John Shelby Spong: Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Bishop John Shelby Spong presented a week of lectures for The Chautauquan Daily’s Interfaith Lecture Series in June 2012. The series was named after his book, Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, and you can watch all 5 lectures here, or download them in .mp4 format for your archive.


“I study the Bible every day of my life, I’ve read that book from cover to cover more than 25 times, some parts of it many more times than that, but I am one priest and bishop in the church who is no longer willing to read that book through stained glass lenses.”

“I was amazed by how many educated people actually thought the Bible dropped from heaven fully written, divided into chapters and verses and in the King James version. Paul only wrote seven of the Epistles that are attributed to him. And Solomon did not write the Proverbs.”

“Did you know that in the book of Deuteronomy we are told that if a child is willfully disobedient and talks back to his or her parents, that child is to be taken to the elders of the city and stoned until dead at the gates of the city?”

“Someone said the church likes to treat laypeople like mushrooms. You keep them in the dark and you cover them over with — shall we say — manure.”

“Everything we have in the New Testament about Jesus floated through some kind of oral transmission for 40 to 70 years before anybody wrote it down. How literal can such a process be? And there is no evidence that we can find anywhere that miracles understood as supernatural acts were ever associated with the memory of Jesus of Nazareth before the eighth decade of this Common Era.”

“The division between Christianity and Judaism is a very late division. The Christian inability to place its story into a Jewish context is the primary source, I believe, of the way the Christian story has been distorted with literalism.”


The Judeo-Christian Faith Story: How Much is History? [mp4]

The Prophets: Not Predictors of the Future but Change Agents [mp4]

The New Testament: An Evolving Story [mp4]

The Story of Judas Iscariot [mp4]

Re-Casting the Christ Story: Not a Rescue Mission but the Birth of a New Consciousness [mp4]

One thought on “John Shelby Spong: Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World”

  1. These are wonderful talks by John Shelby Spong. A gift to all those who haven’t yet deserted the church and to all those who earnestly inquire into what it means to be fully human.

    Like

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