We seek him here,
We seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere,
Is he in Heaven?
Is he in Hell?
That demmed elusive PIMPERNEL
Seems like it’s the Barbara Thiering show again. The information jockeys have decided that Dr Thiering’s theories are ‘news’, and so once again we must argue the toss with our non-Christian and quasi-Christian friends over the merits of her arguments.
A few friends have asked me to describe (in 25 words or less) what Barbara Thiering is on about with her interpretation of the New Testament and I am only too happy to oblige. It only took me three years to understand the instructions for using the automatic timer on our video cassette recorder so a pesher or two shouldn’t be a big worry (a pesh-over, actually).
The Briefing tracked down the interview that David Peterson mentions in his article, ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls again’, in which three Qumran scholars—Barbara Thiering, Geza Vermes and Max Wilcox—speak with ABC Sunday Night Talk host, John Cleary, about Thiering’s new book, Jesus the Man. Geza Vermes is Emeritus Professor in Jewish Studies at Oxford University and is an acknowledged authority on the Dead Sea scrolls, and Max Wilcox is a senior lecturer in history at Macquarie University in Sydney. Many of you will have already heard of Thiering’s pesher technique of interpreting Scripture and her conclusion that Jesus did not die on the cross and that the new Testament actually describes in code his life with the Essene community. Her ‘new’ approach has been writ large in the popular media. But the following turbulent, sprawling academic argument gives us some idea of how the book has been critically received. For those who missed the broadcast, here is a highly condensed version of what was said.