This Week Online: Luke Timothy Johnson, Bioethics Archive & the Plight of Farm Workers

This week, in conjunction with his article on "The Jesus Controversy," we are pleased to feature a conversation with renowned Bibilcal scholar Luke Timothy Johnson on our podcast. Johnson argues that historical scholarship alone cannot find the living Jesus. Though the study of history can help Christians to becomes responsible readers of the Gospels, Johnson argues, engaging Jesus as a literary figure is ultimately a more fruitful exercise for the person of faith.

Listen to our conversation.


Father Kevin O'Rourke's article on the case of Sister McBride, which appears in the current issue after first appearing online, has already generated lengthy commentary. For our archive feature this week, we have collected a selection of articles on other bioethical questions from renowned experts such as Richard McCormick, S.J. Browse them here.

Our culture editor is away this week, so allow me to plug our expanding online culture section. This week, we feature a review of the new Robert Duvall film, "Get Low."

Finally, in our weekly video commentary, Kerry Weber reports on the campaign of the United Farm Workers to improve working conditions for agricultural laborers.



Tim Reidy


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Arturo Vasquez
8 years 7 months ago
I am glad the UFW is finally on the right side of the issue in terms of immigration, but it wasn't always the case. As I recall, undocumented workers in the field were referred to as "scabs" by Chavez during the original Delano organizing campaign.

I grew up in rural California, and my Mexican-born grandparents were part of the UFW. I am grateful that they are receiving a pension from their years of work, but my impression is that the UFW is significantly smaller than it used to be even in the 1980's. My sense is that it is actually kind of hard to get a job in the fields. Most of the time, foremen already have their crews complete before the picking season starts. You can't just walk onto the field and get a job. In a real sense, fieldworkers in California represent a sort of "labor aristocracy" compared to the people who have to wash dishes or sell ice cream out of carts. My only question is how the UFW is getting those three Americans jobs in the fields.

Certain tasks, like picking wine grapes, are actually very skilled, and add on the long hours in the hot sun, it would be interesting to see if any more native American workers can hold down one of those jobs.
Jeffrey Connors
8 years 7 months ago

There may be some validity in Luke Timothy Johnson's criticism of John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, in that they are liberal academics who tend to "play to the crowd" and present a likeable Jesus based primarily on the Gospel of Luke who is a projection of contemporary desires.
I don't think it is at all fair or accurate of him, however, to group Bart Ehrman in with them in that category. Ehrman, who appears to base his analysis primarily on the Book of Daniel and the Gospel of Mark presents Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet (and a failed one at that); a presentation that is not at all attractive to contemporary hearers.


The latest from america

Sister Bibiana Emenaha
A combination of a rapidly growing population, extreme poverty, unemployment and armed conflict push people to cross Nigeria’s porous borders in search of a better life.
Linus UnahMarch 22, 2019
As we come to grips with a national history of violence, greed and racialized privilege, this fable of noblesse oblige rings hollow.
Brandon SanchezMarch 22, 2019
In "Miracle Workers" Simon Rich balances the surreal with the mundane and anchors fantasy with practicality, providing the perfect stakes for dramatic and comedic tension.
Jake Kring-SchreifelsMarch 22, 2019
Sharon Hogan and Rob Delaney (photo: IMDB)
The hit Amazon show asks: Can we really just be unapologetically ourselves?
Jim McDermottMarch 22, 2019