Thursday, June 07, 2007

Going Back in Time

April DeConick asks, "If you could travel back in time, where would you go, and who would you most want to meet?"

My first choice is a no-brainer -- early first-century Palestine, so I could meet the historical Jesus and solve the elusive holy grail of biblical studies once and for all. I'm not a betting person (I never gamble), but I'd make an exception in this case before going back. I'd bet half my bank account against the Christ-mythers that Jesus actually existed; a fifth against anti-eschatologists that he was some kind of apocalyptic prophet; and, just for the fun of it, $100 that his tomb was empty (but why? grave robbing?).

My second choice would be 12th-century Palestine, during the time of the Crusader Kings of Jerusalem, probably during the reign of Amalric (1162-1174) who witnessed Saladin's ascendency and the end of the Fatimid (Shi'ite) dynasty in Egypt. Amalric was an interesting character, an unbeliever for one, scoffing at the doctrine of the resurrection.

My third choice would be 20th-century England, a few years before J.R.R. Tolkien died in 1973. I could discuss his philosophy of pre-Christian paganism for hours on end. If I could take back a DVD player, I'd watch Peter Jackson's films with him and see if he loved or hated them. And finally, we'd have to have a long chat about his son Christopher...

So my choices span the beginning, middle, and end of the past two millenia.


Blogger Stephen C. Carlson said...

Going back to see Jesus would be neat, but it won't solve the synoptic problem!!! Aside from Jesus, I'd really like to meet the one who wrote Mark.


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