The Gospel According to Doonesbury 5

I was catching up on a few comics this morning and finally read Sunday’s Doonesbury:


Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Of course such a view of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is incredibly simplistic. (Of course, the irony is the passage being cited in the first panel is in fact from the NT, Romans 1:18.) I understand that Trudeau is going for the banking joke, nice, I get it. But he perpetuates the myth fostered by the Jesus Seminar, et al, that Jesus never said anything about judgment.

Do a quick search for the phrase “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” and you will find that Jesus’ vision of the future includes God judging both the wicked and the righteous and their are dire consequences for those who are not accepted into the kingdom. (That whole wailing and gnashing of teeth thing was Jesus.) Of course the Seminar and others say  that Jesus never would have said these things, but why not? Such conceptions were certainly very common within Second Temple Judaism, why should Jesus hold a different view?

This post isn’t a defense of the Gospels as they stand or a dissection of the Jesus Seminar’s claims, just a simple effort to, as the literary critics put it, “problematize” the view of Jesus presented in Doonesbury. By all accounts he was one tough and ornery hombre.

UPDATE: This is a late update but Mark Goodacre commented on this as well and has the links to the ADL Press release and a comment from Rabbi David Saperstein.


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5 thoughts on “The Gospel According to Doonesbury

  • Richard Wright

    Thank you thank you thank you. You know where I stand on this. Few things tick me off quite so much as OT-bad NT-good dichotomism. Do people even recognize the incipient anti-semitism? (As Rabbi Stan Zameck pointed out to me after an obnoxious example of this on NPR early that morning.)

    But here is a question. When people do this… are they misrepresenting the OT or the NT? Which one more and how? (Your post suggests… either both equally or the NT more.)

    And “the wrath of God is being revealed in heaven” is *ROMANS 1*. (Which raises the whole Jesus-good Paul-bad thing. Another pernicious dichotomy.)

  • John

    It seems that Jesus is ‘mellow’ when someone is humble and penitent, though struggling; and ‘tough’ when some is arrogant and hypocritical, and self-righteous. I have made this point a number of times in Bible classes. One of my friends has just posted Jeremiah 29.11 on FB. It is interesting in this context.

  • Chris Brady Post author

    Thank you Rick and John. Rick, you know me well enough that you can guess my view on your middle paragraph. Yes, both the OT and NT are being misrepresented. In the Bible (whether one reads only the Tanakh or the Christian canon) God is BOTH merciful and judgmental, gracious and punishing, but he is also always loving, patient, and supreme. But this is a fully formed and complex vision of God and doesn’t sit well with so many who want an EITHER/OR God.

  • Steve

    Ah. Banking. I get it now. And here I thought with the snarky bit vs humble he was saying OT God was Mac and NT Jesus was PC.

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