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Bruce Gyory, Gnostic

October 3, 2014

We travel throughout the state and as we do we always pick up the local paper and tune into the local broadcast news.  We don’t like being negative, but it’s not good out there. Local journalism, more often than not, is embarrassingly bad.

But there are also times when you can tune in and see something extraordinary. Liz Benjamin, for example, has transformed herself from brash and sometimes abrupt print reporter into a really polished broadcast interviewer and moderator. She’s at her best with a pair of commentators. She knows when to intervene and when to sit back and let them go at it.

In this regard, we’re huge fans of her segments with Bruce Gyory and John McArdle. Gyory is a historian and political theorist and a passionate, animated person. McArdle is a brilliant political tactician who kept the Republicans in power in New York far longer than they deserved to be. He’s also the most steely and laconic person you’ll see on TV.

When these two get together there’ll be a sophisticated, edgy and totally insider exchange that is well worth watching – even if you can’t always follow every aspect of what they are saying. We tuned in recently to watch the two of them debate the Resurrection. Gyory was arguing for spiritual ascension, not corporeal.

“It is controversial, but most historians say that it would have been highly unlikely that the body was turned over for interment.  Read Josephesus or read Diodorus  in the orginial Greek. The Romans always left the body on the cross as a warning – This is what happens to those who challenge us.”

“Bruce, all you have to do is read the Gospel of John. The tomb was empty. The stone had been rolled back. As for the Romans, John says pretty clearly that Pontius Pilate regretted the Crucifixion. That’s why he agreed to Joseph of Arimethea’s request.”

“The Gospels conflict on what happened after the Crucifixion.  And the later Gospels introduced concepts that simply weren’t held by most first century followers. The sympathetic portrayal of Pilate was part of an effort to promote Jesus to a new audience – the Romans of the second and third centuries.”

“What you’re promoting, Bruce, is Gnosticism,” McArdle said with a stone face.

Liz intervened, suggesting that for the sake of viewers, Gnosticism ought to be explained. Bruce explained the concept in the original Greek in an agitated way and then went back at McArdle:

“I’m not promoting anything, John, except contextual credibility. Jesus was a Jew. He was a Jew with a devout commitment to a Jewish God.  He had an apocalyptic vision. He thought the Romans were corrupt and evil and that God would soon return and destroy their empire and replace it with one in which the Jews would rule by Jewish Law.“

“Bruce, everyone knows that Jesus was an American.”

Out of time,  Liz intervened to conclude the debate. McArdle had won, but only because Gyory, at that final point, was flummoxed.

But it sure was good exchange and outstanding live TV.

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