Old Testament
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12-07-2012, 01:23 PM
Old Testament
I was recently watching a debate on suffering between Ehrman and D'Souza. In the debate D'Souza tried to explain that we should read the old testament differently than the Jews and more specifically "we should read it in light of the new era". The example he gives is the story of Abraham where the son, soon to be an almost sacrifice, asks where is the lamb and Abraham says that god will provide. Therefore Christians should see this as a preview of Christ. Complete bullshit, I know. I do not think that very many Christians hold this same view, but they do write off the old testament "well that was then, this is now".

What is the history of how the old testament became obsolete/inferior to the new testament? Was it thought to be outdated even during the time that the new testament was written? How can people be so dismissive of the horrible god of the old testament?
I recently told my fundie parents that I did not believe in the god of the bible and in our discussion the topic of the god of the old testament came up. Of course they made a lot of excuses "that only applied to the Jews" "well he's god, he can do whatever he wants". Excuses are hard to argue against but perhaps if I had a better understanding of the old testament, and how it evolved to what it is viewed as today... maybe some sense would sink in.

I know more about the history of the new testament than the old. I have seen the videos on the Torah and how that came to be written. Are there any reputable scholars that focus on the history of the old testament?
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12-07-2012, 02:06 PM (This post was last modified: 13-07-2012 09:50 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Old Testament
D'Souza is a laughably poor speaker. (I wonder if he realizes he is essentially refuting everything that WLC and Aquinas say about reason?)

The answer to your question is complicated. Jesus was a Jew, and so were his followers. The gospel writers of Matthew put these words in his mouth, (the gospels used many literary devices), because that gospel was primarily addressed to the Jews :"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

The followers, (of the "Way) eventually told themselves that (Romans 7:6) "but now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." So eventually the followers of the Way, decided they were not bound by the "law" of the OT. However to this day, they use, insistently, and persistently, the parts they conveniently decide to pick and choose, to keep.(Adam, and the "fall", the supposed "prophesies", etc etc). They keep the parts they like, and ignore the parts they don't like. So no, it was not thought to be "outdated" at the time the NT was written, and in fact the same gods are used.

It's a glimpse into the titanic struggle that went on to pull the new christian cult away from Judaism. There is NO doubt Jesus was a Jew, and thought of himself as such. As the cult developed, Saul of Tarsus, and others, (St. Paul), tried to enlarge the base of adherents to include non-Jews. The "pulling away" process went on for centuries, and was complicated by the fact that Jewish apocalypticism was proven false, by the passage of time and the destruction of the temple, (in 72 AD), and Jerusalem, (after the Bar Kochba revolt, after the turn of the century). The followers of the Way, (as Yeshua did), wanted to think the "end-times" were near, and the Kingdom, (of Isra-El), was about to be restored in a giant clash of good and evil, (because they could not tolerate the Roman occupation).

There was an active demonization of Jews going on, and the proof is they took out the verse from Luke 24:34, (Father forgive them etc), as some did not want to make it appear if the Jews were forgiven.

They still fight about this stuff all the time :
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/01/hebr..._engl.html
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/scholars...rew-bible/
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2002-03...n-evidence


There was a Jewish Philosopher/scholar named Martin Buber. I like his stuff about Genesis,(in "Good and Evil")

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12-07-2012, 03:11 PM
RE: Old Testament
(12-07-2012 01:23 PM)Noelani Wrote:  What is the history of how the old testament became obsolete/inferior to the new testament? Was it thought to be outdated even during the time that the new testament was written? How can people be so dismissive of the horrible god of the old testament?
My knowledge and history of the bible is shady at best, but from what I've heard, Marcion created a canon (the first bible) that excluded much of the old testament. The modern day bible in all it's 30,000 + revisions over the years was made by the church as a reaction to what Marcion had put together. So when you refer to such things as the old testament and the new testament, you're really referring to a collection of books, letters, stories that some churches and synagogues put together as material they wanted to present to their followers in much the same way that Marcion did.

http://cameltranslations.blogspot.com/20...ble-1.html

It wasn't that the old testament became obsolete or inferior to the new testament, because the old testament is still taught today in synagogues.
It was that someone saw opportunity in the making.
Imagine a time when there were lots of different churches with lots of different gods.

http://www.mythome.org/mideastg.html

Now just like in modern tv shows, some last for 10-12 seasons, while others don't even make it past the pilot episode.
Someone introduce the character of Jesus at some point in a sermon and people listened and they liked it.
Word of mouth spread and that storyline became more popular.

The more people you can bring into your church, the more money and influence you have in the community.
The stories of Jesus are the first time we hear about heaven and hell. A great hook to bring in new people into the church. Reward and Fear.

And the rest is a edited, re-edited, re-translated, edited again by kings and re-translated, edited, re-edited, re-translated, edited again by kings and re-translated again, edited, re-edited, re-translated, edited again by kings and re-translated again, edited, re-edited, re-translated, edited again by kings and re-translated into what we have today.

Modern christians are dismissive of the old testament because it represents a god that they don't really believe in.
The jewish god never had a son. To them, the messiah hasn't arrived yet.
For christians, their god and or gods (god, jesus, holy spirit) are all good guys who wouldn't ever do that stuff you read about in the old testament.

Oh well - that's my two cents

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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12-07-2012, 06:28 PM
RE: Old Testament
(12-07-2012 01:23 PM)Noelani Wrote:  What is the history of how the old testament became obsolete/inferior to the new testament? Was it thought to be outdated even during the time that the new testament was written? How can people be so dismissive of the horrible god of the old testament?
Some Greek poseurs liked the "chosen race of God" concept, so they stole the religion and the Bible from the Jews while demonizing them in the process. They never argued that it was "inferior" to the so-called New Testament per se, just that Jews didn't deserve it 'cause they gave up on God.

A modern equivalent would be Dan Brown inserting his stupid books at the end of the complete works of Shakespeare and pretending that there was some kind of continuity between the two.
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12-07-2012, 06:31 PM
RE: Old Testament
(12-07-2012 02:06 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  D'Souza is a laughably poor speaker. (I wonder if he realizes he is essentially refuting everything that WLC and Aquinas say about reason?)

The answer to your question is complicated. Jesus was a Jew, and so were his followers. The gospel writers of Matthew put these words in his mouth, (the gospels used many literary devices), because that gospel was primarily addressed to the Jews :"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

The followers, (of the "Way) eventually told themselves that (Romans 7:6) "but now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." So eventually the followers of the Way, decided they were not bound by the "law" of the OT. However to this day, they use, insistently, and persistently, the parts they conveniently decide to pick and choose, to keep.(Adam, and the "fall", the supposed "prophesies", etc etc). They keep the parts they like, and ignore the parts they don't like. So no, it was not thought to be "outdated" at the time the NT was written, and in fact the same gods are used.

It's a glimpse into the titanic struggle that went on to pull the new christian cult away from Judaism. There is NO doubt Jesus was a Jew, and thought of himself as such. As the cult developed, Saul of Tarsus, and others, (St. Paul), tried to enlarge the base of adherents to include non-Jews. The "pulling away" process went on for centuries, and was complicated by the fact that Jewish apocalypticism was proven false, by the passage of time and the destruction of the temple, (in 72 AD), and Jerusalem, (after the Bar Kochba revolt, after the turn of the century). The followers of the Way, (as Yeshua did), wanted to think the "end-times" were near, and the Kingdom, (of Isra-El), was about to be restored in a giant clash of good and evil, (because they could not tolerate the Roman occupation).
Jesus and his followers were mythical characters in my opinion. The whole point of the myth was to destroy Jewish provenance over God and the scriptures by having them execute God's only son and then try to hide or deny this horrible crime against humanity. It was a Gentile/Greek movement from the start.

The myth makes no sense whatsoever as an authentically Jewish myth.
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12-07-2012, 07:53 PM (This post was last modified: 13-07-2012 11:32 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Old Testament
(12-07-2012 06:31 PM)Blood Wrote:  
(12-07-2012 02:06 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
Jesus and his followers were mythical characters in my opinion. The whole point of the myth was to destroy Jewish provenance over God and the scriptures by having them execute God's only son and then try to hide or deny this horrible crime against humanity. It was a Gentile/Greek movement from the start.

The myth makes no sense whatsoever as an authentically Jewish myth.
I know we've discussed this before, but to me it makes perfect sense. The divinity claims were not uniform, and had a complex evolutionary history. God didn't have an "only son". It was a general honorific title in both Roman and Jewish culture. It would have made no sense to them, to kill god's "only" son.

I think it was a fusion of what you are saying with an already ongoing cultic development process, which indeed "they" hijacked, (St. Paul). It certainly doesn't make sense as an authentically Jewish myth, (which I pointed out in
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ic+origins ,), and I agree about that. I guess I still disagree about the early development process, as I still think it has more historical features embedded in it, than you. I think it started as an apocalyptic outgrowth, and got hijacked. You may convince me yet. Tongue

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12-07-2012, 08:13 PM
RE: Old Testament
That's some pretty cool spin there Blood. Of course it's wrong, but entertaining nonetheless. Big Grin

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12-07-2012, 10:16 PM
RE: Old Testament
(12-07-2012 01:23 PM)Noelani Wrote:  What is the history of how the old testament became obsolete/inferior to the new testament? Was it thought to be outdated even during the time that the new testament was written? How can people be so dismissive of the horrible god of the old testament?

The problem with every new religion is acceptance. Sometimes a totally new religion can actually be pulled off successfully (Scientology) but usually they try to convert by bringing a message that's kinda like an old religion and then hijacking it by saying that new prophesy or revelations changed what it formerly held true (Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Christianity).

So a lot of the things that are in the Old Testament don't make sense in light of the New Testament, and these things have been rationalized. Obviously "love thy neighbor" and "vengeance is the lord's" don't square up with the OT's commands to kill people over a bunch of relatively minor sins, so Christians have discarded those. The Jewish rituals were a pain in the ass and pretty tribe-specific, so those were also done away with. It's pretty clear to outsiders that they are two entirely different religions (like Protestant and Catholic Christianities) and yet Christians cling to their Jewish roots because otherwise it's a religion that unfairly discriminates against everyone born before it existed -- which is a problem if you want to believe in a fair God.

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13-07-2012, 01:17 AM
RE: Old Testament
Are there any reputable scholars that focus on the history of the old testament?

Noelani, there are several and I would recommend The Bible Unearthed, by Israel Finkelstein (Jewish archaeologist) and Neil Silberman (historian), which pretty much shreds the historicity of the OT. Additionally, you could read A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, by John J. Collins (an OT prof). His review gives a book-by-book deconstruction of the "Old" Testament, citing what the symbolism was behind many of the stories and listing when many of them arose. It's quite insightful.

As to the OT being obsolete, the fabricators of NT theology needed a new spin after Pauline Christianity went off in a completely new direction from the original message of Jesus, which Ehrman goes into in several of his books.

One of my favourite quotes--which I cited in my own book on the origin/evolution of Judeo-Christian doctrines, and still looking for a publisher, btw--is by the renowned biblical scholar, Geza Vermes, in his book The Authentic Gospel of Jesus.

Quote:

. . . In short, the view that Jesus ministered only to the lost sheep of Israel
and instructed his disciples to do the same is the historically correct
alternative. Disturbing though this may sound to the uninformed, the order to
proclaim the good news of salvation to all the nations must be struck out from
the list of the authentic sayings of Jesus. . . .

. . . The only logical inference that can be drawn from these premises is that
Jesus was concerned only with Jews, because in his view citizenship of the
Kingdom of God was reserved for them alone. . . .

. . . The same church, in the footsteps of St. Paul, its true founder, succeeded
in removing the major obstacle impeding the dissemination of Jesus’ message.
Jesus considered his mission to be restricted to Jews and explicitly ordered
his envoys not to preach the gospel to Gentiles. The apostles, who were
delivering a freshly tailored message to Jews about the Messiahship of Jesus,
on witnessing the progressive fiasco of the evangelization at home gave in to
Paul’s insistent pressure, and opened the church to all nations. The pagans
entered in droves, first diluting and soon entirely transforming the Jewish
heritage of Jesus. . . .

. . . Yet on reading the original message, thinking and honest members of the
various Christian faiths may (should?) feel the need for a thorough
reexamination of the fundamentals of their belief, ethics and piety, a
reconsideration which may demand a complete doctrinal restructuring, a new
‘reformation.’

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13-07-2012, 01:42 AM
RE: Old Testament
(13-07-2012 01:17 AM)Diogenes of Mayberry Wrote:  ...and still looking for a publisher, btw

Publish it yerself. Stop whining to a buncha poor, starving atheists. Angry

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