Historical Jesus

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

Moderators: Blip, DarthHelmet86

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33721  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 19, 2013 8:45 am

spin wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...

& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Sadly the use of "churches" is a tendentious translation. There were no churches (in what became the christian sense) when Paul wrote. There were just assemblies or congregations. That these particular congregations were in christ, indicates that they were messianists. There is no evidence provided by Paul that these people believed in Jesus.



What's a "messianist"?

(I think most of us know that "church" in the NT refers to an assembly.)
neilgodfrey
 
Name: Neil Godfrey
Posts: 32

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33722  Postby angelo » Jul 19, 2013 9:43 am

An assembly that was later named a "church." The letters of Paul are addressed to these "assemblies."
User avatar
angelo
 
Posts: 22483
Age: 71
Male

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33723  Postby spin » Jul 19, 2013 10:40 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...

& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Sadly the use of "churches" is a tendentious translation. There were no churches (in what became the christian sense) when Paul wrote. There were just assemblies or congregations. That these particular congregations were in christ, indicates that they were messianists. There is no evidence provided by Paul that these people believed in Jesus.



What's a "messianist"?

A believer in a messiah. In Jewish thought the messiah was usually still coming, as in the view of John the Baptist and his proselytes.

neilgodfrey wrote:(I think most of us know that "church" in the NT refers to an assembly.)

It seems rather hard when confronted with "the churches of Judea that are in Christ" not to be swayed by later interpretations and ignore what the phrase actually says, which has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all.
Thanks for all the fish.
User avatar
spin
 
Posts: 1963

Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33724  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2013 12:05 pm

tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...
RealityRules wrote:& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Clearly, Christianity was established when whoever-wrote-Galatians wrote it.
dejuror wrote: Your statement is not logical. You seem not to understand that Galatians attempts to establish that the writer did NOT start Christianity. In Galatians it is claimed Paul was a persecutors of those in Christ. Christianity must have been already known and established if Paul persecuted the Jesus cult. The earliest source for a cult of Christians is Lucian of Samosata c 160 CE.

Whoever wrote Galatians knew the Later Jesus stories in the Canon. The Pauline Corpus matches the Later Gospels and Acts--not gMark.

I agree that "Whoever wrote Galatians knew the Later Jesus stories in the Canon."

and agree that "Christianity must have been already known and established if Paul persecuted the Jesus cult."

That was my point.

however, I would be prepared to concede that "the churches of Judea that are in Christ ... has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all", as per ...
spin wrote:It seems rather hard when confronted with "the churches of Judea that are in Christ" not to be swayed by later interpretations and ignore what the phrase actually says, which has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all.

.... if, someone could outline an accurate interpretation of
spin wrote:" ... what the phrase actually says ..."
User avatar
RealityRules
 
Name: GMak
Posts: 2819

New Zealand (nz)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33725  Postby Blood » Jul 19, 2013 2:19 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Blood wrote: I can already think of one excuse: the peer reviewers Carrier recommended were liberals or radicals who were already sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory.


Isn't it the argument of the likes of Ehrman, McGrath, Hurtado, et al that "no-one" qualified in the area believes Jesus didn't exist. So if there really are are indeed liberals or radicals sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory and who are qualified to peer review the book then we have to think that we were being misinformed all along . . . . .


Thomas L. Thompson is one who is sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory. I'm sure there are other European scholars who are open to the idea. The defenders of the faith will try to belittle the book by saying that the peer review must have been done by radicals in Europe, not sensible and moderate scholars in the USA.
"One absurdity having been granted, the rest follows. Nothing difficult about that."
- Aristotle, Physics I, 185a
User avatar
Blood
 
Posts: 1506
Male

Country: USA
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33726  Postby Michael66 » Jul 19, 2013 3:28 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:Can someone explain how peer-review for books normally works? It sounds as though Richard Carrier has chosen the people he wants to review is book, or have I misunderstood? With journal article peer review the normal process is that the author does not know who the reviewers are and the reviewers are not told the name of the author of the article they are reviewing.

Neil


In the scientific world we're normally asked to recommend some suggested reviewers for publication in journals. We can sometimes also say if there are people who we don't want to review our work. The final decision is up to the editor but the author usually gets some say (3 reviewers are common, so the editor may use 1-2 of the author's suggestions). After that though it is anonymous - the reviewers will not see the author's names and the the authors will usually not know who the reviewers are. Sometimes the authors are reasonably obvious to a reviewer.
User avatar
Michael66
Banned User
 
Name: Michael
Posts: 300

Country: UK
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33727  Postby lpetrich » Jul 19, 2013 6:51 pm

angelo wrote:An assembly that was later named a "church." The letters of Paul are addressed to these "assemblies."

I went to Blue Letter Bible - Home Page and searched for "church". It's a translation of ekklêsia, Strong's Concordance G1577, and it literally means "assembly (of people)", as angelo said. The English word "church" is from Greek kuriakê (roughly "the Lord's thing").

Since there is not much evidence of houses of worship in the New Testament, it's likely that the "churches" in it were most like present-day "house churches", groups of people who would meet in their houses or in open areas, like what Pliny the Younger described.
lpetrich
 
Posts: 750
Age: 59
Male

United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33728  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2013 7:38 pm

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:(I think most of us know that "church" in the NT refers to an assembly.)
It seems rather hard when confronted with "the churches of Judea that are in Christ" [Gal 1:22] not to be swayed by later interpretations and ignore what the phrase actually says, which has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all.

Even if "the churches of Judea that are in Christ [Gal 1:22] ... has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all", that is likely to mean that Galatians 1 (and probably other "Pauline" texts) were co-opted into Christian texts ie. further supporting a hypothesis that Christianity is a 'constructed theology' and less likely to have been constructed around a real Jesus.
User avatar
RealityRules
 
Name: GMak
Posts: 2819

New Zealand (nz)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33729  Postby spin » Jul 19, 2013 9:09 pm

RealityRules wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:(I think most of us know that "church" in the NT refers to an assembly.)
It seems rather hard when confronted with "the churches of Judea that are in Christ" [Gal 1:22] not to be swayed by later interpretations and ignore what the phrase actually says, which has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all.

Even if "the churches of Judea that are in Christ [Gal 1:22] ... has no necessary direct connection to christianity at all", that is likely to mean that Galatians 1 (and probably other "Pauline" texts) were co-opted into Christian texts ie. further supporting a hypothesis that Christianity is a 'constructed theology' and less likely to have been constructed around a real Jesus.

I don't see how you get what "that is likely to mean".

Mine is an effort to read what the text says, not what posterity says. The nature of these letters is very different from the gospels: the former are instructions to groups explaining the thoughts and motivations of the writer, while the latter tell stories about Jesus doing wonderful things. The most wonderful thing in Paul are his revelations. I don't know their nature, but there are a range of natural explanations--ranging from dreams to psychotic events--which won't interfere with the writer's interpretation as revelations.

Paul has a revelation of the messiah, who we learn elsewhere is Jesus. He specifically says his good news about the messiah didn't come to him from other people, but through a revelation. According to his narrative to the Galatians he eventually presented his message to the Jerusalem messianists and, whatever their reaction was, he lost respect for them. Nothing in this suggests that those prior messianists knew anything about Paul's messiah. Paul first learned of his messiah through his revelation, when god saw fit to reveal him, so Paul obviously had no real world experience of his messiah.

If this relatively faithful reading of Galatians is correct, it would seem that Paul's revelation is the start of Jesus religion, for, whether Jesus existed or not, Paul's proselytism wasn't based on knowledge of a real Jesus.
Thanks for all the fish.
User avatar
spin
 
Posts: 1963

Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33730  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2013 11:00 pm

spin wrote: Paul first learned of his messiah through his revelation ... so Paul obviously had no real world experience of his messiah ... Paul's proselytism wasn't based on knowledge of a real Jesus.

I agree: that seems to be the case; or, at least the narrative.
User avatar
RealityRules
 
Name: GMak
Posts: 2819

New Zealand (nz)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33731  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 19, 2013 11:30 pm

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:

What's a "messianist"?

A believer in a messiah. In Jewish thought the messiah was usually still coming, as in the view of John the Baptist and his proselytes.


So Jews did not as a whole believe in such a messiah? This belief was distinctive enough to be the mark of certain assemblies among the Jews?

I do know of literary evidence for notions of a messiah to come and especially of messiahs that had been in the history of Israel, but I don't know of any evidence that such ideas were discussed and occupied the minds of the general populace of Judea until the time of the first Jewish War.

(John the Baptist as a foreteller of a Messiah can be explained as a literary patch-work creation of miscellaneous OT passages, just the way Psalm 22 etc were worked to create a dramatic declaration on the cross. Josephus who appears to have less of a theological agenda for his account of John the Baptist places him after Christ and associates no messianist view to him.)
neilgodfrey
 
Name: Neil Godfrey
Posts: 32

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33732  Postby spin » Jul 20, 2013 1:16 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:

What's a "messianist"?

A believer in a messiah. In Jewish thought the messiah was usually still coming, as in the view of John the Baptist and his proselytes.


So Jews did not as a whole believe in such a messiah? This belief was distinctive enough to be the mark of certain assemblies among the Jews?

Probably all Jews knew of the notion of the messiah, but it didn't impact on most of their lives. The messianism of John is quite different and staunchly anti-established religion. To be ready for the eschaton and the appearance of the messiah you had to receive baptism, a rite that had nothing to do with the temple or the synagogue.

neilgodfrey wrote:I do know of literary evidence for notions of a messiah to come and especially of messiahs that had been in the history of Israel, but I don't know of any evidence that such ideas were discussed and occupied the minds of the general populace of Judea until the time of the first Jewish War.

I think that those individuals who caused people to go out into the wilderness, as mentioned in Josephus, were either messianic contenders or prophets of a coming messiah. It would be hard not to have heard the notion before the war.

neilgodfrey wrote:(John the Baptist as a foreteller of a Messiah can be explained as a literary patch-work creation of miscellaneous OT passages, just the way Psalm 22 etc were worked to create a dramatic declaration on the cross. Josephus who appears to have less of a theological agenda for his account of John the Baptist places him after Christ and associates no messianist view to him.)

He might be able to be explained that way, but christianity certainly had to accept his existence. It certainly had to accept baptism as well, though baptism has nothing to do with christian salvation. Given that John's beliefs were imminently apocalyptic, christianity's acceptance of him required a lot of dancing. Christianity provides a testimony for John when taken with Josephus gives him a historical foundation. The foretelling of the messiah as part of his non-christian eschatological message is reasonable, though perhaps not comfortable for Josephus to tell the Romans. The gospels inadvertently tell us interesting things about John and his followers. Why did John's followers fast when those of Jesus didn't need to? Why did he have to send to find out if Jesus was the messiah? Don't these show some of the contention between the two sets of belief? Followers of John's religion didn't know that Jesus was the messiah. This makes one think of the Apollos story in Acts 18:24ff. Apollos, the Johannine believer, had to be taken aside and told about Jesus, presumably of his coming and more specific teachings.
Thanks for all the fish.
User avatar
spin
 
Posts: 1963

Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33733  Postby dejuror » Jul 20, 2013 4:34 am

spin wrote:Sadly the use of "churches" is a tendentious translation. There were no churches (in what became the christian sense) when Paul wrote. There were just assemblies or congregations. That these particular congregations were in christ, indicates that they were messianists. There is no evidence provided by Paul that these people believed in Jesus.


Which "Paul" are you talking about? Sadly, you seem not to realise that there were unknown authors writing under the name of "Paul".

The Pauline Corpus was unknown in the 2nd century or at least up to c 180 CE based on Aristides, Justin Martyr, Minucius Felix, Celsus and others.

By the way, the name Christ in the Pauline Corpus refers to a character called Jesus Christ.

In fact, in the Pauline Corpus we see the name Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus more than 180 times.

[Romans 1:1 KJV
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
dejuror
 
Posts: 4711

Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33734  Postby dejuror » Jul 20, 2013 4:45 am

lpetrich wrote:
angelo wrote:An assembly that was later named a "church." The letters of Paul are addressed to these "assemblies."

I went to Blue Letter Bible - Home Page and searched for "church". It's a translation of ekklêsia, Strong's Concordance G1577, and it literally means "assembly (of people)", as angelo said. The English word "church" is from Greek kuriakê (roughly "the Lord's thing").

Since there is not much evidence of houses of worship in the New Testament, it's likely that the "churches" in it were most like present-day "house churches", groups of people who would meet in their houses or in open areas, like what Pliny the Younger described.

Pliny the younger did not describe the Jesus cult. Pliny seem to have no idea what the "Christians" believed c 110 CE and had to Torture some of them to find out.

If the Jesus cult originated for about 100 years before Pliny and was established in the Roman Empire since the supposed time of Pilate then we would not expect Pliny to have tortured Christians to find out what they believed.
dejuror
 
Posts: 4711

Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33735  Postby dejuror » Jul 20, 2013 5:02 am

spin wrote:Mine is an effort to read what the text says, not what posterity says. The nature of these letters is very different from the gospels: the former are instructions to groups explaining the thoughts and motivations of the writer, while the latter tell stories about Jesus doing wonderful things. The most wonderful thing in Paul are his revelations. I don't know their nature, but there are a range of natural explanations--ranging from dreams to psychotic events--which won't interfere with the writer's interpretation as revelations.


To understand the Pauline Corpus one cannot simply read "Paul" alone.

One must take into account the other writers of antiquity who made references to the Pauline Corpus.

A close examination of the Pauline Corpus show that the Pauline writers made references to the Septuagint or a similar source and could NOT have gotten any actual revelations from a resurrected Jesus Christ

spin wrote:If this relatively faithful reading of Galatians is correct, it would seem that Paul's revelation is the start of Jesus religion, for, whether Jesus existed or not, Paul's proselytism wasn't based on knowledge of a real Jesus.


You must have forgotten to faithfully read other parts of Galatians and the Pauline Corpus.

The Persecutor of the Faith cannot be the same one who started the Faith.

Faithfully read this.

Galatians 1:23 KJ ----But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed .

It is most obvious that the "Pauls" were not even necessary for the start of the Faith.
dejuror
 
Posts: 4711

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33736  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 20, 2013 5:50 am

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:

What's a "messianist"?

A believer in a messiah. In Jewish thought the messiah was usually still coming, as in the view of John the Baptist and his proselytes.


So Jews did not as a whole believe in such a messiah? This belief was distinctive enough to be the mark of certain assemblies among the Jews?

Probably all Jews knew of the notion of the messiah, but it didn't impact on most of their lives. The messianism of John is quite different and staunchly anti-established religion. To be ready for the eschaton and the appearance of the messiah you had to receive baptism, a rite that had nothing to do with the temple or the synagogue.


But there is no evidence for any of this apart from Christian apologetic tradition. & that JB is simply a theological foil for Jesus found only in theological faith-documents. And one of those, the Gospel of John, does not even support the idea of baptism being necessary for an eschaton. Nor is this the reason for Paul's notion of baptism.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:I do know of literary evidence for notions of a messiah to come and especially of messiahs that had been in the history of Israel, but I don't know of any evidence that such ideas were discussed and occupied the minds of the general populace of Judea until the time of the first Jewish War.

I think that those individuals who caused people to go out into the wilderness, as mentioned in Josephus, were either messianic contenders or prophets of a coming messiah. It would be hard not to have heard the notion before the war.


As I've been noting in previous comments, this is the common assumption but lacks evidence. The details of these groups actually belie the idea: the messiah was supposedly to come as a conqueror and Christianity is said to be unique in that it accepted a non-conqueror for a messiah, yet at least one of those leaders carried no arms; bandit leaders were common enough throughout many regions of the empire, too, and with little to set them apart as necessarily "messianic" movements in Judea; and Jews were quite capable of looking for kings to rule in the Second Temple period without assigning such individuals the sort of "messianic" status we are talking about here.

According to Green, Thompson et al there is no evidence of any contemporary figure being declared a messiah until the time of Bar Kochba. Following their evidence I see merit in their argument and have yet to see it rebutted. The expectation of such an imminent figure is not testified until the time of the first Jewish War. It is only after 70 that we have our first Christian literature speaking of such figures and using them as foils against their Messiah.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:(John the Baptist as a foreteller of a Messiah can be explained as a literary patch-work creation of miscellaneous OT passages, just the way Psalm 22 etc were worked to create a dramatic declaration on the cross. Josephus who appears to have less of a theological agenda for his account of John the Baptist places him after Christ and associates no messianist view to him.)

He might be able to be explained that way, but christianity certainly had to accept his existence. It certainly had to accept baptism as well, though baptism has nothing to do with christian salvation. Given that John's beliefs were imminently apocalyptic, christianity's acceptance of him required a lot of dancing. Christianity provides a testimony for John when taken with Josephus gives him a historical foundation. The foretelling of the messiah as part of his non-christian eschatological message is reasonable, though perhaps not comfortable for Josephus to tell the Romans. The gospels inadvertently tell us interesting things about John and his followers. Why did John's followers fast when those of Jesus didn't need to? Why did he have to send to find out if Jesus was the messiah? Don't these show some of the contention between the two sets of belief? Followers of John's religion didn't know that Jesus was the messiah. This makes one think of the Apollos story in Acts 18:24ff. Apollos, the Johannine believer, had to be taken aside and told about Jesus, presumably of his coming and more specific teachings.


He certainly can be explained that way in the Gospels, and I would argue that that is the simplest explanation for his appearance and function there.

Christianity did not "have to" accept JB until he appeared in the Gospel of Mark. It was his function there that led to the questions surrounding him and Jesus, and all the so-called "embarrassed" responses in later gospels.

Paul did not know of him; nor any of the other letter-writers; nor did the Marcionites; nor those attached to the Gospel of Thomas. (The latter appear to have given special place to James, but there is no JB.) JB only makes his mark in later developments for some reason. The Acts story has many grounds for being argued to have been a mid/latter second century product.

But come back to the phrase behind "in Christ" itself. I doubt that this is the most natural way to refer to "assemblies" who were "believers in a messiah".

Firstly, most of the literati among the Jews would have known that the writings spoke of such a figure; how much of these ideas were in the awareness of the broader population is simply unknown until the time of the Jewish War/s.

Secondly, "in Christ" sounds more like something out of Stoicism -- living "in Reason/Logos", for example. Was there ever a Maccabean who could have been said to have been "in Christ"? It does not sound quite right as a reference to those who supposedly believe an idea that every Jew was supposed to have believed in anyway (as the conventional wisdom asks us to accept).
neilgodfrey
 
Name: Neil Godfrey
Posts: 32

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33737  Postby spin » Jul 20, 2013 8:16 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
A believer in a messiah. In Jewish thought the messiah was usually still coming, as in the view of John the Baptist and his proselytes.


So Jews did not as a whole believe in such a messiah? This belief was distinctive enough to be the mark of certain assemblies among the Jews?

Probably all Jews knew of the notion of the messiah, but it didn't impact on most of their lives. The messianism of John is quite different and staunchly anti-established religion. To be ready for the eschaton and the appearance of the messiah you had to receive baptism, a rite that had nothing to do with the temple or the synagogue.


But there is no evidence for any of this apart from Christian apologetic tradition.

It's certainly true that the evidence is only contained within christian tradition, yet it doesn't support the christian tradition.

neilgodfrey wrote:& that JB is simply a theological foil for Jesus found only in theological faith-documents. And one of those, the Gospel of John, does not even support the idea of baptism being necessary for an eschaton. Nor is this the reason for Paul's notion of baptism.

You're overworking the "apologetic" and "theological faith" rhetoric and I think not noticing the fact that John doesn't sit well in christianity. John is the one who receive the Elijah references leaving Jesus to play second fiddle as an Elisha figure. John talks about the eschaton, the end time, the need for repentence. Jesus gets to repeat this stuff, but it's John's message. That's upstaging, don't you think?

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:I do know of literary evidence for notions of a messiah to come and especially of messiahs that had been in the history of Israel, but I don't know of any evidence that such ideas were discussed and occupied the minds of the general populace of Judea until the time of the first Jewish War.

I think that those individuals who caused people to go out into the wilderness, as mentioned in Josephus, were either messianic contenders or prophets of a coming messiah. It would be hard not to have heard the notion before the war.

As I've been noting in previous comments, this is the common assumption but lacks evidence. The details of these groups actually belie the idea: the messiah was supposedly to come as a conqueror and Christianity is said to be unique in that it accepted a non-conqueror for a messiah, yet at least one of those leaders carried no arms; bandit leaders were common enough throughout many regions of the empire, too, and with little to set them apart as necessarily "messianic" movements in Judea; and Jews were quite capable of looking for kings to rule in the Second Temple period without assigning such individuals the sort of "messianic" status we are talking about here.

According to Green, Thompson et al there is no evidence of any contemporary figure being declared a messiah until the time of Bar Kochba. Following their evidence I see merit in their argument and have yet to see it rebutted.

It's not evidence, but argument from silence. The notion of thew messiah is delineated briefly in the Psalms of Solomon and to a greater extent in the DSS. The securely dated DSS by C14 are before the turn of the era and the Psalms are the same, so there is already a literary tradition to support the notion before the reputed time of Jesus.

Josephus has apologetic reasons not to deal with any messianism. In fact he eschews the term in all places except the TF and the reference to James. No-one but Jesus is a messiah. You can understand my straight face here. (The two passages about Jesus are the only two that mention a messiah, so you should be able to glean my lack of belief.) Josephus had reasons not to deal with this problematic notion of Judaism, since armed rebellion is entailed in the messiah's activities. His work is usually, and I think fairly, classified as an apologetic history. Besides, a dead messiah is a false messiah and Christians are not going to label anyone else a messiah. The messianic silence is not significant.

neilgodfrey wrote:The expectation of such an imminent figure is not testified until the time of the first Jewish War. It is only after 70 that we have our first Christian literature speaking of such figures and using them as foils against their Messiah.

Who was around to leave a body of literature that would call anyone else a messiah? The silence is insignificant.

Messianism, if embodied, implied rebellion against the Roman overlordship. It meant removal of foreign power from the land of the Jews. Advocating messianism was sedition.

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:(John the Baptist as a foreteller of a Messiah can be explained as a literary patch-work creation of miscellaneous OT passages, just the way Psalm 22 etc were worked to create a dramatic declaration on the cross. Josephus who appears to have less of a theological agenda for his account of John the Baptist places him after Christ and associates no messianist view to him.)

He might be able to be explained that way, but christianity certainly had to accept his existence. It certainly had to accept baptism as well, though baptism has nothing to do with christian salvation. Given that John's beliefs were imminently apocalyptic, christianity's acceptance of him required a lot of dancing. Christianity provides a testimony for John when taken with Josephus gives him a historical foundation. The foretelling of the messiah as part of his non-christian eschatological message is reasonable, though perhaps not comfortable for Josephus to tell the Romans. The gospels inadvertently tell us interesting things about John and his followers. Why did John's followers fast when those of Jesus didn't need to? Why did he have to send to find out if Jesus was the messiah? Don't these show some of the contention between the two sets of belief? Followers of John's religion didn't know that Jesus was the messiah. This makes one think of the Apollos story in Acts 18:24ff. Apollos, the Johannine believer, had to be taken aside and told about Jesus, presumably of his coming and more specific teachings.

He certainly can be explained that way in the Gospels, and I would argue that that is the simplest explanation for his appearance and function there.

Christianity did not "have to" accept JB until he appeared in the Gospel of Mark. It was his function there that led to the questions surrounding him and Jesus, and all the so-called "embarrassed" responses in later gospels.

You still really haven't said what benefit including John would have been. The best you've mentioned is something about him being a foil, which seems to have entailed saddling christianity with baptism.

neilgodfrey wrote:Paul did not know of him; nor any of the other letter-writers; nor did the Marcionites; nor those attached to the Gospel of Thomas. (The latter appear to have given special place to James, but there is no JB.) JB only makes his mark in later developments for some reason. The Acts story has many grounds for being argued to have been a mid/latter second century product.

I gave the Acts reference purely for the fact that the baptist religion is shown to have survived and was proselytizing, showing that it was a separate existence from christianity. The later it is, the more significant that separation is.

That various writers didn't know him, especially someone at the beginning (Paul), suggests that the evolving tradition hadn't as yet dragged John in.

neilgodfrey wrote:But come back to the phrase behind "in Christ" itself. I doubt that this is the most natural way to refer to "assemblies" who were "believers in a messiah".

Firstly, most of the literati among the Jews would have known that the writings spoke of such a figure; how much of these ideas were in the awareness of the broader population is simply unknown until the time of the Jewish War/s.

Secondly, "in Christ" sounds more like something out of Stoicism -- living "in Reason/Logos", for example. Was there ever a Maccabean who could have been said to have been "in Christ"? It does not sound quite right as a reference to those who supposedly believe an idea that every Jew was supposed to have believed in anyway (as the conventional wisdom asks us to accept).

I don't think one can make these sorts of calls without having a close familiarity with the language and cultures. The Greek seems pretty straightforward to me, but what it seems to me would probably not be of any significance because I lack that close familiarity.
Thanks for all the fish.
User avatar
spin
 
Posts: 1963

Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33738  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 20, 2013 9:04 am

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:

So Jews did not as a whole believe in such a messiah? This belief was distinctive enough to be the mark of certain assemblies among the Jews?

Probably all Jews knew of the notion of the messiah, but it didn't impact on most of their lives. The messianism of John is quite different and staunchly anti-established religion. To be ready for the eschaton and the appearance of the messiah you had to receive baptism, a rite that had nothing to do with the temple or the synagogue.


But there is no evidence for any of this apart from Christian apologetic tradition.

It's certainly true that the evidence is only contained within christian tradition, yet it doesn't support the christian tradition.


That doesn't make sense to me. How can an integral part of a tradition not “support the tradition”? This idea that there was some sort of competition between John the Baptist and Jesus is a product of later Christianity. It was introduced by later Christianity and the apologetic purposes are transparent. It was not there in the epistles or other pre-gospel traditions (unless one accepts modern constructs of Q as historical evidence).

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:& that JB is simply a theological foil for Jesus found only in theological faith-documents. And one of those, the Gospel of John, does not even support the idea of baptism being necessary for an eschaton. Nor is this the reason for Paul's notion of baptism.

You're overworking the "apologetic" and "theological faith" rhetoric and I think not noticing the fact that John doesn't sit well in christianity. John is the one who receive the Elijah references leaving Jesus to play second fiddle as an Elisha figure. John talks about the eschaton, the end time, the need for repentence. Jesus gets to repeat this stuff, but it's John's message. That's upstaging, don't you think?


Apologetic and faith are not overworked. I simply introduced them as the simplest explanations for the JB passages in the gospels. Can you point to a single JB reference in the gospels that does not link directly to some OT passage? Without going into the details here, we can see that everything said about JB in the gospels is derived from Malachi, 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, . . . It is all “midrashic” creation if you will tolerate that word. If not, I'll use another. Whatever it's called it all amounts to the same thing. The only conceivable “secular” historical reference we have to John (Josephus) situates him at a time that excludes him from any possible role in relation to Jesus.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:I do know of literary evidence for notions of a messiah to come and especially of messiahs that had been in the history of Israel, but I don't know of any evidence that such ideas were discussed and occupied the minds of the general populace of Judea until the time of the first Jewish War.

I think that those individuals who caused people to go out into the wilderness, as mentioned in Josephus, were either messianic contenders or prophets of a coming messiah. It would be hard not to have heard the notion before the war.

As I've been noting in previous comments, this is the common assumption but lacks evidence. The details of these groups actually belie the idea: the messiah was supposedly to come as a conqueror and Christianity is said to be unique in that it accepted a non-conqueror for a messiah, yet at least one of those leaders carried no arms; bandit leaders were common enough throughout many regions of the empire, too, and with little to set them apart as necessarily "messianic" movements in Judea; and Jews were quite capable of looking for kings to rule in the Second Temple period without assigning such individuals the sort of "messianic" status we are talking about here.

According to Green, Thompson et al there is no evidence of any contemporary figure being declared a messiah until the time of Bar Kochba. Following their evidence I see merit in their argument and have yet to see it rebutted.


It's not evidence, but argument from silence. The notion of thew messiah is delineated briefly in the Psalms of Solomon and to a greater extent in the DSS. The securely dated DSS by C14 are before the turn of the era and the Psalms are the same, so there is already a literary tradition to support the notion before the reputed time of Jesus.


Now you're getting my point. We have no evidence of a popular imminent messianic expectation prior to the Jewish War(s).

The notion of the messiah is found in many Jewish texts. The question remains, though, whether these notions were part of the wider popular consciousness. We have no evidence that they were. The texts speak of a messiah at the “end of days” – suggesting a distant future time. There is no evidence that such an idea was translated into having any immediate relevance to the society of the day among the general population.


spin wrote:
Josephus has apologetic reasons not to deal with any messianism. In fact he eschews the term in all places except the TF and the reference to James. No-one but Jesus is a messiah. You can understand my straight face here. (The two passages about Jesus are the only two that mention a messiah, so you should be able to glean my lack of belief.) Josephus had reasons not to deal with this problematic notion of Judaism, since armed rebellion is entailed in the messiah's activities. His work is usually, and I think fairly, classified as an apologetic history. Besides, a dead messiah is a false messiah and Christians are not going to label anyone else a messiah. The messianic silence is not significant.


So goes the conventional wisdom. But is any of this really the final word? Josephus has apologetic reasons to eschew references to messianism, we are told, but then we are told he doesn't eschew the term for other reasons – e.g. when he talks about the brother of Jesus or whatever, or when he talks about Vespasian. This sounds like some sort of ad hoc rationalization rather than a real argument.

I can reply that there is a simpler explanation: there was no popular messianic expectation until the time Josephus says there was.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:The expectation of such an imminent figure is not testified until the time of the first Jewish War. It is only after 70 that we have our first Christian literature speaking of such figures and using them as foils against their Messiah.

Who was around to leave a body of literature that would call anyone else a messiah? The silence is insignificant.

Messianism, if embodied, implied rebellion against the Roman overlordship. It meant removal of foreign power from the land of the Jews. Advocating messianism was sedition.


It was not sedition to scorn those who pretended to be messiahs and accuse them of lying and thereby being responsible for the downfall of Jerusalem. Josephus could not scorn anti-establishment rebels enough. Adding the fact that they were deluded messianists would not have hurt his propaganda interests in any way. Why, even the scholarly establishment can quite accept Josephus telling the Romans that some Jews thought Jesus was the messiah.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:(John the Baptist as a foreteller of a Messiah can be explained as a literary patch-work creation of miscellaneous OT passages, just the way Psalm 22 etc were worked to create a dramatic declaration on the cross. Josephus who appears to have less of a theological agenda for his account of John the Baptist places him after Christ and associates no messianist view to him.)

He might be able to be explained that way, but christianity certainly had to accept his existence. It certainly had to accept baptism as well, though baptism has nothing to do with christian salvation. Given that John's beliefs were imminently apocalyptic, christianity's acceptance of him required a lot of dancing. Christianity provides a testimony for John when taken with Josephus gives him a historical foundation. The foretelling of the messiah as part of his non-christian eschatological message is reasonable, though perhaps not comfortable for Josephus to tell the Romans. The gospels inadvertently tell us interesting things about John and his followers. Why did John's followers fast when those of Jesus didn't need to? Why did he have to send to find out if Jesus was the messiah? Don't these show some of the contention between the two sets of belief? Followers of John's religion didn't know that Jesus was the messiah. This makes one think of the Apollos story in Acts 18:24ff. Apollos, the Johannine believer, had to be taken aside and told about Jesus, presumably of his coming and more specific teachings.

He certainly can be explained that way in the Gospels, and I would argue that that is the simplest explanation for his appearance and function there.

Christianity did not "have to" accept JB until he appeared in the Gospel of Mark. It was his function there that led to the questions surrounding him and Jesus, and all the so-called "embarrassed" responses in later gospels.

You still really haven't said what benefit including John would have been. The best you've mentioned is something about him being a foil, which seems to have entailed saddling christianity with baptism.


Well a literary foil suggests a benefit. We have the typical literary prophetic announcement of a great figure to come, the representative of the Old against the New. This is another topic entirely. I have posted about it often enough on Vridar. It deserves another series of posts here.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:Paul did not know of him; nor any of the other letter-writers; nor did the Marcionites; nor those attached to the Gospel of Thomas. (The latter appear to have given special place to James, but there is no JB.) JB only makes his mark in later developments for some reason. The Acts story has many grounds for being argued to have been a mid/latter second century product.

I gave the Acts reference purely for the fact that the baptist religion is shown to have survived and was proselytizing, showing that it was a separate existence from christianity. The later it is, the more significant that separation is.

That various writers didn't know him, especially someone at the beginning (Paul), suggests that the evolving tradition hadn't as yet dragged John in.


All the Acts reference does is tell us what the author of Acts wanted to convey to his audience. Now what is the best explanation for that? That is another question entirely. (We can't just blithely assume historicity. We need first to address the nature and context of the literature we are dealing with.)

And if Paul writing twenty plus years after Jesus had no need to address the JB question – when and why does this JB become someone that Christianity “can't ignore”?

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:But come back to the phrase behind "in Christ" itself. I doubt that this is the most natural way to refer to "assemblies" who were "believers in a messiah".

Firstly, most of the literati among the Jews would have known that the writings spoke of such a figure; how much of these ideas were in the awareness of the broader population is simply unknown until the time of the Jewish War/s.

Secondly, "in Christ" sounds more like something out of Stoicism -- living "in Reason/Logos", for example. Was there ever a Maccabean who could have been said to have been "in Christ"? It does not sound quite right as a reference to those who supposedly believe an idea that every Jew was supposed to have believed in anyway (as the conventional wisdom asks us to accept).

I don't think one can make these sorts of calls without having a close familiarity with the language and cultures. The Greek seems pretty straightforward to me, but what it seems to me would probably not be of any significance because I lack that close familiarity.


I am open to reading the scholarly arguments. I have read several that DO address this “in Christ” phrase (Novenson, Engberg-Pedersen) and it is of their arguments that I am thinking here.

If anyone with the skills has argued a case that “in Christ” can refer to any believer in a messiah, per se, then I will love to read it. Till then I have no alternative but to go along with the arguments of those who do have the specialist skills – such as the likes of the two scholars I mentioned.

“In Christ” does not speak of a believer in a Messiah, per se. Bar-Kochba supporters were never described as being “in Christ”, I am sure.
neilgodfrey
 
Name: Neil Godfrey
Posts: 32

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33739  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 20, 2013 8:43 pm

The first rule before we can take any passage from any text and declare it to be evidence for some historical event is to do some sort of literary analysis of the text itself to first determine "what it is". Is it a text that is likely to contain any historical information or is it something else? What are its most evident sources for the data in it that comes to our attention? What can we understand about the reason for that data's inclusion in the text. These questions work for all the texts historians generally use. They tend to get skipped over entirely when it comes to the gospels and the question of the historical Jesus, however -- or at least many tend to be very selective in which bits they choose to apply these questions to.
neilgodfrey
 
Name: Neil Godfrey
Posts: 32

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33740  Postby Clive Durdle » Jul 20, 2013 10:28 pm

What if the phrase Lord Jesus Christ is not a name of someone at all, but a phrase, God's saving messiah? The works attributed to Paul have so many permutations of Lord, Jesus and Christ maybe they are just ways of expressing this saviour figure Paul dreamed about?

Are the epistles Christian?
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
Clive Durdle
 
Name: Clive Durdle
Posts: 4812

Country: UK
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

PreviousNext

Return to Christianity

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 9 guests