Sophisticated Theology: A Deception to the Church

TGBaker
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Sophisticated Theology: A Deception to the Church

Jesus was an apocalyptic teacher who was seen to perform miracles. He was elevated in one circle of followers to being virgin born. Paul cast him in an ahistorical Hellenistic Savior myth. Another segment of the movement continued as Jewish followers who expected his return but did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus was god or divine. The Jewish Christian traditions about Jesus become elevated with the Johannine Hellenistic Logos Christology.

The Jerusalem Church developed into the Ebionites and continued to wait for Jesus to return in "their lifetime" with the resurrection of all the saints. They did not believe in the virgin birth and saw Jesus as a mortal. The Ebionite movement was wiped out pretty much in the second revolt under Simon ben Kokba. Neo-platonic thought moved another aspect of Jewish thought with the help of the Johannine literature toward Gnosticism and Mystery Cultism( Paul). Logos Christology became predominate in the second century while Paul's writings became old hat. Marcion rejected the Jewish background of god and created the first Christian bible. Other groups of churches reacted against Marcion and Paul's writings came back into popularity as well as the pseudepigraphical ones attributed to Paul and Peter/Jude and John. Various forms of Christianity competed with each other creating more and more writings attributed to the Apostles. The gospels were attributed to Matthew , Mark, Luke and John. Jesus became more and more divine and everybody got together and created a bunch of trinity theories. The politicians won.

Historical researchers in this field generally see Jesus as a wandering Cynic teacher spouting out words of wisdom and folk philosophy. It does seem to be the core of what developed into Christianity and the hypothetical document Q. Jesus was a human who came from Galilee. Galilee was the only area in Palestine that was forcefully converted to Judaism. Even so only 50% of the population was Jewish. Rabbi Hannina ben Dosa and Honi the Circle Drawer were very similar characters to Jesus. Simon ben Dosa called god Abba like Jesus ( meaning Daddy instead of a reverential “father” ). He spoke openly with women as Jesus did.

The reason that historians posit these as historical is because they are contrary to the believing Jewish or Christian movement. You can see evidence that the church tried to cover up the fact that Jesus was baptized as others to get rid of sin. Historical Jesus research is a discipline to explain the sociological development of what became Christianity ... what historical kernel was the catalyst for all the mythic construction. It is commonly understood that the bible is mythic in seminaries and theological schools like Princeton, Yale, Emory, Vanderbilt. The bridge from Theological school and seminary to the church and its members is “teach it as truth and avoid the lack of factual basis.” So statements are demythologized and taken into a philosophical meaning rather than a grounded factual historical meaning. Virgin birth does not really mean a women had a child and was a virgin. It becomes a story to honor Jesus as both god and man. So you have pure historical work. Then the theologians that try to make it still meaningful and then the preachers to present it as literal. When I was in seminary my mentor (Hendrikus Boers) who wrote, “Who Was Jesus?” was a Marxist atheist from South Africa. He would point to people like Jurgen Moltmann (theologian) as a fraud that needed to be exposed. Then there is the whole moderate movement that tries to salvage some Christianity out of the historical/critical conclusions. Crossan was on the Jesus Seminar team. He knows Jesus was simply a person who got into trouble and was removed from being an irritation. The people who cared about where Jesus was buried did not know where he was buried. The people who did know where he was buried (communal grave) did not care.

Sophisticated Theology affirms the historical conclusions of historical/critical research as well as science but as with the trend since the neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann wish to convert the theological and ethical meaning of the unhistorical scripture into eternal and continued truths for the church. The stories become no more than hyper-fables. And some of their truths are dangerous to our culture.

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Great revealing posts

 

TG - thanks for taking the time...

 

 

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Interesting article TG

I enjoyed reading that.


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Thanks guys.I was asked by

Thanks guys.

I was asked by John Loftus to write some articles for his blog.  He is the author of such books as The Christian Delusion, Why I am Not A Christian, and the soon to be released The End of Christianity.  I thought that I should share  my stuff with my home base.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

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TG,I was wondering what your

TG,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on just what evidence or testimony there is in the Bible for the bodily resurrection of Jesus?

Seems to me a key, if not THE key issue in critiquing the story for credibility in terms of pointing to some sort of 'divinity' of Jesus.

AFAICS, the main part of the narrative to be addressed here are the claimed meeting(s) with Jesus after the Crucifixion - the 'empty tomb' stuff has many alternative mundane explanations.

Based on your extensive background in this material, I would love to hear how you see it, perhaps on a new thread.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Very interesting stuff, TG.

Very interesting stuff, TG. I'd like to hear more about those guys from Gallilee, Hannina (Simon?) ben Dosa and Honi. What kind of documentations exists about them?


 

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BobSpence1 wrote:TG,I was

BobSpence1 wrote:

TG,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on just what evidence or testimony there is in the Bible for the bodily resurrection of Jesus?

Seems to me a key, if not THE key issue in critiquing the story for credibility in terms of pointing to some sort of 'divinity' of Jesus.

AFAICS, the main part of the narrative to be addressed here are the claimed meeting(s) with Jesus after the Crucifixion - the 'empty tomb' stuff has many alternative mundane explanations.

Based on your extensive background in this material, I would love to hear how you see it, perhaps on a new thread.

Hi Bob.  When I was graduating from Bible College I wrote a paper on the problem of any historical validity to the Gospel accounts of th resurrection. An ethics professor at the college read the paper and ask me to start a study with him a night or so a week. We both wound up changing to philosophy at Georgia State.  If you compare the four accounts you will see they do all sorts of different things as far as changing witnesses and what happened. The best thing to do is compare each account to Mark and see hwat has changed. These a re mostly theological changes to make the event more significant or dramatic. John for example changes when Jesus dies in Matthew to the time when the Passover Lambs are being slaughtered. The obvious reason is an attempt to see Jesus as a once and far all sacrifice and the lamb of God. 

If one goes through Paul's writings there is little historical but a passage that lists who saw Jesus first I Cor. 25:3ff:

 

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

 

This seems to be almost a formula often repeated perhaps in churches when you read the whole passage.  Notice that Paul speaks of the event as an appearance and describes it that way elsewhere: Galatians 1:11

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

 

Acts 9:1 ff

And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven: and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: but rise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but beholding no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and did neither eat nor drink.

 

He does not differentiate his vision from the earlier disciples. That is why I am fond of calling this an early ghost story.  Paul speaks about a different type of resurrection body. A second Body!!!

I Cor 15:1ff

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

   If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man.

 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

 

So it is a spiritual body not flesh type body.

 

This is conjectural but the import of the Last Supper seems to be an aspect of the resurrection.  The original followers thought that Jesus as a mortal would return with a general resurrection as Messiah to bring in the Kingdom of God.  Matthew tries to deflate this by having a general resurrection occur at jesus's death.  If he knew he was going to be arrested and executed then he probably did tell his friends that he would see them again in the resurrection. Jesus may never have intended to be thought of as messiah. In Mark we have what is called the Messianic secret. The one time Messiah is attributed to jesus he tells Peter to shut up.  His disciples hoped at least that he was the messiah.  His teachings must have been very charismatic. They regained their faith after he died and waited for him to return.

 

Paul comes to believe the story and finds it best interpreted through the mystery cults of the hellenistic culture.  The rest is history. Jesus rose into his own story.

 

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TGBaker
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natural wrote:Very

natural wrote:

Very interesting stuff, TG. I'd like to hear more about those guys from Gallilee, Hannina (Simon?) ben Dosa and Honi. What kind of documentations exists about them?

 

 

It's been since the 80's natural.  But he is quoted in the Mishna.  Most of my work on him as related to the historical jesus was from Geza Vermes who was also my favorite Dead Sea Scrolls scholar.  I did some research with Hendrikus Boers on him and Honi the Circle Drawer. If you google enough you can find some grat Jewish scholarship on them.  The point of my research was that Galilee was the only area forcefully converted to Judaism. And at the time of Jesus and ben Dosa the population was stilll 50% Gentile. Keeping Kosher was not easy. Plus as a trade route you got exposed to Cynics that wandered and a lot of progressive Hellemism.  I think these guys like the Samaratans were not well thought of as Jews by the Jerusalem snobs.  Thus we find Galalean sympathy in the New testament for the Samaratans.  We do not hear of the Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls in the New Testament but like the Samaratans they had quit going to the temple for worship and had formed their own methods of keepoing holy like daily baptism. My speculation is that the Baptist and Jesus both spoke against the temple and were offering baptism as preparation for the Apocalypse.


 

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 Very interesting TG, thank

 Very interesting TG, thank you for sharing all this.