Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's looking to me like each of Bernard Shaw's plays, preceded by its essay of coalesced elements, is a gift to the world. There's a good review of the Bible's New Testament in the 100 pages that precede his script for Androcles and the Lion. (I returned to it for a quote that I have yet to find about the audience at a roman colleseum that will appear in a nursing home in "A Question of Solitude" a new script with a reading at La Mama on March 31st.)

I thought that the silencing from martyrdom at calvary produced a worldwide backlash still felt 2000 years later, but Shaw's critique suggests that the silencing was successful. The teaching of a brilliant thinker (deluded, perhaps by a chance suggestion of one of his apostles, namely Peter) was usurped by ... well, to quote the words that seem particularly worthwhile...

"Paul succeeded in stealing the image of Christ crucified for the figure-head of his salvationist vessel, with its Adam posing as the natural man, its doctrine of original sin, and its damnation avoidable only by faith in the sacrifice of the cross. No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus."

This is of double concern for me since I applied the genesis story in a recent piece, Paradise Found. I thought I was resonating the original biblical book, when I was mouthing an interpretation of it by Paul, which I have never read.

Anyway, the simply stated conclusion of Shaw is "There has really never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of the limitations of Paul's soul upon the soul of Jesus."

Saying that sounds radical, and I am drawn toward radical statements... however Shaw offers a thoughtful argument before making it.