Update on Thomas Brodie


Last week it was reported that Thomas Brodie, a Dominican father and New Testament scholar, was no longer in his position at the Dominican Biblical Institute and he had been censored by not being allowed to lecture, teach, or write. This seemed to be because of his view that Jesus was not a historical person. I also looked to see what was the reaction among Bible scholars on their blogs, which wasn’t very promising in giving support to Brodie.

There is now a bit more to report, though it looks like there will a long process and much waiting for results. According to the Limerick Leader, Brodie was not fired as he was going to step down anyways from his post as head of the Dominican Biblical Institute. While it mentioned the censorship I highlighted above, there is nothing there that suggests that that was falsely reported. The Irish Sun, which first broke the story, said that they had documentation saying that Brodie could not teach, lecture, or write on his subject matter. The Sun also noted that Brodie was supposed to have ended his tenure as director at the end of his third term, which is repeated by the Limerick Leader.

There also appears to be a committee that is going to review Brodie’s book and come to some decision on the matter. To quote a statement given to the Limerick Leader:

The Irish Dominicans are following the process within the Order’s Constitutions for handling disputed teaching. This involves a committee of scholars examining the book and reporting on it. In their examination and in their report the author has a right to present his views. This process is still ongoing, and remains confidential until it has concluded. The Irish Dominicans intend, in coming months, to publish reviews and assessments of Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus in their magazine Doctrine & Life.

As such, it seems that Brodie was not forced out of his position, but nonetheless his views are apparently heretical and cannot promote them in the meanwhile. That was what primarily irked me when I learned of this, and the newest reports are not denying Brodie being censored, at least until a decision is made, one I would initially doubt will come out in his favor. However, I must correct what I said before given this new and clarified information: Brodie was not removed from his position.

Nonetheless, we still have the significant issues that I had brought up in my post about the reaction to the announcement. There was no real feeling that Brodie had been wronged by the authorities that be, some even saying he had it coming because he had the wrong view. And with this investigation going on, it still shows what happens if you do publicly endorse the Jesus myth hypothesis. Perhaps those in Brodie’s order will be more merciful than I am guessing, and that may allow others to take some courage in speaking their minds if they have doubts about Jesus’ historicity. Then again, it may be for that very reason Brodie will remain censored by his order, should they not kick him out of it.

At this point, all we can do is wait and see. Reports of events may take a while, and there may be errors about what is said and done (as The Irish Sun apparently did in this case). Little can be done other that to wait.

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