22 JANUARY 1972, Page 19

Roper ' s Gospel

Sir: I just finished reading Mr Hugh Trevor-Roper's review of Dr Dodd's The Founder of Christianity in your publication '(January 23, 1971). The upshot of the review is that Dr Dodd's assumptions are too hasty.

Listen, however, to some of Mr Trevor-Roper's claims. The writers (of the Gospels — all of

them?) were clearly (why 'clearly') more concerned to create (see below) a posthumous Messiah than to discover authentic fact (what is that?)." Or again we read: "The plain (why 'plain') fact is that we (perhaps better '1, Mr T-R') know (why ' know ' rather than ' believe ') nothing (absolutely ' nothing ') about the historical Christ." Or, " The Gospels, after all, tell us a lot of palpable (why 'palpable' rubbish (why 'rubbish ')."

Finally, Mr Trevor-Roper says, "the Church created Christ. It

wrote the historical Gospels " (italics added). The Church (whatever that is) is not the kind of entity that can write. " It " did not write anything! Individuals did write, but even if one acknowledges that these individua's are members of some Church or other, is the suggestion being made here that there was really some sort of conspiritorial collusion on how to "create" Christ (or a "posthumous Messiah ")? And if so, was it directed for, say a Mark or a Luke by "the Church?"

Kent E. Rdbson Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Utah State University, Logan, Utah