JakeJonesIV on the iidb discussion group has offered the most coherent and contextualized explanation of the identity of Alexander and Rufus I’ve heard yet. Check out his posts 4292918 and 4291566. The explanation relates to Robert Price’s comment in his Pre-Nicene New Testament suggesting the possibility that Simon Magus is the figure behond Simon of Cyrene.
The best explanation I have read for the meaning of the story of the 2 trees in the Garden of Eden came from Thompson’s The Mythic Past.
The Genesis story warns that wisdom will make Adam and Eve like gods and then they will die.
They eat of wisdom, and the wisdom they learn is that they are naked. That is what their wisdom is: knowledge of their nakedness. Sounds pretty dumb. How can that be called being made “wise”?
But the story continues. Adam and Eve have become as gods (elohim) or God — God himself said this, Gen.3:22 — and then are sentenced to death.
All their wisdom does for them is to cause them to see they are naked, and then die.
The story does not quite flow. This has opened it up for later generations imputing their own pet speculations of what exactly is the meaning of the fruit, etc. (more…)
Wow, I love it when I read of an idea I have often wondered about being picked up by someone else who has obviously wondered the same things, but then gone on to develop that idea in a way that forces me to start reading the basic text again from scratch.
John Carroll does not allow for the young man who appears in the tomb at the end of Mark’s gospel to be an angel.
He is not an angel, as some have speculated; if we were, Mark would have said so. (p.127 of The Existential Jesus)
Mark reads more like a Greek tragedy in prose than a Christian text: (more…)