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  • Originally posted by thormas View Post


    Did Paul, the first NT writer, mention the two thieves? What are we to make of the issue that the thieves (or at least one of them) were not named until the 4th C? Was that a literary device? Could the thieves themselves have been literary creations?

    Why didn't Pilate go after the disciples as accomplices (Peter supposedly feared this)? If Jesus preached what we thought he preached, he had no connection to the Zealots and was not part of an uprising - given that his Kingdom was not of this world.

    And, I agree there is no record or critical scholarly finding that the two were connected to Jesus or connected to the Zealots (but the latter is within the realm of possibility if the two ever existed).
    Paul was not writing the gospels and only wrote of things to fix issues in the church groups.

    I think I mentioned elsewhere that Jesus did not have a group of revolutionaries so there was no reason to arrest other people. (Everything was peaceful in the garden and Jesus healed the one guy's ear after the peace was interrupted.)

    And the naming of a thief is just a weird thing that people try to document. So nothing can be gleaned from this.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post

      Paul was not writing the gospels and only wrote of things to fix issues in the church groups.

      I think I mentioned elsewhere that Jesus did not have a group of revolutionaries so there was no reason to arrest other people. (Everything was peaceful in the garden and Jesus healed the one guy's ear after the peace was interrupted.)

      And the naming of a thief is just a weird thing that people try to document. So nothing can be gleaned from this.

      .......and Paul also taught those groups about Christ. My point was that, the first NT writer never mentions the details of the crucification just that it happened and what it means for those groups.

      I agree with the revolutionaries part but it was not unusual for the followers of a man considered a 'threat' to also be executed......from what I've read.

      Right but it was, in all likelihood a make-up name. I simply thing it is valid to at least ask the question: were others crucified with Jesus?



      Comment


      • Originally posted by thormas View Post

        I will consult these two but still I have not seen it, even as a remote consideration, in the writings of top biblical scholars, among them a mix of Christians (of different expressions), an Atheist and a Jew.
        Eisenman makes an interesting case.


        Originally posted by thormas View Post
        There is debate about whether or not Paul/Saul was a Roman citizen, seemingly not all agree. There were 'issues' and perhaps a falling out (temporary? permanent?) but the Council of Jerusalem went in his favor.
        Well that depends who you are reading. I also take issue with many reputable scholars who while I recognise their competence appear to assume in their works that Acts and the writings of Paul are to be accepted without question in every single detail.


        Originally posted by thormas View Post
        Also, have never, ever, heard about his using (i.e. stealing) charitable contributions for his own purposes.
        Maybe I dreamt it! I cannot recollect where I read it.


        Originally posted by thormas View Post
        I took a quick look at Maccoby and remembered that I didn't buy his premise that Paul created or invented Christianity or that he used gnosticism and mystery cults to 'flesh' out or on which to build Christianity.
        Ah there we differ as I do think Paul invented Christianity.


        Originally posted by thormas View Post
        I think Hurtado and others have made a compelling case that Paul inherited much from the early communities - as opposed to inventing it (although, as mentioned in an earlier post, he did innovate but from what he had previously received).
        Hurtado of course had his Christian beliefs.

        Originally posted by thormas View Post
        I agree with your comment about pagans but again, none of the critical biblical scholars have suggested that Saul worked for Antipas.
        Then one has to ask who was he working for? He was not some kind of vigilante out on his own lynching Jewish members of a messianic sect.


        Furthermore, why was he going to Damascus? Bear in mind that If we look at the history that city was, at the period, one of the Decapolis and a client kingdom. We know of Aretas IV the Nabatean king at this period and we know that he seized the Nabatean throne in 9 CE much to the fury of Augustus and only fortuitous circumstances and some complex negotiations allowed him to keep his throne.

        In II Corinthians 11.32 Paul writes of the ethnarch of Aretas the king in Damascus but whether the Nabateans reoccupied Damascus is uncertain. It is possible that it could have occurred in the chaos following the death of the Herodian Philip and the clash between his brother Antipas and Aretas IV. However, the occupation of a city without Roman consent was considered an extremely serious matter by Rome and that may explain, at least in part, why Tiberius ordered Lucius Vitellius to attack Aretas in 37 CE. However, Tiberius’ death that same year prevented Vitellius from doing so and Aretas lasted a few years longer.

        However, one has to ask under what and whose authority was Saul/Paul going from Jerusalem to Damascus to root out suspected members of this messianic sect? Acts tells us he went to the High Priest in Jerusalem to ask for letters to the synagogues of Damascus authorising him to bring suspects back to Jerusalem but what jurisdiction did the High Priest in Judaea have in a separate client kingdom? And how would the High Priest’s “boss” i.e. Marullus the then Praefectus of Judaea [37-41 CE] have viewed this?
        "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

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        • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
          Eisenman makes an interesting case.

          Well that depends who you are reading. I also take issue with many reputable scholars who while I recognise their competence appear to assume in their works that Acts and the writings of Paul are to be accepted without question in every single detail.

          Maybe I dreamt it! I cannot recollect where I read it.

          Ah there we differ as I do think Paul invented Christianity.

          Hurtado of course had his Christian beliefs.

          Then one has to ask who was he working for? He was not some kind of vigilante out on his own lynching Jewish members of a messianic sect.


          Furthermore, why was he going to Damascus? Bear in mind that If we look at the history that city was, at the period, one of the Decapolis and a client kingdom. We know of Aretas IV the Nabatean king at this period and we know that he seized the Nabatean throne in 9 CE much to the fury of Augustus and only fortuitous circumstances and some complex negotiations allowed him to keep his throne.

          In II Corinthians 11.32 Paul writes of the ethnarch of Aretas the king in Damascus but whether the Nabateans reoccupied Damascus is uncertain. It is possible that it could have occurred in the chaos following the death of the Herodian Philip and the clash between his brother Antipas and Aretas IV. However, the occupation of a city without Roman consent was considered an extremely serious matter by Rome and that may explain, at least in part, why Tiberius ordered Lucius Vitellius to attack Aretas in 37 CE. However, Tiberius’ death that same year prevented Vitellius from doing so and Aretas lasted a few years longer.

          However, one has to ask under what and whose authority was Saul/Paul going from Jerusalem to Damascus to root out suspected members of this messianic sect? Acts tells us he went to the High Priest in Jerusalem to ask for letters to the synagogues of Damascus authorising him to bring suspects back to Jerusalem but what jurisdiction did the High Priest in Judaea have in a separate client kingdom? And how would the High Priest’s “boss” i.e. Marullus the then Praefectus of Judaea [37-41 CE] have viewed this?
          I long ago learned to differentiate between scholars and 'critical" scholars. The latter try to let the material speak for itself and this includes Christians, Bart Ehrman an atheist and Jill Levine, a Jew. Actually such scholars are very blunt about Acts being in conflict with Paul himself in his letters. And they pour over Paul and other materials to get at what he is saying. So rather than 'accept without question' - they do just the opposite. I have not run into scholars who accept without question and if they did, I would doubt their competence from the get-go. I have also not considered theologians who would accept at face value something like faith by justification unless they were able to consider that critically and explain just what i means.

          As an example, Hurtado (and not simply him but he was among the best) has shown that Paul did not invent but inherited or 'received' from others and then passed on. As discussed there is innovation but it is undeniable - unless one disputes the findings - something pre-existed Paul, that's what he persecuted as Saul, that he later embraced and received. I have not seen anyone refute Hurtado by appealing to the same Pauline (and other) materials.

          Merely because one is Christian it does not follow that they their beliefs blind them.........anymore than it is fair to say that an atheist's views blind that individual. In addition, sometimes we don't know if one was raised Christian and are that same kind of Christian today. I'm not and I'm just an amateur:+}

          I believe it is valid to ask about Saul's mandate and authority - still have not read where any of the the critical scholars place that authority with Antipas. But my reading and double checking continues.
          Last edited by thormas; 10-23-2020, 08:40 AM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by thormas View Post

            I long ago learned to differentiate between scholars and 'critical" scholars. The latter try to let the material speak for itself and this includes Christians, Bart Ehrman an atheist and Jill Levine, a Jew. Actually such scholars are very blunt about Acts being in conflict with Paul himself in his letters. And they pour over Paul and other materials to get at what he is saying. So rather than 'accept without question' - they do just the opposite.
            By which I meant that every narrative detail is assumed to be correct.

            For example the assumption that Paul came from Tarsus. Paul never tells us that. Those words are put into his mouth by the writer of Acts. Yet in their work The First Paul Crossan and Borg devote an entire section to Tarsus in chapter three citing the benefits it accorded Saul/Paul as if the information we are provided with in Acts is accurate biographical material.

            And that is just one example. Other writers likewise accept the narrative veracity of those texts and premised arguments on that assumption.

            Originally posted by thormas View Post
            As an example, Hurtado (and not simply him but he was among the best) has shown that Paul did not invent but inherited or 'received' from others and then passed on.
            Yet there again we only have Paul's writings on this matter. None of the others have left any written accounts.

            Originally posted by thormas View Post
            Merely because one is Christian it does not follow that they their beliefs blind them.........anymore than it is fair to say that an atheist's views blind that individual.
            Indeed not. I have only briefly looked at one of Hurtado's works and so am not overly familiar with his arguments. However, Vermes and Maccoby were both practising Jews, S G F Brandon was an Anglican priest and had been an army chaplain in WW2. Mark Goodacre is also an Anglican and J D Crossan was raised as a Catholic. However, some scholars seem better able to put aside their religious beliefs when examining the historical context of these texts.

            Originally posted by thormas View Post
            I believe it is valid to ask about Saul's mandate and authority - still have not read where any of the the critical scholars place that authority with Antipas. But my reading and double checking continues.
            The short answer is we do not know and, unless some discovery is made of a hitherto unknown historical source, we will probably never know. Unfortunately we have no other contemporary and extraneous accounts with which to cross reference any of this information.

            Nor can we ignore the possibility that much of what has come down to us concerning such incidents as the resurrection are anything but the workings of Paul's mind. Given that he places such soteriological emphasis on that incident one is left to ponder if the experience he recounts in I Corinthians was not entirely something within his own psyche.

            Did a group of pious and observant Jews believe their leader was going to be returned to earth as the messiah to continue his mission? We do not know. They left us no records. It is possible but we cannot be certain. Are the figures of Jesus we have in the Synoptics veracious? [I will ignore the figure we are given in John as that is a more theologically developed work.]

            Was the real man behind the gospel Jesus' more interested in direct action for his religion? How much sympathy did he have for groups like the Zealots? Was he an Essene?

            Or are those characters in the Synoptics composites of different men? Again, we do not know.








            "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
              By which I meant that every narrative detail is assumed to be correct.

              For example the assumption that Paul came from Tarsus. Paul never tells us that. Those words are put into his mouth by the writer of Acts. Yet in their work The First Paul Crossan and Borg devote an entire section to Tarsus in chapter three citing the benefits it accorded Saul/Paul as if the information we are provided with in Acts is accurate biographical material.

              And that is just one example. Other writers likewise accept the narrative veracity of those texts and premised arguments on that assumption.

              Yet there again we only have Paul's writings on this matter. None of the others have left any written accounts.

              Indeed not. I have only briefly looked at one of Hurtado's works and so am not overly familiar with his arguments. However, Vermes and Maccoby were both practising Jews, S G F Brandon was an Anglican priest and had been an army chaplain in WW2. Mark Goodacre is also an Anglican and J D Crossan was raised as a Catholic. However, some scholars seem better able to put aside their religious beliefs when examining the historical context of these texts.

              The short answer is we do not know and, unless some discovery is made of a hitherto unknown historical source, we will probably never know. Unfortunately we have no other contemporary and extraneous accounts with which to cross reference any of this information.

              Nor can we ignore the possibility that much of what has come down to us concerning such incidents as the resurrection are anything but the workings of Paul's mind. Given that he places such soteriological emphasis on that incident one is left to ponder if the experience he recounts in I Corinthians was not entirely something within his own psyche.

              Did a group of pious and observant Jews believe their leader was going to be returned to earth as the messiah to continue his mission? We do not know. They left us no records. It is possible but we cannot be certain. Are the figures of Jesus we have in the Synoptics veracious? [I will ignore the figure we are given in John as that is a more theologically developed work.]

              Was the real man behind the gospel Jesus' more interested in direct action for his religion? How much sympathy did he have for groups like the Zealots? Was he an Essene?

              Or are those characters in the Synoptics composites of different men? Again, we do not know.







              And the Tarsus issue has been questioned by such scholars. I see Acts being treated just like the gospels by these scholars and thoroughly scrutinized (and questioned). All in all we don't know if Paul did not come from Tarsus., correct?

              I always liked Borg as person but felt he had a preconceived notion of Jesus and then looked for 'evidence' in the scriptures. Crossan I don't really read.

              We do have Paul's writings and Hurtado shows that certain beliefs and even phrases are not being introduced but written like it is already known and accepted. Hurtado gives a much better presentation - check his blog. And, one can only work with what they have in terms of material.

              I do agree on scholars, with some doing a better job of putting their beliefs to the side (as much as that is humanly possible). I really value Vermes and I have read some of Goodacre on Ehrman's blog.

              The resurrection - however they or we understand it - was one of those things that pre-dated Paul. It is that 'experience' that caused the disciples to proclaim Jesus, Messiah and Lord, and why Saul went after them. I believe that 'being saved' by the D&R of Jesus also pre-dated Paul.

              My understanding is that they did not. It is questionable if any even thought him their Messiah but, even if they did, they had no framework in which they could envision their Messiah dead and........ risen. It seems to be the consensus (given my reading) that we do know they had some 'experience' that we call resurrection and that ignited everything. Dale Alison make a great argument in his The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus: it is a short book and he seems to reverse what he and many biblical scholars have been doing: he now looks for patterns in the different gospels. It is a fascinating book and this in combination with an Ehrman and others who look to the 'gist material' presents a compelling case about Jesus. Interestingly Paula Fredriksen uses John to make an interesting case for the reasons for the execution of Jesus. She shows, if I remember correctly, that even with the high Christology of the 4th gospel there is (may be) history - like how many times Jesus visited Jerusalem and that he was a' known' quantity.

              I think Vermes and others rule out that Jesus was an Essene and few believe him a Zealot or that he wanted more direct action if that means physical confrontation. Again, see Allison's patterns.

              Also Ehrman (among others) has done a nice job of showing that the man, Jesus of Nazareth, existed.
              Last edited by thormas; 10-23-2020, 01:16 PM.

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