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The Newly Found Book Of Judas


Amanda
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I found Elaine Pagel's interview concerning the Book of Judas very interesting. She has been a religous scholar for forty years and is a Religion professor at Princeton University. She also is a published author. I will make my first post on here a copy of the interview and the site it is located. I want to copy and paste it here, because that site often changes these after only a week. I hope Kevin doesn't get mad at me for this... :Look:

 

The Book of Judas seems to be in conflict with traditional Christianity in many ways. :wicked:

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Amanda,

 

Cut 'n paste to hearts content. We need a link to the material for Fair Use considerations and hopefully avoiding copyright problems.

The use of materials posted on net for educational purposes is allowed under several uS Kort rulings, as long as we aren't making money, or charging fees for others to see/use/read posting is OK.

 

kL

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The site this interview can be found is here.

 

I know Kevin doesn't like for us to waste space (bandwidth?) however, I have seen this site change its articles every week, so if I just reference the site, it may not even be there in a few days. So, I am going to put a copy here, unless someone can give me a better idea. I took the opportunity to highlight some aspects I found most interesting. Hopefully I will hear your POV too. :)

 

FINDING MY RELIGION

Religious scholar Elaine Pagels on how the newly discovered Gospel of Judas sheds new light on the dawn of Christianity

 

He's been despised for 20 centuries -- Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver.

 

But in April 2006 the National Geographic Society revealed the contents of the Gospel of Judas, a manuscript that had been misplaced for nearly 1,700 years. It casts Judas as Jesus' beloved friend, the man whom Jesus chose to ensure the biblical prophecies concerning his death would be fulfilled.

 

The Gospel of Judas may be, as it's been described by some biblical scholars, the most significant archeological find in decades, but it's certainly not easy reading. Luckily, we now have a guide to the often convoluted text, "Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity" (Viking, March 2007) by Elaine Pagels, a religion professor at Princeton University and author of the "Gnostic Gospels" (2004), and translator Karen King.

 

"Reading Judas" allows modern readers to decode the message in the Gospel of Judas, which presents a provocative view of how Jesus' followers tried to make sense of his death. It also raises questions about whether the resurrection was a physical or a spiritual one -- and why that matters in regard to both faith and hard truth.

 

I spoke to Pagels by phone last week about her take on the Gospel of Judas, how it offers a window into the dirty politics and lively debate that shaped the Christian religion in its earliest days before 325 AD -- when the Council of Nicaea bought together several hundred quarreling religious leaders who eventually settled on a single creed for all Christians to follow -- and what that might mean to people in the 21st century.

 

 

 

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You've been a religious scholar for more than 40 years. Did reading the Gospel of Judas change your view of Christianity?

Yes, certainly. All of these recently discovered texts show that the early history of Christianity is much more engaging and diverse than I'd ever imagined.

 

Just to give you one example: They show that the teaching about Jesus dying for your sins -- because God cannot forgive sins without sacrificing his only Son -- is not the only way to be a Christian.

 

It isn't? I had thought that idea was central to Christianity.

 

That's what many Christian leaders claim. But the Gospel of Judas challenges that view and suggests that the fundamental message of Jesus is that we come from God, created in God's image; when we die and leave the visible world, we step into the infinite world of God, into the divine light, and we go into that glorious light with God. How that happens it doesn't say, any more than Paul does when he talks about resurrection. But it's a conviction that's fundamental to this Gospel. And it's a very different way to look at Christianity.

 

This Gospel also presents a very different view of Judas himself, casting him as Jesus' collaborator rather than his betrayer.

 

Right. But if you look at the Gospel of John, there is an account that says the night before Jesus died that he not only knew what Judas was doing but told him to do it. Jesus turns to Judas and says, "What you have to do, do quickly." And Judas goes out to set in motion the events that will lead to the crucifixion. So some people have concluded, if this had to happen and Jesus knew it had to happen and accepted this sort of terrible death, then isn't Judas in a way facilitating what had to happen in the divine scheme of things? That's been a question asked since the first century.

 

And what answers have people come up with?

 

The suggestion in the Gospel of Judas is that Judas alone knew the truth of Jesus and was entrusted with a mission to hand him over to the people who arrested him. It's interesting that in this book the Greek word that was elsewhere translated into English as "betrayal" is actually a more neutral word that means "to hand over." The point is that Judas indeed did hand Jesus over to the people who arrested him, but he did so because Jesus had not only asked him but required him to do it.

 

How much do we know about the person who wrote this Gospel?

 

We don't know much. Whoever wrote it is probably an anonymous Christian in the second century who takes issue with the following three things: 1) that Jesus died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, 2) that God wants and needs this sacrifice in order to forgive sin and 3) that we should act out that sacrifice in the Eucharist or the Mass or the Lord's Supper as the central act of Christian worship. This particular Christian is taking issue with this whole paradigm that is very familiar to us from the second century of Christianity.

 

How does he view God?

 

His view is that God is a loving God, a loving Father, not a bloodthirsty kind of God that desires human sacrifice. Nor does he want his followers to die for him, as some church fathers say.

 

What we also find here is that questions about the Gospels and disputes between Christians are not new. They are really the way that Christianity has always been.

 

Given all those disputes, how do you discern what is spiritually true?

 

That's the hardest question in the history of Christianity. That's why orthodoxy was invented, to say: "Let me give you a shortcut. Go to the bishop. Go to the priests, and they will tell you."

 

They will sort it all out for you, you mean?

 

Yes. That's what religious authority is all about. I'm working on a book right now on the Book of Revelation and other books of revelation in which that is the chief question that dominates the awareness of Christians between the first and second centuries. There are many, many books of revelation and the question is, Which ones are true and genuine, and which ones are frauds -- and how do you tell the difference? There is no easy answer. I think that's the deepest question there is in theology right now.

 

Remember that in the early centuries, the Bible wasn't a set canon. In fact, the earliest canon list we have available is from the fourth century. For 300 years there was a lot of fluidity about which texts are the most important, which Gospels are true. You have Christianity flourishing and thriving for 300 years before you have the Nicene Creed and before you have a canon.

 

 

It's ironic, because some people would say that without a set creed you have no truth, no way to preserve the religion over time.

 

Certainly that was the view of Constantine, who convened the council that formulated the Nicene Creed. He felt that this kind of diversity of Christian groups was very problematic, particularly if your concern was to unify the empire. It was for that reason that the creed was formulated. But there were Christians long before the creed.

 

What has been the response to the Gospel of Judas?

 

It's been enormously interesting. We haven't had a new Gospel like this for 50 years, and certainly not one with material this strange and fascinating. And it raises important issues. One of them is about how we understand the death of Jesus, whether it was something that God actually required before he would forgive sins. The author of the Gospel of Judas thinks that's a very brutal view of God.

 

You brought that up earlier, but we didn't really discuss it. Tell me more about that.

 

The author says: "If you say Christ died for your sins, that this is evidence of God's love, are you saying that God would not or could not forgive human sins without a bloody human sacrifice?"

 

A friend of mine, who was a Christian missionary in an evangelical group, told me that she went to see Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," and when she did, she was moved to weeping because it made her feel that God loved humankind that much. Now, somebody could ask, and I think the author of the Gospel of Judas would ask: "But what kind of God do you imagine? Is God not a loving Father? Doesn't God send Jesus to heal and save and deliver people from horrible death? Would he actually require Jesus to die before he would forgive sinful humanity their sins?"

 

How did that idea become central to Christian thought?

 

The fact was that Jesus was executed in a terrible way and his followers, in order to maintain their faith, said: "There has to be a meaning in it. What could it mean?" And because they were Jews, they immediately thought, "This must be some kind of offering, like the animals that are offered in the temple." So it's a natural kind of image to use because worship of that time was [intrinsically connected to] sacrifice. But the author of the Gospel of Judas is challenging that.

 

How so?

 

The Gospel of Judas suggests that Jesus intends his death to demonstrate what he taught Judas -- that he can face death with confidence and hope, knowing that we come from God, and so when we step out of the visible world, we go into God's presence. So it's a message about how to face one's own death with courage and hope.

 

Did the new viewpoint surprise you when you first started working with this material?

 

There was a kind of angry tone to the Gospel of Judas that startled us and distressed us. It was very surprising to read of Jesus laughing at the way his followers are following him. It's as though this author were saying: "If Jesus were here now, he would laugh at you. He would reject the way you worship. He would say: 'What kind of God do you have in mind? The God that I know is a loving Father. But you are not worshiping a loving Father if you worship this way.'"

 

We are heading into Easter. Do you think this material could change the way people observe this holiday?

 

It's a good question. I think the answer is yes. I think the question some people will ask is: "What do you mean by the resurrection? Does that mean that a body actually got out of the grave, which is what some of the most dramatic stories say, the ones that are wonderfully enshrined in Easter tradition?" But if you look in the New Testament, in say, Luke 23 and John 21, you see that both Luke and John tell different accounts of how Jesus appeared. In one account, he appeared in a vision and he disappeared before they touched him, and in another he appeared in absolutely physical form. He actually ate with them. They could touch him and they could feel the wounds.

 

So there are different kinds of stories even in the canonical Gospels. And what was important to the authors of Luke and John was not to decide between those stories -- the important thing is that we know in some sense that he is alive. That the resurrection happened. And that is affirmed. But one thing we can see in these other texts is that you don't have to take the resurrection literally to take it seriously. One can speak about Jesus alive after his death with conviction without necessarily meaning that his physical body got out of the grave.

 

Do you consider yourself a Christian?

 

Yes, I consider myself a Christian. I happen to go to an Episcopal church, but I love many of the forms of Christianity. And I could as easily be in another church or another religious tradition if I'd been brought up differently. Of course, that's what some people would call heresy. But the word "heresy" in Greek actually means "choice." And that's something that certain Christian leaders thought wasn't so good. They would say there is only one teaching. But the claim that if you don't believe the specific set of things we tell you -- whoever the "we" happens to be -- God will send you into eternal fire, strikes me as inconsistent with what I know about Christian tradition.

 

What do you think about the idea that the Bible is the absolute word of God?

 

There is a Protestant view that we have to take the Bible literally, even though we are talking about translations of translations and about language which from the beginning was not literal. Jesus spoke in parables. His teaching is not meant to be literal, in many cases, as compared to the ethical teaching about "Love one another." "Love God and your neighbor" -- that, I think, is very clear and straightforward.

 

Some people who aren't religious might say we're better off without these sacred texts because people have taken them literally and the result hasn't always been positive.

 

There is no question that Christianity, like other religious traditions, has [been] and can be very effective in promoting violence. My book on the origin of Satan was about the beginning of Christian anti-Semitism. When I worked on it, I was distressed to see how deeply, how powerfully Christianity can be turned to hate as well as to love. And it's not exclusive to Christianity. It's true for other religious traditions as well.

 

How has the religious climate changed in this country since you came out with the "Gnostic Gospels"? Are people responding to this sort of material differently now?

 

Yes. I think that many more people are questioning the sources of religious authority -- whether you are talking about a literal reading of the Bible or their minister or priest. It's not that one should disbelieve the clergy or the Bible. But I think the questions about authority and the hunger for a sense of direct connection with God are more evident than they have been, partly because we are all aware of the diversity of religion and the diversity of claims within Christianity.

 

Where are you seeing this happening? In your church?

 

Among my students, in the news media, in things that I read and discussions with people all over the country and, in fact, all over the world. Don't you see something like that?

 

I do. But I also see the opposite happening. I see plenty of close-mindedness and unwillingness to entertain other points of view in the name of religion.

 

Exactly! That's right! And I think what's happening is that, you know, everybody in the world is more and more aware that each one of us is being sort of pressed up against other people who are different. And some people get curious and interested and find that intriguing. Others just want to build up stronger walls. So I think a more conservative and a more questioning perspective are happening simultaneously.

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Amanda,

 

Cut 'n paste to hearts content. We need a link to the material for Fair Use considerations and hopefully avoiding copyright problems.

The use of materials posted on net for educational purposes is allowed under several uS Kort rulings, as long as we aren't making money, or charging fees for others to see/use/read posting is OK.

 

kL

Thank you Kevin! :thanks:

 

I see where people keep posting enormous posts over and over again, and I try to be considerate of it here... cause I sure don't want you after me. Anyway, I just want to respect my very nice host's house, because I find it a wonderful place to be... mostly because of people like you. :grin:

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There is nothing new in the Gospel of Judas really, other than the alternative view of Judas, the theology is standard Gnostic and the technique of selling a new idea as having been passed down from Jesus via a non mainstream disciple is clever, but all Gnostic gospels do that. What I liked was watching the reactions of traditional xtians to this story, reminded me of the Da Vinci Code, they get all confused or angry when there nonsense is challenged by something every bit as untrue, and for once they apply critical thinking to debunk it, not realising they only have to train such standards on their own beliefs to de-convert themselves.

 

Does anyone remember Neal Gaiman's Sandman comic when Lucifer mentions the gospel of Judas, and how a cult believed Cain was also the innocent party way back in Genesis? Such contrary interpretations of scripture may turn out to be a sub-genre for certain faiths.

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I've subscribed to the sub-genre idea for some years... Take the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (written as an interpolation to Luke) in which Jesus is sexed up as a Child with the powers of God... and behaves like it... it's like a Twilight Zone episode ("Think happy thoughts...") with Jesus getting angry and shrivelling people, making clay birds live, turning kids in to pigs, and resurrecting people to testify he'd not hurt them (since he has a rep by this time) To a pagan audience, it would make perfect sense... Godly powers = capricious... I think later cults expunged the sub-genre...

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There is nothing new in the Gospel of Judas really,

AUB, I did find it interesting that 'Judas' says that if Jesus were to see the ways these 'Christians' were practicing his teachings, "Jesus" would laugh at them. I think that would even apply today.

 

If this recent find is really the tomb of "Jesus," including his son... I find it interesting that he named his son "Judas".

Does anyone remember Neal Gaiman's Sandman comic when Lucifer mentions the gospel of Judas, and how a cult believed Cain was also the innocent party way back in Genesis? Such contrary interpretations of scripture may turn out to be a sub-genre for certain faiths.

I've never heard of this comic, however, reading the myth about Cain... I didn't see him as really the bad guy either. IMO, it shows Able saying how his sacrifice to God was the right one, and Cain's was not. How Able was perfect, and Cain was not. Well, a person can only take so much of that! Of course, killing Able was not the answer.

 

I've subscribed to the sub-genre idea for some years... Take the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (written as an interpolation to Luke) in which Jesus is sexed up as a Child with the powers of God... and behaves like it... it's like a Twilight Zone episode ("Think happy thoughts...") with Jesus getting angry and shrivelling people, making clay birds live, turning kids in to pigs, and resurrecting people to testify he'd not hurt them (since he has a rep by this time) To a pagan audience, it would make perfect sense... Godly powers = capricious... I think later cults expunged the sub-genre...

I have the Gospel of Thomas book, however, it must not include the infancy of it. Perhaps with those aspects they didn't feel it would "sell" as well. However, I have heard of those stories and that they were voted out of the canonized version. Grandpa Harley, I find it interesting that they reflect Pagan philosophies, and am curious to know how they equated Godly powers with capriciousness. :thanks:

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There is nothing new in the Gospel of Judas really,

AUB, I did find it interesting that 'Judas' says that if Jesus were to see the ways these 'Christians' were practicing his teachings, "Jesus" would laugh at them. I think that would even apply today.

 

If this recent find is really the tomb of "Jesus," including his son... I find it interesting that he named his son "Judas".

Does anyone remember Neal Gaiman's Sandman comic when Lucifer mentions the gospel of Judas, and how a cult believed Cain was also the innocent party way back in Genesis? Such contrary interpretations of scripture may turn out to be a sub-genre for certain faiths.

I've never heard of this comic, however, reading the myth about Cain... I didn't see him as really the bad guy either. IMO, it shows Able saying how his sacrifice to God was the right one, and Cain's was not. How Able was perfect, and Cain was not. Well, a person can only take so much of that! Of course, killing Able was not the answer.

 

I've subscribed to the sub-genre idea for some years... Take the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (written as an interpolation to Luke) in which Jesus is sexed up as a Child with the powers of God... and behaves like it... it's like a Twilight Zone episode ("Think happy thoughts...") with Jesus getting angry and shrivelling people, making clay birds live, turning kids in to pigs, and resurrecting people to testify he'd not hurt them (since he has a rep by this time) To a pagan audience, it would make perfect sense... Godly powers = capricious... I think later cults expunged the sub-genre...

I have the Gospel of Thomas book, however, it must not include the infancy of it. Perhaps with those aspects they didn't feel it would "sell" as well. However, I have heard of those stories and that they were voted out of the canonized version. Grandpa Harley, I find it interesting that they reflect Pagan philosophies, and am curious to know how they equated Godly powers with capriciousness. :thanks:

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a distinct work from the Gospel. The two are not related. The Gospel of Thos is a tradional Aramaic sayings gospel, with no real narrative structure. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is written to be fitted into Luke, or a very similar narrative structure, Gospel.

 

Read Greek myth about just how capricious and nasty their gods and demigods were...

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The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a distinct work from the Gospel. The two are not related. The Gospel of Thos is a tradional Aramaic sayings gospel, with no real narrative structure. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is written to be fitted into Luke, or a very similar narrative structure, Gospel.

 

Read Greek myth about just how capricious and nasty their gods and demigods were...

You're right... the Gospel of Thomas book is only a collection of sayings. Thanks for the rest of the information.

 

So, were these stories of "Jesus" making a clay bird then bringing it to life, or killing a bird to bring it back to life just stories to make fun of the capricious nature of the current concept of Gods, including the OT God of those times? Was this a Pagan influence to show sarcasm of some sort? Were Pagans known more for celebrating Mother Earth as a "God"?

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The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a distinct work from the Gospel. The two are not related. The Gospel of Thos is a tradional Aramaic sayings gospel, with no real narrative structure. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is written to be fitted into Luke, or a very similar narrative structure, Gospel.

 

Read Greek myth about just how capricious and nasty their gods and demigods were...

You're right... the Gospel of Thomas book is only a collection of sayings. Thanks for the rest of the information.

 

So, were these stories of "Jesus" making a clay bird then bringing it to life, or killing a bird to bring it back to life just stories to make fun of the capricious nature of the current concept of Gods, including the OT God of those times? Was this a Pagan influence to show sarcasm of some sort? Were Pagans known more for celebrating Mother Earth as a "God"?

It was accounted as gospel by some. As far as anytone can tell, it's not a satire, but a real attempt to address a common complaint about Jesus from pagans... he was executed, rahter than killed in battle... and then they were making him a full god (then the god) so they butched him up. You have to be able to sell to people who have tougher gods than that... after all they'd know that a crucified man could last days...

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It was accounted as gospel by some. As far as anytone can tell, it's not a satire, but a real attempt to address a common complaint about Jesus from pagans... he was executed, rahter than killed in battle... and then they were making him a full god (then the god) so they butched him up. You have to be able to sell to people who have tougher gods than that... after all they'd know that a crucified man could last days...

Thanks a lot! I've wondered about those peripheral stories for years. Now I know more about the rest of the story. :thanks:

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It was accounted as gospel by some. As far as anytone can tell, it's not a satire, but a real attempt to address a common complaint about Jesus from pagans... he was executed, rahter than killed in battle... and then they were making him a full god (then the god) so they butched him up. You have to be able to sell to people who have tougher gods than that... after all they'd know that a crucified man could last days...

Thanks a lot! I've wondered about those peripheral stories for years. Now I know more about the rest of the story. :thanks:

 

I've got the first two books on The Gospel of Judas, and I've ordered up the Pagels book from The Book Depository... I'll let you know what I think.

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I just wanted to add, for Amanda, that the Infancy Gospel, is quite short so you should give it a read. It's over at earlychristianwritings.com. You should read all the variations though since it's interesting to see how the various authors emphasized different things.

 

You could also look at the story, if inserted into the larger picture, as one of growth. That even someone with great power needs to learn how to use it. However, with the type of being that jesus is supposed to be from the start (omnipotent, omnibenevolent), this concept falls flat.

 

Speaking of which I find it interesting that even 100+ years after the supposed jesus event people still aren't sure WHAT he was. The Infancy gospel knows he's heaven sent but whether he's a god or an angel or something else is unknown to them.

 

mwc

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I just wanted to add, for Amanda, that the Infancy Gospel, is quite short so you should give it a read. It's over at earlychristianwritings.com. You should read all the variations though since it's interesting to see how the various authors emphasized different things.

 

You could also look at the story, if inserted into the larger picture, as one of growth. That even someone with great power needs to learn how to use it. However, with the type of being that jesus is supposed to be from the start (omnipotent, omnibenevolent), this concept falls flat.

 

Speaking of which I find it interesting that even 100+ years after the supposed jesus event people still aren't sure WHAT he was. The Infancy gospel knows he's heaven sent but whether he's a god or an angel or something else is unknown to them.

 

mwc

Looking at it in a context of Pagan myth, he's a pretty typical demi-god child. Oddly enough, he reminds me more of YaHWeH in the infancy gospel than the later (in terms of the narrative)incarnation.

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Looking at it in a context of Pagan myth, he's a pretty typical demi-god child. Oddly enough, he reminds me more of YaHWeH in the infancy gospel than the later (in terms of the narrative)incarnation.

The appeal to their audience was pretty clear which is why I didn't push my point any further. ;) But I think the pagans used their gods to mirror real life (and, at least at some point learn from them) instead of some inane fantasy land of clouds and harps so is it any wonder he should act that way? :shrug:

 

However, related to your point, if he was/is YHWH, then it's kind of funny that he needed to actually come to live with us a few years in order to learn to have just a little civility and compassion.

 

mwc

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Thing is, there is little to no evidence that the Pagans thought their gods were objectively real, and even less that they created anything much....

 

You can see why they got rid of the text ;)

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I've got the first two books on The Gospel of Judas, and I've ordered up the Pagels book from The Book Depository... I'll let you know what I think.

Thanks Grandpa Harley! I hate to be lazy... but I know a gem when I'm being offered one! I'd love your insights! :notworthy:

 

Thanks MWC for the site, I'll check it out.

 

IMO, even the KJV makes it clear that Jesus was just a normal man, in that what he did, we too can do and even greater things. Maybe only 100+ years after his introduction, the spin had already significantly skewed things so that we didn't know what he was any more. Kinda like St. Nicholas to Santa Claus..

 

I think the myth of Jesus to come here was to bring compassion to the idea of God and to the people that no one has to be perfect to find heaven within themselves... especially if we stop condemning ourselves or each other and take a more humble stance.

 

*****

 

I thought the Pagan's only "God" was Mother Earth. So did they have their own mythic Gods too, only they all knew that is all they were? I thought the thrust of the Pagan beliefs is to enjoy what there is to enjoy?

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I thought the Pagan's only "God" was Mother Earth. So did they have their own mythic Gods too, only they all knew that is all they were? I thought the thrust of the Pagan beliefs is to enjoy what there is to enjoy?

 

That depends how you define Pagan. In a Classical sense the Romans and Greeks were Pagan...

 

These days Pagan and Gardnerian Wiccan seems to be interchangable...

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That depends how you define Pagan. In a Classical sense the Romans and Greeks were Pagan...

 

These days Pagan and Gardnerian Wiccan seems to be interchangable...

A CD I'm listening to right now, says the Romans (and I think Greeks too) were rather friendly about others' Gods and welcomed them. I've heard, Ceasar claimed to be the son of Apollo. I'm curious if all that was just a whimsical approach to life, if a deity just placed value on a certain aspect of life, or if they considered this all seriously.

 

Examining the bible, it seems these diverse cultures got absorbed into it. Pagan influence is obvious, and I've thought Jesus to be more Buddhist than anything else. As improved communication and transportation makes our world smaller, that meshing of cultures seems to be still happening today. I suspect Wicca to be the precursor to pharmacology. Other cultures probably contributed also, like Shamanism. East still meets west. Perhaps modern arts and sciences just takes aspects of them all to a new level?

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That depends how you define Pagan. In a Classical sense the Romans and Greeks were Pagan...

 

These days Pagan and Gardnerian Wiccan seems to be interchangable...

A CD I'm listening to right now, says the Romans (and I think Greeks too) were rather friendly about others' Gods and welcomed them. I've heard, Ceasar claimed to be the son of Apollo. I'm curious if all that was just a whimsical approach to life, if a deity just placed value on a certain aspect of life, or if they considered this all seriously.

 

Examining the bible, it seems these diverse cultures got absorbed into it. Pagan influence is obvious, and I've thought Jesus to be more Buddhist than anything else. As improved communication and transportation makes our world smaller, that meshing of cultures seems to be still happening today. I suspect Wicca to be the precursor to pharmacology. Other cultures probably contributed also, like Shamanism. East still meets west. Perhaps modern arts and sciences just takes aspects of them all to a new level?

It's precisely that atitude of the Romans and the Greeks that makes the tale of 'religious' persecution of 'peaceable' Christians. Marcus Aurellius was more concerned with public order than who had which imaginary friend. The Christians were trouble on their own.

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It's precisely that atitude of the Romans and the Greeks that makes the tale of 'religious' persecution of 'peaceable' Christians. Marcus Aurellius was more concerned with public order than who had which imaginary friend. The Christians were trouble on their own.

Could the public disorder been moreso between the Jews and the new "Christian" movement rebelling against the status quo of the religious right? Perhaps the Jews having more clout with the government, insisting on quieting this escalating revolution... even if it was done peacefully... using the scene in the temple as the straw for which they had been waiting.

 

What is interesting, the initial "Christian" church allowed a place without persecution, ended up doing the same things the initial "Christian" movement was against, IMO, and done quite quickly.

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The Jews were pretty much a spent force after AD 70. They were a joke, and largely insular.

 

Also, there is no record of Jews being involved in any subsequent major persecution. If it was just down to Christians not admitting the Emperor was god, the Jews would have been first against the wall...

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Also, there is no record of Jews being involved in any subsequent major persecution. If it was just down to Christians not admitting the Emperor was god, the Jews would have been first against the wall...

 

Wasn't Saul, before he became Paul, part of the persecution against the Christians? Was that from the Jewish or Roman side of him?

 

Didn't Nero encourage the persecution against the Christians, blaming them for burning part of the city? You know, the part of the city Nero wanted burned down for his own agenda? Then, I believe, he used Christians tied to posts and lit them on fire for street lamps in the night, for their punishment.

 

I've read where many people of those days thought these 'Christians' were cannibalistic and had other such grotesque customs. Plus, I've read where they were almost considered Atheistic in that their claims that all people approached the status of God themselves... unheard of in those days.

 

I thought the persecutions against Christians finally came to an end with Constantine.

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Also, there is no record of Jews being involved in any subsequent major persecution. If it was just down to Christians not admitting the Emperor was god, the Jews would have been first against the wall...

Wasn't Saul, before he became Paul, part of the persecution against the Christians? Was that from the Jewish or Roman side of him?

 

Didn't Nero encourage the persecution against the Christians, blaming them for burning part of the city? You know, the part of the city Nero wanted burned down for his own agenda? Then, I believe, he used Christians tied to posts and lit them on fire for street lamps in the night, for their punishment.

I've read where many people of those days thought these 'Christians' were cannibalistic and had other such grotesque customs. Plus, I've read where they were almost considered Atheistic in that their claims that all people approached the status of God themselves... unheard of in those days.

 

I thought the persecutions against Christians finally came to an end with Constantine.

 

Saul of Tarsus was just someone who put down Messianic movements, not Christians per se. Neither the Romans nor the Jews wanted a Messiahs muddying up the water. The Nero record is at best suspect and at worst unlikely. That is a gnostic view. The cannibalism thing is a warped version of he ritual supper where they eat their god. You maintain that bread and wine becomes lumps of flesh and blood, then you're up for the Cannibalism charge. The Christians STILL have grotesque custom

 

And no, it didn't it was just that it was Govt sponsored Christians persecuted people who had been defined as Christian up until Constanitne changed the rules...

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Saul of Tarsus was just someone who put down Messianic movements, not Christians per se. Neither the Romans nor the Jews wanted a Messiahs muddying up the water.

Grandpa Harley... okay, so then 'Christians' were considered inclusive within this category.

The Nero record is at best suspect and at worst unlikely.

What sources do you use to site that statement? What I've read, Nero may not have been responsible for starting the fire, because fires were probably easily started accidentally. Yet, it seems that under his rule that some Christians were tortured into confessing to them anyway. It does seem to be a convenient fire for Nero and IMO held in suspect for its occurence, even though many times he was known for keeping peace. I'll agree that we don't know for sure he was responsible for it, but that the Christians were tortured into confessing to it seems to be the accepted concensus from what I've read.

That is a gnostic view.

And? The bible is full of views from a multitude of perspectives. This may happen to be a Gnostic saying attributed to the character of "Jesus," as he gathered many sayings from other sects/cults/philosophies known at the time. Actually, that seems to be part of what is endorsing his efforts to reconcile all of them, as they each had something of benefit.

The cannibalism thing is a warped version of he ritual supper where they eat their god. You maintain that bread and wine becomes lumps of flesh and blood, then you're up for the Cannibalism charge. The Christians STILL have grotesque custom

Their customs certainly seem to have lost their initial meanings and intent, IMO. I highly suspect that it was NOT about eating God. It seems to me there is another possible perspective in that from one loaf of bread representing the one body of the Christ nature, each person has one piece of it within them. These teachings of the Christ nature is what was eaten for the the nourishment of their spirit.

And no, it didn't it was just that it was Govt sponsored Christians persecuted people who had been defined as Christian up until Constanitne changed the rules...

Are you saying here, that there were only persecutions against Christians that met the government's definition of one, and then that definition was changed by Constantine?

 

Grandpa Harley, it seems you are well read and informed about many biblical subjects. I look at your posts with a high degree of respect to its insightful efforts. You, like me, find these subjects fascinating. Your view and my view differ, which makes debating/discussions interesting. Yet, I realize that we view things from quite different perspectives and I am in no way challenging your validity of your information. I'm just trying to understand it better, whether I accept your opinion of it at the moment or not. I've often said that I don't want people to think just like me... as that would be boring. I know... let me beat you to your response... you are quite confident that will never happen. :)

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