Rob Bell of Grand Rapids and Origen of Alexandria

Yes, on Rob Bell’s new book — nothing new under the sun.

 Regarding the afterlife, yes I believe that there is either a blessed life with God or one alone without God (not speculating on the furniture of heaven or the temperature of hell/hades) but I have pondered

the “apocatastasis” of Origen of Alexandria (250): “all fallen intelligences will be restored to God who made them.” Clement of Alexandria (initially), Gregory of Nyssa, some Moravians, the Christadelphians, Friedrich Schleiermacher, (even) Karl Barth, and Paul Tillich entertained similar ideas.

Nevertheless, Augustine of Hippo attacked this doctrine and it was condemned by the Council of Constantinople in AD 543.

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Historical Jesus by Anthony Le Donne

Since the 19th century there have been three distinct quests of the historical Jesus, Anthony Le Donne, conversant with the research, invites us to stand back and re-examine how we perceive, what we can/cannot know, how we remember/how they remembered, and — how we view/do history.  As a thoughtful pedagogue he keeps us involved in the debate with concise explanations (e.g., of hermeneutics), detailed visuals, and contemporary illustrations from Bob Dylan and Martin Scorceses.  With selective use of the “criteria of authenticity” he notes that some of Jesus’ strange actions and unusual relationships (e.g., exorcisms, dysfunctional family) may have been the most memorable to his followers. His approach is descriptive and prescriptive, instructive and reflective.  With endorsements from notables like James Dunn (his Doktor Vater), Gerd Theissen, and Richard Horsley, plus a foreword by a brother-in-arms, Dale Allison, we are invited to join the foray of two centuries of study about Jesus and earliest Christianity.  We might be surprised to find– that we come away with more than we had anticipated.

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