Biblical scholar to visit
By Maureen O'Connell
Advertiser Staff Writer
Biblical scholar and top-selling author Marcus J. Borg will next week give lectures focusing on modern Christianity at the Episcopal Parish of St. Clement.
"He'll relate his scholarship to current living," said the Rev. Elizabeth Zivanov, St. Clement's rector. Zivanov, who has led study sessions focusing on Borg's books, describes his writing style and presentations as "very accessible."
In "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" (2001), Borg says the New Testament cannot be taken literally if it is to be taken seriously. "These are stories. Whether they're historically accurate is not most important," Zivanov said, explaining the author's point of view. "What is important," she continued, "is the message we get from them."
Borg, a canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland, Ore., retired in 2007 as the Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. He is also a member of the Jesus Seminar — a group of scholars that meets twice yearly and votes with colored beads — red (likely authentic) and pink (somewhat likely) to gray (somewhat unlikely) and black (unlikely) — to decide their collective view on the veracity of historical matters tied to the New Testament.
Borg's opening lecture, "Two Visions of Christianity Today," slated for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, will be followed by a question-answer session. A free will offering will be collected for the evening presentation.
A three-part lecture, "Being Christian in the 21st Century," will be offered next Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. Topics include: "Beyond Literalism to Reclaiming Christian Language," "Beyond Christian Convention to Intention and Practice" and "Beyond Cultural Convention to Alternative Values and Community."
The cost for Saturday's series is $75. To register, call the parish, 955-7745 or visit www.stclem.org.
Also, Borg will lead a conversation from 8:30 to 10 a.m. March 14, titled "Open Hearts and Thin Places," which includes a discussion of metaphors pertaining to "what is central to the Christian life and Christians living together as a church," Zivanov said.
All lectures are public and will be at the parish, 1515 Wilder Ave.
Borg is the author of 18 books, including "Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary" (2006), a New York Times best-seller. In addition, Borg co-authored three books with John Dominic Crossan, "The Last Week" (2006), "The First Christmas" (2007), and "The First Paul" (2009).
His latest book, a novel, "Putting Away Childish Things," is expected to be released next month.