Putting Away Childish Things: The Virgin Birth, the Empty Tomb, and Other Fairy Tales You Dont't Need to Believe to Have a Living Faith

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9780060668600: Putting Away Childish Things: The Virgin Birth, the Empty Tomb, and Other Fairy Tales You Dont't Need to Believe to Have a Living Faith

A religious scholar argues that the Immaculate Conception, Hell, and other elements of Christianity are mere childish, sexist conventions hindering a true encounter with the Gospel. By the author of Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven. $30,000 ad/promo. Tour.

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

From Booklist:

Ranke-Heinemann must have figured that since she was already in trouble (dismissed from the Catholic University of Essen for denying the virgin birth), she might as well raise a few more hackles by shattering another round of myths. Although at times her logic is a bit self-serving--Bible verses that support her theses are accepted as proof, while those on the other side are dismissed--for the most part, she cuts through the mythology of Christianity like a knife through butter. The Christmas story? Forget it. History is silent about a disruptive census that forced people to register at their ancestral homes (Bethlehem, in Joseph and Mary's case). And even if there was such a census, Mary, as a woman, would not have been required to go. No, the journey to Bethlehem is only a plot device--necessary to fulfill Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. The miracles performed by Jesus, according to Ranke-Heinemann, are equally suspect. Jesus himself, we're told, rejected the whole concept of signs and miracles, and even Paul says nothing about miracles. Because there are so many inconsistencies in the Bible, Ranke-Heinemann has no trouble finding myths to explode--Good Friday, Easter, and the Ascension, among them. Though her writing has the feel of traditional American skepticism (despite the numerous citations to German works), her intent is not to be a faith-shatterer; her gripe is less with Jesus, whom she believes sought and found God, than with his church, which she sees as weighed down with inauthentic cultural baggage. This is radical religious history at its most contentious. Expect interest and controversy. Ilene Cooper

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