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Transmogrifying the Gospels

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As I was studying the Gospels for my latest book, Writing in the Sand, I came across the passage in Matthew where Jesus is telling his students (that’s the proper Greek term) how to embody the kingdom; that is, the new way of life he espouses. As I see it in the Greek text, this is what he says: “Take care of the sick, wake up the lifeless, restore the rejected, and get rid of the daimonic.”Here is the way this passage is usually translated: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure lepers, and cast out demons.” This is what followers of the Gospels are supposed to do? Miraculously heal the sick? Go to a funeral home and raise the dead? Go looking for leprosy and cure it? And get involved in ghoulish exorcisms? I don’t think so.These traditional translations maintain irrelevant and absurd ideas of miracles that contradict nature and naive notions of demons. No wonder people are avoiding the churches in great numbers today. They are watching television and consulting the Internet, all the while becoming educated and sophisticated. The way the Gospels are still presented is insulting to their intelligence.My t …

Thomas Moore is the New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul, as well as many other books on deepening soul and cultivating a mature spiritual life, three of which have received the Books for a Better Life Award. At turns he has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, a psychotherapist, and an S&H columnist. 


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