressed seemed to be bringing some of the fertility cult practices into their way of life.

May 7-8, 1999.
I went through my commentary on the Letter of Jude. It stresses the necessity to avoid falling into temptations, falsehoods and sins of the surrounding society.

Then I opened my file on the Book of Proverbs. Roland Murphy wrote a short article on the need to preserve the succinct format of the Proverbs. Translations tend to write flowing sentences and lose the sharp impact of the idea being proposed. I follow his suggestion in my translations. I'll finish this work today.

May 10, 1999.
You read the story of Balaam and the talking jackass. I was talking about this story one time and one of the members of the class said the real surprise was not that the donkey talked. The real point of the story was that Balaam answered him. Another member of the class said he'd known lots of jackasses who talked.

The proverbs in the book of Proverbs should be written as they are in Hebrew and stress the poetic form that makes the meaning stand out. Roland Murphy advised translating more accurately to preserve the Hebrew idiom. I have separated the two parts by two spaces, two colons, and two spaces (--;;--) If they are too long to fit on one line, I'll choose some other method.

May 14, 1999.
I reviewed what I wrote on the Identity of Jesus Christ. I edited some words and deleted others so that the whole unit flows better.

I like what I have because I now have a real person who can be known, admired and followed. Jesus definitely saw his ideas as beneficial to all people if they were understood, accepted and followed. There was no special organization that would set itself up. It would simply be his convinced followers living his ideals in their time and place.

May 15, 1999.
I came up with a title for all my writing: " The Gospel: Who Jesus Christ was in the World of the Caesars!! The Christian: Who Jesus Christ is in the World today!" Christ said ""By this shall all people know you are my convinced followers by the love you have for each other." This love for each other, the mutual sharing, harmony and peace is the Holy Spirit.

May 16, 1999.

Old Testament - Jesus Christ in preparation.

Gospels - Jesus Christ in the Roman World.

Christians - Jesus Christ in the World, Today.

These ideas make an introduction to most of my Biblical writings.

May 19, 1999.
I think I have the general summary of my writings figured out.

The overall title is: Jesus Christ Comes!

A. People prepare for the coming: Adam to Daniel

B. Jesus in the Roman World. Mark, Luke, Matthew and John

C. The Christian: Jesus in the World Today: Acts to Apocalypse.

At night, as I go to sleep and often when I sit in the chair, I revolve these ideas before my mind. I frequently get a new view or new ideas. At these times, Jesus Christ is real. I can talk with him and he seems to add something or answer a question. This is meditation at its best.

May 21, 1999.
Everyone in the Jewish world was certain that the Messiah was soon to come. In fact, numerous men had risen in the same time period and all had proven to be fakes. The popular idea was that the Messiah as to be a great military leader, like David. He would restore the temporal kingdom.

This was why Jesus forbade Peter to use the name “Messiah” about him. Jesus carefully describes the Kingdom of the Heavens or the Kingdom of God. It is something within us and can be seen. It is something that has to be established by his followers. It is something that will reach its fulness only at the fulness of time.

When Pilate finally asked Jesus, "Are you then really a king?" Jesus responds with the words, "You have that right! For this was I born and for this have I come into the world!" Pilate was totally befuddled and walked away. The title attached to Jesus' cross was "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

May 22, 1999.
I did a lot of thinking on the description I wrote of Jesus Christ and his mission. The Gospel writers all stressed a particular aspect of the ideas and ideals of Jesus.

For Mark, who was using Peter as his source, the stress is all on personal conviction. We can understand why Peter stressed this idea so much. Because of his lack of conviction, he failed when confronted with his showdown. Hence in his letters and in Mark's Gospel he stresses over and over the need of conviction.

Luke is the medical doctor. From his writings, his concern is for health in the full sense of the term: physical, mental and spiritual. He stresses the dignity of women and universality of salvation or "health" to be expected. He did everything he could to edit out Paul's meanness from his letters and still preserve the teaching.

Matthew is completely taken with the full notion of Kingship and how this is to be established in the person and in the world. He really stresses the fact that the whole notion of Kingship is to be effected in the harmony and sharing of all the followers.

John is concerned with the new Adam and the New Eve. Jesus and Mary restored the original ideals and goals and went beyond. Success is possible for everyone.

May 31, 1999.
As I was reading and editing my Biblical writings, I realized that the principal outcome for me is the sense of reality I now have with regard to various people, especially Jesus Christ.

He was always a sort of nebulous untouchable until I realized how frightened he was by the antagonism and enmity of the Jewish leaders. He was thoroughly convinced of his ideas and ideals. He wanted them kept alive and spread by his followers. Yet he knew how fickle the crowd really was.

June 1, 1999.
John is writing (REV) primarily of the bitter persecution of the first Christians by the Romans. He does not want the Romans to know what he is saying so he chooses the mysterious words and ideas of Ezechiel in a similar situation.

He talks about the "telos" of the world. This is translated into Latin as "Finis." The two words mean "end." However, the Greek word means a sense of "completion" or "fulfillment." This is the word that Christ uses on the cross. "Tetelestai." It is complete. I have carried out all the details. Now we can proceed." The Latin "finis" means "end" in the sense of over and done with. "Nothing remains."

There are a lot of positive ideas in "Revelation." It's too bad they are ignored for the weird notions.

June 2, 1999.
I have just completed lining up the 3 sets of 7 Beatitudes or ways to be "happy." The oldest is in the letter to the Ephesians about 60 AD It is a Pauline letter with all the finesse and development of Luke. The second set is from Apocalypse. It outlines how the followers of Christ are to earn true happiness in the bitter sufferings imposed by the Romans. The 3rd set is in Matthew's Gospel and serves as an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount of the New Moses.

Matthew is the source of the Beatitudes of the Catechism. The catechism had 8 listed because one of the original 7 was an explanatory note in the margin. It gradually slipped into the text.

Ephesians lists the steps to full participation in the Holy Spirit or the sharing and community that was the sign of the true follower. John stresses the readiness needed in time of persecution. Matthew emphasizes this intrinsic value of sharing and its power in society.

June 3, 1999.
I was wide awake and had my Greek NT open by 6:00 a.m. This first beatitude in Matthew made new sense. Matthew has an opening general statement and then the 7 beatitudes as in Ephesians and Apocalypse. MT's opening statement (in Greek) is "The Poor in the spirit." Even the JB leaves out the definite article "the spirit." Then they say the second beatitude is a gloss.

Matthew is describing the "holy spirit" in its many meanings. He tells how the followers of Christ are to establish this "sharing" with everyone around them. Then in his final "judgment" scene, Matthew says "Come, beloved of my father, into the kingship prepared for you. I needed help and you shared with me. That's the whole secret of the Christian way of life. Everybody shares with everybody and establishes total harmony until the "telos" of the world, "Until the world is complete" as planned by God from the beginning. It's not "pie in the sky" but a "life of sharing" for universal "Shalom."

June 4, 1999.
Matthew's whole point is to describe who are the "poor in the Spirit". This is the same notion as "holy spirit" developed in Luke and John. This is the basic goal of sharing and harmony in the midst of the world in which the followers of Christ live. In Matthew, this is the "kingship" that is the "church" or "group” called together.

There are 7 aspects of this sharing in Matthew:

"Meekness" - to inherit the earth.

"Mourners" will receive true comfort

“Eagerness for justice" will be satisfied.

"Mercy" will receive mercy.

"single-goaled" - they shall see God,

"Peacemakers" - real sons of God.

"Persecuted." receive the kingship.

This makes a follower of Christ the salt of the earth, light of the world, a lamp on the lamp stand. The followers of Christ are to perform their good works to lead others by good example. It's an ideal program if it would be followed.

June 11, 1999.
Jesus and John Baptist both saw the crudity of the Roman world and the hypocrisy and emptiness of the Jewish world.

J.B. bristled with anger. As soon as he was 30, he set out to do something to change people's ways. He tackled everyone openly and clearly. He had a big following because the people expected him to lead a revolution in which they would get material greatness.

Six months later, Jesus showed up. He could be as forceful as J.B. if the occasion called for it. But in general, his was more the quiet teacher's approach. He clearly did not want to be taken for one of the many "messiahs" who had risen and disappeared. He knew his approach would bring suffering and death. He had to choose.

June 13, 1999.
As I mulled over the statements of the two televangelists from yesterday, I thought of how important it is to know the language of the writer before you can talk of a literal sense. American English is a prime example. We talk of "shades, screens, bored, chair.." and many definitions and usages come to mind.

Hebrew, Greek and Latin have all these same kinds of variants. A literal translation has to understand the original language and its idioms and translate the original language into the language and idioms of the translator's language. Daniel, one of the most important for the NT, is written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

June 15, 1999.
Real hatred is the absence of all love. The two terms are exact opposites. In John's Gospel, the statement is simple, "All love is service." In the First Letter of John, he quotes Jesus as saying "By this shall everyone know that you are my disciples, in the love that you have for each other." Matthew says in so many words that love is seen in our willingness to share with others and to live in harmony.

Hatred is the total dislike of another person - wanting absolutely nothing to do with that person. Degrees of hatred are dislike, aversion, avoidance with the resultant wishing the person harm or actually causing harm. Many times people talk about strong aversion or dislike but they do not actually wish the other person harm.

You'll hear "I wish the S.O.B. would drop dead, or fall off a cliff, or down in the ocean!" For the moment you might feel that way but the desire is usually not that strong nor lasting.

June 16, 1999.
The very first written editions of the OT probably came from the time of Solomon, about 850 B.C. He is credited in the Bible stories with the organization of scholarship as a worthwhile pursuit. Prior to Solomon's time, most of the lore was handed down orally.

Daniel is the most influential of the thinking of Christ and the first Christians and the NT writings. His work concerns the time of Antioches the Terrible c. 180 B.C. The writing of Daniel is preserved in 3 languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. This, too, is unusual. The key to the character of Jesus is "Son of Man" from Daniel.

June 18, 1999.
I read through my work on the OT prophets yesterday. I see I have to make a clearer description or definition of a prophet. Some were primarily "moralists." Some were looking ahead to point out where the present conduct was going to lead.

The Servant Songs of Isaiah II and the works of Daniel were the most important for Christ himself and the early Christians.

The Servant Songs stressed the necessity and value of living according to the ideas and ideals of Yahweh even when this was not popular or easy. Daniel stressed the notion of "Son of Man" or what a human being is supposed to be. I have all the passages listed where this phrase is used in the NT. Now I have to develop the full picture or all the qualities that this phrase entails.

The result of all this writing for me personally is the reality of the person who is Jesus Christ. I'm sure this is what John Zeller tried to tell us in the Novitiate - to see the appeal and power of the person.

June 21, 1999.
"Son of Man" is a phrase taken from Daniel who is teaching in the 2nd century B.C. Basically, the phrase would mean the "real man" or the "fulness of man." In this sense it would be a true contrast with the failure of the first man in the Bible story.

The picture of harmony and sharing which Christ taught and the 1st Christians lived would change the whole world. However, this harmony is not something dropped in our laps. It is a goal that must be worked for and earned by each person and each generation. It is not a matter of rituals and buildings and material things. This harmony and sharing are the result of generous effort.

June 23, 1999.
You talked about married and women clergy in the Catholic church. We know for sure that Peter, the first Pope, was married and his mother-in-law fed the whole group on one visit. We know that the only people who stood on Calvary with Christ were his mother, Mary, Mary Magdalan and a teenage boy. One man denied him 3 times. One man sold him for the price of a slave. The first people to the tomb on Sunday morning were the women. The first person Christ appeared to was a woman, Mary Magdalan. He sent her to tell the men who were hiding because of fear. It was the mother's job to prepare the son for the Bar Mitzvah. Then he was an adult and the father could teach him a trade. Really great heroes in the OT were Ruth, Judith and Esther.

As to my functioning in the church of today, I would last no more than a week or two. I am convinced that Jesus was only (human) man. I think the Holy Spirit is the harmony and sharing of all the members with each other. The notion of only one true church is ridiculous. The church is to be an integral part of the society in which it lives and works.

June 24, 1999.
The more I think about the Jesus Christ I have come to know in the past couple of years, the more I am sure he would be like all the people I meet and greet in the post office, clinic, grocery story and some such. He is ready with a pleasant greeting, glad to exchange ideas if you want, and full of comments on the world about him.

I'm quite sure he would root for the Packers rather than other pro teams. He would like the team spirit and loyalty of all of Green Bay. If Peter was along, he would clearly be spouting off for the Chiefs or Bears and knowing practically nothing about the game. The other Apostles would be looking for a free ticket in the wake of Christ. John, the teenager, would go right for the popcorn and soda pop, and then go to the top of the stands.

I often think of the remains of old Rome from the time of Christ. I realize I walked on the streets of Rome from his time.

July 5, 1999.
I really appreciate Matthew and his work more each time I see him as a young man 22-23 years old. He took the job as tax collector for the Romans even though he knew it meant he was an outcast from his people and only a tool in the eyes of the Romans. At least he made money and could irk the Scribes and Pharisees.

Then Jesus came and Matthew found a person he could respect and follow. Matthew spells the part of the message he liked best. Life was a matter of sharing with each other according to the abilities and needs of all the people around you. He put the formula in explicit words three different times. His fullest picture is the judgment scene at the end. A person is identified and rewarded according to his sharing in this life. Such sharing, sincerely practiced, would remove all societal ills.

July 7, 1999.
Mark is the shortest gospel and almost all is contained in the other gospels. However, it is Peter’s approach and that is important.

July 13, 1999
The question about the attitude of the Christians toward the Jews is on the front burner. A few months ago, an article appeared saying that the term “Jews” is spoken with dislike and even hatred in the New Testament. Then the author quoted John and applied the same notion to Luke, Matthew and Paul.

There is no doubt that “Jews” in John’s Gospel are strongly disliked. However, the author makes it very clear the term “Jews” refers to the leaders only, the Sadducees, Pharisees and Scribes.

All the other first Christians were themselves Jews. Paul clearly was a Jew but he had a strong dislike for the ones he met after his conversion during his missionary career. As a rabbi, he was invited to speak. When he began to speak of Jesus as the Messiah, he was literally thrown out of the synagogues and stoned a few times.

Matthew’s Gospel is an attempt to show how the kingdom of God is the fulfillment of the Jewish picture. Luke stresses the universality of the goal of Christ.

July 15, 1999.
Luke is a fascinating person as a M.D. and non-Jew, a companion of Paul, and a person who goes to the sources. He talked at length with Mary, Jesus’s mother, because he tells us how she reacted internally to events.

July 18, 1999.
Matthew is the most used in Sunday liturgy because it is orderly. However, many major mistakes were made in explaining Matthew.

First of all, Matthew was always depicted as an old man. He was a tax collector hired by the Romans. They didn't hire old men. They wanted men in their upper teens or low twenties so that they could "form" them. Matthew models his Gospel in the Pentateuch with an intro to a conclusion. His biggest concern was the true notion of "Kingship" as an active ongoing notion in the heart of a pagan world.

July 20, 1999.
Nothing is said about the heat of Palestine in the Gospels. It can be very hot in the whole area. However, on the banks of the Lake of Galilee it was quite comfortable. Then as you go south toward the Dead Sea, the heat can be almost impossible. Jerusalem is on a high hill so, if there is a breeze, it be cool. The desert is to the east and south and the heat is almost unbearable. Yet Palestine looked like a real Promised Land when the Israelites arrived.

July 21, 1999.
I listened to all the to-do on public radio about the homosexuals and adultery. The priest from Rome, the priest from Marquette and the one Bishop (discussants on the program) were tossing around some Bible texts. The Israelites had learned lots of forbidden ways in Egypt and brought them with them. Homosexuality was mentioned and forbidden in a couple of places.

The big concern in the New Testament was “porneia” in marriage. This Greek word meant any kind of “selfishness” that threatened the marriage. This was sufficient grounds for divorce and re-marriage.

July 22, 1999.
I looked up the topic of “Homosexuality” in the Jerome Commentary. In the letter to the Romans, Paul is talking of fertility cults as they were practiced at that time, 57 A.D. He condemned the practice and told the Christians to stay out of it. His primary concern was participation in fertility worship of the pagan gods.

The Roman leaders had control of these men and women who were people from nations conquered in wars. Anyone could come to the temple and “rent” a man or woman. The money went to the Roman leaders. Actually, Rome was running brothels in the name of their gods and religions.

The Old Testament story begins with the people of Sodom and Gomorra. Lot and his family had settled there by choice to be in on the “city life.” Abraham had gone north. The people of Sodom wanted the men for their cultic practices. Abraham heard of the problem, delivered Lot, and Sodom and Gomorra were destroyed. Again the practice was part of a religion.

Nothing is said explicitly of the immorality or morality of “homosexuality or lesbianism” apart from worship of false gods.

July 24, 1999.
The one thing that has come out of all my writing is how “real” Christ and the apostles are to me. I feel as if I am walking with them and can call them by first names. I have removed the sham and fakery imposed by theologians over the centuries.

August 6, 1999.
Christ and the Gospels clearly have a simple message. The first Christians understood it thoroughly and summed it up in the Apostle’s Creed. There was to be a “gathering” or “nucleus” of the followers of Christ. This was to be “holy” and spread everywhere. The followers were to be noted “solely” for the way they cooperated with and helped each other and any who needed help.

Thats what Christ had in mind. When they got together for the “cup of friendship” it was to recall Christ and his ideals rather than the Passover Lamb. The “elders” in each group would be in charge as was the custom.

Paul joined and immediately started to try to “boss the show.” So Paul was sent on the “foreign missions.” Luke tried his best to soften the harshness of Paul but succeeded only partially. Unfortunately when the persecutions stopped, the church structure followed the ideas of Paul.

August 7-8, 1999.
We just talked of what Jesus expected of his followers. He laid down a few ground rules for his basic ideas and ideals. In St. John, he sums everything up in the service of each other. Then he shows by his example how this could be done. Luke and Matthew spell out the same idea of sharing, a bit more in details.

The main point was to avoid static crushing structure. This had killed Judaism through the governance of the Sadducees, Pharisees and Scribes. They had all their sacred little practices and Jesus condemned these openly and totally.

August 18, 1999.
In the OT, the people saw heaven as a place to be with Abraham, their founding father. In the New Testament, Jesus describes it as a place and a state of being. The price of admission is "service" to others in this life. If you spent your life in helping others, then you will be welcomed into the presence of the Father who is God. You would be in a family of all those identified by the "service" of others in this life. I think it could easily be the whole universe.

The other alternative for people who led lives of selfishness is the Valley of Hinnon, a place of nothing to do and no one to visit.

August 20, 1999.
Where is heaven? We know from the gospels that the body of a person is the same so that it is recognized. Yet it has characteristics that are totally new. There will be no more pain or suffering.

I think the final stage of heaven will be a new earth from which all the ills, problems, and disasters will be removed. It will be the final “Garden of Paradise” as intended from the beginning. The life here on earth is the preparation for his happiness. That is the Bible picture and I like it.

August 22-26, 1999.
As I watched a little of the TV evangelists, my mind reverted back to Rome and the 431 "church buildings." Many of them are gorgeous works of art and sculpture. The only people in them are sight seers looking at the physical structure. The cardinals, bishops and pastors of these churches have "gimmicks" in each building to get tourist money.

I realize more and more how much we need an understanding of the real personality of Christ and the message he left the world.

September 7, 1999.
I think your proposal for a book is excellent. Contents: Who did Jesus think he was? Jesus’ Identity Crises! What is the role of women in the Biblical picture? What is meant by the “End of the World?” What is the teaching of the Bible on homosexuality?

I have already written on all the topics but now it will be great to draw all the topics together. There is no doubt these topics cover a lot of basic questions in the minds of people today. The young people are not receiving the proper grounding and have nothing to build on as they get older. The whole idea of the destruction of the universe is based on post-Tridentine (Council of Trent, 1545-1563) thought, fumblings and side tracks. I’ll get working on the ideas, today.

September 11-12, 1999.
John Baptist worked more on reform while Jesus decided a new start was needed. He did not want a separate structure and a society of its own. He wanted the civil society to stand but to be reformed into real harmony by respect for everyone’s rights and real sharing with everyone. This is stated by Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount; by John in the discussion at the Last Supper; and by Luke in his parables of the Widow’s Mite, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son.

September 17-18, 1999.
The fertility cults were the “bete noire” for the role of women. Every abuse of sex was a part of the cult and the Israelites were forever falling into the cults. The cults were a total degradation of sex and love. The prophets were constantly trying to straighten the thinking and actions of the people.

September 19, 1999.
I read the article on women being ordained deacons in the Catholic Church. Right now, as the article says, many parishes are completely cared for by women. But they cannot “say Mass” or hear confessions. I don’t think we’ll see any change until we get back to the fundamental message of Christ. He was interested in the spread of the “Holy Spirit” by those who already had it. This “Spirit” consisted in lending a hand to people in need as they touched your life. There was to be a constantly growing concern for all the people who came into your life. There was not to be any special organization plunked down in the middle of society.

Authority in the church was to be at the bottom, a foundation on which all could grow.

September 20, 1999.
Today is the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur. This is the Day of Atonement on which all the people are to make special atonement for their sins. In the Temple, the people stood singly and in groups. They publicly acknowledged their failure and stated how they would atone for them. The "Wailing Wall" is crowded at this time and the people are standing in line to get a place.

This was one of the customs that Christ condemned in the lives of the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees. They made a big external show of their failures and then kept right on in the same line of conduct. Christ's answer was to go into a room and talk to God in private. He will listen and you can sincerely amend your life.

I don't know what they do by way of sacrifice today. In the time of Christ each person could bring his victim and have it offered for him or his family's atonement. The Valley of Hinnon got a workout on that day. The fires burned brightly and kept ahead of all the offal.

September 23-24, 1999.
Jesus was an idealist. He thought of the pleasant society of people working together. At the same time, he was a pragmatist. He knew the basic problems that faced all people and he addressed them.

As Peter saw the message of Christ, everything boiled down to a strong personal conviction of the ideals of sharing. His stress, because of his own major failure, was true hope and then working for it. (Peter’s approach is recorded in Gospel According to Mark.)

Luke was more for the notion of “salvation” or “total health” at the disposal of everyone. He stressed especially the dignity and equality of women. Matthew saw this practicality of the world of kings. Everyone could share and establish the total kingship. John saw the whole picture as establishing the true brotherhood of mankind in order to portray the fatherhood of God.

September 26, 1999.
As I read about the games, the crowds, the rivalry, I think about ancient Rome and the descriptions of their gladiatorial bouts. The Palace of the Caesars is still standing on top of the Capitoline Hill. At one end there are bleachers that would comfortably seat 3-5 thousand spectators. In that area they held the chariot races, bouts between gladiators. They fought back and forth until one side was clearly a winner. Then they looked to the stands to see if the losers were to be slaughtered or left to fight another day.

At the other end is the Coliseum for individual combats. I prefer our type of games and competitions.

September 28-29, 1999.
This morning I thought about what I had read (of my writings) yesterday. The description is that of John with Jesus on the cross. John was about 15 years old. He was the only one of the 12 to be on Calvary. Jesus had just entrusted his mother, as the New Eve, to the care of John. Jesus cried out his “I thirst” then said “telelestai” - “Now all the pieces are in place.” “Now the work can really go on.” Then he bowed his head and died.

Now these ideas and words were written down about a century later. The ideas and ideals of Christ were being lived by the first generations of followers. The plan was working so well that even the Roman rulers noticed. Their comment was simply, “See how they love one another.” Two hundred years later, even the Emperor was converted to the ideals of Jesus.

The whole picture was and is so simple. There has to be a constant recognition of the dignity or worth of each person. There has to be the sharing of talents, abilities, material things on every level. There has to be a constant development of the treasures of the universe for the good of all.

October 2, 1999.
I looked up more texts with "teleoo" root. Everyone already stresses that something or someone is now "complete and able to function perfectly." Hence the "telos" of the world is the moment when the world is brought to be what God intended from the beginning. Then we will be able to use the whole world as it is supposed to be. The news the newscaster is reporting each night, is an example of what the verb "teleoo" means. He talked of the invention of the fountain pen, the ball point, the typewriter, the electric typewriter, the computer and then all the perfections of computers. This line of progress or development is what is meant by "to telos." Everything is developed until perfection is reached. Is it an unending process? Are there various stages of development? Will you be able to participate? - The Gospels all stress this participation in the final product depends upon how you shared with others.

October 3, 1999.
The Jerusalem Bible (1967) uses the same term for the adjective and the verb but it is almost non-committal. They translate the adjective "teleios," by the English word "perfect." This is fine if we stop to think about the word "perfect." However, we use this word rather loosely in English.

The Apocalypse is a great piece of literature. I read my commentary and saw that I concluded with the words "I have a lot more to do on this book." I always read the Apocalypse in the setting of Old Rome as it is excavated. A person can walk right down the steps and at the street level, it is 2nd century. At the bottom of the stairs it is the first century or earlier. I walked through there twice each day, on my way to and from the PBI. I looked at something different each time.

October 8, 1999.
I have my ideas about “to telos” all arranged in my head. The opening words of Genesis say that the purpose of all creation is to show or establish the Fatherhood of God in the Brotherhood of man (Hebrew word, Bara). This can only be done if the plan of God is followed. The first couple failed miserably and there was a time of trying to get back on track. Finally, Jesus Christ pointed out the way this plan was to be carried out (Greek phrase “to telos“).

This plan is presented in the four gospels and the whole picture is necessary. Mark is giving the picture as Peter saw it. The word is “apologia” (1 P 3:15). This means strong personal conviction in each person. Luke stresses “soteria” or “health” in all senses of the word. This stresses that absolutely everyone is invited. It emphasizes the rights and dignity of women. Matthew centers on “basileia” or “kingship” and this is expressed in helping each other in every need so that no one is overlooked or neglected. Finally, John is “huisthesia” or “sonship.” The new Adam and the new Eve are establishing true love that is seen in service.

Achieve these goals and the world reaches its goal (telos).

October 9, 1999.
I mulled over the full meaning of "The End" or "To Telos" in the Bible. The opening words of Genesis and the 4 Gospels make a complete picture.

The earth and universe are filled with untold hidden gems. Each time man discovered and makes something new, I can almost see God with a great big grain saying, "I told you it was great. Now keep on digging!" I can see Jesus Christ with a big smile saying, "This is what I was trying to point out. I saw the unlimited possibilities as I worked out my ideas in my itinerant preaching and teaching days. I had a hard time convincing the leaders of the time. In fact, I couldn't even reach them. Now, keep working at the whole ideal."

October 10, 1999.
I enjoy thinking about various aspects and ideas of the gospels as the answer to the opening words and plan of Genesis. The approach of each evangelist and his followers is as different as three great artists presenting the same theme.

I like Mark because this picture is so in keeping with the basic approach of Peter. Luke takes the ideas of Paul and develops a completely new slant on Paul’s approach. Matthew follows his own background and approach. John follows his personality throughout his whole life and gives the most developed picture of Christ.

October 19, 1999.
Last night and this morning, I did a lot of thinking about the “final perfection” (telos) of the whole universe. The Biblical picture is clear. God started everything off with all of the potency for development. As it started, he saw that it was good and he was pleased. Then he turned it over to mankind to develop all the potentialities in the whole universe. When it is truly complete it will be people with firm conviction, true sharing with each other, sharing in the powers of real kingship and a love that is true harmony. We have a way to go!

October 20, 1999.
I have finally reduced the whole Bible story to two words: from “Bara” to “to telos.” The story begins in the “Fatherhood of God” and will be complete in the “Brotherhood of Man.” I don’t think the universe is going to be destroyed to make an end as has been taught. When the universe is brought to the goal set by God from the start, then it will be peopled with all those who have properly identified themselves in this life.

After that, the period of testing is over. Then people can enjoy themselves for eternity. The unidentified will be cast aside as if they never existed. How much a person will enjoy him/herself will depend on the capacity for joy they developed in this life.

October 26, 1999.
My head has been buzzing full of ideas yesterday and today. The Bible picture of the human race is the time of the first Adam and the second Adam. This is especially true of the picture in John's writings.

The first Adam was a lump of clay. Yahweh breathed and the clay became the first man. Then he was presented with his partner and equal in all things, Eve. They were to set in motion the development of all the treasures hidden in the world. But they made their first big mistake - they tried to play God.

The story of mankind is the constantly widening gap between God and man. Finally, Jesus goes to Jerusalem, the heart of man's folly, and allowed himself to atone for the whole mess.

As he is on the cross, his final act is to give us the new Woman, the New Eve, restored in everything. Then he cried out, "Tetelestei." "There! all that mess is cleared away!" He bowed his head and gave back the breath." The failure of the first Adam was gone.

He came back from the dead, gave the "holy Breath" to his Apostles and sent them on their way. Now the Holy Breath is to be in full function until the "telos." - until the whole world and people reach their goal.

October 29, 1999.
The "telos" of the world will come when people have developed the world to its full potential as intended from the beginning. Then all who have established their personal identity will be able to share in it completely. This is the picture that was drawn in the opening lines of Genesis. This is the idea and ideal that Jesus developed by his life and teaching. Now it is ours to reach.

November 10, 1999.
I have Luke well summarized. Luke is medical doctor and his summary of the whole work of Christ is "soteria." The theologians translate this as "salvation" and then get lost in their sidetracks and wanderings and distinctions.

Actually, the Greek word means "healing." Luke sees the whole message of Christ as total healing, physical, mental and spiritual. The physical healing is the curing of disease, sickness and care of the sick as practiced by doctors, nurses and all medical help. Mental health is the education and mental development as carried on by teachers, schools, writers and people in education. This would refer in a special way to the home. Spiritual healing is the caring for the spiritual needs of the inner life of a person by counseling, guidance, goal-setting, forgiveness and helping people back on the track.

November 15, 1999.
Each gospel gives one aspect of the “fulness” of the earth or universe as intended from the beginning and as developed and presented by Jesus Christ in his ideas and ideals. Jesus was the talented and gifted student of his day even though he never set foot in the rabbinical schools. He was so convinced of his ideas, he was willing to die for them and did.

November 28, 1999.
The news item on public radio about the Psalms was of interest. St. Jerome made three or possibly four translations of the Psalms. One is extant and is a masterpiece. The Vulgate butchered Jerome, as usual.

Jerome admitted there was much about the “poetic form” that could not be translated. Some of them are songs about specific Bible stories or events and these can be better understood. Most of the Psalms are songs inspired by the mental outlook of the person composing.

There is a definite rhythm to them but this can seldom be matched in our western languages. The acrostics are linguistic masterpieces. Each verse begins with a word that starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. That word is almost always the keyword to the verse.

November 30, 1999.
This morning, I’ll work on the Psalms. I have a good summary presentation but I leave it to the reader to open the Bible and peruse the 150 songs. I don’t think that will get people to open their Bibles. Or, if they do, they will have only the Confraternity translation that leaves a lot to be desired. The J.B. (Jerusalem Bible) translations and footnotes are excellent but few people have the J.B.

I had four major guides in my approach to the Psalms. We recited the whole office in Latin, each day in the Novitiate. Father John (CSsR novice master when Phil was preparing to be a priest) wanted us to appreciate the Psalms so he gave us several classes in their make-up as Hebrew poetry, their imagery, historical references, and translation by St. Jerome. Then I did a thorough study in Oconomowoc as a student. Our library was excellent.

In Washington, DC (Catholic University), I studied the Psalms with Pat Skehan, Roland Murphy and Lou Hartman. In Rome, I had Dyson and Bonsirven. When I taught in Oc-oc, I always gave a good presentation of the Psalms.

December 2, 1999.
I worked on the Psalms again this morning. Some of the Psalms are beautiful poems. However, a lot of them are really “brutal” in their cries for destruction and vengeance on their enemies. A lot of the bigotry and hatred comes from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC and the subsequent time in the Babylonian exile.

The people in exile were sure this was a punishment for the lives of their ancestors. They saw themselves as the poor, overburdened, innocent people. Ezechiel tried to set them straight with his teaching on personal responsibility. The people, for the most part, ignored him and turned to the pagan idols and fertility cults.

December 3, 1999.
Many of the psalms are cries of despondency because the people blamed everyone else. Ezechiel really weighed into the people for blaming everyone but themselves. He was the first prophet who put all his stress on personal responsibility. The remnant who left the captivity to go back to Jerusalem started off well. However, when they arrived at the city, they saw the mess that was left after the destruction. These were the new generation that had been born in captivity. They started the same old grumbling and decided to sit on their hands. Aggeus (Haggai) and Sophoniah blistered their ears but it did no good for most of them. Many of the Psalms reflect the grumbling attitudes of these people.

December 27, 1999.
St. Jerome was an interesting person and a scholar far beyond his times. The persecutions had come to a halt in 313 A.D. Many theologians and church clergy lacked depth and scholarship. By 380 A.D. the official teaching was in a real mess. Jerome, recognized by all as a great scholar, was commissioned in 380 AD by Pope Damasus to make a new translation from the original languages.

Jerome went off by himself and completed his work in 384. He gave his copy to the Pope and kept one for himself. Damasus immediately had many copies made and gave them to the clergy and theologians around Rome. They began to read and all "hell" broke loose. They refused all the changes because their theological teachings could not be established in the Bible. They started to make their changes and this continued thru the centuries. In 1563 at Trent, this mess was called the official text of the church.

December 28, 1999.
Today is known as Holly Innocents Day. The Magi had stopped to ask Herod where they could find the new King of the Jews. Herod didn't know what they were talking about but he insisted they come back and tell him so he could go to pay his respects.

The Magi learned the real attitude and motive of Herod so they went home by a different route. When Herod learned this, he put out an edict that all male Jewish babies under two years were to be killed. At one time, the number of those slaughtered was large. Then some calmer heads started to figure the number of babies born in two years time to a group the size of the Jews, the percentage of boys in these births and a new figure was deduced. Now the number is given to between 50-75, if that high.

Mary and Joseph took their baby and headed for Egypt. They stayed until they heard Herod had died. However, his successor hated Jews even more than Herod, so Joseph took his family north and they settled in Nazareth. The only source of this story when the Gospel was written was Mary herself.

January 4, 2000.

There is so much complaining and moaning about problems that many psalms lose the appeal they had. They fit the mentality of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity in 597 BC. Ezechiel jumped down their throats for their constant complaining. The same moaning and groaning shows up in post-exilic period when they were allowed to return to Palestine. Then they were disgusted with shambles they found in Jerusalem. It was during this time that many of the Psalms were written in final form. I want to concentrate on the best verses.

January 5-6, 2000.
Today is January 6, the feast of the Magi or Epiphany. For centuries, astronomers tried to find what special star guided these men and they always drew a blank. Finally, it dawned on them that the star was the sun. It appears to rise in the east and travel west.

The Magi story is a well conceived and developed "tale" to enhance the theme in Matthew's account. Matthew is presenting the King of the universe and he wants everybody included. He also wants to stress the Wisdom that Jesus has to offer is for the whole world.

January 26-27, 2000.
I read through my commentary on Acts and Paul. I am pleased with Acts and have to do more on the Letters of Paul. I am convinced these letters are the third major work of St. Luke, referred to by the Apostolic Fathers of the Church. We know he edited some of them. We know the character of Paul - to get angry or hurt for any or no reason. Then he would fire off a letter in his anger. Luke couldn't stop his petty fits but he could take the sting out of them by his own kindly addition or his eraser. I want to detect these Lucan notes.

The big changes or additions are easy to detect. Example, the beautiful detailed description of true love in 1Cor 13. Only a man like Luke could offset the rancor of Paul with such tremendous insight.

Paul never worked with the Christians in Rome. Yet one of his outstanding letters is written to the Christians of Rome. I think this is all from the pen of Luke. If this had been understood in 1517, the ruckus with Luther might have been avoided. Certainly, the whole approach of both sides would have been different. Instead of flying tempers, there could have been the calming effect of Lucan ideals.

February 1-2, 2000.
Today is 40 days since Christmas. On the liturgical calendar this meant the feast of the Presentation and the feast of the Purification. Mary and Joseph and the baby followed the rubrics. Jesus as first-born was presented back to Yahweh for his special role of carrying on the family name and traditions. Mary presented herself to receive the blessings of childbirth.

On this occasion, Mary and the baby were given some special promise or warning. The priest held the child and made this promise. "This child is set for the rise and the fall of 'the many'. Your own soul a sword shall pierce." Then an older lady in the temple came up and added her bit.

Luke alone mentions all these details and they are clearly a post-factum picture. After the lives of Jesus and Mary were complete, Luke says they were in the plans from the beginning. Since Luke tells us explicitly he talked to Mary about all the details and background, the basic picture would come from Mary.

February 3, 2000.
St. Luke is always a good "read" after Mark or Matthew. Matthew has well developed ideas in perfectly logical order but there is never a burst of enthusiasm or feeling no matter what the topic. Mark has a tendency to skim over topics. Luke is keen on all the human interest side of things. He goes to all the sources of the information. He clearly had many a close talk with Mary, the mother, because she told him how she kept all these details in her heart. John gives Mary full status as the New Eve beside the New Adam. Luke shows Mary for all her human tenderness and feeling.

February 7, 2000.
John is the most informative of the first Christians notions of Jesus. It was written in the present form about 125 AD. It was written after some of the fierce Roman persecutions. It's intent is to portray the new Adam and the new Eve. John was standing at the foot of the cross as the wide-eyed teenager. He and Mary were entrusted to each other's care

February 18, 2000.
As we talked of the Gospels, last night, I thought of what I have written. The first extremely important word is in the title. We have the word "kata" instead of "dia." "Kata" means that the ideas contained in the writing go back to this person as a "source." "Dia" means the ideas were actually written as they are by the person.

February 19, 2000.
Key Greek words to the 4 Gospels are apologia, soteria, basileia, huisthesia." Mark, Luke, Matthew, John. That's the chronological order of their appearance: 58-60 (Mark), 65 (Luke), 80 (Matthew) and 100-125 (John). Mark is the story as told by Peter. Luke is the story as he learned it from Paul and editing the ideas. Matthew talks for himself and John is a firsthand story. The word "kata" indicates that these men are the source of the ideas but not the actual writers.

Mark stresses the idea that a true Christian has to be a person of solid conviction. Luke is interested in health in all senses of the word, physical, mental and spiritual. Matthew is concerned with all aspects of kingship - or the Fatherhood of God as seen in the living Brotherhood of all human beings.

February 22, 2000.
As I read my commentary on Luke, I imagined Luke as the companion of Paul. It took a big man to stay with Paul, edit his letters and pick up the pieces after Paul lost his temper. Paul was a pain in every sense and got worse as he got older. However, he did spread the word outside of Rome and Palestine. There are some very nice passages in his letters but I attribute almost all of them to Luke.

April 3, 2000.
I worked on the Psalms yesterday. I like the introductory work I have written. Now I am developing a title, short summary, 1 or 2 verse quote, and listing of psalms related to each other by style or content.

As I said last night, it is too bad we cannot get a copy of St. Jerome’s original (translation) work. It is in the Vatican Library and can be read with the Swiss Guards standing by. Lyonnet (professor at Biblical Institute) talked about it several times and Bea (professor at Biblical Institute) insisted we all had to go over and look at it. I read it on several occasions. I memorized a few of the phrases but forgot them later. You were not allowed to have pen or paper with you to copy anything down. The Swiss Guard would say “no-no” and if the person persisted he would simply take the paper, tear it up and send the person away. The rule of the Swiss Guard was absolute.

David is given credit for the whole collection of Psalms because he was noted for his songs. He was able to calm Saul down at times when he went into one of his rages.

April 12 - 14, 2000.
Matthew’s presentation of the Ten Commandments is clearly a contrast between the Old and New. “You heard it said of old... Now I’m telling you.” John says explicitly there is only one commandment, “Love expressed in service and sharing.” Luke stresses the one notion “Koinonia” (sharing) or “community” in the sense of freely willing to share with others. Now, of course, the one command has been raised to 2414 (commands) in the Code of Canon Law.

April 21, 2000.
Jesus was a Jew from Galilee. At the age of 12, he realized how far off base the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees were in their teachings. At age 30, he began to talk publicly about this and immediately roused the anger of Pharisees because he was just an uneducated man from Nazareth. The people flocked to him because they saw him as opposed to authority and the man who could give them their hoped-for dominion again. The Romans were alerted of a possible rabble-rouser who could cause trouble.

Jesus left the crowds and went on his own on several occasions. Finally, he decided he had to back his word by being willing to die for it. He had already picked and trained the men to carry on, the 12 apostles.

April 25 -30, 2000.
We’ve known for years, that the second account of creation is the earlier in time (Gn 2:4-4:26). The second account was introduced by the Yahwist. This account dropped the word “asah-to make” and introduced the verb “bara” in the second century B.C. This verb is used over 100 times in the OT. “God” is always the subject. It is an Aramaic verb for “Bar” as “a son” and the verb ending “aleph.” Thus the verb “Bara”, the second word in Genesis as it stands in Genesis today, means to “beget a son.”

The Bible writers didn’t have the slighted idea how the world was made. They were interested only in “why.” Everything that is, is supposed to manifest the Fatherhood of God in the brotherhood of man. The more scientific marvels that are discovered, the greater the smile of Yahweh. He tells mankind to go out and use the world. With each new discovery, his great wisdom and power are seen.

May 12, 2000.
The more I read this gospel, the more I see how Matthew spells out the remedy for all the ills in the world today. He describes the “kingship” and how necessary it is if the world is to arrive at its “synteleia.” This means that everyone and everything are to work in harmony and achieve their purpose. Each person is to establish his/her identity in this Kingship.

The closest meaning to the word “Basileia” is the “king” in checkers. The “kingship” of the gospels is like this. It is a quality received in the follower of Christ that gives him/her new power in all surroundings. This power comes from sharing with each other. There is no new structure but the society around is given new life.

May 27 - 29, 2000.
Matthew calls death the entering into the fulness of the “kingship” as described by Christ here on earth. Luke says it is a fulness of “koinonia” or sharing with each other here on earth. John says that now people can enjoy the fulness of true love.

June 4, 2000.
I always enjoy John and James. John was 13 or 14 when called and James was 17 or 18. Jesus calls them the “boanerges” boys - “Sons of Thunder.” They were always ready to jump into action. However, unlike Peter, they did look before they leapt.

June 11, 2000.
I had been reading my writing on Acts and Paul, yesterday. Paul comes off a real pain in the lower parts. He was a rabid persecutor of the Christians. Then he saw a chance to get in on the ground floor of this new “Jewish” group. So he proclaimed his “great vision” and converted. In short order, he was detestable to the Christians in Jerusalem so they sent him on the foreign missions. He was attacked physically on several occasions. Once, they figured him for dead and then he crawled away. Only a man like Luke could have tolerated him. Even when he was going to be put to death, Paul insisted they had to behead him because he was a Roman citizen.

Paul is proof that from the very beginning they had domineering leaders who missed the whole message of Christ.

June 16 - 17, 2000.
We talked about the value of the Bible. The Old Testament was the Word of God for the Israelites from Moses to Wisdom. In general, the people of Israel and their leaders failed miserably in following the ideas and ideals. The prophets and wise men rose up regularly and led a few on to the right track again.

Jesus comes. He and John Baptist see the miserable state of matters and decide to do something about it. The leaders of the Jews were the Sadducees, the priestly group. They kept the ritual of the sacrifice. The Pharisees were a group of insincere fanatics who were backed by the Scribes, the legal scholars.

Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees by name. The Sadducees he condemned when he cleaned the trash out of the temple. The first Christians had no specific set of laws or rules. They lived a community life and shared voluntarily with each other. The gospel stories gradually grew out of what different groups remembered. Gradually, four of these writings took precedence and in 1563, the Council of Trent declared that from historical evidence these four (gospels) were the accounts all accepted.

The four gospels are to be read and adapted to each age.

June 18 - 20, 2000.
The Greek and Russian Orthodox churches broke away from Rome on the question of authority. They maintained that they had equal authority. So Rome cut them off and the Greek church stood separately. Then a group of the Greeks came back and they are called the Greek Uniates, “re-united.” Then there was a split in the Orthodox because the Russian Czars wanted more to say. The Russian Orthodox was born.

The oldest document outside the Gospels is the “Didache ..*..Apostolon” the “Teaching of the Apostles,” the creed we learned as kids as the “Apostles Creed.” This says “I believe in the holy, universal church.” There is nothing about “one” church. The only quality demanded is that it be “holy” and spread everywhere.

The “Eucharist” was the big act from the beginning. Jesus and the twelve apostles shared the Passover Meal. The Friendship Cup at the end was given a new meaning. Instead of recalling the Pascal Lamb, this cup would now recall Jesus and his ideas and ideals expressed in the lives of the Christians. According to Acts and the Pauline Letters, they had the cup of friendship at any big meal.

That’s the simple picture but it was “messed up” by theologians, bishops and ritualists.

*Editor’s note: There’s a Greek word between these 2 words that I cannot spell with accuracy.

June 26 - 27, 2000.
ABC news presentation of the picture of Jesus was a good start. It clearly stressed the value of archeology, its digs and its findings. I was surprised that he seemed to wonder how John Baptist and Jesus knew each other. They were cousins and grew up together. Peter Jennings did the “harmony” approach to the gospels and this destroys the value of the individual gospel. Each gospel is a separate work proceeding from a particular man and community. Each has a particular theme that is being developed. To take items from the different gospels and run them together usually changes the meaning. It is the same as taking four masterpieces of four different artists, jamming them together, and trying to understand them. We have destroyed all four paintings.

As to the resurrection, I see no problem. In the Christian ideal, each of us is going to rise a full person when the world is complete. We will be the person we made during our life in this world. Jesus could easily have been raised from the dead, the fully developed person he became, in order to encourage his followers.

June 29 - 30, 2000.
Rome was never known as a kingdom. It had “Emperors” and never any “kings.” In the gospels, Matthew’s central theme is the “Basileia ton Outanon” (editor may have misread Phil’s handwritten Greek). This means the “kingdom of the Heavens.” He gives lots of ideas about the Kingdom but Chapter 13 is a whole series of parables describing numerous aspects of this kingdom. Some of these qualities reside inside and some outside the people. The Jews set up the Kingdom of Yahweh under David in the OT. It was to have led to the Kingdom established by Christ. The OT kingdom failed totally because of the nature of the kings who ruled. The Kingdom was totally destroyed in 587 B.C.

The secret of the Kingdom established by Christ is spelled out explicitly in Mt 28 at the judgment scene in each person’s life. Entrance into the eternal kingdom depends entirely on how people reacted to each other in this life. If they were truly aware of the needs of others and responded to them, they established their eternal homes. If this sharing was not present, there is no place for them. In this life, there will be difficulty but happiness is promised if the attitude is right.

July 1 - 2, 2000.
I worked on Matthew, yesterday, reviewing and enjoying the full idea of “kingdom” or “kingship” as he presents it. Matthew was the bookkeeper and this shows all through his gospel. He gives a list of events. Then he shows how these fulfill what the OT writers and preachers talked about. He never gets excited but just puts two and two together as he did his tax work.

Each time I go read the gospels I marvel more at their variety or differences.

July 15 - 16, 2000.
John really stirs my blood. He lived through the first century of Christian life. He saw the strength of those first generations. He never lost his “thunder” as can be seen in his approach to the Romans in the Apocalypse. He was just as unbending as the Romans. Yet he could present true Christian love that was to change the world.

July 17 - 18, 2000.
I finished the works (gospel and letters) of John yesterday and really enjoyed them. Of all the apostles he was certainly the one who had the most influence on the first Christians because he lived so long with them. He was a prophet who developed a picture of the world if the ideas and ideals of Christ were followed. He also was a prophet who looked ahead and talked of what the future would bring. John is my favorite writer because I see him in the Trastevere section of Rome where the first Christians lived. I can see him in the old Roman Forum that has been completely uncovered. I can see him at the Coliseum where the first martyrs were used for the amusement of the Romans.

July 23 - 24, 2000.
Matthew gives a developed picture of the Kingdom of the Heavens. He develops the seven basic sources of happiness in the lives of all people. Then he places the whole judgment scene at the end of each person’s life in these ideas. Everything depends on how well you worked with other people and got along with them.

Luke is gentle. He was able to be converted by Paul, live and work with Paul in all those years and edited Paul’s writings and yet not tell him off or lose his patience.

John never lost his “thunder” and saw the true greatness of Mary in the whole picture.

July 31 - Aug 2, 2000.
My study of the psalms as a unit and individually has surely opened my eyes. Most are songs that were written to take up the problems of the people as a whole or individuals. The people are constantly griping because they are suffering setbacks and facing failures.

Immediately they turn to Yahweh and complain that he does not keep his promises to help them. The point of the song is to stress that Yahweh has not changed his plan. He made his favors dependent on their fidelity to the Law. They have failed to keep the Law and Yahweh is punishing them.

This was the basic message of Jeremiah and Ezechiel. The whole notion of personal responsibility was defined and stressed in that 6th century BC. This will be developed more and more clearly down to the Book of Wisdom about 50 BC. This is the point at which John Baptist and Jesus Christ pick up the teaching. Both zero in on personal responsibility in detail.

The Psalms were popular songs written and sung during these years. They stressed the message in almost every one. This shows why St. Jerome was so anxious to make a new translation into Latin from the Hebrew. His translations were ideal but they were destroyed in the Vulgate by church authorities.

August 16, 2000.
Proverbs were collected in bits and pieces over the centuries and finally edited into the present form about 400 BC. They are the wisdom of the ages.

August 27, 2000.
I started through my series of articles on the Eucharist. I followed the chronological order of the writings - Paul (least developed), to Mark (Peter’s teaching), Luke, Matthew and John. The original statement in the gospels is very clear. Christ and the apostles had just finished the Passover meal of the Old Law. Then Christ said, “That’s it! From now on, eat this meal in honor of me and my death.” That meant the meal would be eaten once a year on the day of Passover. Then he sealed it with a friendship cup of wine and a small piece of bread dipped in the cup and eaten. Paul made the first changes. His groups had a basket or pot-luck supper each Sabbath. The problem (in his groups) was gluttony of food and drink by a lot of people who saw it as a free meal.

Gradually, after 325 AD, the present form developed. The only relevant action, today, is the parish pot-luck on various occasions.

August 28, 2000.
I was going through my writings on “Who is Jesus Christ?” The part that really holds my attention is the statement that Jesus Christ was able to achieve so much because he was perfectly obedient to the Father. This would presuppose that he is totally human. When he was presented as “a divine nature,” this made obedience ridiculous. He is able to obey because he is truly and only human.

Martin Luther talked about this in the 16th century. He was shouted down by the Council of Trent and the “mystery” of two natures in one person came to the fore. Perhaps, we’ll get to the true message of the gospels soon.

September 13, 2000.
The four major prophets are four completely different characters. The original Isaiah was a well-educated man. He is proficient in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and uses all three. He is a master of imagery. Then Isaiah II, chapters 40-55, was attached to the original. The Northern Kingdom had been destroyed for two centuries and the southern kingdom has crumbled. His work is more a work of consolation, urging to turn back to Yahweh, and a look to the future when a Redeemer would come. Chapters 56-66 were attached to the scroll later and represent three or four different men.

Jeremiah has, perhaps, the toughest task in the OT. He is a tenderhearted kind person and an excellent preacher. He begins his work about 597 BC, ten years before Jerusalem is erased. He urges the people to repent and obey before it is too late. They make fun of him, beat him up, and imprison him. The Lamentations are some of the most beautiful poetry of the OT.

September 18 - 19, 2000.
The greatest mistakes of the past are: First, they developed the notion of a Trinity - not three gods but three persons in one God. Then they put two natures in one person and called him the Messiah. (They put) the Holy Spirit into a divine person instead of the spirit of sharing and community to be found in the people who lived the ideas and ideals. Then, to top this all off, they took a simple meal of a group of people and developed transubstantiation. Finally, in 1870, the Pope declared himself infallible because he was infallible and therefore he could make no mistakes.

Then I go back to the leaders of the Jews in the time of Christ. I read Christ’s scathing condemnation of the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. If Jesus were to appear in person, today, he would blast out with the same list of “Woes” against the leaders of the Church.

Christian life and ideals are so simple. Everything is concerned with how we respect, help and share with those around us.

September 20, 2000.
Prior to 313 AD and the Edict of Milan, the Eucharist was just a family meal with the special Cup of Friendship at the end. Then the church came out in the open (after persecutions). Within a century, the present hierarchical structure was in place. Laws and rubrics were developed for everything. Finally, in 1918, all the laws and rules were codified in the Code of Canon Law with 2414 laws.

Then the commentaries (on the Code of Canon Law) came into being to account for all the exceptions and loopholes (of the 2414 laws). We studied Canon Law for 2.5 years out of 6 years in Oconomowoc. Beste (author) wrote the commentary. It was a huge volume of over 850 pages. I found the course the most boring class in all my years of study.

September 22 - 23, 2000.
The Jews in Rome are upset with the Vatican again. A cardinal had mouthed off against the Jews. Some Christian churches are up in arms because the Pope has said that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian Church.

This last statement could raise the hackles of the Orthodox Church, both those in Union and those who separate.

Such a statement was the occasion of the complete break between East and West in 1054 AD. Then, in 1154 AD, one group came back to Rome and they are called the “Uniates.” This present Pope (John Paul II) is going to succeed in getting everyone riled up again.

It really bothers me when I see how simple the idea of a Church is in the gospel. The people were to be a part of the society in which they lived but recognized by the way in which they shared with others and helped others in their need. The leaders in the Church were to be the “Foundation” on which people built, not a “Roof” which held them down.

September 30, 2000.
Today, I’ll start with John’s work and then go to Paul. That’s backwards, of course. Paul’s are the earliest ideas and John’s are the latest.

October 4 - 5, 2000.
Yesterday, I read through the Creation Story, the Noah Story, the Patriarch Story, the Joseph Story, the Moses Story and the David Story. It flows nicely and does just what it says. It presents the “story” picture of the world as the people of Israel saw and developed it.

It is true “Semitic history.” The writers and editors were interested foremost in “why” all things happened. They present, combine and develop facts for the answer to this question. They write and think and talk the same way today. This creates part of the problem for interchange between the Semite and the West. We don’t think the same way.

October 6 - 7 2000.
I read through the rest of my commentary on the Prophets and Wisdom literature. It is complete and easily understood. It is the Jewish-Christian picture of the world and people in the Bible.

Women are given their full and true worth in all the writings except Paul. He clearly looks on women as second-class people. The Roman Church clearly followed the lead of Paul in this matter. The very fact that all orders of nuns must have a cardinal-protector to speak and act for them is just one example.

October 25-26, 2000
I started to re-read the book on archeological discoveries in the Middle and Far East. The real starting point for modern times is the young shepherd who walked along tossing stones at holes in the side of the hills. He crawled into the one hole, found the old scrolls, took them to his dad who took them to the Dominican (O.P.) monastery. The Dead Sea Scrolls (Qumran) were found.

I was in my second year at Catholic U. when the book of photocopies was published. Pat Skehan bought us each a copy and we spent several weeks comparing the text of Isaiah with our critical text.

This set off a flurry of “digs” and has uncovered many other finds related to the lives and people of ancient times.

October 28, 2000
When we figure that the oldest writing of the OT is the 10th century BC, in the time of Solomon, it is easy to see how the ancient data were interpreted as Semitic history.

November 19, 2000.
We were discussing the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy. There were seven of each but I recall only 6 for the Spiritual.

Spiritual

1. Teach the ignorant.
2. Advise those who worry (Counsel the doubtful)
3. Console the miserable.
4. Comfort those who are upset.
5. Forgive those who offend you.
6. Bear wrongs patiently.
            (Admonish the sinner; Pray for the living and the dead.)

Corporal

1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Shelter the homeless.
4. Clothe the naked.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit those in prison.
7. Bury the dead.

November 30 - Dec 1, 2000.
I’ve thought about the origin of the Bible writings. We were all “hung up” on “revelation” and “inspiration” that we turned the Bible writings from human writings to something un-human.

The Israelite (Hebrews or Jews) were an ordinary group of nomads. They began to search for their origins. They made up stories based on fact and fiction. Gradually, they became a settled people and put some of these ideas and ideals into writing. The prophets and teachers were people who rose up to develop and defend their ideals. John Baptist and Jesus brought all these ideals to a high point and gave us the full picture.

December 14 - 16, 2000.
Last night, you (Lois) asked me (Phil) if I believe in God. I certainly do and it is Yahweh who is depicted in the Bible. No one knows what he is like. He is primarily described as a “Father” with his family.

The whole business of a trinity or triune God is ridiculous. Jesus was a real man who was truly concerned about the people around him. The Holy Spirit or Holy Breath is the breath of the New Adam. This Holy Spirit is the harmony, sharing and community that people are supposed to establish in their lives.

December 17, 2000.
I spent a lot of time mulling over the notion of “God” as presented in the Bible. The second word in the Hebrew text of Genesis, “Bara,” sets the tone. “Bara” means to “beget a son.” It is a late word coming from the 3rd or 4th century BC. It is used only of “God.” The writers saw the whole universe as evidence of the “Fatherhood of Yahweh” and this was to manifest the “brotherhood” of all human people.

This “Brotherhood” seemed farther and farther out of reach until Jesus picked up on it. He was thoroughly convinced this true “Family Spirit” had to be restored. He spent his whole life teaching and showing this ideal. He left it as the only purpose of his followers.

It worked. The ideal was so opposed to the pagan Roman plan that they tried to kill them off. However, the first Christians lived the it.

Finally, the ideal won out. The Emperor himself was converted and the persecution stopped. Then, within a few decades, the physical structure of the “Church” was established and the ideals of Christ gave way to legalism, ritual and strife. The philosophers took over and we were handed the philosophy of Aristotle as theology.

December 19 - 22, 2000.
I feel quite sure the Pauline letters are the 3rd work of Luke. He tries to remove some of the anger and bitterness (of Paul). Luke succeeded to an extent. Paul makes special mention that his last letter to Timothy is written directly by him.

January 3 - 4, 2001.
There are two words for prophets in Hebrew, “nabi” and “hoseh.” “Nabi” is the “moralist.” He looks at the actions of people from the viewpoint of good or bad. All prophets had this quality. “Hoseh” is the “seer.” He is concerned primarily with the after-effects or future results of this action.

January 5, 2001.
As I listen to the news, I feel as if I am hearing about the Roman times prior to the introduction of Christ and his teachings. The Romans were known for their parties. At one end of the palace was the track for the chariot races. Then a walk through the palace, and a few drinks and they were in the Coliseum to watch the gladiators or the lions and Christians. Then back to the palace for food of every kind and barrels of booze. When they were all in their drunken stupors, the servants put them to bed.

January 6, 2001.
Yesterday, I wrote a few words about the pagan Romans at the beginning of the Christian era. Today I just finished reading a lengthy article in U.S. News & Word Report on the very same topic. It is a much more developed picture of the excesses of the Roman leaders. As the author says, the success of the ideas and ideals of Christ is easily understood as a counter-measure to the lack of rights and morals of ancient Rome.

The Roman Empire was famous for its system of roads to and through all the countries. This same highway system was the basis for the rapid spread of the ideals of Christ to the Roman world.

We studied all of these ideas in our history courses at Kirkwood (MO), Oc-oc and Catholic University. Our system of interstate highways is a parallel to the Roman roads. The Roman roads were made of small, carefully chiseled pieces of stone. Repair work was constant. These roads were still being used in Rome and the environs when I lived there (1951-1952). Since modern cars and trucks are faster and heavier than chariots, the roads need repair often.

January 7, 2001.
The present Matthew dates between 85 and 90 AD The body of the Gospel is chapters 3-26. Chapters 1 and 2 are an introduction and chapters 27 and 28 are a conclusion. The body of the Gospel appeared first. Then the Mission of Christians was attached to the end to make sure the ideas and ideals of Christ were brought to life. Finally, when the whole writing was put together, chapters 1 and 2 were written as an introduction.

The genealogy (in Matthew) is limited to 42 names, in groups of 14. The letters in the name of David equal the sum of 14. So the genealogy is to teach that the Kingdom of David is fully established. The Jewish leaders were furious with the idea. They were expecting a real Kingdom with worldwide supremacy.

The Magi story was introduced to show that this kingdom was to reach the whole world not just the Roman Empire. I think the Magi story is more of a parable than a factual story. Abraham had come from the East and founded the chosen people. Perhaps this story has some literary connection.

January 10, 2001.
Each time I read Mark’s gospel, I get a vivid picture of a young man eager to be up front but ready to run as soon as the work was too long or too difficult. Then he becomes the companion of Peter in Rome. Peter, too, had to develop a steady constant approach.

Peter had stressed the need of an “apologia” as the basis for all Christian life. “Apologia” is a the Greek word for a “deep personal reason” for something. In this case it was the apologia for the hope that is in you. Mark’s Gospel is a presentation of the ideas and ideals of Christ from this viewpoint.

I can practically see Mark and Peter and a few other Christians who were locked in this round silo-like prison. It's about 40 feet deep and 10 feet in diameter. I climbed down the ladder to the bottom when I was in Rome.

January 12, 2001.
As I read Paul’s words and read about him in Acts, I certainly understand why the Christians in Rome and Jerusalem wanted him on the foreign missions. Luke certainly deserved a big reward for sticking with Paul to the very end. He must have really worked to offset Paul’s temper, self-pity and brash tongue.

January 31 - February 1, 2001.
I get a deeper insight into the depth and orderliness of Matthew’s gospel and the Christian ideals after three generations of living them in the midst of the strong wave of Roman persecution.

The topic of divorce and remarriage is developed twice. Matthew says the only reason for this divorce is “porneia.” Unfortunately, this was given the narrow meaning of “adultery” by the Roman Catholic authorities. The Latin translation is “aliquid foedum.” This means “anything selfish.” This meant that marriage is a total giving of self to each other. This was explicitly stated in the opening account of Genesis, chapters 1 & 2.

February 5 - 7, 2001.
I read the article about the successive editings of the Bible in the J E D P sequence, Yahwist (J), Elohist (E), Deuteronomic (D), Priestly (P). This was highly suspect teaching when I first started teaching. Now we have gone beyond into the Apocalyptic and Wisdom editings. These ideas make the whole Bible story more and more meaningful and helpful. When the official teaching finally makes Christ totally human, we’ll get a new start.

February 9, 2001.
The first editing of the OT took place in the David-Solomon era, 10th BC. Many times, a reader can see these various editings in the English translations, such as the Jerusalem Bible (1966 edition). Sometimes, two or three statements are set side by side. One of the best examples is the Noah Story. There are three variants of the story as to the origin of the flood and its cessation. We've read these for years. Only one persists in our Bible stories in schools.

February 15 - 17, 2001.
Yesterday, I was reading the contrast between the writers of the New Testament. I compared Luke, Matthew, John and Paul. For centuries, Paul was quoted most often in the theology books. Yet we can see the hot-headed and mean person that he was. His attitude was the background for the church laws, especially Canon Law, for centuries. The real message of Christ was ignored. Each of the Gospels stresses that the whole message is the interaction of people with each other in daily life.

February 18, 2001.
I don’t think I really appreciated the prophets fully until I wrote the commentaries on them. They were really great men, filled with courage in spite of the antagonism stirred by their teaching.

February 20 - 23, 2001.
I finished the rewriting of the monograph “Who is God?” Now I have to write the Appendix that gives what each book tells us about God. I’ll also include the chronology of the editings of the OT. *
*Editor’s comment: This is a simple sentence but a monumental work by Phil.

March 9 - 11, 2001.
I read the article on the lands of the Bible. It was interesting and gives a good critique. The writer’s basic point could be summed up in a statement we have made for several years. The Bible is a prime example of “Semitic history.” Western history demands all the facts before a statement of truth can be made. The Semitic mentality sets out to teach a point. The writer chooses the facts that develop this point and does not hesitate to alter the facts to fit the story.

The Noah story and the flood are an example. There are three different accounts of the flood in the three chapters in Genesis. I have the three stories underlined in green, red and blue in my Jerusalem Bible. The story of the rain of 40 days and nights became the popular choice and the others were ignored.

The crossing of the “Red Sea” is another example. The Bible account says clearly “Sea of Reeds,” a muddy swamp. The translators chose “Red Sea.”

March 12 - 16, 2001.
I have written down my Biblical ideas and these grow steadily. Now the historic person, Jesus Christ, is real to me and the teaching and ideals of Christ are really intriguing. He publicly condemned the ritualism of the Pharisees.

March 17 - 18, 2001.
When I was in Rome, I was amazed at how little recognition St. Joseph received. There was no basilica or big church with his name. He was clearly ignored in spite of his huge role in the Christian story. The sad part was that he was depicted as an old man to safeguard the “virginity” of Mary. One tradition was that there were other children and cousins. They came to take Jesus home to Nazareth before he got the whole family in trouble with the religious and civil authority by his brazen opposition to and condemnation of them. It makes the picture much more real.

May 1-2, 2001.
The ideas I’ve written on St. John are the products of my study, lecturing and discussions here at home. The greatest point of growth for me is that Jesus Christ was truly only man. He was a child who had been well instructed by his mother, as was the custom in the Jewish family of the times. He was a true gifted child and he spent lots of time with his gifted cousin, John. His mission was the outgrowth of his background, observation of the people around him, pomposity of the leaders and meditation.

May 3 - 9, 2001.
Pope John Paul II is certainly setting the “aggiornamento” back at least one century. He defies the notion of the leader as presented by Christ. But Christ said the leader is supposed to be a Kepha, a bedrock, down on the bottom as a solid foundation. In many ways, the Pope John Paul II has many of the unlikable qualities of St. Paul. The early church sent Paul on the foreign mission to get him out of Rome. Luke was the one person who could control his antagonism somewhat.

I think Luke’s writings are so helpful and meaningful because he was counteracting Paul.

May 25, 2001.
Proverbs were several centuries in the making. Then the priestly editors brought them together in a single collection. At times, there are two or three versions of the proverb scattered through the collection. Sirach or Ecclesiasticus is a more developed set collected and edited a couple centuries later.

May 28 - June 3, 2001.
To understand the meaning of Luke’s Gospel, we have to see how it is the fulfillment of a plan set up and carried forward for several centuries. Luke came in contact with Jesus and his message because Paul needed a doctor and Luke was hired. Luke tells us explicitly he went back to the living sources for all that he said or wrote.

June 11-12, 2001

I’ve thought more and more about the Good Shepherd. I have a clear picture of Christ now from my work on the gospels and discussions with you. Once I rid myself of the dual nature of Jesus Christ and come to see him for his real self, I can really admire him and want to continue his work. His work is to help all the people in your life according to their needs and your abilities to help.

June 13-15, 2001
The more I think of the plan of Christ, the more simple and sensible it is. His “Ekklesia,” gathering of people, was to be a part of the society in which it lived. There was not to be any special building but any place where they gathered for a meal. The work of the people was to be seen in the way they removed selfishness from their midst. The real error was changing the “gathering” to the “church building.”

June 16-19, 2001
I've admired the picture of the Good Shepherd. I think it is one of the most meaningful pictures of Jesus that I have seen. It is the story of the Good Shepherd and the story of the lost sheep in Luke’s Gospel. The shepherd counts his sheep as they get to the fold at night. One is missing. He leaves the 99 at the fold (a safe enclosure) and goes back to find the one that was lost. When he finds the lost sheep, he brings it back and joyfully invites his friends over to celebrate because the sheep that was lost is back again.

When I look at the Good Shepherd (picture in computer room and living room), he is almost saying, “How’s it going today?” And I start to recall all the ideas I have developed over the past few years.

Aug 11 - 13, 2001
I read my commentary on Mark and the letters of Peter. These always go together because Mark was the companion of Peter at the end and he wrote the Gospel as he heard it from Peter.

Mark’s checkered career started as an enthusiastic young kid with Paul. Mark found the work too tough and went home. Paul saw it as desertion and would have nothing to do with him. Then Barnabas took Mark with him. Finally, Mark ended up with Peter.

Those first followers of Christ certainly had ‘feet of clay” like all others. Yet, they carried the ideas and ideals of Christ through 2.5 centuries of intermittent persecutions and deaths

Aug 14 - 17, 2001
The more I think about Luke’s role in the development of Christian ideals, the more I like and appreciate him. He was a medical doctor, a man of kindness, friendliness and personal interest in-patients.

Luke meets the story of the Chosen People and Jesus Christ in the hot-tempered missionary, Paul. He cares for Paul and takes an interest in what he is saying. Luke becomes a dedicated follower of Jesus and then writes a story about Christ and describes our picture (in our home) of the Shepherd perfectly.

Aug 31 - Sept 4, 2001
You (Lois) asked me which of the prophets I liked best. It’s really hard to say. These men saw the way the people were going farther and farther from their ideas and ideals as the People of Yahweh. They felt they had to speak up even if it meant rejection, suffering and even death. Some of the prophets were from the upper class and had to suffer less physically but they were despised by their social peers.

Most of the prophets were ordinary men who spoke about the horrible crimes committed in the name of fertility goddesses and gods. They stressed the moral and physical harm of the actions of the people. Others talked about the harm to come to the next generation.

As the situation grew worse, some prophets talked about a new Moses who would rise up and lead the people back to Yahweh. These are the people who finally gave rise to John the Baptist and Jesus.

Sept 5 - 6, 2001
I really enjoy the story showing the great qualities of Moses as a leader and at the same time all his weaknesses. He is certainly the center of the whole OT picture. All the prophets, teachers and wise men who arose spent their time and labor explaining how Moses was writing for the people who followed.

Sept 7 - 16, 2001
It is essential to be fully aware of the difference in mentality, outlook, sense of morally good and bad between the Semitic people and the western world. For this, we should read and understand the Old Testament. In the peak of the history of the Jewish people, might made right. David was set up as the “idol-king” precisely because he was so good at underhanded military tactics.

The prophets saw the wrongfulness of this attitude. They preached against it and were rewarded with ridicule, punishment and death. Moses tried his hardest to offset this attitude. Jesus Christ modernized Moses in the Roman times.

I think this background picture is essential to understanding the problems, today, and find a real and true solution.

Sept 22-29, 2001
We’ve had quite a change of outlook in the USA since two weeks ago. We’ve known for centuries of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The Muslim religion was seen as a threat by Christians. There was a deep-seated rivalry for supremacy in Jerusalem. There has been turmoil for centuries. Then the Christians, specifically Rome, decided that no religion served God except the Roman Catholic faith and this was to be imposed on all people. This attitude gave rise to wars and even the Pope had armies..

Finally, in 1918 the dogma of infallibility was defined and then the superiority complex really took over. The foreign missions were set up and the missionaries labored to turn the people from their ancient beliefs to the foreign dogmas of Rome.

The Roman church became more and more involved with rubrics and rituals. In short, the ideas and ideals of Jesus Christ have been lost to legalism and authoritarianism.

Sept 30, 2001
The Book of Revelation is the first of 5 writings by John in the NT. It is in apocalyptic style. Ezechiel was the first to use it, 6th century BC. Ezechiel wanted to speak to the Jews in the Babylonian captivity but did not want the captors to understand. Then Daniel developed the style in 164 BC. He wanted to raise the hopes of the Jews and hide his ideas from the captors. In 85 AD, John wrote his work to teach the faithful Christians and hide his words from the Romans.

Oct 1 - 6, 2001
I’ll try to get all the ideas about Apocalypse or Revelation put together today. I mentioned the three principal times (previous entry) when this literary style was used. It never deals with the future. Rather, the writers are concerned about a very real present problem that threatens the whole people.

Revelation has been wrongfully applied to other times and places as if it was intended to be a foretelling. This wrongful application gave rise to many threatening ideas in Christian teaching.

Oct 28 - Nov 3, 2001
We talked about the notion of Purgatory. There is no evidence. The one Scriptural citation is from the letter of James where he says it is a "Holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead."

The Gospels stress that the whole issue at the time of death is the identify a person has established at the moment of death. This "identity" is determined solely by the way in which we have worked with people in our lives. No point of teaching is more clearly stated in the Gospels.

Nov 24 - 26, 2001
Church structure is the very thing that Christ condemned in the Jewish structure of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes in his own time.

Dec 13 - 19, 2001
I intend to read my whole commentary on St. John’s work before Christmas. He gives me the most complete picture of the life of Christ from the beginning to end. He was just a young teenager when he and his brother met Christ. They are called “boanerges” or “sons of thunder” because they were always “up and doing.” Peter used John to get his ideas to and from Christ. He was the one to whom Jesus entrusted his mother, Mary, from the cross.

Jan 21, 2002
The study of the Bible is coming more and more to center stage for lots of reasons. September 11 and the terrorist attack has affected the thinking and outlook of most people. Suddenly the hatred and dislike for the USA among the Muslim world is a vibrant and urgent thought. Only in the Semitic background of the Bible can we find the basis for these feelings.

Jesus Christ had grown up in the midst of this “hate-ful” world. He saw it all around him. He saw the response of Rome and the Caesars to the world. They would stop the hate by physical force and set up a different kind of military supremacy where most of the world were abject slaves.

Out of this milieu, Jesus saw the only solution: Sincere respect and love had to take over and the human dignity of every person had to be upheld. He was so convinced of his ideals and ideas that he was ready to suffer and die for them. He convinced a handful of people and they continued his work.

Jan 28, 2002
I have been thinking a lot about the history of Israel as recorded in the Bible and world history up to the present time. The friction started with Abraham and his nephew, Lot. They came from the Far East and settled in Palestine or the land of the Philistines. Abraham went north but Lot wanted the action so he settled near Sodom and Gomorra.

These people attacked Lot and family and carried them away. Abraham took his men and delivered Lot. On the way back, they were told not to waste time in the Dead Sea area. Lot’s wife dallied around and was covered by an explosion of salt.

Then Jacob’s sons sold their brother, Joseph, to an Egyptian. Joseph was quite a talker and got to Pharaoh's attention. Joseph “foretold” drought and famine. The Egyptians stored their food and the whole area came to them for help. Joseph tricks his family and then gets them well established in Egypt.

The Hyksos, foreigners, came into power and enslaved all non-Egyptians. Moses gets them out of Egypt but the people gripe and complain against him because the escape was difficult. The Israelites enter Palestine and expel the natives or intermarry. They divide the country into Judea, Samaria and Galilee. Juda considered itself the big turkey, despised Samaria, and kept Galilee because they brought their “tithes” to the capital.

I can’t get all this written now so I’ll continue in another entry.

April 3 - 9, 2002
The Israeli-Palestine war is getting worse. It certainly is not something new. The story of Israel from its very beginning is one of antagonism, fighting and scheming. They left Egypt and as soon as there was a problem they had one solution - Kill Moses - and go back to Egypt. They forcibly took Israel from the people who lived there and called it a holy war. They couldn't get along with each other and were finally destroyed and taken into captivity.

When the remnant was allowed to return, they began to fight among themselves. Finally, the Romans all but decimated them. Today, they carry on the self-righteous attitude of the past. Today they have bigger war machines and can do more destruction.

I say we should let them fight as long as they fight among themselves. We should stay out of the mess entirely. We have enough problems to face without mixing into their mess.

June 18, 2002
I listened to the program (public radio) on the Church and the Bishops. There were some good points raised by the callers but the answers had many weak spots. The key mistake was the description of the Last Supper. This was the “Friendship Cup” at the end of the Passover meal. For centuries, it was the symbol of the Passover Lamb and the friendship that should exist among the people present. Jesus passed the Friendship Cup around and told them that from now on, it was to be a symbol of him and the friendship he had established. His followers were to act and spread this friendship to the whole world.

Theirs was the authority but it was to be the leadership of the Shepherd (pastor) and the firmness of the Kepha (foundation stone). As a pastor, the authority was to be out in front leading and calling all to follow to the green pasture, fresh water, afternoon rest, and the safety of the fold at night. As the Kepha, it was to be the firm foundation on which all confidence was based.

The shepherd figure stresses how well the leaders must know the personalities and needs of the flock and minister to each. The Kepha stresses that firmness of the sharing or community is found in the leader. The picture is simple.

June 19, 2002
There is no place in the NT that speaks of belonging to a “church.” Jesus always talks of living in the society in which you are and bringing alive his ideas and ideals. Paul was the only one who founded separate groups much as the Jews had done. Only toward the end of his letters did he begin to get the full notion that Christ talked about

The Church drifted farther and farther into the quagmire of rules and laws and rubrics. The fight with Luther and the Council of Trent sounded the death knell. On the TV program the other night, the speaker said the first light was seen in John XXIII. Then he died and the old ideas revived.

June 25, 2002
That one lady on the TV show the other night really hit the nail on the head in talking about the Church. She said explicitly, “The Church is not some special organization. It is a group of people, motivated by the ideas and ideals of Christ, in the midst of society with its various peoples and cultures. The purpose of this group is to spread harmony, community and sharing among all the people around them.”

I have developed these ideas in all the writing I have done in the past few years. I taught these ideas over the years and they gradually became more and more clear to me.

July 28, 2002
This morning, I read the Creation Story, the Abraham Story and the Moses Story. The original study of the Bible as we had it in elementary school, was called “Bible Stories.” This is named correctly. The whole Bible is a collection of stories written to describe the relationship between Yahweh and people. The writers and teachers were always describing the “why” of life and not the “what.”

The basic idea of God was that he was a surrounding presence and wanted people to establish peace and harmony with each other and with him. The rules were short and exact and covered every aspect of life with each other and with God.

The greatness of Jesus Christ is that he came from a family who really believed what they had been taught. Then he and his cousin, John, discussed these ideas until they felt they had to do something about their convictions.

The whole picture is beautiful and easily grasped. It is to be manifest in the daily lives of people.

August 15, 2002
Yesterday, I spent the morning on the “Moses Story.” He was certainly the central figure of the whole Bible. He is presented as a hesitant leader at the start. He feared the big problems that lay ahead and tried to get out of the responsibility. However, he did a great job of leading in spite of the difficulties.

He developed the Ten Commandments which became the basic law for all generations after him. The prophets and leaders who followed him were explaining his ideas.

When Christ came along, he built completely on Moses. His basic point was “you heard it say of old (by Moses), now I’m telling you.” Jesus kept a real continuity with Moses.

Moses had a quick temper. He was threatened with death on many occasions. Finally, he did not get to lead the people into the Promised Land. He saw it from the east side of the Jordan and then died. Joshua led the people across.

There is no doubt that his (Moses) is the central figure in the story of Judaism and Christianity. It is a story that I like to read.


Editor’s note:
It is fitting that Phil’s final Biblical entry mentions Moses. Moses led the people of the Old Testament; Jesus led the people of the New Testament.

Phil Roets taught and guided many of us to a greater appreciation and understanding of the legacies of Moses and Jesus. Phil led us to responsible freedom to live our lives as we see fit. …. We are forever grateful.


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