Seldom is the word obscene used in discussion of the Bible.
Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God is unorthodox both in its word choice and in its approach. Rather than examining the Bible from a historical or theological perspective, Miles reads it as a literary work, assuming everything in the plot to be true within the confines of the narrative.
Miles, who holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and says he grew up speaking Latin, provides a number of the translations himself. His goal, he says, is "to produce an effect that matches the original in its ability to sometimes startle or surprise the reader." He adds, "Because I do think the original has that capacity."
The most unexpected result is Miles' decision to refer to Christ's death as the "suicide" of God incarnate. If Christ is God as man, Miles argues, and God is all-powerful, then nothing could be taken from God/Christ against his will, especially life.
"I realize that the word suicide has overtones in our culture of psychopathology and despair, and I try to stress that it was much closer to martyrdom in the ancient world," Miles explains. "And yet, it is essential that some of the shock power of the word suicide be retained, because this is God, who was supposed to protect us from our oppressors, and here he is not protecting himself from his own oppressor. What on earth is going on?"
Maybe Miles can help readers figure that out when he comes to town Thursday.