by Thomas Moore
Skylight Paths, Woodstock, Vt. 224 pages
Thomas Moore is not interested in standard orthodoxy or traditional religion. He is interested in human liberation. Long ago he abandoned conventional Christianity while maintaining a fierce love for Jesus and the Gospels. In this book he declares, “My intention is to release the Gospels from their narrow confinements and show how valuable they are today to anyone at all looking for insight into how to live deeply and lovingly.”
A former monk and current psychotherapist, Moore has provided his own translation of Matthew’s Gospel that hews to the Greek, but is with some peculiar word choices that fit Moore’s intention. That intention – “to help people live deeply and lovingly” –guides Moore’s translation at several points including his use of the phrase “tragic mistake” for “sin.” There are other choices that may offend some readers and lead others to dismiss him altogether. Yet, for those who are not threatened by a fresh conversation with Matthew and Moore about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in our time, this is book worth pondering. We live in a time of sharp divisions and narrow interpretations. Moore, the psychotherapist, sees the dangers and wants the gospel to function again as a medium for deep healing of the human person and community. This is his vision of Jesus’ own ministry. One does not have to agree with Moore at every point to gather the fruit of his new effort.