Posted: Apr 30, 2015 10:19 pm
by Stein
wunksta wrote:
Zwaarddijk wrote:
wunksta wrote:
Zwaarddijk wrote:
Again, this seems to have been a pre-Christian development in some intertestamental Judaisms, i.e. Essenism.

What do you mean "again"?

And are you saying that the concept of Satan being a rebel angel existed before Christianity?

Yes; "again" as in I've previously pointed out a concept that predates Christianity that was mentioned here as if Christianity invented it (viz. 'eternal hell'). The sects in Judaism with which The Book of Enoch originates probably held views of a 'fallen' Satan that was God's opponent, as well as the idea of an eternal hell probably as much as a century or two before Christianity appeared.

Where did you point this out? I looked through your previous posts and this was all I could find:

Zwaarddijk wrote:
Jesus is the chronologically speaking the earliest character in the Bible to teach an eternal hell

Zwaarddijk wrote:
Actually, most accounts of these things probably do stem from within the church, way after its formative years were long gone. If you're talking about *early* accounts thereof, well, there's probably some stuff borrowed from the big religions of Rome and Persia, but by and large, you won't find much of an idea of an eternal hell outside of Christianity prior to the appearance of Islam. Maybe some hints of it in Judaism even prior to Christianity, in fact, so it's not as if the idea is entirely outlandish to the sources of Christianity.

-Also, the idea of eternal suffering for rejecting God was also only introduced in the New Testament. As was the idea of Satan as a separate and malevolent entity, though that was very vaguely alluded to in the Old Testament. His origional meaning was simply "adversary", often used for physical enemies as well.

The idea of Satan as an adversary may come from Zoroastrian dualism - Good and Evil being at war and all that. However, eternal suffering kind of enters to some extent in OT texts: Daniel 12:2 "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt" at least suggests some kind of idea of a long-lasting punishment (although the wording in Hebrew is not as clear about the foreverness as the English wording is). Still, it's easy to see how such an idea may have been common in some circles of Judaism at the time of Jesus without needing to invoke other religions! There's also some hints at such beliefs in the Talmud, although those may be of later origin, from Zoroastrian influence as well, etc. However, no modern form of Zoroastrism has an eternal hell either, and afaict we don't really know that it had it in antiquity either.

My point is just that we have no reason to be certain that an eternal hell is a Christian divergence from 2nd Temple Judaism. Nor do we really have any reason to posit it as a necessarily external influence: it has had to appear somewhere, could just as well be the case that it appeared in Judaism or Christianity.

-In the book of Job, Satan was just another agent in God's service, a sort of "prosecutor" type.

Yes, and in Judaism, this is not disputed at all. Most varieties of Judaism don't care that much about Satan, as he ultimately is a servant of God. There's a story somewhere in ancient Jewish literature that when Satan tries to tempt someone and succeeds, he cries. (But when he tries to tempt someone and fails, he complains about being given impossible tasks.)

There is, at least, one reference to hell more than five centuries before Jesus: ca. 600 b.c.e., the pioneering Indian atheist, Brhaspati, apparently wrote that hell is simply what unlucky mortals go through here on Earth. It is not, he maintains, an abode for the dead, since there is, he maintains, no afterlife.

From this, we can infer that the notion of hell was already a construct of ancient Hindu culture at that time.