Archive for the ‘history’ Category



August 24, 2007

Recently while checking out IMDB’s list of the worst 100 movies of all time, I came across 1959’s Santa Claus, whose prosaic title obscures a feast of the absurd. In this account, you see, Satan dispatches one of his minion to wreak havoc on Christmas and bring down our Saint Nicholas — who lives in space and employs Merlin the magician. They are pretty serious about all of this.

Before someone screams sacrilege they should remember that the Bible itself is quite a colorful hodgepodge to begin with. Including The Book of Revelation in the New Testament is more of a juxtaposition than having Santa battle Satan. The new and old testaments are likewise quite different in tone and message. In many cases it seems arbitrary what was included in “the book” and what was consigned to the apocrypha, and the artifact-nature of the bible is of course not stressed among those who take it most seriously. Sometimes people don’t even know what they are looking at.

As a skeptic I wonder if the bible harbors any “tells” (in the poker sense) that have somehow been neglected to this point. For instance it would be a bit suspicious if Jesus went out of his way to fulfill messianic prophecy. Would the true Messiah care about messianic prophecy? (I mean if he were super-duper anointed and all.. it at least wouldn’t be a priority.) The example I had in mind is his Passover entry into Jerusalem through the Golden Gate. It had been prophesied that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem through this gate and Jesus was surely aware of this. Wouldn’t it be a bit funny then if Jesus had approached Jerusalem from the west and then circled the city in order to enter it from the Golden Gate in the east?

From what we can tell, and it’s all hopelessly buried anyway – we don’t know which gate he used nor how many times the authors edited their story – Jesus did actually approach from the east. Maybe there are similar close readings that can be applied to “The Book”. Or have its authors/editors thought of all that already?