Monday, January 09, 2006

David Starkey on Paul

A few minutes ago, just before the beginning of the Today programme, there was a little trailer for the following:

Who Killed Christianity?
Dr David Starkey argues that five major Christian figures distorted, even betrayed, the Christian faith as envisaged by Jesus. Defenders argue back. 1/5. St Paul.

I have to admit that Starkey is one of my least favourite people, and it's not a programme I am looking forward to. It's on at 9.30 am GMT, by which time I'll probably be in bed, though unfortunately it is likely to be archived so that I'll be able to listen to it later.


Matt Page said...

I caught it, and I can't say I was greatly impressed; just another program churning out the old false-dichotomy portraying Paul as a legalistic homophobic misogynist, and Jesus as a free-loving proto-hippie.

I thnk what annoys me about this type of argument is the tediously selective proof-texting. Paul is all 1 Tim 2:12, and Romans 1:26-29, whereas Jesus is just the man who says love your enemies.

Meanwhile Pauline sayings such as "there is neither Jew nor Greek" is sidelined, just as much as Jesus referring to gentiles as dogs (Matt 15:26). And Paul's comments on love and peace are all too often conveniently forgotten, as is Jesus claim "not to bring peace but a sword", or turn families against each other. Paul is seen as legalistic despite saying "if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law". Jesus is meant to be the opposite despite saying he had not come to abolish the law and that righteousness needs to surpass that of the pharisees.

I'm not sure whther this is just step one on the road to eventually treating Jesus with the same kind of contempt Paul is currently treated with. If so I sometimes wish they'd just be bold enough to get on with it.

Anonymous said...

It was dreadful! !5 minutes of anti Christian 'sport' masquerading as 'debate'. Starkey is a homosexual who doubtless chose Romans as the only letter he had read, since he is offended by Paul's condemnation of pagan sexual mores. Although Starkey is introduced as a historian, his technique on the prgramme is not that of a scholar. 'Never trust a man who changes his name...' was the part of the opening introduction! Not only would Starkey never be permitted to do a similar programme on Mohamed, he wouldn't dare for fear of his safety.qvtfc

Brianm said...

Is this the same Starkey whow wrote the biographcial tratment of the wives of Henry the VIII? By the commnets posted here, I can see some reasons why Starkey isn't likeable, and I'd be in agreement - is these something else I am missing? I am just trying to fil in my knowledge of him as i rather liked his book.

Anonymous said...

I listened to it on the BBC website, and I was appalled. Apart from the selectivity of the texts chosen (and why does he insist on using AV?), whenever the other scholars tried to make a point, he just talked past them. Surely if you invite someone of the calibre of Morna Hooker to comment, you listen?

Anonymous said...

I had to smile at the "unfortunately it will be archived so that I'll be able to listen to it later" comment. Though my own field is far removed from that of Biblical studies, we also are blessed with those "individuals" who are always ready to serve up a half-baked soundbite for the media's gaping maw and it's comforting (in a sad sort of way) to know that they're not a local affliction.