Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42321  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2017 12:12 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Eusebius Book I.

Chapter I. The Plan of the Work.


    1 It is my purpose to write an account of the successions of the holy apostles, as well as of the times which have elapsed from 'the days of our Saviour' to our own; and to relate the many important events which are 'said to have occurred' in the history of the Church; and to mention those who have 'governed' and 'presided' over 'the Church' in 'the most prominent' parishes, and those who in each generation have proclaimed the divine word either orally or in writing.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_History_(Eusebius)
Leucius Charinus wrote:
...the words of Gibbon ...

    "The scanty and suspicious materials of ecclesiastical history seldom enable us to dispel the dark cloud
    that hangs over the first age of the church".

    Yep.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42322  Postby proudfootz » Jul 19, 2017 12:36 am

RealityRules wrote:
proudfootz wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
Christian Mythology – I Beg to Differ with C.S. Lewis

The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact.” – C.S. Lewis

Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to provide the reader with a cursory understanding of not only what constitutes myth proper, but of how the narratives which form the basis of the Christian religion fit into this category we call myth...

https://michaelsherlockauthor.wordpress ... c-s-lewis/
.

I am rather taken with the discussion of how the myth is 'remote' from its audience. While I do appreciate the aspect of how 'remote in time' can be very different for an illiterate audience as opposed to what 'remote in time' means to us who have books, magazines, photographs, films, audio which brings the world of half a century ago into a sense of immediacy for us.

I am also glad to see how there is also a sense of 'remote in location' which is another aspect discussed here. IMO much of the literature appears to be aimed at an audience not only a generation or two removed in time, but also remote in language, culture, and place.

Yes, good points (I haven't had a chance to fully digest it, I was too tired when I posted).


proudfootz wrote:
But it also makes me think there may be a further sense of 'remote in location' because of the stories are about a turning point in history: the world before the messiah is changed to the world after the messiah; the 'old covenant' is replaced with a 'new covenant'; a new 'tribe of christians' supplants the old 'tribes of Israel'; and so on. The stories are set in a world remote in the sense that the rules that applied then are no longer applicable to the contemporary world (even if 'contemporary' only means 2nd century). This is a lot like the 'Golden Age' myths or in christian terms the 'Age of Miracles'.

The bit about the 'intellectual remoteness' was also an interesting observation:

But what if, as a storyteller, you localized your fiction? You could subtract the dreamlike state of a remote and fantastic ancient earth and replace it with a more recent yet localized supernatural event, one which could not be easily observed. You could set the tale as far back in time as necessary to separate the audience from the time of the tale’s alleged occurrence. You could say that the miracles occurred around one little obscure man, a “blip on the screen,” in an equally small and obscure location. This way your tale would be relatively safe from immediate dismissal and refutation. Finally, you could initially relay it to the meek, unlearned and illiterate masses, people prone, through no fault of their own, to credulity – whose hopes could be easily fanned by flagrant fantasies – those who would not know that Quirinius could not have been governor of Syria at the same time as Herod the Great’s rule. You could sell your tale, not only upon the grounds of remoteness as it applies to both the location and the obscurity of a single insignificant figure, but also, upon the basis of the intellectual remoteness of your audience. This is precisely how I see the element of remoteness as it applied to the development and propagation of the Christian myths.

Thanks for the link to this essay!

You're welcome! Thanks for your comments.


If the points weren't rather obvious to any intelligent person, I'd suspect they read some of the discussion on this thread!
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42324  Postby proudfootz » Jul 21, 2017 2:57 pm

More confirmation that it's more important to follow the evidence rather than follow the 'academic consensus':

It’s simply downright embarrassing, but here is a video of a biblical scholar making as explicit as he can that his scholarly research directly serves the interests of what he considers to be correct theological beliefs. Michael Bird wrote a book arguing against the view that the earliest Christians (none of them) believed Jesus was a mere mortal who had been adopted by God as his son either at the resurrection or at his baptism. He was asked by the interviewer what relevance his work had for people today. His reply was, in effect, that it knocked on the head various contemporary ideas that Jesus was akin to the “American” myth of the “local boy made good”, that Jesus attained his status through good works and that we, likewise, can attain heavenly rewards or salvation through works.

Larry Hurtado, another scholar, happens to have written along similar lines that happily demonstrate that scholarly research proves the orthodox teachings of the church after all.

Bart Ehrman, on the other hand, cynical agnostic that he is, argues for a more “evolutionary” development of Christ-worship. He was recognised initially as a man but from there the story grew with the telling and singing of praises.

<more at link>

http://vridar.org/2017/07/21/the-happy- ... nvictions/
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42325  Postby RealityRules » Jul 21, 2017 11:11 pm

proudfootz wrote:More confirmation that it's more important to follow the evidence rather than follow the 'academic consensus':
It’s simply downright embarrassing, but here is a video of a biblical scholar making as explicit as he can that his scholarly research directly serves the interests of what he considers to be correct theological beliefs. Michael Bird wrote a book arguing against the view that the earliest Christians (none of them) believed Jesus was a mere mortal who had been adopted by God as his son either at the resurrection or at his baptism. He was asked by the interviewer what relevance his work had for people today. His reply was, in effect, that it knocked on the head various contemporary ideas that Jesus was akin to the “American” myth of the “local boy made good”, that Jesus attained his status through good works and that we, likewise, can attain heavenly rewards or salvation through works.

Larry Hurtado, another scholar, happens to have written along similar lines that happily demonstrate that scholarly research proves the orthodox teachings of the church after all.

Bart Ehrman, on the other hand, cynical agnostic that he is, argues for a more “evolutionary” development of Christ-worship. He was recognised initially as a man but from there the story grew with the telling and singing of praises.

    <more at link>
http://vridar.org/2017/07/21/the-happy- ... nvictions/

There's an interesting comment there -
    Mr Horse wrote:
    I wonder if Bird’s ‘high Christology’ is, ironically, more support for initial belief in a celestial Christ who was later humanised as Jesus Christ. There is no information that supports Ehrman’s or anyone else’s assertion/s there had been an early first century man-Jesus who was a deity or later deified.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42326  Postby RealityRules » Jul 21, 2017 11:14 pm

Neil Godfrey has another blog post -
Larry Hurtado has written 'an observation for consideration (or refutation)'* concerning the sources we have for earliest Christianity. I make my own observations (or refutations). Hurtado writes:

    We have more evidence about the beliefs, behavioral practices/demands, and diversity in early Christianity in the first two centuries AD than for any other religious group of the time. From within the few decades we have real letters sent from a known author (Paul) to named and known recipients (e.g., Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia), in which contemporary issues of belief and practice surface and are addressed, and in which also a whole galaxy of named individuals appears, along with information about them.
I think we can be more precise.

    From [apparently] within the few decades [of the reported crucifixion of Jesus under Pilate] we have real letters [widely but not universally believed to be real] [that purport to be] sent from a known author (Paul) to named and known recipients (e.g., Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia), in which [supposedly] contemporary issues of belief and practice surface and are addressed [although often the same issues are also addressed in the second century], and in which also a whole galaxy of named individuals appears, along with information about them.
... keeping in mind that

  • we have no evidence of the existence of the letters until the second century when we find an array of competing versions of Paul as a focus of theological battles, some of them quite diametrically opposed to the Paul whose name is attached to the letters;
  • the letters of Paul are in several noticeable ways quite different from other personal and philosophical letters of the day; moreover, we have good reasons to believe that today’s manuscripts are the products of ancient editorial and other redactional practices;
  • we quite readily set aside some letters claiming to be by Paul as spurious and merely assume that a subset of the total corpus are simply because they appear to be expressed in a common style and with a common theological outlook.
-----------------------------------------------------

... There is no “proof” that any of the canonical gospels ...date from the first century. There are many arguments that they originated then, but normative rules of dating a work must consider earliest and latest possible dates. We know that there are among some scholars strong ideological reasons for dating the gospels as early as possible, but one would expect that genuinely critical scholarship surely guards against such temptations.

http://vridar.org/2017/07/20/our-knowle ... more-71235

* Interestingly, Richard Bauckman engages Larry Hurtado in the first few comment-posts, and challenges him on early Christian evidence. These are excerpts: -
Bauckman
..We have the works of Josephus and Philo, which alone are equivalent in length to a great deal of the Christian literature put together. We have the so-called Pseudepigrapha that date from that period. And we have a lot more relevant archaeology than for Christianity of the same period.

Hurtado
...The Pseudepigrapha/Apocrypha give us insights, to be sure. But we don’t know who wrote them, or for whom, or where, or even when in most cases. It’s not the same sort of data that we have, e.g., in the letters of Paul or Ignatius, or 1 Clement, where we have texts that address specific communities and issues stated clearly (not fictively). But, sure, Roman-era Judaism would be (to my knowledge) the closest thing to a competitor. These Christian texts allow us to get snapshots of real churches in specific locations and at dates that can be approximated within a few years span.
Moreover, if we consider the relative size of the early Christian movement at that time in comparison with the larger Jewish tradition, I think that the literary output of early Christianity is still phenomenal.

Bauckman
Certainly, Philo is not representative, but nor is Justin or Irenaeus. Josephus tells us a lot about Jewish practice in the Contra Apionem and in the sections about the law of Moses in Antiquities, as well as what we can gather from what he says in passing in narrating in the Jewish War. We can create a very detailed picture of what happened in the temple in Jerusalem day by day and at the annual festivals and what an ordinary Jewish family visiting the temple would do (as Sanders does in Judaism Belief and Practice). I don’t think we have anything like as much detail for Christian liturgical practice. From Philo and Josephus we also know something about what happened in diaspora synagogues. (And interestingly the Christian literature actually tells us quite a lot about the Judaism of its time, which is not true vice versa.) True, we do not have named authors addressing specific communities at precise dates, but then it’s a case of what sort of things we know rather than how much we know. We know some kinds of things about early Christianity that we don’t know about Judaism, but we know some kinds of things about Judaism that we don’t know about early Christianity. We do, of course, have the Bar Kokbha letters which are to and from named people and precisely dated. We have all the legal documents from the Cave of Letters – do they count as “Judaism”?

I was thinking specifically of those Jewish Pseudepigrapha that we can date with reasonable probability to the first two centuries CE and can place in Palestine (e.g. 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch). There is Christian literature like the Apocalypse of Peter for which we are in much the same situation.

I entirely agree that the literary output of early Christianity is still phenomenal, especially relative to its size. And there was a lot more second century Christian literature than, sadly, has survived. And it’s interesting how much of our Jewish literature (actually most apart from Qumran) we have because Christians preserved it. I would think that already in the second century Christians were copying and reading Jewish literature (in addition to OT). Don’t you think some of Christianity’s literariness was carried over from Judaism?
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42327  Postby proudfootz » Aug 02, 2017 8:40 pm

Discussion of how critical readers seem to blunder into misunderstanding each other in bible studies:

Bultmann... wrote that the following key features in a Greco-Roman biography were missing from the gospels’ stories of Jesus:

His human personality (not “Freudian analysis,” but “What was he like as a person?“).
His origin.
His education and development.
His appearance.
His character.

Burridge is right about one thing: the ancients did care much more about moral character. In fact, Plutarch cared about little else. The historical figures he wrote about served as object lessons in morality. Where are the descriptions of Jesus’ character in the canonical gospels? Bultmann says, “Nowhere.”

Why did Burridge embellish upon Bultmann’s words? Who knows? But we shouldn’t be surprised. Nobody actually reads Bultmann, so who’s going to find out?

Bultmann did know the difference between modern and ancient biographies. He also knew what set the gospels apart from Greco-Roman biographies. But the myth that he was ignorant of these basic concepts and that he had committed a “simple category error” proved so useful to those who wanted to change the consensus that it has continued unchallenged until now.

http://vridar.org/2017/08/02/ancient-vs ... more-70965
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42328  Postby Leucius Charinus » Aug 03, 2017 1:27 am

Hurtado appears to be the most sensible ....

RealityRules wrote:

Hurtado

...The Pseudepigrapha/Apocrypha give us insights, to be sure. But we don’t know who wrote them, or for whom, or where, or even when in most cases.


He is right about that. The "Other Jesus and Apostle Gospel Story Books" have all been sitting in the too-hard basket for many centuries. The Nag Hammadi codices, and the Tchacos Codex (Gospel of Judas, National Geographic 2006) have revived much interest. Pachomius RIP.


RealityRules wrote:

Hurtado


It’s not the same sort of data that we have, e.g., in the letters of Paul or Ignatius, or 1 Clement, where we have texts that address specific communities and issues stated clearly (not fictively). But, sure, Roman-era Judaism would be (to my knowledge) the closest thing to a competitor. These Christian texts allow us to get snapshots of real churches in specific locations and at dates that can be approximated within a few years span.


We can see clearly that the mainstream (and Hurtado's) premise of the geographically distributed "Early Church", which Eusebius associates with both the "Universal Church" and the "Nation of Christians", is securely (yikes!) founded on the historicity of "Paul" and his "Correspondence". Although not that with Seneca. Heaven forbid.

House of cards.

Does anyone play poker?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42329  Postby aliihsanasl » Aug 08, 2017 6:49 pm

Mystery surrounds excavation in tightly guarded dig

There was historcial artifact smugglers in this house, police raided house and during raid one of the cops passed away. Since that they 7/24 they're digging. People living nearby cant sleep because of digging sound.

A few interesting notes they unloading the soil to military zone and keeping police officers on rooftops in order to stop viewing by drones.

Rumours are they're searching for one of the first Bible ever written. Only police force would be there is they would be searching for body or narcotics, National Intelligence Agency's existance adding more mystery.

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42330  Postby quas » Sep 09, 2017 7:01 am

Hello everyone,

have you guys seen this?

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem
those who think alike than those who think differently. -Nietzsche
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42331  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 10, 2017 1:20 am

quas wrote:Hello everyone,

have you guys seen this?




Yes, its a good slab of research by Tom Holland on the question "Did Muhammad exist"?

I made some brief notes when I first watched it:

    Islam - The Untold Story

    banned in the UK (77 min documentary)

      In this ground-breaking film, historian Tom Holland explores how a new religion - Islam - emerged from the seedbed of the ancient world, and asks what we really know for certain about its rise. The result is an extraordinary detective story. Traditionally, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have believed that Islam was born in the full light of history. But a large number of historians now doubt that presumption, and question much of what Muslim tradition has to tell us about the birth of Islam.


    First Mention of Mecca
    First Coin
    The ruler who issued the first coin.
    "Follow the money"


    coin after nearly 60 years

    55:30 The first coin bearing the genius of name of Muhammad

    "Maybe sixty years is what they needed to work out what the story really was."


    54:20 What if it wasn't Islam that gave birth to the Arab Empire but the Arab Empire that gave birth to Islam.

    The empire was rich beyond imagining

    685/686 CE
    DATE OF FIRST COIN



    1:09:26

    Was there really a promise to Abraham?

    Abraham <<==== Judaism; Christianity; Islam

    "Stories that never happened can be infinitely more powerful than stories that did"


    Islam emerged from a range of circumstances
    religions and empires and convulsions of the world which witnesses its birth.

"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

Emperor Julian (362 CE)
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42332  Postby RealityRules » Sep 10, 2017 6:49 am

The account about the small group of Arabs taking over Jerusalem by peaceful negotiation in the early 7th century is interesting (~28mins), especially as those Arabs did not appear to have a religion and, though there was a mixture of religions in Jerusalem at that time (Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism), they began to pray on the ruins of the old Jewish Temple (the Temple Mount, I presume; on Mt Moriah). The Christians apparently suspected a Jewish conspiracy. Muslims worshipping Abraham's tomb in Hebron and claiming to be descendants of Abraham through his son Ishmael [and Hagar] is interesting (~35mins).

I wonder if a similar scenario applies to the lead up to Constantine becoming emperor: ie. his followers were similarly of poorly defined faith and their faith was [also] described in retrospect.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42333  Postby Stein » Sep 19, 2017 3:36 am

After viewing this video, it struck me as odd that Holland never once goes to, or even mentions, Medina, where Mohammed supposedly consolidated his power. So much about Mecca, but not a word about Medina, huh? So I Googled "Medina Channel 4 Islam Tom Holland", and I did find an in-depth article on this documentary that, among other things, cites the absence of Medina in this film as quite troubling:


" [In this film,] [t]he inference [taken from the barrenness of Mecca, as opposed to thriving agriculture] is truly bizarre: neighbouring Medina, where Muhammed emigrated fleeing persecution in Mecca - and where he continued to receive a large bulk of the revelations of the Qur’an - was a thriving “agricultural settlement, with widely scattered palm groves and armed farmsteads.” " (August 31, 2012)
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-nafe ... 42822.html


Also in the Huffington Post -- yes, I went surfing further, so sue me -- there is a piece from one day earlier that points to at least one deliberate lacuna that Holland knowingly creates out of whole cloth in the historical record:


"[T]here is still one decisive document that we know he was aware of yet neglected to mention in the documentary.
This is the ‘treaty of Medina’ and has been mentioned in Holland’s book, ‘In the Shadow of the Sword’ which was published in April of this year. The treaty is a peace agreement between Muhammad and the Muslim and Jewish tribes native to the area at the time, and is described by Holland in his book as “a single lump of magma sufficiently calcified to have stood proof against all erosion.” This treaty would have provided answers to some of Holland’s questions and rendered others null and void; it is textual and archaeological evidence of Muhammad’s existence and his life in Medina (and not the Negev desert). So why didn’t Holland, instead of fretting over coinage and post-Muhammad Arab imperialists, include this key piece of evidence? Was it because he was seeking only to promote his own version of events?"
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/afroze- ... 42984.html


Look, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that this notorious thread already has a poisonous atmosphere, and since it's inevitable that someone will point out that both these pieces are probably written by believers, we can save a lot of time here by saying that YES, THESE TWO AUTHORS ARE PROBABLY BELIEVERS. O.K.?

Fact is, there probably ARE other non-Muslim sources on the web that will also talk about this same surviving treaty in Medina and the obvious agriculture at Medina. But I don't have time right now to chase those down. That will have to be next week. That's a shame, since I know I may as well whistle for anyone else here bothering to find non-Islamic Internet scholarship on Medina even if they DID have the time.

Look, maybe the scholarship in these two HuffPost pieces is also hogwash. But it sure looks like this documentary is no better than hogwash with its flagrantly ignoring Medina altogether. Also, the idea of presenting an eccentric documentary like this without so much as a nod in the direction of the profound controversy it emphatically caused is flagrantly dishonest enough to make one just throw up.

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42334  Postby Stein » Sep 19, 2017 3:49 am

Apparently, this Holland guy has been praised in certain right-wing circles (as described at the foot of this piece) --

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/cul ... and-review

Isn't that interesting?

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42335  Postby proudfootz » Sep 19, 2017 10:33 am

Stein wrote:After viewing this video, it struck me as odd that Holland never once goes to, or even mentions, Medina, where Mohammed supposedly consolidated his power. So much about Mecca, but not a word about Medina, huh? So I Googled "Medina Channel 4 Islam Tom Holland", and I did find an in-depth article on this documentary that, among other things, cites the absence of Medina in this film as quite troubling:


" [In this film,] [t]he inference [taken from the barrenness of Mecca, as opposed to thriving agriculture] is truly bizarre: neighbouring Medina, where Muhammed emigrated fleeing persecution in Mecca - and where he continued to receive a large bulk of the revelations of the Qur’an - was a thriving “agricultural settlement, with widely scattered palm groves and armed farmsteads.” " (August 31, 2012)
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-nafe ... 42822.html


Also in the Huffington Post -- yes, I went surfing further, so sue me -- there is a piece from one day earlier that points to at least one deliberate lacuna that Holland knowingly creates out of whole cloth in the historical record:


"[T]here is still one decisive document that we know he was aware of yet neglected to mention in the documentary.
This is the ‘treaty of Medina’ and has been mentioned in Holland’s book, ‘In the Shadow of the Sword’ which was published in April of this year. The treaty is a peace agreement between Muhammad and the Muslim and Jewish tribes native to the area at the time, and is described by Holland in his book as “a single lump of magma sufficiently calcified to have stood proof against all erosion.” This treaty would have provided answers to some of Holland’s questions and rendered others null and void; it is textual and archaeological evidence of Muhammad’s existence and his life in Medina (and not the Negev desert). So why didn’t Holland, instead of fretting over coinage and post-Muhammad Arab imperialists, include this key piece of evidence? Was it because he was seeking only to promote his own version of events?"
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/afroze- ... 42984.html


If the author of the piece quoted above is reporting accurately, then Holland does indeed acknowledge this Treaty of Medina and appears to take it quite seriously. This would be evidence that as far as Holland is concerned there is no 'lacuna' for anyone to get upset about.

So it would seem odd that the BBC chose to leave that out of their video production. I don't have enough information to blame Holland for editorial decisions made by the BBC.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42336  Postby proudfootz » Sep 19, 2017 10:37 am

Stein wrote:Apparently, this Holland guy has been praised in certain right-wing circles (as described at the foot of this piece) --

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/cul ... and-review

Isn't that interesting?

Stein


No more interesting than the thugs and sadists who use religious texts as an excuse to oppress, rob, torture, rape, and kill others.

Holland can't be held responsible for the choices other people make.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42337  Postby proudfootz » Sep 19, 2017 1:00 pm

Meanwhile, some interesting reading on some aspects of the earliest records of Islam which might shed some light on how it evolved over time:

the traditional view portrays Islam as being, from the very beginning, a distinct new religious confession. In particular, it is depicted as a religion that was distinct from the earlier monotheisms, Judaism and Christianity, both of which were widespread in the Near East (and indeed, even in Arabia) — this despite the fact that the Qur’ān contains a great deal of material that is obviously related to the Jewish and Christian traditions, such as fragments of stories about various Hebrew prophets, about Jesus, etc.

But — as we know, this is not how religions usually begin, with such a clear-eyed view of their distinctiveness. Rather, we
usually see an initial period during which certain new religious ideas circulate but are not yet seen as constituting a new faith; their adherents may be a recognizable group, holding beliefs seen perhaps as heretical by others, but not yet as forming a distinct religious confession on their own
. Our model here might well be the gradual emergence of the “Jesus movement” and various Christianities from Judaism (or Judaisms) during the 1st-3rd centuries CE.

Furthermore — again looking at the record of how other religions emerge — the more or less definitive crystallization of a
new faith by the movement’s intellectual leadership may be followed by a rather prolonged period in which many people ostensibly belonging to the new confession still retain close ties with those of the matrix communities from which the new confession emerged. It is therefore necessary for the new religion to forcibly separate itself from the religious confession in the midst of which it had begun.




For the early Islamic community, some evidence — I would say much evidence — points to a similarly murky process of self-definition in the early stages of its development; and the overwhelming presence in the Qur’ān of material clearly linked to the rich Jewish and Christian scriptural traditions suggests very strongly that it was from that Judeo-Christian matrix that Islam would eventually have to distance itself. (This is not to claim that the prophet or his followers began as Jews or Christians, but only that Jewish and Christian religious ideas and stories were “in the air,” familiar, and provided the context in which the Qur’ān’s religious ideas had to develop.)

First, however, I think we need to adjust our habits or conventions when speaking of “early Islam” because the very use of
the word “Islam” to describe the origins period is misleading. It is much more fitting, I think, to refer to the early stages of the community Muḥammad founded as constituting a “Believers’ movement,” because that is what we find, overwhelmingly in the Qur’ān. The Qur’ān is a work addressed to the Believers (Ar. mu’minūn) — as it says many times when giving instruction, “O you who believe!” (yā ayyuhā al-ladhīna āmanū). The word “Believers” is clearly defined in the Qur’ān as one who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the need to live righteously.

What is especially pertinent to the present context is that some passages in the Qur’ān define the category of Believers as
including righteous “peoples of the book” (ahl al-kitāb) — the Qur’ān’s blanket term for Christians and Jews. So we can think
of the early community of Believers as including those Jews and Christians who were deemed sufficiently pious in their observances.

Evidence for an early community of Believers that included some Jews, at least, is found not only in the Qur’ān, but also in the transcription of an early document usually called the “umma (community) document” or “Constitution of Medina.” This appears to be a copy of the agreement Muḥammad drew up with the inhabitants of Yathrib/Medina when he and his followers first came there, the purpose of which was to define how the different groups were to relate to one another. What is interesting is that this early document includes mention of a number of Jewish clans, which are defined as being part of the umma. As the document states “they are one community, to the exclusion of all [other] people.”

So we might envision the early Believers’ movement as being ecumenical. In reality, “ecumenical” is also a bit misleading
as a term, for it implies a group that is consciously inclusive of different religious confessions. But what we are dealing with in the early Believers’ movement is a community that was not yet a clear confession, one that had not yet sharply defined exactly what its boundaries were. It was not, in other words, a community that included groups despite seeing them as “different” – that might qualify as “ecumenical” — but a community that saw various groups as being in some essential ways the same — in particular, as honoring God’s unity, as believing in the impending Last Judgment, and accepting the need to live righteously according to the law.


https://nelc.washington.edu/sites/nelc/ ... its428.pdf
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42338  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 22, 2017 9:10 am

RealityRules wrote:I wonder if a similar scenario applies to the lead up to Constantine becoming emperor: ie. his followers were similarly of poorly defined faith and their faith was [also] described in retrospect.


In one word ? .... "Eusebius"


Eusebius and the Life of Origen

    Nearly everything that is recorded about the early history of Alexandrian Christianity lies in the Church History of Eusebius. Many Alexandrian theological writings are preserved, but as might be expected they cast little light on historical events. Now the basic difficulty with Eusebius' work is that it has to be classified as "official history." It therefore contains a judicious mixture of authentic record with a good deal of suppression of fact and occasional outright lies. He wrote it in defence of himself and his friends and their outlook toward the nascent imperial church establishment under God's messenger Constantine.

    Early Alexandrian Christianity
    Robert M. Grant

    Robert M. Grant is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.
    This paper was first delivered as the Presidential Address at the dinner meeting of The American Society of Church History on December 29, 1970 in Boston.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

Emperor Julian (362 CE)
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42339  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 22, 2017 9:18 am

proudfootz wrote:
Stein wrote:Apparently, this Holland guy has been praised in certain right-wing circles (as described at the foot of this piece) --

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/cul ... and-review

Isn't that interesting?

Stein


No more interesting than the thugs and sadists who use religious texts as an excuse to oppress, rob, torture, rape, and kill others.


For a religious proponent, the Reverend Spong on the "Terrible Texts of the Bible" covers this aspect very well.

Holland can't be held responsible for the choices other people make.


To what extent have the Christian and Islamic "Book Religions" been fabricated by the warlords who implemented them in antiquity in order to maintain large geographical expanses of conquered territory by means of a centralised monotheistic state cult?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

Emperor Julian (362 CE)
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42340  Postby proudfootz » Sep 22, 2017 12:00 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
proudfootz wrote:
Stein wrote:Apparently, this Holland guy has been praised in certain right-wing circles (as described at the foot of this piece) --

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/cul ... and-review

Isn't that interesting?

Stein


No more interesting than the thugs and sadists who use religious texts as an excuse to oppress, rob, torture, rape, and kill others.


For a religious proponent, the Reverend Spong on the "Terrible Texts of the Bible" covers this aspect very well.


It's so tedious for defenders of orthodoxy to bring out these one-sided 'arguments' as if all the bad guys are among the skeptics.

Holland can't be held responsible for the choices other people make.


To what extent have the Christian and Islamic "Book Religions" been fabricated by the warlords who implemented them in antiquity in order to maintain large geographical expanses of conquered territory by means of a centralised monotheistic state cult?


Thinking about the alliance between church and state that has obtained throughout recorded history all over the globe rather gives me the impression that they are twin forms of social control each relying upon the other and each supporting the other.
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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