I'm beginnig to see what people mean when they say they stopped believing when they read the Bible. I grew up reading the Bible. I did not understand how anyone could grow up without knowing the Bible. I realize I read it more deeply and have a better grasp on it than many people do but still.....how could anyone NOT know the biblical narrative and all its contradiction?
I thought I did. I am finding otherwise. Just last week or so I was writing about Jesus' tumultuous relationship with his family, including his mother. That was based on a reading of Mark and Matthew. Now I am reading a book about the Gospel of John and I am presented with a very different picture. His mother is portrayed as being a very important person in his life. Even while reading and writing about Mark, I remembered the story about Mary at the cross when Jesus commended her to John's care. I did not research it. I figured I could reconcile it somehow; maybe they made up before his crucifixion.
Reinhartz draws my attention in a different direction. She points to the story about the wedding at Cana. I haven't even come to the other indications and I am not sure I want to. This story does not fit together seamlessly as I had thought. I feel let down, betrayed. I had drawn so much consolation from the story of Jesus. But these contradictions cannot all belong to the same person. Jesus cannot have had the very tumultuous relationship at the same time that he had such a loving and intimate relationship with her. It does not make sense.
The picture I am getting of Jesus is a very fragmented personality. It's worse than schizophrenia. Even people with schizophrenia have a core personality, I would guess, because my grandmother had a core personality when she had Alzheimers. Even when she made no contact with reality for days and weeks at a time, there was a core personality.
In Jesus as portrayed in the gospels there is not. He's nothing but bits and pieces used to serve the various theological purposes/agendas of the writers. Harpur must be right. Jesus is nothing but a myth. He never existed. That is the only thing that makes sense. I had thought there was a consistent picture of him in the NT. There is not.
Had I not focused so hard on his personality as portrayed by Mark, I would continue in my blissful ignorance.