• Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k


    I was imagining that if the Church were truly being guided by 1 person, that there would be much less confusion. I'm not aware of any human ruler in history whose followers were so confused about what he wanted while he was still alive.

    But why should God's rule be anything like that of a human leader?

    It seems possible that God might want to say different things to different people at different times, as is held by theologians embracing polysemy.

    There are a lot of good articles on divine hiddeness. However, I have noticed that they seem to take the individual as the universal standard for judging divine hiddeness. However, the view from the Bible would tend to suggest something more corporate and world historic.

    Knowing that man is categorically unable to fulfill God's commands without ongoing assistance, perhaps God is more focused on setting the historical conditions in which man comes to freely fulfill his purpose?

    The Biblical narrative is that God did dwell with his people in a quite obvious way, telling them what to do in explicit terms. This did not stop them from turning to idols and disregarding God, wronging each other, etc. This seems plausible to me as far as people go.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    2. Early Christians were willing to die for their belief in the content of the New TestamentBrendan Golledge

    Perhaps that is mostly a matter of folklore.

    https://www.bartehrman.com/how-did-the-apostles-die/
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    1. There are historical elements to the testimony in the New TestamentBrendan Golledge

    There are many historical elements to the Iliad, yet no one today believes that Diomedes clashed swords with Ares or slapped Aphrodite. No one even believes most of the non-supernatural elements, such as Achilles slaying Hector or the funerary games, everybody thinks those are fiction. Back then, some believed the Iliad was an accurate depiction of the events told.

    2. Early Christians were willing to die for their belief in the content of the New TestamentBrendan Golledge

    Early muslims and modern muslims were and are willing to die for their belief. And?

    "In 1997, William Ryan, Walter Pitman, Petko Dimitrov, and their colleagues first published the Black Sea deluge hypothesis. They proposed that a catastrophic inflow of Mediterranean seawater into the Black Sea freshwater lake occurred around 7600 years ago, c. 5600 BC"Brendan Golledge

    And to this day this hypothesis has not been proven. Even if it were, it is still likely that Hebrew mythology is just borrowing from Mesopotamian mythology.

    nonchristian sources agree on some of the main points, such as that Jesus was crucifiedBrendan Golledge

    What non-Christian source says that Jesus was crucified?
  • BitconnectCarlos
    1.8k
    From the late 1800s to the latter half of the 20th century biblical scholars "knew" there had been a Council of Jamnia in the late first century where the Hebrew canon was fixed in response to Christianity. Now this is a theory embraced by virtually no one. But the rise and fall of such theories has little to do with new evidence, and more with arguments over the same old evidence, which gain currency.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Such a meeting did happen and canon was debated, but we now understand that Jewish canon formation was a process rather than a single fixed event. Certain later texts such as Daniel or Esther were likely discussed at these meetings, but the Torah had been fixed/canonized since the Persian period. By 100 AD canon is largely fixed with only a few later texts being debated. Jamnia/Yavneh is documented in Jewish sources.

    Paul's letters are widely taken to be the earliest Christian sources though, which makes the temporal argument seem a bit off. Luke is coming significantly later, perhaps after John, and in any event Luke taken with Acts shows Jesus as quite divine.Count Timothy von Icarus

    I get that, and I'm no NT scholar... Paul's letters are from the 50s? I understand Paul has his revelation in 33-36 yet never meets Jesus in the flesh. I don't know when along this time period Jesus becomes God in Paul's mind.

    In any case, it seems prima facie unlikely to me that in this late second temple period that an educated Jewish preacher would preach and convince his largely Jewish audience that he was indeed God/Adonai -- the one who had talked to Moses and Abraham and Adam. I could be wrong about this. Other messiahs do exist -- Cyrus the great was a messiah. I believe King David was as well who the gospel writers link to Jesus in a likely reference to the prophecy at the end of 2 Samuel. God tells David that he will raise up one of his kin and that "I will be a father to him, and he will be to me a son." I could be wrong about this, but if I had to guess I would throw in with Ehrman that Jesus's divinity came after the death of Jesus.
  • BC
    13.2k
    "Mind the gap!"

    Biblical studies are fascinating, partly because there is a critical gap between the content of the New Testament and the events which may have inspired the various authors that cannot now be illuminated, if it ever could have been. This isn't a significant barrier for most believers, while being catnip for scholars.

    The real Jesus may not be represented in the Gospels (all sorts of biographical pieces are missing) and that's not a barrier to most believers either, because each believer conjures up the Jesus they need. Believers do the same thing for God.

    In all, an excellent thread for Holy Week.
  • javi2541997
    5k
    If it's entirely fabricated, then why is it universally accepted that Jesus was baptized and crucified?Brendan Golledge

    In addition to the argument of @Alkis Piskas that a believer would blindly follow whatever the Holy Book says, I disagree when you state that the crucifixion and baptism of Jesus Christ is 'universally' accepted. This is not true and this is even the cause of why the Christian religion (and other religions) split apart into different factions.

    For example:

    Islam: The Quran says in Surah An-Nisa [Ch 004: Verse 157] "And because of their saying, 'We killed Messiah ʿĪsā, son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allāh', – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts.

    Manichaeism (a Gnostic religion): Adhered to the idea that not Jesus, but somebody else was crucified instead. Jesus suffering on the cross is depicted as the state of light particles (spirit) within matter instead.

    The Sharfadin also believe that: Jesus is thought of as a "figure of light" who could not be crucified...

    So, no. It is not universally accepted that Jesus was crucified. :smile:
  • Alkis Piskas
    2.1k

    Hi, Javi!

    If it's entirely fabricated, then why is it universally accepted that Jesus was baptized and crucified?
    — Brendan Golledge
    I disagree when you state that the crucifixion and baptism of Jesus Christ is 'universally' accepted. This is not true and this is even the cause of why the Christian religion (and other religions) split apart into different factions.
    javi2541997
    Good point. I certainly agree. Breadnan used the word "universally", as if everyone on the planet was a Christian! Well, Christianity, even if it is the largest religion in the world --it forms about 30% of the major religious groups-- it is far from being "universal".

    So, no. It is not universally accepted that Jesus was crucified. :smile:javi2541997
    Certainly not. And I would add that even if one accepts Jesus crucifixion as an historical event, his resurrection is quite a controversial if not a fake story --outside Christianity-- without which Christianity, at least as we know it, would not exist. It would be much better if it were built based on and around the human side of Jesus, as a teacher, as is the case with Buddhism.
  • javi2541997
    5k
    Breadnan used the word "universally", as if everyone on the planet was a Christian! Well, Christianity, even if it is the largest religion in the world --it forms about 30%Alkis Piskas

    Yes, Brendan believes in something which has been the subject of controversy for centuries. Even amongst Christians there is a big debate about whether the crucifixion actually happened, or if it is just a 'metaphor' of the Bible (like the rest of the references to Jesus in that Holy Book). Honestly, I can't think of anything which is universally accepted. Even the shape of the Earth has its own denials: flat-earthers, etc. :grin:

    Certainly not. And I would add that even if one accepts Jesus crucifixion as an historical event, his resurrection is quite a controversial if not a fake storyAlkis Piskas

    I agree. The resurrection of Jesus was written by the Gospel authors, so the credit and reliability are low. For Christians, this is the biggest mystery of their religion. But... it doesn't go beyond just that. A faith, a mystery, a belief, etc. They are free to believe in the Resurrection, but it is hardly accepted outside Christianity. Even other religions (like Judaism) reject that part of the Bible.


    It would be much better if it were built based on and around the human side of Jesus, as a teacher, as is the case with Buddhism.Alkis Piskas

    True! Like Kazantzakis purposes in his magnificent books. It is sad that the only image of Jesus is the one that appears in the Gospels. When Jesus of Nazareth was a real person and it would have been interesting to know more about his persona.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k


    Right, but it isn't just St. Paul.

    St. Peter includes Christ right amidst the Father and the Holy Spirit in his doxology in his first letter. He then tells his people explicitly that their salvation lies in their faith in Christ. They are to be obedient to Christ, who is "the guardian and shepherd" of their souls. He tells them the to "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts," "lord" here being the same word used for Adonai, the Father. Christ, who has been elect from "before the foundation of the world."

    Peter follows up the appeal to keep Christ as "Lord in your hearts" by seeming to describe Christ descending into Hell to redeem souls (a theme he talks about elsewhere, as does Paul). Then he refers to Christ to whom "angels and authorities and powers are subject."


    The second letter is even more explicit, opening with and appeal to "the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ," although opinion on Petrine authorship on this one is more divided (possibly not, or possibly it is a paraphrase by a different scribe since much material is the same but the style is different).

    St. James likewise appeals to "our glorious Lord Jesus Christ," and appeals to "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Jesus himself also uses "the kingdom of God," and "the kingdom of heaven," interchangeably with "my kingdom" in the Gospels at any rate.

    I am not sure how "prima facie" these appear to be the works of people who do not think Jesus is divine, even if it doesn't rule out something like Arianism (Jesus as created or somehow subordinate to God the Father). Peter would have to not be the author of either letter, and James not the author of James. But for various reasons, I Peter and and James are often dated at or before any of the Gospels. So unless these are pushed up significantly this leaves the earliest Christian texts as the letters of Paul, Peter, and James, who all seem to think Jesus has dominion in heaven and should be referred to as Lord next to the Father, etc.

    But of course the synoptic Gospels also place the Son with the Father and Holy Spirit (at Jesus' own listing). Jesus accepts worship from men in them. In them Jesus claims "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," that he will judge the dead, that he will be seated with God's throne in allusions in Ezekiel and Daniel, etc.

    Revelation has probably the most solid date of the NT books because it can be situated during Domitian's reign. In Revelation, Christ is clearly divine. Dating for the Gospels overlaps this period though, but even if you head towards the earlier range, the gap is 10-20 years, maybe thirty for early datings of Mark and late datings of Revelation. Thirty years might be enough for that sort of shift, but Jesus going from a teacher in the equivalent of 2014 to the obvious king of heaven in the equivalent of 2024?

    This is why I find the thesis implausible. The various ranges for composition and authorship of the texts all have to line up "just so," to be even somewhat plausible, and even then it would still seem that most of the earliest sources have clear references to the divinity of Christ.

    What the Apostles thought before they wrote anything is of course pure supposition. Any window into their thoughts starts with the Epistles and Gospels, and here Jesus hardly seems to be a preacher or even another prophet. James even goes out of his way to point out that Elijah, was "just a man" like the partitioners, in a contrast to the "Lord Christ."

    ---

    A more interesting question IMO is the status of the understanding of the Son as Divine Logos. This is most obvious in John 1 with its allusion to Genesis 1 and God's speaking being into existence and in John's letters, but then Colossians 1 (Paul) dovetails with it fairly well. Less obvious, I Peter seems to be possibly conflating Christ with the word/utterance of God, but the Greek term is different from logos so the exact connection is less clear. I am not aware of any potential Divine Word references in James.

    This idea has profound implications for how Christianity interacted with philosophy in general and Platonist thought in particular, as the Logos can be the incarnated principle of divine ideas in general (Eriugena, St. Maximus, etc.).
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    then why is it universally accepted that Jesus was baptized and crucified?Brendan Golledge

    It is not. It is not even universally accepted that Jesus existed.

    If it's religious fiction, then why did the disciples die for it?Brendan Golledge

    I could easily find a news piece about someone who killed himself over some piece of fiction like Harry Potter.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    The disciples knew that they were going to be persecuted, and apparently, most of them were tortured to death.Brendan Golledge
    There is no reliable evidence of disciples being tortured to death for their beliefs about Jesus. There was sporadic persecution by Rome for Christian's failures to give tribute to the state gods, and Nero used Christians as scapegoats for fires.

    On the Reliability of Eye-Witness Testimony:Brendan Golledge
    What eyewitness testimony? The earliest Gospel was written ~5 decades after Jesus death by educated Greek speakers outside Palestine, not by his illiterate, Aramaic speaking disciples. There were stories being ciculated orally, some probably based on actual anecdotal accounts, but with legendary elements added. Also bear in mind the Gospels are not independent accounts: Matthew & Luke were largely copied from Mark and a source of alleged sayings of Jesus'.

    Possible Explanation of Some MiraclesBrendan Golledge
    Jesus seems to have had a reputation for faith healing and exorcisms. That does not entail actual miracles.

    The bottom line: you give to much credence to the Gospels. Critical NT scholars extract some likely history; e.g. Jesus lived and was executed by crucifixion for Treason or sedition; he was probably an apocalyptic prophet, preaching the imminent end of the then-current world order and establishment of a "Kingdom of God" on earth.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    1.8k


    even then it would still seem that most of the earliest sources have clear references to the divinity of Christ.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Yes, the earliest sources generally dating to the 50s. If we're being generous the late 40s in the case of James. So roughly 15 years between the death of Jesus and the first epistles claiming divinity. 9-10 years in the absolute best case taking 36 AD as his death year.

    All of these earliest Christian sources occur after the resurrection which is taken as absolute, undeniable truth. Death itself has been defeated. There were other miracle workers at this time but who else has conquered death?

    What the Apostles thought before they wrote anything is of course pure supposition.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Yet we know they were Jews. The messiah coming is one thing; for a Jew to believe God is walking here on Earth is another. From memory, the gospels do mention that Jesus's vision was not unlimited; there were things he did not see like who tugged on his robe. Maybe that was just him knowingly adopting a limited human form. If he truly did conquer death and rose after the third day then all bets are off.

    Yet God does seemingly walk among Adam and Eve in Eden. He also visits Abraham in human form in Gen. 18. One thing I notice about Jesus is his affinity for Genesis or at least the ideas and themes present in Genesis (e.g. naturalism, hierarchy reversal, conceptions of cleanliness/uncleanliness). He beckons to a time before Moses.

    As for the point on Logos you've lost me. Once God gets divided into 3 you've lost me.

    EDIT: Regarding Logos, when I was a philosophy undergrad I was taught Logos meant "reason" or "the word." I understand that by gLuke, Jesus is identified with Logos -- I always just interpreted this as saying that Jesus's words were pure, absolute truth. Perfect sense. This is my understanding but it is likely superficial ("prima facie" :lol: ) because I wasn't born, raised, or educated as a Christian or a Greek apart from a few college philosophy courses.

    I was reading Nahum Sarna today on Genesis 1 and he rejects the notion of treating God's fiat -- his creation speech -- as a "magic word" but rather as an expression of his divine will. If Logos is to be found in the bible perhaps book of Job would be a better example? That is, a dialogue between a limited human observer and all knowing God who powerfully responds to the human's questions. But it is through poetry.
  • Brendan Golledge
    82
    I haven't done much research myself and I'm mostly going off testimony of scholars. Based on this, it is nigh impossible that the existence of Jesus was a myth. The wikipedia page on the Historicity of Jesus says, "Virtually all scholars dismiss theories of Jesus's non-existence or regard them as refuted.[note 1] In modern scholarship, the Christ myth theory is a fringe theory and finds virtually no support from scholars." People arguing with me that Jesus is like Spiderman or Harry Potter are just not familiar with the research that has been done on this subject.

    So yes, among people who actually know what they are talking about, it's universally accepted that Jesus at least existed and was crucified.
  • javi2541997
    5k
    We didn't deny the existence of Jesus (at least me). You are mixing up two different premises. That the existence of Jesus leads unavoidably to his crucifixion. Thus, without the crucifixion, we couldn't hold the existence of Jesus. Well, this is a fallacy. It is obvious that we all can agree on the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. I promise I don't deny this. But... What comes afterward of Jesus' death is a big mystery written by the apostles, and they left many non-answered questions.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    People arguing with me that Jesus is like Spiderman or Harry Potter are just not familiar with the research that has been done on this subject.

    So yes, among people who actually know what they are talking about, it's universally accepted that Jesus at least existed and was crucified.
    Brendan Golledge

    Sure. But I don't think anyone is arguing that Jesus is just like Spiderman. That's a misrepresentation. The point made earlier was that when Christians say that New Testament must be true because reference is made to real geography in the stories, this is unconvincing. The aforementioned superhero comics are set in New York. Myths are often set in real locations. It is not good evidence - nevertheless Christians regularly make this argument.

    There seems to be agreement that there may have been a preacher or two who inspired the stories and myths. But we have no reliable information about what took place and what the teachings might have been. The mythicists hold a more extreme position which can't be demonstrated.
  • Lionino
    1.4k
    The wikipedia page on the Historicity of Jesus saysBrendan Golledge

    Yeah, it is w*k*pedia. It is full of junk. The scholarly reality is different from a webpage that tries to pass the opinion of Christian theologians as "historical consensus".

    BitconnEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEct :party:
12Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment