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Jesus, Lazarus, and the Messiah


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Charles S. Tidball was born in 1928 in Geneva, Switzerland. A scientist and a doctor, he has multiple degrees: an M.S. in Pharmacology, a Ph.D in Physiology, and an M.D. For many years Dr. Tidball was Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology at George Washington University, which in 1992 designated him professor emeritus of computer medicine and neurological surgery. He was also a pioneer in computer-based instructional and information-retrieval systems. Since his retirement, he has served at the Washington National Cathedral and has dedicated his considerable energies to writing, including a book written with his wife and two colleagues, Taking Women Seriously: Lessons and legacies for Educating the Majority. Dr. Tidball has been a student of Rudolf Steiner since 1948, and Jesus, Lazarus, and the Messiah is his first book in the area of spiritual science. ROBERT POWELL, PhD, is an internationally known lecturer, author, eurythmist, and movement therapist. He is founder of the Choreocosmos School of Cosmic and Sacred Dance, and cofounder of the Sophia Foundation of North America. He received his doctorate for his thesis The History of the Zodiac, available as a book from Sophia Academic Press. His published works include The Sophia Teachings, a six-tape series (Sounds True Recordings), as well as Elijah Come Again: A Prophet for Our Time; The Mystery, Biography, and Destiny of Mary Madgalene; Divine Sophia--Holy Wisdom; The Most Holy Trinosophia and the New Revelation of the Divine Feminine; Chronicle of the Living Christ; Christian Hermetic Astrology; The Christ Mystery; The Sign of the Son of Man in the Heavens; Cultivating Inner Radiance and the Body of Immortality;and the annual series Star Wisdom (previously Journal for Star Wisdom). He translated the spiritual classic Meditations on the Tarot and co-translated Valentin Tomberg's Lazarus, Come Forth! Robert is coauthor with David Bowden of Astrogeographia: Correspondences between the Stars and Earthly Locationsand coauthor with Estelle Isaacson of Gautama Buddha's Successorand The Mystery of Sophia. Robert is also coauthor with Kevin Dann of The Astrological Revolution: Unveiling the Science of the Stars as a Science of Reincarnation and Karmaand Christ and the Maya Calendar: 2012 & the Coming of the Antichrist;and coauthor with Lacquanna Paul of Cosmic Dances of the Zodiacand Cosmic Dances of the Planets. He teaches a gentle form of healing movement: the sacred dance of eurythmy, as well as the Cosmic Dances of the Planets and signs of the zodiac. Through the Sophia Grail Circle, Robert facilitates sacred celebrations dedicated to the Divine Feminine. He offers workshops in Europe and Australia, and with Karen Rivers, cofounder of the Sophia Foundation, leads pilgrimages to the world's sacred sites: Turkey, 1996; the Holy Land, 1997; France, 1998; Britain, 2000; Italy, 2002; Greece, 2004; Egypt, 2006; India, 2008; Turkey, 2009; the Grand Canyon, 2010; South Africa, 2012; Peru, 2014; the Holy Land, 2016; and Bali, 2018.


By the Rev. Canon Michael Wyatt Dr. Charles Tidball, principal collator and interpreter of the iconography of Washington National Cathedral, has completed a remarkable study of open-ended dimensions of the story of Jesus in the four Gospels. His explorations move in realms that will not be familiar to many readers, and are all the more challenging and interesting for that very reason. In many ways, this is a peculiarity of Christianity. For religions dedicated to realization or enlightenment, the probing of subtle meanings is considered essential for full religious expression. These further spiritual insights, when taken in a flat literal (and therefore false) sense, appear to contradict the religion's teachings. But such distress is only conceivable under certain rational viewpoints which insist that only one articulation can be accurate. In a sense, the contradiction itself signifies that more than mundane factual claims are involved here, that the figure in question far transcends the categories in which we hope to confine him. No one who has ever paused over the incomprehensible claim that Jesus is fully human and fully divine, and who has studied the Church's writhing attempts to explicate that claim, should be surprised that the transcendent appears to contradict the evident. Tidball's book moves beyond orthodox paradoxes to lay out a complex interpretation of the person of Jesus that strives to reconcile textual contradictions (such as distinct genealogies in Matthew and Luke), and to explicate his cosmic significance using sources outside the mainstream of the tradition. The principal task of this book is to weave together these extra-biblical accounts of the life of Jesus in order to examine certain questions that Tidball posits. Some of Tidball's potentially startling material falls within the questioning of standard biblical scholarship. Was the "beloved disciple," for example, Lazarus raised from the dead? It is an attractive suggestion, since the Gospel of John is the only Gospel that mentions this beloved disciple, and it does so only after the raising of Lazarus, who (the evangelist repeatedly asserts) was beloved by Jesus. Other material, though already known and respected within the Roman Catholic Church, will be unfamiliar to other readers. How, for example, might we receive and incorporate the visions of devout people? Are they private consolations or gifts to the Church? The testimonies of Anne Catherine Emmerich, whose detailed visionary witnessing of the last days of Jesus provided in detail the narrative for Mel Gibson's film on the Passion, are received by Tidball as credible and reliable; he incorporates them into his reflections. Some of what is here may baffle and even offend; is it possible that there was more than one Jesus, representing different lineages (Solomon and Nathan), and that this very multiplicity is carrying out the purpose of god to fill all things? Rudolf Steiner, the principal explicator of anthroposophy in the last century, is used as the authority for those claims, by which an extraordinary vision of cosmic spiritual evolution is laid out, in which Jesus Christ is expressly "at the highest levels of the spiritual world." Tidball and his co-author Robert Powell offer a remarkable opportunity to consider the inexhaustible meaning of the Christ, particularly seen as the confluence of cosmic intentions for the divinization of humanity--an expectation for us clearly articulated in the great theologian Arthanasius. Not the least of what amazes here is Tidball's commitment and the consistency of his achieved synthesis. If nothing else, this book opens doors for us to look in and witness a rapt devotion to Jesus that reaches far beyond the claims of the Nicene Creed. I myself can never fail to be interested in what others say about the Lord I follow and in whose hands I have placed my life, so that I might compare those claims with what I would claim, informed by the more familiar use of Scripture, tradition, and reason. Cathedral Age, summer 2005 The Rev. Canon Michael Wyatt is a Canon Theologian and Director of Education at the Cathedral College, Washington National Cathedral and a highly regarded teacher and preacher with particular expertise in religious education to both the churched and the un-churched. He serves the Washington National Cathedral as Canon Theologian, focusing particularly on Biblical scholarship and interfaith initiatives.

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