Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, April 07, 2006

Revisionist Bible Stories

Between modern day blockbuster novels like The DaVinci Code and the recently translated Gnostic Coptic texts like The Gospel of Judas, biblical era storytelling is enjoying a dramatic resurgence.

These revisionist stories provide some intriguing insight into how cultural beliefs (including myths) are crafted, how they grab the spotlight, and how they become sorted out.

There is a curious (if inexact) parallel between the Judas Story and late-breaking news in the case of Scooter Libby. The parallel has to do with the phenomenon of self-betrayal. In The Gospel of Judas, we learn that Jesus recruited Judas to betray him, for the sake of the story. There is also a fictional variant (similar to The DaVinci Code) suggesting that Judas fingered someone other than Jesus to go before Pontius Pilate, thereby letting the real Jesus get away.

These alternative plot lines say more about the art of storycraft than they do about historical events, but they also highlight the subtlety of betrayal and self-betrayal in current events having to do with stories surrounding leaks of concocted national security estimates that serve to sway public opinion about WMDs in Iraq.

Perhaps the deeper story is that propaganda eventually betrays itself.


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