Who was Saint Paul?
01-12-2012, 11:25 PM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2012 11:33 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(01-12-2012 10:27 PM)Free Wrote:RE...(01-12-2012 09:39 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote: Well....yes and no.
"What he does demonstrate however is that the reason Paul doesn't quote anything from the Gospels in his letters is because the Gospels had not yet been written. This is really the only good point he makes in the entire video, and the only thing I learned as being something unique. So at least something good came out of watching the videos, and I thank Vosur for that little tidbit."
I'm glad you understand this. Um....this is pretty basic information that is a "given" in any discussion. I'm a little perplexed that you've only just worked this out. It's not "unique" at all....everyone knows it.
If that's a big revelation to you, no wonder you don't seem to have got your head around the fact that Paul doesn't mention Jeebus' birth, his appearance, his movements, his miracles, his teachings, his "relics," his mum, his dad, his 4 brothers and two sisters, his home town, his habits, his hobbies, his favorite brand of sandals, his tomb, his hordes of grateful cured blind people, lepers and the dead now living. Paul doesn't know the first thing about Jeebus. His "Christ" is someone else, a fairy floss messiah, a poor substitute for the real thing.
He fights with Jeebus' relatives. They hate his guts. He's a fucking Roman citizen! He's the enemy trying to infiltrate their ranks to create a benign pacifist messiah. How can they ever kick the Romans out of Palestine if Paul's propaganda about their messiah becomes popular?
Is the light slowly starting to come on inside that head of yours? LOL.
I suggest you have a quiet think for a while. Read Paul's writings (preferably the real 7). Stop firing bullets. The video dude is no fool...he has obviously spent years putting his ideas together and is extremely well read.
01-12-2012, 11:45 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(01-12-2012 11:25 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:(01-12-2012 10:27 PM)Free Wrote: But the point remains that the narrator's argument is invalidated when he attempts to use the record of the story of the empty tomb in the Gospels as evidence that Paul should have mentioned the empty tomb story, but in almost the very same breath he claims the Gospels were unavailable to Paul during Paul's time.RE...
What I was referring to in regards to "unique" is the argument it enables. We all know the extant Gospels were written after Paul.
To demonstrate the argument it enables, any arguments mythers have that relate to Paul's non quotes of the Gospels are now completely invalid arguments since the Gospels didn't exist during his time to be able to quote from them in the first place.
Mythers often say such things as "Paul didn't agree with the Gospel writers and made his own Jesus up in his head and started his own religion."
That argument, and many others like it, is now invalid.
How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
01-12-2012, 11:52 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(01-12-2012 11:07 PM)Free Wrote:Ok...I missed the fact that the narrator attempts to make a written point while he's talking about something else (not real good video making). He writes(01-12-2012 10:44 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote: Bloody hell! This is hard work!
"And the past tense of Isaiah 53 fits perfectly with the idea of a Jesus who was killed in the ancient past, long before Paul and even before the time of Isaiah"
The narrator DOESN"T claim that Paul specifically uses Isaiah. He just says that Paul uses Jewish scripture.
So why does he (visually) mention Isaiah 53? Good question! Here is Isaiah 53...
53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
I can only assume he is providing an example of how today's Christians use the Old Testament to claim that it predicts the arrival of Jesus, and he's making the point that that was what Paul tried to do. I think he should have explained himself or left this out
02-12-2012, 12:07 AM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(01-12-2012 11:45 PM)Free Wrote:Re...(01-12-2012 11:25 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote: RE...
"To demonstrate the argument it enables, any arguments mythers have that
relate to Paul's non quotes of the Gospels are now completely invalid
arguments since the Gospels didn't exist during his time to be able to
quote from them in the first place.
Mythers often say such things as
"Paul didn't agree with the Gospel writers and made his own Jesus up in
his head and started his own religion."
That argument, and many others like it, is now invalid."
HUH??? The "mythers" (this is really a derogatory term which shouldn't be used just because people have a different opinion to yours) obviously have a valid point. Paul obviously did make up his own Jesus, his own crucified son of god. Why do you think this argument is invalid? What on earth could you mean by "and many others like it?" You seem to suggest that everyone's opinion that doesn't agree with yours is "invalid"
There's something very fishy about the way you put people who don't agree with you down. If that's an ego/self esteem issue, get over it will you?
02-12-2012, 01:44 AM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(01-12-2012 10:13 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote: Ok....you're right....he could have provided more evidence other than just Paul's writing.Mark, when you get the chance to respond, could you tell me more about what you mean by "the presence of James and John the Baptist" and how that points to a real Yeshua? I don't think I am familiar with what you are referring to here. The same goes for the "Nazarenes believing he existed". These seem to be pieces of the puzzle that I am missing and I would like to know more.
02-12-2012, 03:12 AM (This post was last modified: 02-12-2012 03:52 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(02-12-2012 01:44 AM)Noelani Wrote:Hi Noelani, it's a pleasure to explain...as long as you don't mind doing some reading. It is fascinating history.(01-12-2012 10:13 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote: Ok....you're right....he could have provided more evidence other than just Paul's writing.Mark, when you get the chance to respond, could you tell me more about what you mean by "the presence of James and John the Baptist" and how that points to a real Yeshua? I don't think I am familiar with what you are referring to here. The same goes for the "Nazarenes believing he existed". These seem to be pieces of the puzzle that I am missing and I would like to know more.
John the Baptist, then Yeshua (Jesus), then James (Yeshua's brother) were the successive leaders of a Jewish sect known as the Nazarenes. (This was where Christians got "Nazareth" from, but there was no Nazareth in Yeshua's day).Now...while there is almost no quality secular (non biblical) evidence for the existence of Yeshua, there is for John and James. Also, afetr James died in 62 CE, the Nazarene sect continued on, and was lead by the descendants of Yeshua. Please, if you want, reread my chapter "what happened to the Nazarenes".
Now, I'll fill you in a little more on the earlier history. It's easier for me if I "cut and paste"..
Yeshua was a Nazarene, as stated in the Bible: Acts referred to “Jesus Christ the Nazarene” (Acts 3:6, 4:10, 2:22, 6:14, 22:8,26:9, NJB). Most modern Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was, after all, what Matthew claimed (Matt. 2:23); but Nazareth the place was not the real origin of the term. On (almost) every occasion that Jesus was referred to as being of Nazareth, the words “of Nazareth” should actually read “the Nazarene” (http://www.essene.com/What is a Nazarene.htm). Nazareth the village did not exist in Yeshua’s time. Calling him Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The Bible made it clear the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect, when in the book of Acts, Paul is accused of being a Nazarene.
“The plain truth is that we find this man a perfect pest; he stirs up trouble among Jews the world over, and is a
ringleader of the Nazarene sect.” (Acts 24:5, NJB)
Hugh Schonfield, who devoted his life to studying Judaism and Yeshua, claims Nazarenism was an ancient version of
Judaism. He thought the original founder of the Nazarene sect may have been a Jewish-Arabian prophet named Essa in approximately 400 BCE.
Many eminent scholars have linked the Nazarenes with the Essenian sect at Qumran. One might consider the Nazarene sect a strongly developed messianic form of “Essenism.” (http://www.essene.com/History&Essenes/TrimmNazars.htm)
The family, disciples and followers of Yeshua were Nazarenes. They believed that Yeshua was a (very human) prophet who could be the messiah of Israel. The “pillars” Paul refers to (James, Peter, and John) in his second letter to the Galatians, were the leaders and key figures of this group after Yeshua’s death. They (obviously) were not Christians. They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism, and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn't approve of the slaughter of animals, either for food or sacrifice. They developed their own “Halacha,” which was their
interpretation of the Torah. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God's chosen people, and were vehemently opposed to the Romans, who they believed were working for Satan. They were zealots,
willing to take the Romans on, which was why the Roman world considered a Nazarene “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over.”
They were devoted to the Temple as the house of God, but were opposed to the Sadducees who they regarded as Roman collaborators. They had a broad base of support among Jews throughout Judea and much of the Roman Empire. Many ordinary Jews and Pharisees would have considered the Nazarenes brothers in the struggle against Rome.
Yeshua became their chief after John the Baptist’s death, and remained in charge for (probably) a few years. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains it passing from John the Baptist to Yeshua, and after Yeshua’s death, on to James, his brother. James and the other Nazarenes hoped Yeshua was to be the Jewish messiah of Israel. They didn’t think he was the Son of God, or that he needed to die to save anyone from their sins (http://www.petahtikvah.com/Articles/nazarenes.htm).
We read very little about this group in the pages of history because mainly gentiles wrote that history, and the early
Christians ignored the Nazarenes or wrote them off as heretics.
Yeshua the Zealot
If something swims in the sea, in a school of fish, looks like a fish, and gets caught on a hook, that something is a fish.
Yeshua lived in a time and place that was a hotbed of political unrest. He had the right pedigree to be a zealot; he talked, lived, and associated with zealots, and he was killed as a zealot next to two other zealots, so he obviously was a
zealot. I think he was the head of a gang of tough-talking Galilean militants, men who were outraged that Romans were rulers in God’s holy land. They wanted to free their people from foreign command and create an illustrious Israel.
Much of the evidence for this is in the Bible.
Matthew claims that Herod the Great was perturbed that the baby Jesus might one day be king, but there is no secular evidence for this. The author wanted the reader to think Herod considered Jesus a threat because he was priming people with the idea that Jesus was destined to be their messiah, the king, of Israel.
One way we identify people’s motives is by the company they keep. Simon (possibly his brother), is twice named as a zealot (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13). Judas Iscariot was said to be a zealot.It’s possible the word “Iscariot” is cognate with the
Latin “Sicarius,” a dagger-wielding zealot assassin.Simon Peter was known as "Bar-jona" (Mt.16:17), a name commonly given to zealots. James, Yeshua’s brother, and John shared the nickname “Boanerges” or in Hebrew “benei ra'ash,” which meant “sons of thunder,” another well-known zealot reference. It’s highly unlikely the gospel authors invented these anti-pagan names, so they’re probably genuine.
Young men two thousand years ago were just as brave, worldly and idealistic as they are today. Yeshua’s disciples wouldn’t have given up their jobs and families to tramp around the countryside to listen to platitudes about loving their neighbor. Life was too harsh and the times too cut-throat for that. They were intent on creating a better life for themselves and their families. They’d been raised in an environment that glorified the one and only god they’d ever known, Yahweh, who they thought was on their side, and who they imagined was offended by the Gentiles in his holy land.
Consider Jesus’ attitude to violence: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34, NJB). Some Christians go to great lengths discussing what Jesus “really meant” when he said this, yet none of their arguments are convincing.
Consider Jesus’ attitude to the rich:
“Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:24, NJB). In Jesus’ day the wealthy were in bed with the Romans, and were exploiting the poor.
Consider what Luke has a follower of Jesus say shortly after the crucifixion: “Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free” (Luke 24:21, NJB). To set Israel free could only mean one thing in first century Judea—to remove Roman rule!
The fact that Yeshua was a zealot is staring us in the face from the pages of the Bible!More evidence for this follows.
Brothers in Arms…John and Yeshua
According to James Tabor, in The Jesus Dynasty, John the Baptist started a messianic movement, well before Yeshua arrived on the scene. John was a charismatic Essenian teacher, a man who created excitement. The people considered him a prophet, someone qualified to tell them what God expected. He had the credentials to be a legitimate priest, as he was said to be a descendant of Aaron. Like a true Essene, he refused to acknowledge the temple hierarchy in
Jerusalem. He went into the wilderness to proclaim to the people that the coming of the messiah was close at hand, which meant only one thing to poor Jews: a war was on the horizon. John baptized believers and told his brethren to get ready for the beginning of a new world order in which they wouldn’t be poor and oppressed. His message may have been well received, as the Bible boasts he attracted big audiences.
The site on the River Jordan where John baptized people is only three miles from Qumran, the home of a large Essenian community that hid the Dead Sea Scrolls a few decades later. No one knows if he associated with them, but it’s probable.
The Gospels claim that John and Jesus held each other in high regard. They may have been cousins. John, in his own time, was a better-known figure than Yeshua. He had already preached for a number of years, and had a considerable contingent of converts before Yeshua cropped up. The Gospel writers couldn’t imply that Yeshua played a subordinate role, so each strove to make Jesus seem more senior than John. Yet they couldn’t conceal the fact that John baptized the novitiate. In reality John was the more established and authoritative instructor, and Yeshua was his protégé.
Yeshua’s stature grew as time went by. The two of them might have planned that once they had established political power in Palestine, John, the heir of Aaron, was to be the new high priest and Yeshua, the descendent of David, was to be the contemporary king.
They parted ways to double the capacity of their campaign, which I think involved telling carefully selected, disgruntled groups of Jews about their plan to wage a war with Rome. Baptizing people with water was a symbolic re-enactment of the ancient Jews’ crossing of the Red Sea to freedom. The two friends were offering Jews a new freedom, a freedom from Rome.
James Tabor states that by the end of 27 CE, the messianic movement started by John recognized only two types of Jews in Palestine, those who had responded by being baptized, and those who hadn’t. This was no small-scale backyard scheme; it was a serious shift in sentiment in the peasant population towards militancy. The movement used religious ideology to excite and galvanize large numbers of poor patriotic Jews.
Herod Antipas, the Romans’ puppet king, was watching John like a hawk. Any Galilean prophet preaching to the public was presumed to be a zealot. He had John arrested and killed. This is how Josephus described John’s murder:
“What he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness toward one another, and piety toward God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins, but for the purification of the body: supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now, when many others came in crowds about him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words,
Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to
prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly, he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to
Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.”
Herod was wary of a coup commanded by John, so had him killed. The Gospel authors deliberately didn’t discuss the real reason for John’s death, because it didn’t fit with their invented image of John and Jesus as pacifist evangelists.
The death of John in early 28 CE must have been a serious setback, dealing the rebel movement a cruel blow.
Yeshua Takes over the Leadership
Patriotic peasant Jews weren’t about to discard their dream of the utopian kingdom of God. At age thirty, Essenian men traditionally took on a leadership role. All eyes turned to Yeshua, the consummate candidate. He stepped up to the mark and took over as leader. He inherited four of John’s disciples, namely Simon Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael (John 1:35–42) who became part of an inner council of twelve.
Yeshua had to prove he was a charismatic and capable leader or risk the momentum of the movement fizzling out. He knew that the prophets had predicted a messiah. Jeremiah wrote:
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 23:5–6, KJV). There were similar predictions in Isaiah 9:7, Micah 5:4, and Amos 9:11. God had made it clear in scripture what was expected of
Today’s politicians tour their electorate before an election in order to meet the people, increase their profile, sell their
message and gauge support. Yeshua toured the countryside too, for the same reasons. His message was that he wanted to start a war.
Yeshua the social revolutionary may have declared something like
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19, KJV), and,
“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh” (Luke 6:20–21, KJV), and,
“But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep” (Luke 6:24–25, KJV).
Yeshua the bellicose insurgent may have said something like,
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12, KJV).
These were quite radical messages that not everyone wanted to hear. Some of his fellow Jews
“rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:29–30, KJV). Why such an angry reaction from some people? Yeshua called for the overthrow of the social structure, and that didn’t suit everyone. Some of the people would have been petrified at the prospect of a war with Rome.
Dreaming about his role as messiah inspired Yeshua, yet must also have put fear in his heart. He knew there had been many hopeful heroes before him who had failed, and most of them had been killed. He knew there was a new Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, in Jerusalem, who was brutal towards anyone challenging Roman rule. A gruesome death could be his ultimate fate too.
There is biblical evidence that he knew Herod Antipas was after him. Luke wrote,
“Just at this time some Pharisees came up. Go away they said, leave this place, because Herod means to kill you” (Luke 13:31,NJB). Some Pharisees obviously admired Yeshua and hoped to save him from a Roman crucifixion. If Yeshua had been a harmless religious enthusiast roaming the countryside preaching to the people about God and life, Herod would have had no reason to seek him out. Yeshua heeded the warning by crossing the Sea of Galilee to put himself beyond Herod’s reach. (see Matthew 14:13).
The Synoptic Gospels named Yeshua’s twelve disciples. Although there are some discrepancies between the names, Yeshua’s three brothers (James, Jude, and Simon) are deliberately mentioned last, along with Judas the traitor, so as to minimize their importance. Yet it’s far more likely these three were, in fact, his dearest disciples.
Yeshua may have drilled his disciples with the direction to
“Go nowhere among the gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5–6, NJB). He wasn’t about to give his plans away to enemy agents.
Some of the people
“believed in him...when he spoke many more came to believe” (John 4:39–41, NJB). The Gospel authors usually hid from their readers what believing in him really meant, but not always:
“Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. Here is this man working all these signs they said and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him and
the Romans will come and destroy our Holy place and our nation” (John 11:45–49, NJB). The chief priests and some Pharisees were worried that if too many people believed in Yeshua the Romans would destroy the temple and the nation of Israel. This is precisely what happened thirty-five odd years later, in 70 CE, a fact well known to the author of John. Here it is in black and white: the Bible was clearly implying that Jesus was plotting to start a war with Rome, a war that the chief priests and Pharisees thought they would lose!
Yeshua’s message may not have been well received in some towns:
”Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent. ‘Alas for you Chorazin! Alas for you Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sack cloth and ashes. And still I tell you it will not go as hard on Judgment day on Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down into hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, you would have been standing yet. And still I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgment day as with you”
(Matt. 11:20–24, NJB). Yeshua is said to have spent a lot of time in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, three largish cities located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee and populated almost exclusively by Jews. These cities were, in
a nationalistic and geographical sense, part of his home turf. Why wouldn’t the inhabitants support him? My theory is that Roman armies had delivered death and destruction to Galilee in the preceding few decades. The locals must have been terrified of the consequences of another revolt. Yeshua discovered he couldn’t count on their support, so he cursed them and moved on.
Yeshua spent at least a year, and maybe three, tramping around the countryside. The Gospels allege he was a harmless rabbi preaching Christian ethics and theology, attracting large audiences hoping for a miracle. I think his agenda was a lot harsher, more desperate and dangerous than that. Trying to sell himself as the messiah was a tricky business. The
fact he was attracting a weighty following would have been enough to raise Roman suspicion, so he had to be very careful not to be arrested. Any unfamiliar face he encountered may have been a spy. His supporters must have had to regularly scan the horizon for danger.
He had a public image as a courageous and capable leader to promote, which would have been tiresome. The sun would have baked his skin, and the scorching sand must have stung his eyes. Water was sparse, so he
would have been caked in sweat and grime. At night he would often have had to sleep out in the open. It must have been a struggle to find shelter and food. In those times by age 30 men’s teeth were infected and falling out. Wounds healed slowly and parasites caused diarrhea. He must have been malnourished. A less determined man may have found the going too tough. After some years on the road he was probably physically and emotionally exhausted.
OK....I'm going to cut the story off there, so I can tell you more about James...
James, Yeshua’s Brother
I’m indebted to Professor James D. Tabor for providing many of the following insights in his book The Jesus Dynasty.
Josephus and other historians mention at least a dozen Jewish leaders from the first century CE who were hailed as messiahs but killed by the Romans or in sectarian fights with their countrymen (http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messiah00.html- overview). Each time, the movements they inspired faded into nothing after the demise of their leader. The movement Yeshua was part of was different, because it definitely didn’t fade away.
To take over the leadership of the Nazarenes (as argued in Chapter 2, it is not correct to call them Christians) was a risky proposition. Both previous leaders, John the Baptist and Yeshua, had been disposed of by the Romans with the help of their agents. They were in desperate need of some powerful direction. James, the younger brother of Yeshua,
Yeshua had been thought of as a potential legitimate king and messiah because it was believed he was of the royal
bloodline of David. James was an obvious replacement, as he too was of this bloodline, and of the same flesh and blood as Yeshua through at least one parent in common, their mother. It’s very likely James was the “disciple Jesus
loved” (John 13:23 and 19:23–25, NJB), not named because gentile editors wanted to minimize his importance.
Paul, or someone writing in his name in the 50’s CE, stated that he went to Jerusalem to “meet Peter and James, the brother of the Lord” (Gal. 1:19, NJB). This hinted at the important status of James. Later in Galatians, Paul wrote, “So James, Peter, and John, these leaders, these pillars…” (Gal. 2:9, NJB). That James was in charge of the Jerusalem sect and in charge of Peter (Cephas), is convincingly confirmed by the following quote from Paul:
“When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, since he was manifestly in the wrong. His custom had been to eat with the pagans, but after certain friends of James arrived he stopped doing this and kept away from them altogether for fear of the group that insisted on circumcision” (Gal. 2:11–12, NJB). Peter was careful to be seen
doing what James wanted.
The book of Acts also portrays James as the leader of the disciples (see Acts 15:19-21.)
Eusebius of Caesarea (260-340 CE), the most important early Christian historian of all, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusebius_of_Caesarea), wrote that
“James, whom men of old had surnamed ‘Just’ for his excellence of virtue, is recorded to have been the first elected
to the throne of the Oversight of the church in Jerusalem”(Church History 2.1.2).
Saint Jerome, a prolific commentator and translator of early Christian material, quoted from Hegesippus' (a first
century writer) account of James from the fifth book of his lost “Commentaries:”
"After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem.
Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees."(De Viris Illustribi).
The “Holy of Holies” was a term referring to the inner sanctuary of the Temple in Jerusalem. Since it was
unlawful for anyone but the high priest of the temple to enter it, and then only once a year, this suggests James was considered a defacto high priest. James had obviously managed to achieve a high status among his own people. This must have been referring to a time many years after Yeshua’s death. James was described in terms that emphasized his association with the temple and Judaism. His vegetarianism, unshaven state and wearing of linen were all Essenian
traits. He obviously set a good example of how a pious Essene should live.
Josephus also described James as a pious Jew who was well respected, observed all the obligations of Judaism, and worshiped at the temple.
James was a leading figure in Jerusalem until his death in 62 CE. Yet the Gospel writers and church historians have
deliberately diminished his importance. The reasons are obvious; he was too Jewish, and his beliefs were diametrically opposed to Paul’s proto-Christian theology. His existence as leader also blows away the untrue idea that the leadership of the movement was transferred from Jesus to Peter.
Let's consider the Nazarene community in the decades after Jesus’ death. The traditional story about this group is in the
book of Acts (discussed in chapter 17), in which they’re portrayed as Christians, but this was a deliberate rewrite of history, as they were Jews loyal to their traditions. The loss of two leaders in close succession, John the Baptist and then Yeshua, must have devastated them. Matthew and John have the disciples going back to Galilee, yet Acts and Luke have the risen Jesus telling them not to leave Jerusalem. What’s clear is that over the next few decades, they settled in Jerusalem.
There’s no doubt that for them, Jerusalem was a dangerous place. Yeshua had been crucified there, and the Sadducees and a garrison of Roman troops, their sworn enemies, were based there. I think the Nazarenes settled in Jerusalem because they believed in a glorious kingdom of Israel, which had to be established at the center of the Jewish world. Luke explains that this kingdom was still a general expectation when, in the first chapter of Acts, the resurrected Jesus appears:
“Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:9–12, NJB). The author was writing for a mainly gentile audience one hundred-plus years after Yeshua’s death. At this late time the second coming of Jesus hadn’t happened, so he was advising his readers they’d better not hold their breath waiting. This was in marked contrast to what Paul wrote in the early 50’s CE:
“Brothers this is what I mean: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of
their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:29–31, NJB).
The Nazarenes, led by James, also called themselves “saints” or “followers of the way” or “the faithful” or “disciples”
or “the poor” or the “children of light.” They saw themselves as preparing “the way” for the return of Yahweh as described in Isaiah:
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isa. 40:3, KJV). They saw themselves as God's chosen people, and were true believers in the power and glory of Israel. As already mentioned, many eminent scholars have linked the Nazarenes with the Essenian sect at Qumran. The Nazarenes had a broad base of support among Jews throughout Judea and much of the Roman Empire. The Roman world considered any member of the Nazarenes “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over” (see Acts 24:5), with good reason, as they were xenophobic and militant. All other Essenes and zealots throughout Judea would have regarded them favorably, as would many Pharisees and common Jews.
They were fundamentally opposed to Paul’s doctrine, didn’t accept him as an apostle, and quite correctly considered him an annoying heretic allied to the gentile world. They were, therefore, strongly opposed to what became Christianity. The evidence for this is discussed in forthcoming chapters.
Some early church fathers claimed the Nazarenes wrote an early Hebrew version of Matthew’s gospel, from which Jesus’ genealogy is derived, but one without the pro-gentile changes. That would definitely have made an interesting read, but not surprisingly, no copy has survived. It would bear only a passing resemblance to what has become today’s Gospel of Matthew.
The author Douglas Lockhart believes that by the time James died in 62 CE the Nazarenes had boosted their numbers to about eight thousand by recruiting Jews. Some Nazarenes were sent out as missionaries to other cities. Peter went to Antioch (as described in Galatians 2). These missionaries are supposed to have even got as far as Rome. It’s a reasonable assumption that they founded the community there to which Paul wrote in an attempt to introduce himself (and his novel proto-Christian theology) in his famous letter to the Romans.
Some Christian historians don’t accept that James and Yeshua’s original disciples were Nazarenes. The writers of the Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, have made a deliberate choice not to discuss them, despite the fact they are mentioned in the Bible and by some church fathers. I think the encyclopedia’s authors would have some seriously difficult explaining to do if Catholics around the world started learning about James and the Nazarenes. Their story continues throughout the rest of this book.
Tabor, J. 2006 “The Jesus Dynasty”. Harper Collins. London.
Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus:
The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon
Ok, if you now read my post on what happened to them over the next few hundred years, the pieces of the puzzle should start to fit.
Christians, and many historians, don't know about the Nazarenes, because their story was suppressed by what became Christianity.
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Noelani (02-12-2012), Revenant77x (08-04-2013)
02-12-2012, 04:01 AM (This post was last modified: 02-12-2012 04:21 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Bugger it...its too hard to find my spiel on what happened to the Nazarenes.
Here it is again...
What Happened to the Nazarenes?
“It is to the Nazarene records that we ought chiefly to look for our knowledge of Jesus, and we must regard Nazarenism as the true Christianity. As the Nazarenes throughout the period of personal recollection and down to the third generation, that is to say at least seventy five years after the death of Jesus, denied his deity and his virgin birth, we
must recognize that these are alien doctrines subsequently introduced by a partly paganized Church, as Justin Martyr in the middle of the second century more or less admits. The Church which received them had no other course open
than to belittle the Nazarenes and denounce them as heretics. The historian here has no difficulty in detecting the real heretics.”
The Nazarenes were the bona fide disciples of Yeshua. Much of their history is missing because the early Christians were zealous in destroying their record. Yet the tale of what happened to them can be pieced together.
James sent missionaries as far away as Rome in the 40s CE.
Paul, who masqueraded as a Nazarene, sent what is now a famous letter to the Romans urging them to obey their Roman rulers. Yet his teachings were at odds with Nazarene doctrine. From their perspective, Paul was a rank outsider. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus (d. 236 CE), Tertullian, Origen, Epiphanius (c. 310 – 403 CE, bishop of Salamis)and Jerome all confirmed that the Ebionites (as the Nazarenes were later called, see below) opposed Paul as a false Apostle.
The Roman Emperor Nero may have blamed them for the great fire of 64 CE, and executed them. Christians today often incorrectly call Nero’s casualties Christians, whereas they were, if this really happened, Nazarenes. There is a Christian tradition that Peter was crucified at this time in Rome, but there’s no contemporary evidence to confirm the claim.
Hegesippus (c. 110 - 180 CE), a Christian chronicler of the early Church who may have been a Jewish convert, writes that after the death of James in 62 CE, the Nazarenes selected Symeon (aka Simeon), son of Cleophas, to be their new leader. He was either the brother or the first cousin of Jesus.
During the first Jewish war of 66-70 CE, some of the Nazarenes may have fled across the River Jordan to Pella. Yet many of them probably tried to defend Jerusalem and therefore perished. They might have expected Jesus to return in all his glory to save Jerusalem. That didn’thappen, and they must have been bitterly disappointed.
The Nazarenes never recovered their status and influence after the war. Their numbers had been decisively decimated. Yet the remaining rebels reorganized and moved back into Jerusalem in 72 CE.
Prior to 80 – 90 CE, the Nazarenes were still worshipping in synagogues alongside Pharisees. Yet they soon began to be viewed as trouble causers, probably because of their nationalistic ambitions. The Pharisaic Jews referred to them as “minim” (Hebrew for heretic). A heretic is someone who still remains within the faith, but believes in elements not acceptable to the orthodoxy, so mainstream Jews never imagined the Nazarenes were Christians. After this time a deep schism started to form between Pharisees and the Nazarenes. By 90 CE, Nazarenes were shut out from some synagogues. I suspect some Jews opted out of Nazarenism because opposing Rome was dangerous.
In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius of Caesaria wrote of the grandchildren of Jesus’ brother Jude, who were living in Galilee during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian (81–96 CE). (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm, book 3, chapter 20). He says they became dynastic leaders of various “Christian” (a misnomer) churches, and continued to be so up until the time of the Emperor Trajan (98–117 CE).
Kamal Salibi, a formerEmeritus Professor at the American University of Beirut, Department of History and Archaeology, wrote that after Symeon's death, twelve others followed in turn whose names are preserved down to 135 CE
(the time of the Second Jewish Revolt). So there were fifteen leaders of the Nazarene sect after Jesus, all of whom were circumcised Jews and relations of Jesus. The word “Desposyni” was reserved uniquely for Jesus' blood relatives
and literally meant “belonging to the Lord.” They governed the ancient Nazarene church. Each carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family: Zachary, Joseph, John, James, Joses, Symeon, Matthias, and others, although no later Desposynos was ever called Yeshua.
Eusebius wrote that they didn’t fight in the second war (135 CE) against the Romans, as they considered Simon bar Kochba, the Jewish commander, to be a false messiah. After this war, the fifteenth Nazarene leader was exiled with the remaining Jewish population when the Emperor Hadrian banned all Jews from Jerusalem.
Over the next few centuries, the Nazarene church headed by Yeshua’s relatives continued as a movement that some Jews joined. They were well respected in their own locales. From the historian Julius Africanus (160–240 CE), we learn that they took pride in their Davidic descent and circulated the genealogy that now stands at the head of Matthew’s Gospel. They moved northeastward, eventually making their way to the Tigris-Euphrates basin,
spreading throughout Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia.
The early Christians considered the Nazarenes a heretical sect, so they ignored and later suppressed them. Justin Martyr denigrated their beliefs. The developing orthodox Catholic Church deliberately called them the Ebionites “the poor ones” (although Jews did not consider this term derogatory; in fact they used the term to refer to the righteous). This term wasn’t used by Christians prior to Irenaeus, who wrote
“Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates.” (These men were Gnostics who believed Jesus was a very human teacher.) “They use the Gospel according to Matthewonly, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavor to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God”(Against Heresies 1:26).
Eusebius considered them heretics because
“they regarded [Jesus] as plain and ordinary, a man esteemed as righteous through growth of character and nothing more, the child of a normal union between a man and Mary; and they held that they must observe every detail of the Law—that by faith in Christ alone they would never win Salvation” (Ecclesiastical History 3.7). It’s apparent that Irenaeus and Eusebius depicted them honestly.
Gentile Christians came to refer to them indiscriminately as “Jewish Christians,” another misnomer, because they never
The gospel of Matthew that Irenaeus that refers to was probably the same gospel that Jerome (342–420 CE) and Epiphanius (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13393b.htm) called the Gospel of the Nazarenes/Hebrews, which was written in Aramaic. Jerome mentions that he made translations of it into Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, no significant part of this Gospel survives today. Some scholars believe that it was loosely linked to canonical Matthew, which fits with Matthew being the most pro-Jewish gospel of the four. It’s possible that this was how some facts about Yeshua the Nazarene insurrectionist made it into the gospels.
By the beginning of the fourth century, the Roman Catholic Church was becoming dominant and there were confrontations with Jews, including the Nazarenes. With the Synod of Elvira, held in 306 CE, prohibitions against eating, marriage, and sex with Jews were enacted in the Roman Empire. Nazarenes were included in this ban, which in effect excluded them from all social and religious association with those in the growing gentile Pauline church.
The Emperor Constantine appointed Sylvester as the head bishop of the universal church in 313 CE. According to the Irish Jesuit historian Malachi Martin, a meeting took place in 318 CE in Rome between Pope Sylvester I and the
Desposyni. Sylvester provided sea travel for the Nazarene leaders as far as the Roman port of Ostia, thirty kilometres west of Rome. The fact that Sylvester thought it necessary to meet with them suggests that he was curious. Yet he
initiated the meeting with the intention of exerting his pontifical authority over them.
The Nazarene leaders who appeared before Pope Sylvester thought they represented the true legacy of Yeshua. They were, after all, his blood relations, as there were at least three well-known and authentic lines of legitimate blood descent from Yeshua's own family. They were eight in number, and Joses, the oldest of them, spoke on their behalf. They bluntly refused to recognize the Roman church as having any authority, and made the following demands:
(1) that the confirmation of the Christian bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Alexandria be revoked;
(2) that these bishoprics be conferred on members of the Desposyni;
(3) that the Law be reintroduced, which included the Sabbath and the Holy Day system of Feasts, and
(4) that Christian Churches resume sending money to the Desposyni Church in Jerusalem, which was to be regarded as the “Mother Church.”
Such bold claims of authority must have come as a surprise to Sylvester, who refused their demands.They were told that Jesus’ church had moved to Rome, and that they had no jurisdiction. Sylvester must have known his church was the foreign impostor, but that didn’t concern him. The politics of power were more important than the truth. This was the last known formal dialogue between Christian and Nazarene leaders.
A few years later Nazarenes began to surface in southern Upper Egypt. In this remote locale, far from the center of gentile Christianity, they continued to practice their beliefs.
In 364 CE, the Catholic Council of Laodicea decreed anathema on any “Jewish Christians” who continued to observe the
seventh-day Sabbath. Historical references to Nazarenes became scarce after this date. Inevitably the few remaining believers petered out.
The Nazarenes were a Jewish sect that, at least in the first century, had strong political ambitions. Christianity stole Yeshua the Nazarene’s identity, and reinvented him, not only as its founder, but also as God incarnate and the savior of the world. Christians then denied the Nazarene’s real link with Jesus. The Nazarenes struggled on for four centuries after Yeshua’s death, when Christians snuffed them out. If Yeshua and his original disciples were alive today, they’d be dumbfounded at the distortion of their legacy.
Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Klinghoffer, D. 1965 “Why The Jews Rejected Jesus”. Doubleday.United States Of America.
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.
Lockhart, D. 1999 “The Dark Side Of God”. Element Books. Dorset
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.yashanet.com/library/temple/nazarenes.htm for the above information.
02-12-2012, 04:17 AM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Thanks, Mark. ...and what time will the pop quiz be next week?
No, really thank you. The learning, it's what I'm here for. Hence why I am up at 2am watching lectures on the Hebrew Bible! Not even the goody Christians are pouring over Bible verses at this hour on a Saturday night. Wish I had well informed atheist friends to discuss topics like this over some good food and drinks.
Alright, the rambling has begun. It's sack hitting time.
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Mark Fulton (02-12-2012)
02-12-2012, 04:22 AM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(02-12-2012 04:17 AM)Noelani Wrote: Thanks, Mark. ...and what time will the pop quiz be next week?My pleasure
02-12-2012, 09:40 AM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Quote:I can only assume he is providing an example of how today's Christians use the Old Testament to claim that it predicts the arrival of Jesus, and he's making the point that that was what Paul tried to do. I think he should have explained himself or left this out
If you analyze the video as closely as I did the narrator's intention is perfectly clear. In regards to Paul the narrator flatly states that the Jesus who Paul wrote about was not the same Jesus of the Gospels and other records. In order for his theory to hold water, he states the following things:
1. According to the narrator the Jesus Paul talks about was killed in the ancient past before the time of Isaiah. He attempts to prove this by interpreting ancient scripture like a Christian to demonstrate who it was that Paul was talking about.
2. The narrator has a couple of major problems with Paul's version of the Last Supper. He suggests without evidence that the verse was interpolated, and then attempts to convince us that the word used in the Greek for "betrayed" does not exist, when we know for a fact it does.
3. The narrator attempts to use the Empty Tomb story from the Gospel record as some kind of argument that if Paul thought his Jesus was earthly and died a few years earlier, then why didn't Paul point people to Jesus' empty tomb as evidence of the resurrection? The narrator has clearly contradicted himself here because, as he says so himself, the story of the Gospels which had the Empty Tomb were not written until years after Paul's time, so there was no Empty Tomb story for Paul to refer to. This argument is also a fallacious Argument from Silence.
4. The narrator then plays the interpolation card again in an effort to dismiss the quote of Paul where he talks about how Jesus was resurrected and seen by Peter, Janes, and the apostles, and then by Paul himself. Yet again, he provides no evidence to support interpolation. He attempts to use the Book of Acts to show a contradiction between Peter of Acts and Peter of Paul's letters to suggest they were two different Peters, but provides no evidence to support this theory. In fact, he fails to draw the comparisons between the Peter in Acts and in Paul's letters to properly display all the details in the interest of intellectual honesty.
5. The narrator makes an obvious contradictory blunder at the beginning of video 14A by first suggesting that the Gospel records were written after Paul's letters, and then he attempts to insist that 1Cor 11:24 was altered from the "original" text we see in Luke 22:19. If the "original" text was what we see in Luke 11:24, then the narrator has contradicted himself because if Paul wrote before Luke, then wouldn't Paul be the original?
Mark there we so many problems with these videos that I didn't even list all of them. The narrator's entire position on every point wholly depends of assertion without evidence, unsupported claims of interpolation, logical fallacies, contradiction, misinterpretations, and wrongful definitions of Greek words.
He absolutely failed to prove anything at all to further his theory. At the end of it all, it was an enormous waste of time on his part. His arguments are indefensible and untenable.
On another note, when you finish your book, start a new one and perhaps call it "The Evolution of Yeshua" and and watch how easily it actually is to connect the dots between the Jewish Yeshua and the Christian Jesus. Perhaps, in the interests of intellectual honesty and to make a fair report, you could include something like this in your current book so that you display both sides of the coin? Doing something like this would go a long way to developing credibility.
How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.