212

My letter to the editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (on Raoul Schrott “Homers Geheimnis ist gelüftet” of 22 December 2007), published in the issue of 5 February 2008:

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymor, Galapagos
Blue-footed Booby, North Seymor, Galapagos

The Iliad of Homer cannot be understood in the history of literature without the older Gilgamesh epic. Likewise, the Gospel of Mark cannot be understood without the Iliad of Homer.

 

Raoul Schrott has again made me aware of the important mediating role Homer plays between the ancient oriental culture, whose myths he takes up, and the Hellenistic and Roman world, which celebrates him as a role model.

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211

My letter to the editor from April 9, 2001 (continued):

Red rock crab, Fernandina, Galapagos
Red rock crab, Fernandina, Galapagos

Since Aratos created a more modern star map in a new astronomical teaching poem in the third century B.C., Homer was understood above all as the poet of two heroic epics, but Lucian still knew in the second century A.D. that the love adventure of Aphrodite and Ares (Odyssey 8, 266 – 366) referred to the conjunction of the planets Venus and Mars in the starry sky (Lucian, Astrology 22).

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210

My letter to the editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich (to the report about a Troy exhibition), published in the issue of April 9, 2001:

Red rock crab, Isabela, Galapagos
Red rock crab, Isabela, Galapagos

The war described by Homer in the Trojan plain did not take place on earth but in the sky. Participants in the war were not the Greeks and the Trojans on Earth, but the stars and constellations of the sky above Troy and the Aegean Sea. The goal of the war was not the conquest of Troy, but the memorization of celestial geography.

 

The listeners of the performances were not cultural nobles, but seamen who needed the exact knowledge of the starry sky in order to reach their destinations safely and by the shortest route before the discovery of the compass and clock.

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209

The ancient historians and the classical philologists would have many important things to say about the biblical themes, b

Sea lion cub, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989
Sea lion cub, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989

but the canon of subjects of the universities prevents them from dealing scientifically with biblical themes.

 

Without the quarrel with dissenters, theology has atrophied. What great insights has it provided in the last hundred years in which the other sciences have been successful?

 

Theology still clings to the biblical fairy tale of the great kingdom of David, to the source separation in the Pentateuch of the 19th century and to the supernatural miracles of Jesus! If this is to be science, then good night.

 

Theology is not a science, only scholasticism, because it does not endure radical criticism, it dies as science of oxygen deficiency.

208

“Science dies of oxygen deficiency without a fight.” (Christian Benne, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 September 2018).

Sea lion, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989
Sea lion, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989

I would like to make one thing clear here:

 

I am not important.
My theses are not important.
But Jesus’ message of reconciliation is important.
This message of Jesus is great, it is a great cultural heritage of mankind.

 

Jesus’ message of reconciliation does not deserve to atrophy in the ivory towers of the theologians as a museum exhibit. In contrast to some theology professors, the Jesus message does not have to fear the rough wind of critical science, the critical inquiries of the opponents of Christianity.

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207

In the encyclical “Fides et Ratio” of Pope John Paul II of 14 September 1998 it says:

Sea lions, North Seymor Galapagos August 1989
Sea lions, North Seymor Galapagos August 1989

“104. Philosophical thought is often the only terrain for understanding and dialogue with those who do not share our faith.

 

This is a great word of a great Pope.

 

But in the study of Jesus and the Bible this unique terrain is destroyed by the theologians by excluding reason and philosophical thought.

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206

I very much regret that theologians do not show the sovereignty

Sea lion baby, younger than a week, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989
Sea lion baby, younger than a week, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989

in dealing with fundamental criticism of theology and church that is otherwise characteristic of them as university teachers.

 

There are many highly learned men and women among them with whom I would like to talk shop about God and the world. But with “God” and “Jesus” their friendship ends. There they know no pardon, no Christian grace, only hard church reasons.