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Biblical literacy - Page 3

post #41 of 121
The legend goes that when the disciples spread out to tell the world about Jesus, James was sent/ went to Spain. (Which James I just now realsied I am not certain... there were two, right?) He did very poorly. Got nowhere with his message and returned disappointed. When he died his followers put him/his bones into a stone box and put it on a raft and set it adrift in the Med. It landed, finally, in the north of Spain and the miracle of this achieved the conversion in Spain that he was unable to achieve in life.

The cathedral built there to house his relics, Santiago de Campostela was the most popular pilgrimage site in Europe, worldwide second only to Jerusalem. People still make the pilgrimage by the thousands every year.
A site witha variety of related links.
post #42 of 121
Sean, great to have you here!

I am going to take a stab at some of your Q's, primarily to amuse my more learned sisters.

It was Shabbat... not a weekly Shabbat, but Pesach, one of the .. well, don't know what to call it. A Great Shabbat? If it were Catholic I would call it a High Holy Day. Same rules as weekly Sabbath and then some, if I am not mistaken.

They were "not permitted" to meet by their own rules, not by Roman rules. So them meeting at a religiously inappropriate time would not change the license the Romans had allowed them to execute transgressors against their own religious laws. It simply makes the whole proceding invalid/ highly suspect from the Jewish point to view.

I honestly think the use of Judas has reason and symbolism within the story... I think it was the authorities trying to make it look like the people, his own people, were rejecting Jesus, turning him in rather than the authorities cracking down.. but that's just my opinion... worth it's usual cost!
post #43 of 121
Dado wrote: ""I am" isn't the ineffable name."

Okay. But what about the implication of equating oneself with God? As in, "I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am." Or when he says, "I and the Father are one." Or the fact that he claimed to be able to forgive sins. Etc. *If* he said those things, and it was well known that he was saying these things, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that those later hearing him say, "I AM", would take that as a declaration of divinity? DaryLLL mentioned something about pantheism -- perhaps this is what Jesus was talking about, and that does complicate the picture. But still he would have been claiming something that was hostile to the Jews' belief system, no? And to claim to be the messiah while also claiming a hostile belief, whether it be that of pantheism or literally claiming to be God, what might the response to that be?

"but there's a bigger problem: language. they weren't speaking Hebrew."

Why is this important? Could the meaning not be translated into another language? (Not arguing, just not picking up on your reasoning. Being dense, I suppose.)

DaryLLL wrote: "Back to talking to myself..."

Oh please! The absence of a dialogue doesn't mean no one is listening. I enjoy reading your posts very much but usually have nothing to add or argue against. The latter not because your arguments are so air-tight, but because your style is not argumentative in the first place. You tend to present possibilities or ask questions in the spirit of provoking thought rather than disproving someone's belief. A good approach, but hard to dialogue with, again, when no one here is at your level of scholarship on the subject.

Someone wrote: "this thread that is obviously not intened for Christians"

And Dado replied: "where on earth did you get that idea???"

Dado, you may not intend it, but your posts often come across in a way that give the reader the feeling that you think Christianity is the stupidest, most illogical belief system ever. That's not an atmosphere, I imagine, in which Christians feel comfortable, or welcome, in participating in the discussion.
post #44 of 121
hhmm... I was going to say that the thread is not going to work for a Christian (or anyone) who cannot entertain the possibility that not every word in the Bible is absolute fact. It is a discussion of the historical context in which these words were set to papyrus as well as the hows and whys of the specific words that are there. If it is a part of your beliefe system that the Bible is an infallible document written in some mystical fashion by God Herself this whole discussion is going to be problematic for you. But not all Christians believe that. In fact most do not. So I don't think it's fair to say this is not a conversation for Christians or that they are unwelcome.

As for blueviolets take on some of dado's posts... BV, let me, once again, attempt to speak for another/others. I have learned in my years here rapping with the nice Jewish mommies that they are often quite frustrated with Christians. Not angry or condescending in my experience.. but frustrated. They are frustrated by our lack of understanding of their central, sacred texts and traditions. They are frustrated by the very common Christian belief that we understand the Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible when, as a general rule, we in fact do not. We lack the context to understand it. And in far too many instances our interpretation of their writings is an outright perversion of the actual, historical meaning. Should every Christian be required to be a Torah scholar. No, of course not. But it would help if we tried to be more open to the idea that we have lost that thread of our heritage and no longer understand it very well.
post #45 of 121
kama'aina mama:l



Very well stated, I think.
post #46 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by feebeeglee
I don't doubt that these assertions are true, but do you have a source link so I can verify them?
all the rules of Sanhedrin are recorded in Talmud. in excruciating, laborious detail.

there is another i had missed: capital cases were not led by Kohen Gadol - the high priest - ie, Caiaphus couldn't have the role he is portrayed as having if it was indeed a proper Jewish trial.

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if the Sanhedrin weren't authorized even to meet then...
...all bets are off as to what really happened next because it means Jesus was never convicted by a Jewish court of a Jewish crime. which brings us back to the Roman role.

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Isn't it plausible that they wanted Him publicly humiliated so that His disciples would be discredited and ashamed
quite possibly. it certainly would have shown he probably wasn't Moschiach.

but there is a conflation of "they" in there. parsing out what (probably) could and (probably) couldn't have happened, it is highly likely some subset of the Jewish leadership centered on the high priest was involved in the incident. i think we're more or less in agreement up to this point.

what is at issue - for me - is how the prominent Roman role was later redacted away and all that was left was Jews as christ-killers.

somebody arrested Jesus. Caiaphus was involved. whatever Caiaphus did was not a proper Jewish court. Caiaphus worked for Pilate and Rome. Pilate ordered Jesus executed. from those assumptions, which i think we're in agreement on, we somehow end up with texts 300 years later quoting "all the Jews" saying "his blood be on us and our children".

that is an enormous non sequitir. no Jewish crime, no Jewish trial, no Jewish conviction, yet...a statement incredibly damning of Jews.

does anybody know if a Roman of the time would have considered a claim of g-dhood "blashpemous"? since the roman emperors did claim g-dhood for themselves...?

Quote:
Anyway, those are my own thoughts, and I hope to have added something fruitful to this discussion.


welcome! stick around!
post #47 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by blueviolet
But what about the implication of equating oneself with God?
that may well have been a crime for a Roman, living under self-proclaimed emperor-g-d, but not for a Jew. for a more complete answer i refer you to our more mystically-conversant members.

Quote:
Or the fact that he claimed to be able to forgive sins.


being able to forgive sins is a fundamental principle of Judaism. G-d is there to forgive sins against G-d, for sins against each other Judaism requires both the seeking AND GRANTING of forgiveness to happen between the individuals involved.

if a Jew steals a neighbor's camel, he/she needs to seek forgiveness from the neighbor.

[quote]"but there's a bigger problem: language. they weren't speaking Hebrew."
Quote:
Why is this important?


the ineffable name is only ineffable in Hebrew.

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Dado, you may not intend it, but your posts often come across in a way that give the reader the feeling that you think Christianity is the stupidest, most illogical belief system ever.
then i must work on my delivery, because that is not my intent. i do have strong strong feelings regarding some notions of "inerrancy" - and that crosses the BCE/CE dateline - because i believe it runs contrary to what a long line of prophets have taught - that the message is far far more important than the individual words. the better i can understand the roots of the stories, the better i can grasp the message being obscured by sometimes (imo) inappropriate literalism.

and if you think i'm being unfair to the post-CE crowd, anytime you want to have a critical disccusion about Exodus, or about Leviticus possibly being cut from whole cloth, i'm happy to participate!
post #48 of 121
dado said:

Quote:
that the message is far far more important than the individual words. the better i can understand the roots of the stories, the better i can grasp the message being obscured by sometimes (imo) inappropriate literalism.
I feel this way as well. I can see how it would pose a great problem to those who believe strongly in the literalism of the texts. That may be where it is interpreted as "not being for Christians." I've had difficulty with discussions IRL at church for the same reasons.

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and if you think i'm being unfair to the post-CE crowd, anytime you want to have a critical disccusion about Exodus, or about Leviticus possibly being cut from whole cloth, i'm happy to participate!
Not me, not me. You guys are awesome in your level of knowledge.
post #49 of 121
Thread Starter 
Great to see everyone back. And a few new ones. I like this.

Hopefully people will be inspired to do googles and find books and not just take the word of the ones here who have been doing some studying.

kama, I had not heard the James bone box floating in the sea thing before. Reminds me of Osiris big time!

In ref to another thread that questioned whether the priests may have been corrupt, so breaking their own rules to meet at night, on Shabbat, in a private home: they were already considered corrupt by some Jews (esp the Essenes who had given up on Temple worship already and retreated to desert caves), b/c they were "quislings," that is, under the control of the Roman rulers. But they still had authority to execute other Jews that broke Jewish law. So why didn't they? To publicly humiliate J? But they almost didn't get him executed that way!

According to the gospels, Pilate only executed J at the insistence of the Jewish crowd. According to history he executed people whom he considered seditionists by the hundreds without trial. Once he was called to Rome to answer for this behavior it was so bad.

There are just too many ''what ifs" in this story for it to seem historical. And the thing is, as Karen Armstrong points out in The Battle for God, it was not even meant to be historical in the first place, but meant to be a symbolic story to propound a religious idea. Only in our moderrn times do we (want to ) see it as History. In those days, histories and even biographies were written to expound upon ideas. Realism/accuracy was not the point.

Keep in mind the history of this kind of dying and rising godman had already been around for at least 3500 yrs. Ie: Osiris mentioned above. Tammuz in Palestine. Jesus' life story adheres so directly to this pattern that early "Church historians" such as Eusebius made up the idea of demonic mimicry to wiggle out of the situation. and I know some still believe this.
post #50 of 121
Hi, I went and got my own account so I wouldn't confuse everybody by using Phoebe's.

Thanks for answering that bit about the Shabbat, kama'aina mama. I like your insight about Judas, too.

Dado, thanks for answering, too, and I believe I shall stick around a bit. I agree that we are in agreement about the possibility that the Sanhedrin might not licitly have convicted and executed Jesus. (The Gospels say so, too.)

Quote:
Originally posted by dado
from those assumptions, which i think we're in agreement on, we somehow end up with texts 300 years later quoting "all the Jews" saying "his blood be on us and our children".

that is an enormous non sequitir. no Jewish crime, no Jewish trial, no Jewish conviction, yet...a statement incredibly damning of Jews.
Well, not exactly. I think you're trying to quote Matthew 27:25, which goes, "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children." But it says "all the people," not "all the Jews." (That's the King James translation, but no other translation has the word "Jews" in that verse either.)

So your non sequitur becomes a non sequitur, because the Gospel makes emphatically clear that it is not a statement particularly damning of Jews at all, but of "all the people," if of anyone.

(In fact, I've heard an interesting exigesis that it is not a damning statement at all, but rather a sort of mystical blessing. Christ's blood, after all, is not a bad thing to be on you, according to the Book of Revelation.)

I've been following the dialogue between Blueviolet and Dado about whether Jesus could have been convicted of blasphemy. Dado's argument, if I may state it as a syllogism, seems to be...

premise: The evidence presented was not sufficient to convict Jesus of blasphemy under Jewish law.

therefore: The Sanhedrin could not have found Jesus guilty of blasphemy.

Of course, the conclusion does not follow deductively from the premise, unless there is posited a second premise: namely, that the Sanhedrin was incapable of rendering incorrect decisions. (In logic, this would be called the major premise; and the premise that Jesus was in fact innocent would be the minor premise.) Now it's a valid syllogism; that is, if both premises are true, the conclusion must be true.

Blueviolet attacks the conclusion by attacking the minor premise. That is, she keeps asking, couldn't this or that aspect of Jesus's words or actions be regarded as blasphemy? To which Dado keeps answering, no, not under a correct application of the law. Not being an expert in Jewish law (or any other kind of law) myself, I won't even conjecture as to who's right.

But I'm going to take issue with the (unspoken) major premise. Even demurring on Dado's premise that Jesus was in fact innocent, it is entirely possible that the Sanhedrin could have found him guilty anyway.

Can I prove that a judicial decision never happened simply by proving that it would have been incorrect? If such were the case, I could prove that any number of accounts of U.S. Supreme Court decisions are mere works of fiction. (Forgive the reduxio ad absurdum; it's my favorite device for demonstrating logical unsoundness.)
post #51 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by blueviolet

Dado, you may not intend it, but your posts often come across in a way that give the reader the feeling that you think Christianity is the stupidest, most illogical belief system ever. That's not an atmosphere, I imagine, in which Christians feel comfortable, or welcome, in participating in the discussion.
I utterly disagree with this; I have never gotten that impression. As a non-Christian, my viewpoint may not count for much, but I thought I would share it.


DaryLLL: I quite enjoy listening to you talk to yourself. I would participate but that I have light years left to go before I become knowledgeable enough to have anything significant to add. I am working on reading many of the books that have been recommended (currently reading both The Origin of Satan and Lost Christianities) but there are still many left on this list.

Do you by chance have a link to the Yahoo group that you mentioned earlier, and could you tell me if it is open membership? It's something I think I would really like to check out.

Thanks to all in this thread for once again educating me.
post #52 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
because the Gospel makes emphatically clear that it is not a statement particularly damning of Jews at all, but of "all the people," if of anyone.
i like your reasoning on this, but it is a stretch. a crowd in Jerusalem, in the middle of Passover, is going to be read as overwhelmingly Jewish. thessalonians also proceeds to specifically single out Jews as having killed Jesus. then there are millenia of papal bulls confirming - and in some cases, ie Gregory 13 - extending the blame/guilt. not to single out catholicism, the same interpretations have come from all corners of c'ian leadership from eastern orthodox to david koresh.

with all due respect, this does not jibe with the gospels making it "emphatically clear" Jews aren't to be specifically blamed.

Quote:
namely, that the Sanhedrin was incapable of rendering incorrect decisions.
agreed. however before you it can be argued that the Sanhedrin could make an incorrect decision in this case, it first needs to be established this was, in fact, a Sanhedrin. the text at hand does not support it.
post #53 of 121
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the compliments, PaganScribe. It's not so much of a much. I have only been studying for 3 yrs come Easter. Homeschooling myself, in my spare time.

Before that, I avoided Xtianity like the plague! It has been a great journey, once I was ready for it.

JesusMysteries Home Page:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries

(Yes, it's open membership, prepare to be humbled)

Don't miss Peter Kirby's, "Historical Jesus Theories":
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html or his "Christian Origins" page: http://christianorigins.com/
post #54 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
That's the King James translation, but no other translation has the word "Jews" in that verse either.
from the NAB...

"And the whole people said in reply, 'His blood be upon us and upon our children'" (Matthew 27:25).

The New American Bible note on this verse says:

The whole people: Matthew sees in those who speak these words the entire people (Greek laos) of Israel. His blood ... and upon our children: cf Jer 26:15. The responsibility for Jesus' death is accepted by the nation that was God's special possession (Exodus 19:5), his own people (Hosea 2:23), and they thereby lose that high privilege, see Matthew 21:43 and the note on that verse. "
post #55 of 121
I must be a dolt. I think I just finally got one of the things you have been driving at Dado. Saying it was not a Sanhedrin is akin to making it clear that if Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Clarence Thomas invite Norma McCorvey over to one of their homes and subsequently announce they have overturned Roe V Wade it simply ain't true cuz that was NOT a Supreme Court. Right?
post #56 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama ...is akin to making it clear that if Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Clarence Thomas invite Norma McCorvey over to one of their homes and subsequently announce they have overturned Roe V Wade it simply ain't true cuz that was NOT a Supreme Court. Right?
pretty much. you can claim "some" americans did the act, but you cannot claim they acted in the name of "americans" in general or that americans in general support what they did. in fact, it goes the other way: having to perform this kind of back door coup strongly suggests "americans" in general aren't supportive, because if they were, it would be safer for all parties concerned to take the direct, public route. but that part is admittedly circumstantial.

if what you described were to happen, we all know people - in real life and even right here on MDC - who would compose polemnics honoring them for the bravery in doing what people really secretly wanted them to do.

and the obvious question would be: on whose behalf were they really acting?
post #57 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by dado
a crowd in Jerusalem, in the middle of Passover, is going to be read as overwhelmingly Jewish.
Yes, and maybe that's why Matthew took the pains to put that line in the mouths of "all the people," to clear up any misunderstanding that he meant just the Jews. He wasn't shy elsewhere about saying "the Jews" when that's who he meant.

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thessalonians also proceeds to specifically single out Jews as having killed Jesus.
(You mean 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.) Yes, that's exactly what Paul is doing, singling out Jews, with an emphasis on singling. He is not imputing blame for killing Jesus on those Jews who did not, in fact, have a hand in killing Him, only on the "Jews who killed the Lord Jesus." Paul is reminiscing about the persecution the Church faced early on from the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem, the very people you just agreed probably had some sort of culpability in His death. Interestingly enough, the NAB note for this verse says
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Paul is speaking of historical opposition on the part of Palestinian Jews in particular and does so only some twenty years after Jesus' crucifixion. Even so, he quickly proceeds to depict the persecutors typologically, in apocalyptic terms. His remarks give no grounds for anti-Semitism to those willing to understand him, especially in view of Paul's pride in his own ethnic and religious background...
But apparently you aren't so willing to give credence to the NAB editors here.

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then there are millenia of papal bulls confirming - and in some cases, ie Gregory 13 - extending the blame/guilt.
Sorry, I am unfamiliar with any papal pronouncement that assigns any particular blame for Christ's death to Jews who weren't even alive at the time of His death. I would be very interested in reading such a text. I looked at http://www.papalencyclicals.net/ but I can't find anything on the topic, and nothing at all by Gregory XIII, so maybe I'm missing it. Do you know where I could find some of these texts?

My understanding of Christian belief on this is, since all sinners are responsible for the necessity of Christ's saving mission, those Jews who are sinners would have to bear their share of the blame, but no more than Christians who are sinners (i.e., all of them).

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not to single out catholicism, the same interpretations have come from all corners of c'ian leadership from eastern orthodox to david koresh.
I'd take a bullet for the Pope, but I can't answer for David Koresh or anyone else. We were talking about what the Bible says, right?

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before it can be argued that the Sanhedrin could make an incorrect decision in this case, it first needs to be established this was, in fact, a Sanhedrin.
No, I'm arguing that doesn't matter whether it was a licit meeting of the Sanhedrin or not. (I mean, it's a facinating question and the answer may well be important, but not to the end of disproving the truth of the Gospel, which I don't think it does.)

Look: if some members of that body met, there are only two possibilities: either it was a lawful convention of the Sanhedrin, or it wasn't.

If it wasn't (and you've given many good reasons to suppose it wasn't), then they couldn't lawfully execute Jesus, but they could have delivered him to the Romans, like the Gospels say.

If it was, then they shouldn't have found him guilty of blasphemy (because, as you noted, he was innocent of this charge), but still might have done so. And whatever their verdict was, guilty or innocent, they still could have delivered him to Pilate, where He was charged under Roman law with treason, not blasphemy. He was convicted of being a "King," not the Messiah. His crime, written on a placard on the cross, was that He was the "King of the Jews."

As for why the evangelists bothered to mention the Sanhedrin trial at all, when it was the Romans who convicted and executed Him, maybe they didn't have an ulterior motive; maybe they just wrote what happened.

These speculations as to the symbolic significance of this or that character in the story only become necessary when you proceed from an a priori assumption that the story is fictional. (It's perfectly right to wonder why Shakespeare put Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, but it makes no sense to wonder why McCollough put Abigail in John Adams. That's just how it happened is all.)

I know you think that assumption is warranted. I know you think you've proven the Gospel fictional. But I don't think you've proven that. Keep trying though, I'm enjoying your posts.
post #58 of 121
I don't think anyone is trying to prove the Gospel is fictional. Flawed. Slanted. I mean... there is no such thing as a "purely factual" account. Everything written is viewed through the lens of the writers experience, feelings about the events, etc. I feel that to refuse to acknowledge that is perhaps more dangerous than anything.
post #59 of 121
Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
Do you know where I could find some of these texts?
google will turn them up. you won't find them in the "official" online encyclopedias.

"The guilt of the Jews only grows deeper with successive generations, entailing perpetual slavery." - Gregory XIII, 1581

(in fairness to catholics, it needs to be pointed out vatican II officially reversed the position.)

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If it wasn't [legal] (and you've given many good reasons to suppose it wasn't), then they couldn't lawfully execute Jesus, but they could have delivered him to the Romans, like the Gospels say.
if they were unconstrained enough to hold something like a kangaroo court and pronounce a totally illegal verdict, there is no basis on which to say they suddenly felt constrained by legality and couldn't carry out their own illegal sentence. nor would they have be constrained by public opinion, since to the Jewish public it wouldn't have made any difference if Caiaphus or Pilate killed Jesus: either way, he'd be dead, the romans still in charge, and Jesus by definition not the Moschiach.

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He was convicted of being a "King," not the Messiah.


not sure what you're getting at there...a Jew could never properly be convicted of being Moschiach since Moschiach wouldn't be Moschiach if he was convictable. it's a proof in the pudding kind of thing.

if you're saying he was killed for a secular - ie, Roman - crime, that's my current opinion and it makes a lot of sense to me.

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I know you think you've proven the Gospel fictional. But I don't think you've proven that.
yikes. i can't even prove what i had i breakfast yesterday, lol, this stuff happened two thousand years ago and we have virtually no original texts. the odds of anyone actually "proving" anything are exceedingly small. but you never know, there may be another Nag Hammadi out there (what we lost with the destruction of the library at Alexandria...!)

what i'm looking for is the version of the story that requires the minimum number of extraneous assumptions - and no genuinely whacky ones - and requires the fewest changes to the text. but even finding that wouldn't mean that was necessarily how it actually happened.

frankly, i wish more people read the books the way you do. i can assure you from personal experience that "jew as christ killer" is still a very very common reading of the material.
post #60 of 121
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But apparently you aren't so willing to give credence to the NAB editors here.
:




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As for why the evangelists bothered to mention the Sanhedrin trial at all, when it was the Romans who convicted and executed Him, maybe they didn't have an ulterior motive; maybe they just wrote what happened.
OR they were writing for a Roman audience in a Roman culture and it wouldn't have been too wise to make the Romans too culpable.
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