I found the Oct. 6 Forum commentary "Five Myths About Jesus" by Reza Aslan vacuous and without purpose. Without the benefit of performing any specific research, allow me to respond to Mr. Aslan's "grand expose" in a point-by-point fashion.
One: The only records of the birth of Jesus are in the extant manuscripts of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and they clearly indicate that he was born in Bethlehem. He was known as "the Nazarene" because that's where he spent most of his life.
Two: Of course Jesus had siblings; that much is clear from Scripture itself. There is nothing to de-mythologize here.
Three: Yes, Jesus had many followers, and in fact, many women (gasp) played prominent roles. Again, this is made quite clear from Scripture.
Four: Going before Pilate may have been considered somewhat remarkable, but given Jesus' status among the people it makes sense that the Jewish leadership who condemned him would look for "cover" as part of their plot.
Five: A post-crucifixion burial in a tomb may have been highly unusual. However, Jesus was nothing if not unusual. He was (and is) the Son of God.
So, was there an actual point to the commentary, or was this simply another hollow attempt (poorly done) at portraying Jesus as a fraud by casting innuendo as newly discovered fact?
REV. MICHAEL ANASTAS
The writer is a Presbyterian minister.
First Published October 19, 2013 8:00 PM