Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
27-10-2012, 12:53 AM (This post was last modified: 09-09-2014 07:36 PM by Bucky Ball.)
Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, a second look, or Saul of Tarsus starts to "finally get" the Anointed One.
"Get it ?" Read on.
The purpose of this post is to take another look at what has come to be called a *resurrection event*, specifically the "event", which
is an element of the faith content, or faith affirmation of those who call themselves "Christians", today.
I propose that what we think today as the "resurrection" event, is misguided, for a number of reasons. They include the facts that :
1. The meanings of the words, have been taken out of context, and redefined, in a culturally dependent way they were never intended.
2. The historical context has been misunderstood, and deliberately misstated.
3. The words in the texts have not been carefully examined in their historical cultural context.
4. The motives of the writer's of the texts have not been understood.
In the English language, when we say "rise", or "to rise", or "risen" in general, it means something or someone "gets up", or "moves up", from a lower to a higher position, or "rises" from sleep, or "goes up" as in a "loaf of bread rises".
The normal use does not usually include, in normal usage, that a human "rises up" after their own death has occurred. The normal, everyday use of the word, does not include, "getting up from the dead", or that someone has "gotten up" from the dead. Humans never "get up" when they are dead. In human history, there is not one documented case and anyone ever "getting up" after dying. There is not one proven action, or artifact having been formed or changed, by a dead human. Dead humans are "beyond the reach" of those who exist in a time which is later than the time of the death of the person who is said to be dead. They have no continuing biological activity.
When the words are used in language to signify that the human who people think of as "Jesus of Nazareth" *rose from the dead*, it is a very special and unique use of the words, and language. It *signifies* something which is out of normal human experience.
In 2014, when the words are spoken or thought *Jesus rose from the dead*, it also rests in our cultural assumptions of what we *think* the Bible teaches about humans.
In other words we assume it *flows* from a context in which those words make sense, or might have made sense, and that we understand, what we *think* the humans who said them actually meant the same thing we understand them too mean, when we hear them today.
These assumptions are entirely unfounded in this case. I shall examine the reasons for this.
If I say, "Babe Ruth has achieved immortality", we all understand that means he achieved a certain pre-eminent status in his sport. It does NOT mean he is actually physically alive, or still playing baseball. (Some people may actually *think* his "soul" exists, but that's not a part of the content of that statement, normally.) The normal use, is not a special religious use. It is a statement about his status with respect to his sport. If I say "Babe Ruth, during his career, *rose* to *immortal* status, it does not mean he actually is playing baseball today. It means we, live humans, *remember* him, as a great baseball player.
Our brains have become accustomed to automatically *convert* or translate or move into an "alternate mode" of meaning, when we use and hear the words about Jesus' resurrection. It is a very specific learned response. Why is that and where does that response come from ?
We will look here at some of the assumptions, and fallacies underlying that learned response, and why they are incorrect.
When we hear or say today that someone is a "son" of someone, in normal usage, we mean a biological son. When we say someone is a "Son of Norway", our brains instantly convert or translate that to understand, what is meant, and that it is metaphorical. In the same way, when a Jew in Jesus' day, said someone was a "son of God" the culture of that day, used the term in general to mean the person was a "righteous person". It was applied to many people : politicians, generals, famous military heroes , and other cultural "good"guys". It did NOT mean, that a person was actually physically generated, in any way by the deity, In some instances it could mean that a human had. (just as Babe Ruth), *attained* that status. Yahweh had become a monotheist god by the time of Jesus, and ANY meaning of "divine as equal" status to Yahweh was unthinkable, to a Jew. Even with the Doctrine of the Trinity, just the name "Father", as opposed to "Son" *IS* a hierarchical relationship, which is inescapable. If not, why not just say "Brothers", if they really are equal ? It was unthinkable for a Jew of the day of Jesus to claim equality with Yahweh. Anyone claiming that would be stoned on the spot. Even if Yeshua claimed sonship, (which we don't know), it does NOT mean he claimed equality. There were other offenses for stoning also, but that certainly was one. Any other use of that term with a DIFFERENT meaning would have to be proven in it's context. When Hebrews heard the phrase "Jesus was a son of god" it meant he was a "righteous man". Later, the use of that word became an issue of great contention in Christianity, as it grew to mean something else, and there were large fights over the meaning in the Councils of early Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filioque , and how it relates to what developed into the Doctrine of the Trinity. In Jesus' day, he was not thought of as a being with a "divine" nature. Also those with "divine" natures, (the "heavenly host") were not necessarily considered equal to Yahweh. (see below). So the use of words, and what they mean was, and is very important in Christianity, and its' history.
Matthew 28:5 Do not be afraid. I know that you are seeking Jesus, the crucified one. He is not here. For he has been raised, just as he said.
....28:7 ....He goes before you to Galilee.
Matthew 28:17 : "When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted". They did NOT really believe that they were seeing a "risen" human corpse.
Not "some doubted". Not "Thomas doubted". They ALL doubted,. THAT late, JUST before the "great commission". In Galilee. That's what Matthew says. It's in the text.
By then, wouldn't they be used to seeing the "shade" ?
Luke : Luke 24:37 But they were startled and terrified, and thought they were seeing a "shade". (NOT a modern day "ghost"). They did not recognize him. Even after he said "Peace be with you".
John.20:19-24 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.... But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
There were only 11 at that point. Oops. If they just "called it "numerical Twelve". even though one was missing, finding another would NOT be important. If Having 11, and one was missing, then there were really 10, and they should have called themselves '"The Eleven". If, having one missing, and STILL calling themselves The Twelve, talking about the missing one would be irrelevant. If calling themselves "The Twelve" with only 10 present, and Eleven in the group, they don't know how to count. If "The Twelve " is just a "title", and they didn't mean 12, then nothing about this is reliable.
The Road to Emmaus, they saw him, talked with him, walked with him, yet did not recognize him.
Whatever it was that rose, it was not the body of Yeshua ben Josef. This time whatever they saw, was not a "shade" but resembled a human enough that they were not afraid of it.
This subject is a fascinating one. It employs all the skills a Biblical scholar can muster, and bring to bear on a topic. I'm an amateur here. My specialty is NOT these texts. I find the older texts more interesting, and more of a puzzle, and challenge. I've never really had much interest in the Christian writings. (They all presume a content in Genesis, which is absent, yet which is foundational to "salvation", thus whatever all this is all about is simply moot. Genesis is not really about sin and disobedience, and there is no immortality in Hebrew culture.) But it's a fun exercise in scholarship to tackle, as it pulls together so many themes and topics.
When Gary Habermas stands in front of his small audiences and *pretends*, with a degree in History, (from Michigan State), that somehow he is competent to examine the context, meanings, and truthfulness of the resurrection stories, and that that degree enables him to comment on religious texts from the ancient Near East, it is preposterous. The real scholars of Ancient Semitic languages think he's a fraud. He would be thrown out on his ear from gatherings of the field he pretends to speak for. He has the contempt of the academic community. The gymnastics he pulls on the stage, about Paul, is laughable. It's why he's relegated to Liberty University, as they all are. The academic backwaters. The same goes for William Craig, and Edward Feser. Third rate schools is the best they can do. Presuppositionsalists all. Also the fact that in the Habermas spiel, he uses Paul, as his dates are earlier, he doesn't even get it, that the gospels were placed first, as the gospels had primacy. He ignores that, as he wants dates.
They are like the Ugly American. They are the Ugly Christians. They do not really serve their own cause. They are not really academics. They are "plastic" *what passes for* fake versions of real academia, and what it is like, and what is done with a subject, such as the resurrection of Yeshua ben Josef. He is no more qualified to discuss this subject than his friend, the JOURNALIST-with-no-training-in-the-subject, Lee Strobel, who thinks interviewing people with favorable attitudes toward a view, is somehow evidence for the view. THAT is not even good journalism.
So that said, let's look at the resurrection. Where to start ? The Letters of Paul. They were the earliest Christian documents that exist today.
Much of what we see in Paul's texts, we see through the lens of a 21st Century reader. It's hard to jettison our automatic pre-judgements about what words mean, and what the value is, of dropping our prejudices, at all. For a "person of faith", is an honest "search for truth" even possible ? For the Presuppositionalists, (Craig, Habermas. Feser, Licona and Co.), apparently it is not. If you don't come out at their predetermined outcome, it's because you have a moral failing. and you just "don't understand" correctly. There is only one outcome that is legitimate. If you read the mission statement of Biola University, http://offices1.biola.edu/hr/ehandbook/1.3/ , for example, the search is not about the search for truth. The "truth" is presumed to be "their truth", (and only their truth). Thus for them, if the truth were to lead away from their presupposed truth, they would reject it, because they did not ALREADY believe it.
While this model is EXACTLY the way that communities in the ancient Near East accepted or rejected a gospel text, ie : did it "fit" with their presupposed common idea of what the truth was about the Jesus Event, and thus used as a gospel text, it's no good in helping us with the texts of Saul of Tarsus, since they were not used as "proclaimed faith" documents in liturgical services, in their original intent. They were just letters. This difference is maintained to this day. They are not gospels.
Always, there exists the problem of translation. All translation involves at least some interpretation. Presumed attitudes, and unseen premises abound, at every turn, unless one is very careful. For this discussion, I won't get into this much except to point out the common errors. I will explain sources for translations, if anyone is interested.
So ok. in 2014, no one can say or read the word *resurrection* and not have their brain cells associate that word, at least subconsciously with the resurrection of Jesus. I do not presume that Jesus may have been a person, a conflation of two Jesuses, or a total myth. All the usual historical references to the "historical" Jesus, are either forgeries, (such as Josephus 18), or references to Christians. Never Jesus as an historical person. I admit there was a "something" .. or "somethings". To me the proof is mostly that the growing cult argued about the meaning of the event. Why would a growing cult mention the fight s at all, if they were just making up something. They would white-wash it all, if there was nothing.
Also I will presume, for the moment "good faith". in Saul. There are good reasons NOT to do that, That's a discussion for another day. That's also why I will continue to say "Saul". He well may have had an ulterior motive. He changed his name to honor a Roman emperor.
Resurrection. The word has a few meanings.
1. An event in time, in which a previously live biological entity, after (clinical) death, resumes it's actual previous live biological processes . A secular meaning. This has never been observed. For this to happen, would involve so many problems with the science, (*see the below scientific discussion) I can't even begin to discuss the implications. It's not one miracle. It's billions, and trillions, if not more, of miracles.
2. The event in Christianity, which, without further definition, or further examination, just means the (supposed) event, in time that happened on Easter Sunday, early in the morning.
3. As a shutout to my friends up in Hollywood, I guess I can give you a Zombie definition also. Don't say I didn't do ya no favors.
Ok. So, imagine yourself as Saul of Tarsus. It's 50 CE. No gospels, No Mark, no John, no telephones, no TV, no records of any kind, no way for anyone to check anything. Only letters, but 95 % of the population are illiterate. Not only are they pre-scientific, with all that means. It also means they they have many Apocalyptic preachers who do miracles, and some come back to life, You're on your own baby. How are you going to impart your message, and try to keep the adherents to your religion in line. You write them letters.
In "The Problem with The Resurrection", Dr. B. B. Scott does a brilliant comparison to Humpty Dumpty. Tell yourself that rhyme. Then ask yourself, what actually happened in that rhyme. If you tell me, "oh an egg fell off the wall, and smashed" ... I say nuh-uh. Nowhere does it say an egg fell. How do you KNOW an egg fell ? You presumed an egg fell. It's the same with the resurrection. Because of all the pictures, and picture books you've seen, you presume it was an egg.
So lets look at some words. "Resurrection" in English is defined above. Saul's letters were written in Greek In the second chapter of Luke, verse 34, the author has Simeon say, (to Mary and Joseph), "For this child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel. The Greek word used, is "anastasin". The Greek word here, is used, as anyone would normally use it in Greek, as in the "rising of the sun", would mean to us. LATER, after cultural and historical overlay, when "anastasin" is used, (just as in the Humpty Dumpty examaple, ), the word's meaning has TWO different meanings. A normal one, and a religious one. So there is an intra-gospel example of the post event cognitive change. There also is a good example we know of from Saul, and the Gospel of John. When Jesus gets up from the table, at the Last Supper, he (in the Greek), is said to "egeiretai", he "gets up". (For those who know Latin, the similarity is obvious.) When Saul uses this SAME verb in 1 Corinthians, 15:12, it's translated "For if our message is that the Anointed has been raised, how can you possibly be saying there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead". Thus without the later religious overlay, the phrase SHOULD be translated,as "he is gotten up from among the dead". This "gotten up" is equivalent to the way a Greek would have said "I *got up* this morning". (ie got up from a bed). It DOES NOT mean, I "rose from the dead" this morning. It's a raising of (relative) "position" with respect to a previous position.
We all think of the resurrection, the way we do, because of past Easter bunnies, and Easter church, and the way we have seen countless pictures of crappy sentimental art with pretty Caucasian Jesuses. So before, we even start, we have to agree, the only objective way to examine this question, is without cultural overlay.
Before we get to the Historical and Biblical aspects, it's necessary to look at two ideas.
The Egyptians believed in an after life. They had for thousands of years. The concept of a "soul" as distinct from the body, and surviving the body, was called the "ka". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egy...f_the_soul They speculated about what it would be in the Book of the Dead.
The Sumerians talked about it in the Epic of Gilgamesh. While there are obvious things appropriated from Sumerian texts, in the Bible, they did not import content about an after -life.
Almost all the surrounding cultures of ancient Israel DID believe in some sort of afterlife. Israel was an odd exception to this. It has perplexed scholars. Why Not ? I will propose my personal explanation for this later. There is both a positive, and negative case for this. It is important. Israel was not concerned with a personal afterlife. Genesis 3:19 says, "For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return". God breathed life into the man, not a soul. While there are examples of exceptions to this, in 1 Samuel 28:15, Saul calls the Witch of Endor, and she conjures up the shade of Samuel, who is angry to be disturbed. He was in a "dormant" state". not a "blissful" state. Conjuring shades was forbidden. Apart from the magic, there was just no cultural content of the ideal of an individual ("happy", or "sad") state of immortality. That does not mean immortality was not present. We'll look at that later.
Psalm 39 :
"Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart, and am no more"
Psalm 115 :
The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any that go down into silence".
However ALL the dead, both good and bad, were thought to go to an underground region called "Sheol". And Sheol is referenced in mostly the Wisdom texts. It's certainly NOT where God lives.
Psalm 6 : "For in death there is no remembrance of you, in Sheol, who can give you praise ?"
The Biblical texts were written, (assembled) by the upper-class priests. In Canaan , ancestors remained powerful, after death, and had to be fed, and placated. Because of it's threat to monotheism, shamanism and witchcraft had to be suppressed. The fact it had to be suppressed, means it was widespread, and perceived as a threat. Saul expelled the mediums and the wizards. When the Witch of Endor conjures Samuel's "shade", Saul asks the witch, "What do you see". She answers, "I see a DIVINE being, (the word is "elohim"), coming up out of the ground. (Only the witch could *see* or perceive the shade). Saul asks "What does he look like ?". She describes him. And the text then says, (just as the text in the New Testament does, (ie describes *recognition*) about the "Road to Emmaus" incident), "So Saul knew it was Samuel...etc" because of the description. The DEAD SHADE'S IDENTITY HAD TO BE INFERRED. In Hebrew culture, the dead did not have recognizable human shapes. or appearances. Read that again, please. The identity of dead shades was not apparent. The "shade" of Jesus also was not recognized, when they said they saw it. Next, if a shade is a "divine being", it speaks volumes about what that means to them. If a dead human's shade is of the SAME essential nature as other divine beings, (and there were many, in the polytheistic Hebrew culture), then it calls into question our notion of "supernatural". In our culture a "god" is perceived as "up there", watching from above, powerful from on high, riding the clouds of heaven. Obviously from the Samuel's shade remark we see that was not true of the Hebrews. Instead of saying "super-natural", it would be more correct to say "other than normally natural", as it denoted an equal, or equivalency of power and status. There is no hierarchical paradigm implied.
Historically there is a long, very interesting historical set of occurrences, in which the Greek, and Roman, and Seleucid empire's forces are battling for ascendancy in the Near East) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes. Suffice it to say the Greeks purchased the High Priesthood in Israel, and Jason, (Greek equivalent name of Jesus), imported Hellenistic ideas, even more than they had been already, as recounted in 2 Maccabees, which drove some changes in the Hebrew culture, and it's assumptions. The famous "abomination of desolation" resulted from the interaction of the forces from these days, when the desolate temple, was associated, with not allowing Jews to perform their ritual practices arose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abomination...solationry involved Unfortunately it would lead us too far afield here, to do all the history involved here, but as a result of persecution in the Maccabeean period, there arose the idea of "Martyrdom". Martyrs were important as we shall see. Their status was "raised up" as a result of their heroic actions.
In the Book of Daniel, in chapter 12, for the first time the idea of rising from the dead appears in the Old Testament. Interestingly enough, it also involves a redemptive aspect.
Thus we know that before that date, there was NO concept of general, or individual immortality, in Hebrew culture. The author of Daniel had to try to make sense of the horrific experience of the Exile and the trying times they were experiencing. Thus he had the "trial in lions den", etc, which symbolized the horrible time in Babylon, and the invasion of the Maccabean period. How would he make sense of the awful experience. Daniel 12:3 "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars, for ever and ever." They get rewarded for suffering. And immortality is born.
A few years post Exile, we have Isaiah saying:
Isaiah 26:19 "Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
O dweller in the dust, awake and sing for joy !
For your dew is a radiant dew, and the Earth will give birth to those long dead."
The first text in the Bible to be written was the Book or Torah of Job, was also an attempt to ask why, and make sense of the experience of "exile".
So, just as with everything else in Hebrew culture, the horror of the Exilic period, gives rise to it's MOST important changes, and ideas. Religion had to rationalize how an absent god could allow his chosen people to undergo such a horror. Who cares, if you live forever, and there was another life after this one ?
So something clearly changes here. This is when and how the Hebrew's prophets and priests, added the notion of an afterlife to a culture which had none, previously. The culture was ready for this new addition, for another reason, as you will see below. However, these men, in no way say everyone rises, or that eternal life is for everyone, or where the resurrection takes place, or how exactly how this is made manifest.
There is a transitional period, as always. In Maccabees 2, there is the famous set of speeches of the seven sons of Hannah.
Each of the sons gives a speech before they are martyred for refusing to eat pork, (an "abomination of desolation"). In the speeches, they refer to SOME people being given eternal life, but not all. Saint Paul STILL had this "some" idea. Only the saved have eternal life, in the Pauline literature.
Saul of Tarsus thought the apocalypse was next week. The end-times were immanent for him, just as for Jesus. The Thessalonians were worried that the dead would be disadvantaged when the end-time came, Saul had to convince them otherwise. He told them "the living will not be given preference over those who have already fallen asleep", and goes into great detail how the end-times will play out. (1 Thess 4:13-18).
Alright, so that's a very simplistic background. A human being who says, "I believe that Jesus rose from the dead", or "I have seen the risen Lord", is saying the linguistic equivalent to "I think I have experienced the risen Lord". Two are active, one is passive. They are all equivalent with respect to an empiric truth. As we have seen above, the content of the words is 100 % dependent on cultural context.
There is a lot of razzle-dazzle among apologists, concerning where Saul got his message and authority to preach. It's all irrelevant. He told us he made it up, and how he felt about himself :
"Let me make it clear, friends, the gospel I announced does not conform to human expectations. I say this because it was NOT transmitted to me by anyone, nor did anyone teach it to me. Rather it came to me as an insight from God, about Jesus as God's Anointed." ...... "I went WAY beyond most of my contemporaries in my observance of Judaism"..... I would proclaim God's world-transforming news to the nations." Galations 1
Isn't he just special. The REASON he changed from being a self-righteous Jew to an Apostle, was he was an insane megalomaniac, and he found a better way to express it. He goes so far as to invoke Jeremiah, ABOUT HIMSELF, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". (Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 49:1).
"However when God who designated me before I was born, and commissioned me through his grace ..." Gal 1: 11-17.
One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone. and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul. After the introduction of Saul ends in Acts 9:30, the text is silent on him, and leaves him abruptly in Tarsus, The Saul, from Damascus Road disappears from Acts, and is not seen again, until much later. Acts 9:31 says that now, before the next Saul appears, the church was at peace. It says nothing more about a Saul, who, BTW, IS STILL being called SAUL, in the text. until, out of the blue, without explanation, a man also named Saul, is spoken of, in words that *could* be seen as saying it was another man, in Acts 13, but he is now in Antioch. . Acts introduces him all over again, without saying it was the SAME man which was spoken of earlier. If we hadn't been culturally told they were the same, we would have no way of knowing it WAS the same guy. Despite many opportunities, the new Saul does NOT refer to any conversion experience. in Acts 13, until much later. Why would an historical "look back" point of view not call him, consistently "Paul" ? In Acts 13:9, it says "But Saul, also known as Paul". We are NOT told it happened at the conversion. Why would the writer, all of a sudden choose to explain this fact HERE, if it's not a new actor in the text ? "Paul" is a "Romanized" name which means "small". Is this some sort of joke in the text, or does the name refer to Saul's "abnormal from birth" comment ? Was Saul abnormally short ? There are 3 times Acts recount the conversion. After the first one, Saul continues to be called "Saul". In the first one, when the god calls Ananias to baptize him, clearly the author wants the hearer to remember the Moses story when Moses was called from the burning bush, as Ananias, being called by the god, says "Here I am Lord". It happens in a dream. Clearly it's allegorical. Saul is NOT "baptized" here. It's a "laying-on" of hands. In Act 22:16 he IS baptized, AND it says "his sins are washed away". This is a HUGE paradigm shift. "Washing away of sins" is NOT a Hebrew idea. I shall deal with it below. In this second account, his name is changed but not explained. In the third account before Agrippa, the name change is not mentioned. Also too long for here is an examination of the Essene roots of Jeebus, except I would mention the Essene Book of Jesus, http://www.thenazareneway.com/essene_gos...ok_two.htm , says EXACTLY the SAME thing, as the Gospel of John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.".
...but, the accounts are inconsistent, and actually contradict each other.
1. In Galatians 1, he says he was "anointed", by his "Anointed One". His authority comes straight from "God the Father, who raised him from the dead". THIS is THE first report of a "risen lord in the New Testament, and it comes in a statement by Saul, proclaiming his self-appointing of his own authority. The "Saul event" is just as mythological as the resurrection. Saul does not say it happened on the Road to Damascus in this first account. If you compare the Pauline literature from the letters, with the later account in acts, a number of additional factors have appeared. There is nowhere a horse he fell from. Where did THAT come from. Later art work. There is no horse. In the letters Saul never says it happens on the Road to Damascus. In Acts, it says after the Damascus Road event, he went into Damascus and was taught by them. In Acts 22:10, it says he was told to get up, go into Damascus, and there he would be TOLD what to do. So Acts contradicts the letters with regard to the transmission of the message. This idea made Saul really mad, and he kept repeating he got it straight from God.
2. In Acts 8:1 it says : "Now Saul, was consenting to his execution", with respect to the execution of Stephen, the proto-martyr. Steven, in acts goes through the ENTIRE history of the Hebrew history, WHICH WE NOW KNOW WAS ALMOST ENTIRELY MYTHICAL. Thus the ENTIRE Book of Acts is now suspect, and the entire Hebrew Patriarchal history is impossible, historically, and Stephen re-asserts the falsehoods. But that's not the problem here. In Galatians 1:22, Saul asserts "I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea". That could not possibly be true, if he was a leader of the opposition in Jerusalem, and played a major part in the execution of Stephen. In the letters, Saul uses the Greek word "dioken", with respect to what he did to the church. That does not mean "persecute". It means "harass". The story is changed in Acts. Saul doesn't report himself as murdering Christians. He is much more lenient on himself, than Acts. He does this in the context of talking about his "zealotry", which at that time had no negative connotation.
Ok. Back to "experiencing" the "risen Lord".
Saul is THE first human in the Christian literature to actually write down that he had experienced a risen Lord. Acts were written many years later. The Paul in acts, is not Paul of Tarsus, or anyway, they are different "enough" to question one of them. We can accept that there IS a Saul of Tarsus, as his ideas are "Greeky", even while Jewish, and are non-Jewish enough that we know he was not from Israel. There are substantial underlying assumptions about Reality in the two Pauls, but it's too long for here. I'll post a link to a video about this subject at the end.
In Numbers 25: 6-13, Phinehas was zealous, don't cha know. Phinehas was "zealous for the Lord". The ends justify the means. Violence, and whatever is needed to achieve an outcome is valued, as the ULTIMATE value. Thus in his culture, "pious fraud" was 100 % acceptable. It was seen as a great thing to be "zealous for the Lord". You could do whatever you felt was necessary to get the outcome you *thought* your deity wanted accomplished. Saul was a Zealot. A Zealous Pharisee.
So why did they make such a big deal about Saul's change, (conversion), if he just stayed the same, essentially. He was already a Jew. He already believed in Yahweh. There IS no Christianity yet to convert to, Christians are NOT yet called Christians. (Acts 11:26 is NOT proof of anything, as Acts was written MUCH later), he continued to think of himself as a Jew. He STILL thought women were to be "under the law", He is NOT in need of "moral conversion", (from before his Damascus Road experience). He says he was "As to the Torah, blameless" : Phil 3:6.
So WTF IS going on here ? It's a mass of contradictions.
So next we will look at what Saul actually says about his "resurrection experience".
Scholars think the next earliest reference in existing written form to a risen Jesus, is a rather strange "hymn" or poem which we see placed in the beginning of the 2nd chapter of Philippians. Just as in the Old Testament, a "hymn" may be the oldest fragment, placed into another text. In Philippians 2: 6-11, there is a poem called the "Carmen Christi". The name comes from a letter of Pliny the Younger, in which he tells the Emperor Trajan, about (111-112 CE) what he found in the Provinces of Pontus and Bithynia, in Asia Minor. The Christian sect was being accused of various crimes, and he could find nothing especially seriously wrong about them. He didn't really know what to do. He says in Latin, "carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum invicem"..or "they chant verses alternately among themselves, in honor of the Christ, as if to a god". That's all he could find. Nothing especially bad. But that's why the hymn is called the "Carmen" Christi.. it's a (probably) chanted hymn. (I personally think he heard the chanting of alternate verses of psalms, but I have no proof, as they were done that way also). This hymn has been studied to death, by scholars. By the 1990's the "hymn" status was even being questioned, but whatever it is, ( a Greek "encomion" ? ), it doesn't really fit with Saul's known writing style. So he got it from somewhere. We know Philippians was a combo job, because, among other things, the author says "finally" more than once, (3:1, 4:8), and more importantly, the tone of the text does not match the surrounding text. Some think from 4:10 on, is yet a third author. Some think the hymn may have come from inside the community at Phillipi, and Saul approved of it, so he included it. In any case, the hymn says Jesus was "super-exalted", after being humbled. What does that mean, exactly ? The academic examination of this poem is extensive, but an interesting part, is in the Greek, the form of preposition and verb compounding, called a "hyperypsosen". It's a linguistic element used which intensifies the verb. "Super-exalted", or "extra-exalted" are just made-up English words which attempt to translate the meaning, as there is not an English equivalent. Anyway, the "high" position is used to intensify the difference from the "humbled" of the low position. Anyway, Saul KNEW the context, and that the Romans would hear of this, and/or, it would be "heard" in a cognitive sense, as a shocking insult. A pathetic criminal, whom the Romans had executed, now was "raised" to a very high position. It was the equivalent to a (political) "obscenity". It would be the same as an American "wacko-preacher" telling HIS audience, in a US military setting, that Osama bin Laden had been raised to the highest place in heaven. There is a VERY strong anti-Imperial "ring" to the last part of the poem. So the first citing of the resurrection theme, can be seen in a striking political context. If you wanted to get the Romans mad at the Christians, or justify Roman anger toward Christians, you would use such a poem.
2. The most extensive passage in the NT about the resurrection, is in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15. If the gospels are not the first mention of the event, why is it the accounts in Saul's letters not looked at more carefully, or first ? Scholars know why. They were, capriciously put in the canon in the order they are in, for no particular legitimate ordering reason. No one has ever claimed "ordering" was important, or that it enhanced legitimacy claims, or inspiration claims. Opening the NT, one just comes to Mark first. Paul is less well known, also as he is used in liturgy less, in the sense that the gospel stories are used more often, than any one Pauline passage is used. Lastly, the artistic legacy, depicts the gospel story frequently. So visually we *think* of a "risen lord* the way we do. Ask yourself, "When I think of the resurrected lord, what do I think of ?". Probably a Caucasian, adult male around 30 years old, with long hair, and pleasant features". THAT is NOT what the gospels said they saw. The gospels all say they did not recognize him, and they were afraid of what they saw. Our thought has been determined by our culture, not the facts. Next what are the best known stories you remember ? Probably Mary Magdalene being told not to touch, and the doubting Thomas story. If Thomas DID recognize Jesus, why would he HAVE to put his fingers into the wounds ? The problem is not faith, it's "recognition". They do NOT know who or what they see. If it WAS the actual body of Jesus, they would recognize him. We will return to that. The accounts in Paul are brief, and our brains fill in the gaps, with our cultural assumptions. We know the *real* 1 Corinthians is missing, as the letter referenced in 1 Cor 5:9 is unknown. 1 Corinthians is a combo job. The section in 1 Cor 14:33-36 was likely added by a scribe who liked Timothy and Titus.
When Saul first talks about the resurrection, other than himself as a "revealed" thing, he says that he "appeared to Cephas". The word "appeared", is an ok translation but not exactly correct, in context. The Greek word is "ophthe". It has a *passive* element. In English it is an intransitive verb. "Appeared" is a word which means "to become visible", or "was made visible", or "became a[parent". The Greek verb is the past tense of the passive verb "horao", "to see", ("was seen"). The passive translation is "The Anointed has been seen by Cephas". HOWEVER, normally a Greek translation of "by whom" would be translated in Greek using the "hypo" (preposition), to indicate "agency". THAT is not here, in the Greek. It really should be translated as "The Anointed has been seen FOR the advantage of Cephas or to BENEFIT Cephas, or for Cephas' *Advantage*". It does NOT mean "Cephas saw the Anointed". It means the "Anointed was made manifest for Cephas' advantage". That begins to look very different, than Cephas seeing something. It's more like Saul's vision. There are many examples of these kinds of misuse, and mistranslations, due to assumed cultural overlay, which when translated correctly, make the entire picture look very very different, especially in terms of the many "sightings" of various beings, and mysterious things, in both the Old and New Testaments. The most famous of these "shifts" is the sighting of Moses of Yahweh in the burning bush, where the angel shifts into the bush and is also "seen for" Yahweh, when Abraham moves from Ur, (which Philo of Alexandria talks about around 20-50 CE, in "On Abraham". There is NO physical "seeing". The correct translations all mean "seeing in the mind". It's a MENTAL change. Guess what ? SAUL's "blinding", and the "new seeing" is an EXACT correlation of these prior Biblical "manifestations", and any Jew or Christian, or Greek of the day would conflate these various "manifestations", "blindings", "and then seeings" as METAPHOR, for a mental attitude change. The same verbs, and words are used. Sauls blinding and then seeing" was equated, as Abraham's "vision", where his "mind saw again with it's recovered sight". Just like Saul. Saul "saw" with a different "sight". It was NOT a physical thing. It was a metaphor for a mental change. THAT is how he "*saw* the Anointed One". It like we say, "oh, ok, I get it, now". He did not intend to say he physically "saw" the Anointed One. It means "I have come to understand the Anointed One". In 1 Corintians 9:1-2, in defending his apostleship, he appeals to his new "seeing". "Have I not seen the Lord". That means that a requirement for apostleship, one has to have "seen the
So just to emphasize here : Saul's "re-seeing", or "recovery from blindness", (ie THE "conversion event") WAS for him, personally the SAME thing, as the resurrection for him. For him "resurrection" was "re-seeing" the same set of events he already knew about, just "seeing" them in a different light. THAT is what he thought of the same thing as "Have I not *seen* the risen lord" It's metaphor, for a different understanding of events he already knew about. It's NOT a physical resurrection. It means "Have I not come to understand that Jesus was exalted as the anointed one" ?
There are countless other contradictions, and interesting tidbits, in Saul's letters, and how the wordplay is used, and later referenced by the gospels.
For example at the end of Romans, he says to greet the Apostle Junia. Junia was a WOMAN !!! Even (St.) John Chrysostom talked about how shocking that was, but says she was worthy of it. (On The Epistle to the Romans). John Chrysostom is full of interesting clues to the early church, including the fact they were still Jews, as late as 400 CE, (see the Christmas Sermon).
So what exactly did they mean they saw ? In 1 Corinthians 15:35, Saul says "How are the dead raised ?" He calls those who deny it "stupid man" (15:36). In Greek culture, the idea of immortality is as convoluted as Hebrew culture. The Greeks were Dualists. Body/soul was not a unity. But in Philippians 1:20, apparently Saul rejects this dualism, "the Anointed will be exalted, by my life, whether I live or die", or in SV translates it as "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death". To Saul, to deny the resurrection is the same as saying "You don't think, what you (actually) now really think". When Saul *saw* things in a different light, of course he saw them in a different light. To say otherwise, would make one a "stupid man".
Next we look at what actually was seen to have arisen. There are two aspects to this. The Pauline understanding, and the questions raised in the gospels.
As we have seen, in Hebrew culture there was no immortality, except metaphorical immortality for martyrs. In Greek culture, to which Corinthians was addressed, there also was no immortality, early on, but it changed. In the Homeric period, and in Sophocles, there is no physical immortality. In the Apollo speech in Aeschulus' "Eumenides" he says "...once he is dead, there is no return to life". However, by Plato's time, he has Phaedo saying "shall we assume two kinds of existence, one visible, and one invisible". (Dialogues of Socrates and Cebes). Dualism had developed. In Plato's dualism, there is an "essence", or soul which breaks free of a body, and joins a "divine' realm at death. Thus for the Corinthians, in Plato's dualism, the SOUL is immortal, but there is NO physical resurrection. So this solves nothing. The Corinthian Christians (1 Cor 12) believed that they HAD ALREADY been raised. In Colossians 2:12-13, Saul says "When you were buried with him in baptism, through faith in the power of God". BUT HE DENIES THIS view in 1 Tim 2:18-19, and says it's heresy. "Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that resurrection has already taken place. " There is a huge lengthy corpus of theological discussion here, for many years, about what exactly Saul's understanding of dualism actually was. Rudolf Bultmann had the position that Saul's thought was that there was no dualism, and that humans did have *have* a soul, ("soma"), but actually *was* a "unity", (body+soul). This would be fine, but it fit's in neither Greek or Hebrew culture. So what did he mean ? He said "the Anointed will be exalted by my life, whether I live or die". Thus Bultmann's position is refuted, as if it's BOTH it is not the "unity", if the body is dead, and ONLY the soul remains. Then Saul says "Don't you know that your bodies are parts of the BODY of the Anointed". (1 Cor 6:15) So here we see that WHOLE thing has metaphorical meaning, and is not a literal discussion, in any way, in Saul's mind. In 1 Cor 15:40 he says "There are also heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies". There are mountains of other discussions in this subject with respect to Pauline understanding of nature, and whether they are Hebrew or Greek. Inevitably, they lead to the fact that Saul thought that was raised, was not a physical body but a "new body", that is based on a divine "breath". THAT is NOT a physical body. Saul of Tarsus did not believe in a physical resurrection of the dead. Whatever he did think, it was not a physical body. It's all over his letters.
So enough of Saul, and his "re-seeing". On to the gospels.
I'm assuming a reader knows what the Q source document is. Fundamentalists say about the Q document, "It's just a theory", much as Evolution deniers say "Evolution is just a theory". It's an established explanation, for which there is almost no evidence for refutation. There is no alternative explanation. The reconstructed Q document contains NO mention of any resurrection. Neither does the original Gospel of Mark. In Q there is no passion, and no salvation. In Mark there is no salvation, but there is a passion. In Q, Jesus is lined up with the prophets, and in the pattern of Deuteronomy, and he is rejected by the people. By the time Mark is written, the passion has been added. The pattern in Q is the same as in The Wisdom of Salomon, where it talks about the "Righteous One", who is taken up, and will sit in judgement. There are many Hebrew assumption/ascension myths. Jesus is unique, as he died first.
So why does the author of Mark leave his gospel with no resurrection ? Well, actually it's not an omission. Maybe it's there after all, in it's own way. It's actually purposeful, the way we see it, with no resurrection story. How can that be ? The theme of the gospel of Mark is the hidden nature of the Jesus event, and that "real understanding" is revealed later. In Mark 4:10, it says "And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. The answered them, "The mystery of the kingdom of God, has been granted to you. But to those OUTSIDE everything comes in parables, so that 'they may look and SEE, but not perceive, and hear and listen, but not understand..' ", (quoting Isaiah 6:9, "They may look with eyes wide open, but never quite see, and may listen with ears attuned but never quite understand". Only the insiders "see with insight". In this gospel, a physical resurrection would have been superfluous. No matter what they *see*, they don't necessarily "see with understanding", or "see with insight". They could have "seen" ANYTHING, but still would not have *understood*. So adding a resurrection would have been totally unnecessary, and actually refute the thesis of this gospel, if the observers understood the event they observed. Seeing for Mark is *insightful understanding*, not seeing a physical event. So Mark is not really missing anything. It was corrupted later when the "non-understanding" editors later added a non-intended ending. I ask you, "why is it, there is not one famous painting of a silent empty tomb ?" Think about that. In mMark, "the coming to see or understand" is very similar to Paul.
Gospel of Matthew :
There is an odd contradiction which is interesting in Matthew. In the Hearing at the house of Caiaphas, (the High priest), two men come forward and say "This man said 'I can destroy the temple of God, and rebuild it within three days' ". In fact Jesus NEVER says that in public in Matthew, only in private to the Apostles. Pilate refuses to post a guard, and the Jews do it themselves. This obviously was a part of the attempt to shift the blame for the death to the Jews, and exonerate the Romans. This theme of Roman exoneration, and that Christianity was no threat to Rome clearly was one of largest disasters of all time. Mathew likes earthquakes. During the time of the Roman occupation, there were historians in the Near East who recorded every earthquake, and major natural event. They did not record either the death earthquake, nor the resurrection one. The resurrection said, "there was a *strong* earthquake. Hmm. Could this be metaphor for a cosmic event ? The "anointing" mission of the women in Mark is changed to "inspection", and all kind of things are added. In Matthew it's become a major production. The soldiers just happen to faint, so they can't witness the event. The women don't run away afraid, as in Mark. Now there's a dazzling angel, wearing white clothes.
Matthew adds a few more things which are not in Q, or any of the other gospels, and are quite startling. Back in Matthew 27:53 he says that after the resurrection the "bodies of many saints who had 'fallen asleep' were raised. And coming forth from their tombs AFTER his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many". He also says that when Jeebus died, the veil of the curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom, the earth quaked, and rocks were split. (Clearly this was metaphor, but for the literalists we shall look further at this). There were at the time Roman historian s who recorded every major natural event, and their year and date. Neither this earthquake, nor the one on the Sunday to follow were recorded, and no one else ever mentions a "major quake", or any of it's ramifications, or any damage. None of the Jewish historians record a rending of the temple curtain, or any reason why it would have been seen to have been torn "miraculously". It simply didn't happen, no "unnaturally" split rocks were ever seen, or proposed, and if a zombie army had suddenly appeared in Jerusalem, the Romans would have talked about it, and taken some sort of action, and someone would have mentioned it. No one says anything.
If the Jewish authorities and Romans had gone to all the trouble to arrest and try and crucify him, why was there never once a search-party assembled to find him and take care of him, if he posed enough of a problem to go to all the trouble to do away with him on Passover weekend.
(remains incomplete ... a work still in progress Summer 2014.)
why no immortality
why immortality developed - family disruption
To end with :
I present to you a series of events that occurred in what is now, one of the United States of America.
The Governor of the state in question became involved.
A court was established.
Witnesses were carefully examined and cross-examined, by the best experts of the day.
Evidence was gathered.
Many people confessed in public to the officials of the court.
The entire proceeding was documented with thousands of sworn affidavits, court documents, interviews and related proceedings.
Sufficient evidence was established by intelligent men and women of good faith, that the declarations of the witnesses were true, and that these declarations should in all reasonableness result in the established legal consequences that reasonable good adult men and women thought were perfectly legitimate.
What evidence did they have that the assertions concerning what they said they saw and were convinced of were really true ?
1. Hundreds if not thousands of people were involved in concluding that what they said they saw and concluded was actually true.
2. The witnesses provided sworn testimony in court, sworn affidavits which we can look at today, and affirmed they were completely utterly convinced that what they were saying was totally completely true.
3. The witnesses came from all social strata, and every diverse background, including the most highly educated of the day.
4. These witnesses included judges, magistrates, the governor of the state, and family members of those about whom the assertions were made.
5. Many involved had much to lose if the assertions were to be found true. The consequences would impact many in very personal ways, if found to be true, thus had no conflict of interest, or reasin to lie. Many could lose beloved spouses and family members and friends about whom they cared a great deal.
6. The proceedings were thorough, exhaustive investigations. They deliberately gathered evidence. They made every effort to sort out truth from fallacy. They went to every possible length to actually discern the facts.
7. There are numerous artifacts from the time, and many documents from the proceedings we can review in person today.
8. These proceedings happened, not 2000 years ago, but a mere few hundred years ago. The literacy rate was far far higher than in ancient Israel.
9. For claimed events from 2000 years ago, there are no actual original documents of any kind. None at all. Only copies from centuries later.
10. For the events in question we have sworn documented court testimony, not just word of mouth transmission.
11. A truck full of documents from the proceedings exist at the University of Virginia Library. You can go see the testimony of the eye-witnesses for yourself, today.
12. By any measure or method, the quantity and quality of the evidence for the events in question FAR FAR FAR outweigh the quality of the evidence for the events in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.
13. Anyone who claims they have good evidence to support belief in Jesus, his death, and resurrection, or any miracle thought to have happened today, IF they are in any way a consistent, honest, logical and a reasonably thoughtful person, they MUST also accept :
That of the 250 people accused, 19 women in Salem Massachusetts, including Sarah Goode, and Rebekah Nurse, The Witches of Salem, really were actually witches, and were justly condemned and executed for performing demon magic.
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
The following 4 users Like Bucky Ball's post:4 users Like Bucky Ball's post
Mark Fulton (27-10-2012), guitar_nut (27-10-2012), EvolutionKills (30-09-2013), TheInquisition (26-03-2015)
27-10-2012, 04:10 AM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2012 04:20 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
Re "The first text in the Bible to be written was the Book or Torah of Job, was also an attempt to ask why, and make sense of the experience of "exile". "
Bucky, are you saying that all the books in the OT were originally written during or after the exile?
Re "Saint Paul STILL had this "some" idea. Only the saved have eternal life, in the Pauline literature." Thanks for explaining that. I take it Paul never mentioned hell?
27-10-2012, 04:30 AM
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
(27-10-2012 12:53 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Sorry folks. This is just the long post from Mark Fulton's Paul thread. It's not done. I wanted it separated, and off the front page. I'll keep editing it for a while, and this way it will come up in internet search engine search.
Re "Saul of Tarsus thought the apocalypse was next week. The end-times were immanent for him, just as for Jeebus. The Thessalonians were worried that the dead would be disadvantaged when the end-time came, Saul had to convince them otherwise. He told them "the living will not be given preference over those who have already fallen asleep", and goes into great detail how the end-times will play out. (1 Thess 4:13-18)."
Here is the text...
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
King James Version (KJV)
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
This is why some Christians, and some "dangerous" Christians, like Billy Graham and George W Bush, believe in the rapture....because a fucked up little weasel called Saint Paul fabricated the idea.
27-10-2012, 04:48 AM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2012 05:21 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
Re "One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone. and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul."
This is so true! It may seem like only a minor issue, yet is one that that the whole legitimacy of Christianity rests on. The book of Acts, written probably mid second century attempted to claim that Paul was a recognised apostle...that he continued the the teachings and traditions of Jesus. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. The family of Jesus and his disciples hated Paul's guts.
Paul and Judaism
Devout Jews despised Paul and rejected his messages. The idea that their mysterious, perfect, one and only God could be incarnated in the form of Christ enraged them. They refused to believe that their God could die, or that a Christ’s death somehow addressed a primordial, sinful nature of humankind. Their messiah was never expected to be the savior of an individual’s soul, but of their entire people. The kingdom of God promised in scripture was not in heaven, but was to be on earth in the here and now. Their prophets had foretold that the messiah was to herald in a glorious age in which Israel ruled and brought the pagan empires of the world to the realization of the glory of their god, Yahweh. The messiah was to build the Third Temple (Ezek. 37:26–28), gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isa. 43:5–6), and bring an end to the rule of the Romans. He was supposed to stop all exploitation, corruption, famine, disease, and war. Paul’s fictional Christ had done none of this!
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2;16, KJV), and “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13, KJV), and “Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourself in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23–28, NJB).
But Jews would have none of this. They believed - and still do - that the way to find favor with God was to obey “the Law”—that is, the Torah, as allegedly taught by Moses. They knew that there was no mention in the scriptures of there ever being an end to the covenant God made with their ancestors on Mount Sinai. Jews regarded the Law as a gift from their God. They did not consider it a curse or an imposition on freedom. Why would they give up centuries of tradition to believe someone they regarded as a deluded, opinionated, self-righteous, pro-Roman renegade? They knew there was no such thing as a “new covenant,” other than in Paul’s fertile imagination.
Imagine a scientologist grabbing the microphone during mass at the Vatican and proclaiming that Ron Hubbard was god. Paul was the equivalent of a first century scientologist.
Yeshua, who had died over a decade before Paul appeared on the scene, would have totally rejected the idea that his own death somehow gave believing Gentiles a ticket to heaven. He would have cursed Gentiles (who did, after all, nail him to a cross) with his dying breath, never imagining that his God—whom he never thought of as his temporal sire—would grant them a place in heaven!
Jesus said, “Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish them but complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved” (Matt. 5:17–18 JB). Paul and Jesus contradicted each other! So much for Biblical infallibility!
Many Christians today still insist that Jesus came to do away with the Jewish Law. They are not considering Jesus’ words, but those of Paul (or his strong proponents such as Luther or Calvin.)
All Jews believed God dwelt in the temple. Paul made a cavalier dismissal of the importance of the Jewish land (Israel) by suggesting that the Temple was not the only place god resided. He said all believers become a temple for God: “And that is what we are—the temple of the living God" (2 Cor. 6:15, NJB) and “Didn’t you realize that you were God’s Temple” (1 Cor. 3:16 JB). Paul was attempting to expand God’s influence out into the whole Roman world. Yet for any first century Jew this diminished the importance of the temple and denied the geographical pivot of Judaism.
Jews had always thought they alone were Abraham’s descendants and, therefore, a nation of God’s special people. Yet Paul claimed: "Those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith." (Gal. 3:9, NJB), and “Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised” (Gal. 3:29, NJB). He was asserting that believing gentiles should consider themselves God’s chosen. He was trying to weaken the patriotic fervor of Jews by downplaying their exclusivity.
Throughout Paul’s travels, he was initially welcome in the synagogues because he masqueraded as a traditional Jew, but after Jews heard what he had to say, he was rejected, sometimes even beaten and pelted with rocks. As Paul was probably a Jew, they imagined he was upsetting their relationship with God and that the whole Jewish community would suffer as a consequence. Is it any wonder they physically attacked him?
Meanwhile, the Nazarenes were expanding into a significant force under the leadership of James in Jerusalem. They also enjoyed a significant membership among Jews throughout the empire. They definitely didn’t preach the divinity of Christ, nor intend to start a new religion. Paul considered them competitors. He got very upset when he encountered rival missionaries, who were probably Nazarene, and complained bitterly about them hijacking “his” converts. He cursed them, using the undeniable truth of his own gospel as justification:
“I am astonished at the promptness with which you have turned away from the one who called you and have decided to follow a different version of the Good News. Not that there can be more than one Good News; it is merely that some trouble makers among you want to change the Good News of Christ; and let me warn you that if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one that we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is condemned” (Gal. 1:6–9, NJB). He sounds like an upset child whose best friend has gone off to play with someone else. It is ironic that the pathetic Paul was accusing his adversaries of the very thing he was guilty of—preaching a fabrication!
The two faced Paul tried to ingratiate himself with the Nazarenes when in their company, but they became implacably opposed to him, as verified by the verbal slanging match in Paul’s letter and the adamantly anti-Pauline assertions in James’ letter (discussed in chapter 18). James summoned Paul to Jerusalem when it became apparent Paul was preaching against the Torah, and sent him to the temple to purify himself and prove he was still a true Jew (see Acts 21), which led to Paul’s so called arrest and eventual transportation to Rome. James, the brother of Yeshua, effectively terminated Paul’s missionary career! When Paul was forced to reveal the fact he was a Roman citizen, his cover was well and truly blown. A Roman citizen couldn’t be a Nazarene. According to the book of Acts, the Romans had to dedicate considerable resources (500 soldiers) to protect him from angry Jews. They would have only done that when looking after one of their own.
Paul wasn’t deterred by this interruption. He kept writing letters from Rome, and to the best of our knowledge, never gave up.
Paul’s modern-day reputation as a teacher of truth, along with the implication he taught Yeshua’s message, has no truthful foundation, yet it has become part of Christian tradition, largely because of what the author(s) wrote in Acts. By then, sometime around the middle to late second century, Paul’s reputation needed more credibility, so the author had Jesus’ ghost appear to Paul on the road to Damascus, which was pure fiction. The story of Paul becoming good friends with Yeshua’s disciples was also a fiction. The author even took it upon himself to shore up Paul’s credibility by having him perform a number of miracles. Yet Paul failed to mention them, an impossible omission if they were factual. Paul revealed many facets of his personality in his letters, but genuine modesty definitely wasn’t one of them.
27-10-2012, 05:03 AM
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
Re "In Galatians 1:22, Saul asserts "I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea". That could not possibly be true, if he was a leader of the opposition in Jerusalem, and played a major part in the execution of Stephen. In the letters, Saul uses the Greek word "dioken", with respect to what he did to the church. That does not mean "persecute". It means "harass". The story is changed in Acts. Saul doesn't report himself as murdering Christians. He is much more lenient on himself, than Acts. He does this in the context of talking about his "zealotry", which at that time had no negative connotation."
Haha! So true!
Paul didn't persecute a Stephen. There was no Stephen. Stehen is simply a metaphor used by the author of Acts to represent Christianity...
The author of Acts introduced Stephen as having a minor role in the supposedly Christian community in Jerusalem - someone who distributed food to widows while the apostles went about the more important task of evangelizing. Yet he was soon portrayed as a man of more importance:
“Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people” (Acts 6:8, NJB).
The expression “the Jews,” complete with implied hostility, was now introduced for the first time in Acts. Stephen successfully debated Jews from synagogues outside Jerusalem, so his character was being used to represent Gentile Christianity.
Pharisees denounced him and he was put on trial before the Sanhedrin. The Jews accused him of being an agitator and altering the traditions of Moses. In a long speech in Acts 7, an angel-faced Stephen summarized Jewish history and Old Testament teachings. He claimed the Law had now lost its relevance, as it had been replaced by faith in Christ. He delivered an ominous charge; the Jews had betrayed and killed Christ, just as their ancestors had killed earlier prophets:
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:51–56 KJV).
The line was drawn in the sand. On one side was the confident Christian Stephen, openly slandering the Jews by saying they had always got things wrong, and that they had killed Jesus. To add some color a divine Jesus appeared in the clouds close to Yahweh, just to prove how perfect Stephen’s proposition was. The Jews never noticed the dynamic duo. They were so steamed up they stoned Stephen:
“At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:57–58, NJB).
So the author had the obstinate, deluded, teeth-gnashing, Christ-murdering Jews losing the argument against Stephen, the angel-faced Christian apologist. The author was arguing Jews had always behaved badly, and their beliefs were now incorrect and out-dated. He depicted them as inflexible, angry, and aggressive when a Christian exposed the flaws in their theology. They were so bloody-minded they neglected to notice the bond between Yahweh and his newly invented son, Jesus. Christianity, the new kid on the block, was now the real religion. Christianity had found its voice, and was in a rebellious mood, just like an opinionated adolescent who despises his deluded old dad.
It is claimed there was a persecution of Christians, who fled Jerusalem. Many supposedly moved to Antioch, from where they freely evangelized pagans, well away from those Christ-killing Jews in Jerusalem who would shortly start a war with Rome (in 66 CE). This was the author’s explanation for Christianity’s separation from its Jewish roots, and the reason why Christians no longer associated with Jews.
This whole story is, of course, a whopping fiction. The informed historian recognizes it is remarkable for the amateurish audacity with which history is invented. Consider the description of the persecution of “the church:”
“That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1, NJB). If the apostles had been Christians, wouldn’t they have been persecuted too? It is farcical to imagine that the minor members of the Christian cult were chased out while the apostolic leaders were left alone. The author couldn’t hide the fact the Nazarenes remained in Jerusalem. The “tradition” that Peter moved to Rome hadn’t been invented yet.
The author’s assertion that Jews persecuted Christians is suspect. I doubt Christianity even existed in Jerusalem prior to the first Jewish war of 66-70 CE. Gentiles were given a hard time in Jerusalem in the 50’s and 60’s, yet to call them Christians is too long a stretch.
There is an important incidental point about Yeshua to be surmised from the story of Stephen’s stoning. If “the Jews” had wanted Yeshua dead, why wasn’t he stoned without a Roman trial, just like Stephen?
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27-10-2012, 07:21 AM (This post was last modified: 24-03-2013 09:58 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
(27-10-2012 04:10 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote: Re "The first text in the Bible to be written was the Book or Torah of Job, was also an attempt to ask why, and make sense of the experience of "exile". "
Yes and no. They were "assembled" during and after the Exile. My next task will be to explain, in another thread when and how the OT texts first appeared. The OT first appeared in human history when the SCRIBE, (ie WRITER), (cough cough ), Ezra arrived back from the Exile with two things in his hands, in 348 BCE. (Do you understand what that means ? The Essene community WAS already in place !!!)
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cd...Scribe.htm Anyway the two texts he had were : (ie the Bible was assembled in Babylon as a political *plan* to unify the re-forming nation, and "give it a history", and a set of laws.)
1. A letter from King (Emperor) Artaxerxes of Babylon, (known in scholarship as the "Persian Imperative") giving himself and the King Nehemiah the rights and power to form and rule over the reconstituted nation of Israel, post Exile, FOR, or in place of the Persian emperor. They were not free to do anything they wanted. (Only *some* of the upper class natives had been dragged off into Exile). Some were still living where they had been, and the power over them ALL had to be "taken", or recovered when they got back.
2. The other thing he had in his hand was the Torah, (scroll) of Moses. 348 is VERY late in the history of a nation people think of as being thousands of years old. It was NOT. But it's a long story, for another thread. Briefly, when they were in exile the scribes and Judean priests took previously extant torahs, one a scroll from the Southern kingdom, which we call "J", (for Jahwist) which represented the interests of the Jerusalem priests, and a scroll from the old Northern kingdom called "E", (for Elohist), which represented the traditions and interests of the Northern priests from Shiloh, and Dan, and Beth-el, combined them, and added a new set of materials from Babylon, which he got FROM Sumeria, and then added his OWN stuff, called "P", for Priestly, and the combo is today called the Torah of Moses, or the Pentateuch. He appropriated the prior mythological status of Moses, (from ONE of the sources), slapped it onto his texts as "author" to give it "authority", and presented it to the Hebrews in a Fall festival in a known historical year, on the river bank, in a great joyous festival .... "oh, look what we found". Yeah right. They made it appear, by many lies, and biased statements which I will point out in the next thread, that the old Northern priests were evil, (the Aronnaic priests), and the Southern priests, (from Jerusalem) were the authentic priestly tradition. (This "assembly" is known in Biblical scholarship, as the "Documentary Hypothesis", and while there are some discussions about how it was done exactly, there is NO serious objection to it, even by the MOST conservative (real) scholars. Nor has there been for at least 75-100 years. Only the MOST fanatical fundies deny it, in the face of mountains of evidence).
So there's my teaser.
No. No hell. If Paul had a sense of hell it would have been Sheol, the Jewish "pit", (as in "going down into the pit"), or underworld, similar to the Greek Hades. No fire. The "hellfire" was added later, which came from the "fires of Gehenna", or the constantly burning trash dump outside Jerusalem, where the animal carcasses, and trash was burned, and children were occasionally sacrificed. Paul was a Jew. He did not believe in hell. Not only that, he only believed in immortality for those who were going to be resurrected with Jebus. See the above. Jebus was a "martyr"in the Maccabean "martyr" tradition. He was "granted" *Babe Ruth* type "immortal status", "mythically famous status", or the "status of a legend", or "legendary" status, because he died for his cause...not because he or anyone had a "life after death". There was no need for hell, if there was no immortality for everyone. The idea that hell always existed in Christianity is another massive fraud, perpetrated by Christianity. Jebus never said HE thought there was one, and Paul and the early Christians, (being Jews) also did not.
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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28-10-2012, 01:49 AM
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
(27-10-2012 12:53 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, a second look, or Saul of Tarsus starts to "finally get" the Anointed One.
Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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28-10-2012, 09:53 AM
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
There's two ways to become a prophet (actually, htere's only one - to be a flaming nutbag - but I guess we're playing nice, here):
Holy Spirit from the source, like Ezekiel.
Holy Spirit from the prophet, like Aaron.
So Paul's like, Imma gonna invent this super-prophet (and he shall be Levon, and shall be a good man) who is a spiritual ideal. By not existing anywhere, this super-prophet can exist everywhere; all you have to do is have some faith. Baptism in spirit parallels the purification ritual Paul knew to be necessary to enter the Holy of Holies, where one can kick it with god. This condenses a lifetime of study necessary to become Sanhedrin to a simple prayer, and poof! Gentile to Jewish prophet. He did this because he thought he was reviving the dying Jewish faith, and also to get back at the rules-lawyers who spent all day debating scripture rather than glorifying god.
Then what happens? His crew is like, nah, Paul, we need a body, cause they had no vision. That's how a fictional character became the source of debate. Non-corporeal, corporeal, divine; because he who steered the figurehead, steered the ship.
And yeah, there was some Mithra in there, some Osiris, even some Perseus; cause like yer saying, nobody knew nothing back then, so whoever told the best story got the most listeners. And the listeners got to hear elements of the hometown hero in the tale, adding to the recognition factor.
Only the nutbags believed in zombies and hippy-dippy afterlife, what the majority got was:
Hope, cultural identity, and free religion.
And that's what really happened. Scholars trying to do the job of a prophet, oh my Gwynnies...
28-10-2012, 08:13 PM
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
(27-10-2012 07:21 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:(27-10-2012 04:10 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote: Re "The first text in the Bible to be written was the Book or Torah of Job, was also an attempt to ask why, and make sense of the experience of "exile". "
Hey...thanks for all that.
I gotta question one of your comments though. I think Jeebus (at least the one in Matthew) did mention hell....
Jesus said, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!..woe to you, blind guides…You blind fools!…You blind men!…You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matt. 23:13–34, NJB).
“Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth” (Matt. 13:40–43, NJB).
“Next he will say to those on his left hand ‘Go away from me with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’’’ (Matt. 25:41, NJB).
28-10-2012, 08:24 PM
RE: Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, another look
re "(Do you understand what that means ? The Essene community WAS already in place !!!)"