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Joshuanism by Michael Vito Tosto

Book Cover

Joshuanism

That’s the bathwater thrown out. Now, what did we do with that baby?

Michael Vito Tosto’s Joshuanism is subtitled ‘A Path Beyond Christianity’ and purports to be an evolution of Christianity that gets back to what Jesus and his early followers were all about. Evolving to jump back? Yes, you do have to wonder quite how much this really takes us forward.

There is not much new here but many of the names have been changed. ‘Jesus’ is, apparently, a bit like the word ‘sex’ and loaded with too many unhelpful associations. Instead of the Greek form of the Aramaic / Hebrew Yeshua, we will adopt the anglicised version, Joshua (hard luck, I suppose, if you can’t help thinking of the Joshuas you might happen to know). He will be known as the Deliverer (Christ) and his followers will be The Extraction (called-out ones), meeting in Tables (small cells) steered by Helms, mentored (but only at a very local level) by Pilots.

Does that sound like cheap science fiction to you? Tweaking the names and changing one or two of the premises is a hackneyed way of setting a plot and a very dubious way of doing theology. We are allowed to keep the word theology although only if used in tandem with zoeology, derived from the Greek word for spiritual life. Hang on a moment, didn’t we just decide that Greek-derived words were out of favour?

For the first couple of chapters I expected this might all be leading to an attempted sucker punch, calling Christians back from some of the excesses of “churchianity”. I couldn’t find that bit though, either on skimming ahead or on more careful reading. It is under-baked but apparently in earnest; I’ll stick to the table where I can share food with all sorts from St Augustine to Brennan Manning. 2/5.

8 October, 2013 by Wulf Forrester-BarkerBook Review
  • Maggie

    Not sure you really got it all.

    • basswulf

      How so? Did I miss the page that explains this is all a pastiche or a cunning satire? The author seems to be willing to jettison whatever he doesn’t like about historic Christianity and import from any other source that takes his fancy. I’m not convinced that is following the Way, whatever name you want to give him.

  • M

    The author is now a staunch atheist. Check out his website http://atheistforum.weebly.com

    • basswulf

      I’m not entirely surprised. Maybe he will eventually come back to historically grounded Christian faith, although we might not hear about it; I think the author has an overly strong desire to be an influential theologian (as much with atheism as with Joshianism) and maybe that desire is the thing that has to die?