Jump to content

Christianity's Origins - The Despair Of War


Recommended Posts

I found the following in The Jesus Seminars, concerning Christian origins. Contributions to the Jesus Seminars, requires a PhD in Biblical Studies, so it's pretty scholarly stuff. A case is made that I found extraordinary and very probable concerning Christian origins.

 

In about ten years of trying to connect the dots, going from an HJ (Historical Jesus) to a completely different “Pauline” theology a few years later, and then back to Mark, I have seen a disconnect. The pieces don’t fit. ("Paul" was later, for one thing.)They do, however, seem to converge at the end of the Jewish Roman War, with a Yeshua created like a phoenix from the rubble of the temple. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Roman army headed north, terrorizing diaspora Jews along the way. If we look at Caesara Philippi as the possible origin for the writing of Mark, as Ted Weeden Jr. has presented the case for (Seminar Papers Fall 2003), there might have been much room for despair. I want to give several examples from Jospephus’ War, in which he talks about the victors of the Jewish Roman war and what they did following the war.

 

In Book 7.1, Josephus relates this about Cesarea Philippi: “… and here a great number of captives were destroyed, some being thrown to wild beasts, and others in multitudes forced to kill one another, as if they were enemies.” Can you imagine the way the Jews felt?

 

Continuing with 7.3, “While Titus was in Cesarea, he solemnized the birthday of his brother [Domitan]after a splendid manner, and inflicted a great deal of the punishment intended for the Jews in honor of him: for the number of those that were now slain in fighting with the beasts, and were burnt, and fought with one another, exceeded two thousand five hundred. Yet did all this seem to the Romans, when they were thus destroying ten thousand several ways, to be a punishment beneath their desires. After this, Caesar came to Berytus, which is a city of Phoenicia, and a Roman colony, and stayed there a longer time, and exhibited a still more pompous solemnity about his father’s birthday, both in the magnificence of the shows, and in the other vast expenses, he was at in his devices thereto belonging; so that a great magnitude of the captives were here destroyed in the same manner as before.”

 

Then, in the same chapter, Josephus focuses on the brutality meted out in Antioch, where the fiction of Acts has the first “Christians” called this, where obviously they shouldn’t have fallen beneath his radar… but did. “They [citizens of Antioch] did also fall violently upon the multitude of the Jews, as supposing, that by punishing them suddenly, they should save their own city… As for Antiochus himself…became a severe master over his own citizens, not permitting them to rest on the seventh day… and to that degree of distress did he reduce them in this matter… the seventh day was dissolved not only at Antioch, but the same thing which took thence its rise was done in other cities also, in like manner, for some small time.”

 

Later, 7.10.1 “When Masada was taken… many Jews were slain at Alexandria in Egypt.”

 

War is dated in the early 70’s. This was the timeframe of Mark. Jerusalem? It was leveled, giving just a hint for people to realize how great it might have been and of how great the Romans were. This is the appropriate backdrop, I believe, for a new interpretation as radical as Christianity to be imagined and created, a religion that, in order to survive, morphed into a religion that took on many characteristics of the religions of its time and which presented a “slain messiah,” a “suffering servant” as the messenger of God, presenting a message of a new kingdom, a different, non-threatening kingdom. In Mark, there is a search of the TNK for a worthy hero. We have a character pieced from there, from Judas the Galilean, Jesus son of Ananias and others in a story about how God had once again abandoned Israel because of its failure “to have ears and hear.” With hints of mystery religions, it was too radical for the rabbis (Pharisees) and most Jews. But, it was enticing over the next few decades for Gentiles who longed for the community the mysteries didn’t provide. Thus, I think Christianity came into being from the despair of the war, not necessarily from a historical person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found the following in The Jesus Seminars, concerning Christian origins. Contributions to the Jesus Seminars, requires a PhD in Biblical Studies, so it's pretty scholarly stuff. A case is made that I found extraordinary and very probable concerning Christian origins.

Who was the author of this? I'm not sure why he is putting the writings of Paul after 70 AD? That seems a little late from what most place them at. I believe the majority of them were written before then. He is correct about the backdrop for the Gospel of Mark. I like this little bit from someone else about that below:

In Mark's story, Jesus is buried in a tomb. Mark's original ending of the gospel does not contain an account of the resurrection; that ending, now contained in the gospel of the New Testament, was added by a later author. Mark ended his work on a stark note. Two women enter the tomb, and they see a young man dressed in white. He explains that Jesus has been raised, and he instructs the women to tell Peter and the other disciples. The women flee in terror.

 

What message did Mark intend to send to his audience? Scholars do not agree. Some argue that Mark deliberately constructs a bleak and frightening picture because that was the experience of the people for whom Mark composed his work. Elaine Pagels offers a different interpretation: "And the last words of the original gospel are 'and they were terrified.' It would be very bad news if it weren't that underneath this rather dark story is an enormous hope . . . that this very promising story and its terrible anguished ending is nevertheless not the ending. That there's a mystery in it, a divine mystery of God's revelation that will happen yet. And I think it's that sense of hope that is deeply appealing."

 

I find that an interesting take on it considering the audience and what was possibly behind his choices in writing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found the following in The Jesus Seminars, concerning Christian origins. Contributions to the Jesus Seminars, requires a PhD in Biblical Studies, so it's pretty scholarly stuff. A case is made that I found extraordinary and very probable concerning Christian origins.

 

Can you send along a link for this, please?

 

Thanks.

 

-CC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.westarinstitute.org/index.html

 

I followed the link they have for disscussions on beliefnet. I was looking through some of their discussions and found this in the past disscussions. It will take me some time to locate it again.

 

The Jesus Seminar discussion group, found on Beliefnet, provides a forum for people to enter into dialogue with Westar Fellows, through the Resident Scholar program, with other Associate Members and with other interested parties throughout the world who share an enthusiasm for the scholarship of religion.

Westar Associates and the world wide audience of Beliefnet, come from a variety of religious and non-religious traditions, careers, and locales. What brings them together is their shared interest in learning more about scholarly critical research on the Historical Jesus and other research projects of Westar, such as the Acts Seminar, the Christian Origins Project of the Jesus Seminar and the Westar Leaders Seminar.

 

Here is the link to their discussions. The post was made by a MisterC.

 

http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/discussion...p?boardID=99403

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.westarinstitute.org/index.html

 

I followed the link they have for disscussions on beliefnet. I was looking through some of their discussions and found this in the past disscussions. It will take me some time to locate it again.

 

The Jesus Seminar discussion group, found on Beliefnet, provides a forum for people to enter into dialogue with Westar Fellows, through the Resident Scholar program, with other Associate Members and with other interested parties throughout the world who share an enthusiasm for the scholarship of religion.

Westar Associates and the world wide audience of Beliefnet, come from a variety of religious and non-religious traditions, careers, and locales. What brings them together is their shared interest in learning more about scholarly critical research on the Historical Jesus and other research projects of Westar, such as the Acts Seminar, the Christian Origins Project of the Jesus Seminar and the Westar Leaders Seminar.

 

Here is the link to their discussions. The post was made by a MisterC.

 

http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/discussion...p?boardID=99403

 

Muchas gracias, Taphophilia.

 

-CC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.