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Interpretation the Trinity is polytheistic

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  • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

    There is no actual record of “the dyadic devotion in the first Christian communities of the early 30s CE”. The earliest Pauline letter is commonly agreed by scholars to be 1 Thessalonians, which is generally dated c. 50-60 CE, i.e. 20+ years after the death of Jesus. And the gospels all date from c. 70 CE onwards, i.e. 40 + years after Jesus’ death. [/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]


    Thought I add this link to Hurtado on this subject: https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2...cal-questions/

    In in, he says: "we’re exploring the emergence of ....... “the Kyrios cult”, i.e., the treatment of Jesus as in some way sharing in divine glory and reverence.


    ........These letters {the seven letters of the Apostle Paul that are almost universally regarded as genuinely written by him} scarcely devote much space to teaching christological beliefs and devotional practices; instead they presuppose them. Which means that these beliefs and practices emerged and had become traditional well before these letters. .........."

    Hurtado, speaking of Paul's conversion, writes: "Paul thereafter joined the Jesus-movement the most likely conclusion is that he came to accept a view of Jesus that he had previously opposed and found unacceptable. It wasn’t Paul who invented a glorified Jesus; it was his predecessors among the Jewish believers whom he had previously regarded as promoting a dangerous set of beliefs.".

    .........Hurtado sums up "the evidence indicates that the conviction that God had glorified Jesus and given him divine honor and status erupted first among Jewish believers in Judea."



    And in another post, https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2...cient-context/

    Hurtado writes, "........earliest Christian devotion a distinctive “dyadic” shape, with God and Jesus both featuring centrally in beliefs and worship. Over against the polytheistic pattern of the larger pagan world, early Christian teaching advocated an exclusivity, with solely one God, and this same exclusivity applied to the one Lord Jesus....."

    Interesting reading.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by thormas View Post

      By "it seems evident" I meant their subsequent activity that was attributed to the experience. That there was such activity, a community or communities based on the man Jesus that grew and spread throughout the Empire is simply historical fact - and it is the case that the impetus for the movement was the 'saving death and resurrection' of this one they called Messiah and Lord. I totally agree we have no idea what this experience was..........but it seems there was something. I'm simply referring to some experience by which they came to believe he was dead was alive in and exalted by God.
      We only know of “such activity” based upon the developed form of Christianity that had emerged by the time of the earliest available writings. Namely, the Pauline epistles dating from c. 50-60 CE, i.e. 20+ years after the death of Jesus. And the canonical gospels dating from c. 70 CE onwards, i.e. 40 + years after Jesus’ death.

      These are the writings defined by the Church as canonical by Athanasius in his Easter sermon of 367 CE. But there are also the non-canonical writings such as the Gospel of Thomas, which some scholars have dated as early as c. 60 CE. And several others that paint quite a different picture of Jesus, which were widely circulated throughout the early Christian era.

      Plus, we also have evidence of other forms of early Christianity such as the Ebionites, who believed that Jesus was just a good man adopted by God, but NOT God himself - and others. It wasn’t until several centuries later, during the highly contentious Ecumenical Councils, that Christian orthodoxy was finally defined and these other beliefs were firmly suppressed.





      “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

        We only know of “such activity” based upon the developed form of Christianity that had emerged by the time of the earliest available writings. Namely, the Pauline epistles dating from c. 50-60 CE, i.e. 20+ years after the death of Jesus. And the canonical gospels dating from c. 70 CE onwards, i.e. 40 + years after Jesus’ death.

        These are the writings defined by the Church as canonical by Athanasius in his Easter sermon of 367 CE. But there are also the non-canonical writings such as the Gospel of Thomas, which some scholars have dated as early as c. 60 CE. And several others that paint quite a different picture of Jesus, which were widely circulated throughout the early Christian era.

        Plus, we also have evidence of other forms of early Christianity such as the Ebionites, who believed that Jesus was just a good man adopted by God, but NOT God himself - and others. It wasn’t until several centuries later, during the highly contentious Ecumenical Councils, that Christian orthodoxy was finally defined and these other beliefs were firmly suppressed.




        That's just it, the 'developed form' predated Paul and it is assumed, not explained, in his writings. It was what he persecuted and then received and passed on to his groups.

        Hurtado says, chronology matters and there was 'something already there, already professed' that Paul persecuted within 2-3 years after the death of Jesus.

        I get the canon and the gospels but Hurtado is going much earlier. As for Thomas I have never seen it dated that early but that would still make it contemporary with Matthew - 50 years after Jesus and 30 after Paul. I have seen dates of 100 CE and 250 CE.

        The early Christian devotion had Jesus as a man raised and exalted by God​​ (again dy​​​​adic devotion) that Hurtado traces to months or 1-2 years after the death of Jesus.
        To this point, I give you Hurtado from the first link above:

        "Were there other circles of Jesus-followers who didn’t share these beliefs? If so, we have no evidence of them. And Paul wasn’t reluctant to indicate or engage issues of difference with others! So, it’s conspicuous that there is no mention of differences over christological issues. Without evidence of major christological differences, or of circles that didn’t regard Jesus as glorified and sharing in divine honor, to posit such circles is an exercise in fantasy. Not good historical practice. To be sure, there are later references to “Ebionites” who may or may not be actual groups by that name. But these groups can’t be placed early or function as rival versions of earliest believers, nor is it clear that they denied the glorified status of Jesus."


        I have no problem discussing the later formulations but Hurtado aims much earlier.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by thormas View Post

          That's just it, the 'developed form' predated Paul and it is assumed, not explained, in his writings. It was what he persecuted and then received and passed on to his groups.
          There is no “developed form”. Paul never knew Jesus. He wrote from the perspective of his Damascene conversion and Christophany, which he specifically says in Galatians he did not receive from any man. As for the gospels, they are dated from c. 70 CE onwards, i.e. 40 + years after Jesus’ death and are based upon hearsay, NOT eyewitness accounts.

          Hurtado says, chronology matters and there was 'something already there, already professed' that Paul persecuted within 2-3 years after the death of Jesus.

          I get the canon and the gospels but Hurtado is going much earlier. As for Thomas I have never seen it dated that early but that would still make it contemporary with Matthew - 50 years after Jesus and 30 after Paul. I have seen dates of 100 CE and 250 CE.

          The early Christian devotion had Jesus as a man raised and exalted by God​​ (again dy​​​​adic devotion) that Hurtado traces to months or 1-2 years after the death of Jesus.
          To this point, I give you Hurtado from the first link above:

          "Were there other circles of Jesus-followers who didn’t share these beliefs? If so, we have no evidence of them. And Paul wasn’t reluctant to indicate or engage issues of difference with others! So, it’s conspicuous that there is no mention of differences over christological issues. Without evidence of major christological differences, or of circles that didn’t regard Jesus as glorified and sharing in divine honor, to posit such circles is an exercise in fantasy. Not good historical practice. To be sure, there are later references to “Ebionites” who may or may not be actual groups by that name. But these groups can’t be placed early or function as rival versions of earliest believers, nor is it clear that they denied the glorified status of Jesus."

          .
          Well we can never know given that there is no record of eyewitness accounts and that the records we do have of the Jesus events in the gospels undoubtedly grew in the telling and varied from person to person as the stories were passed from mouth to mouth. “During the first three Christian centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christian were so varied that that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison. Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the world today. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others who insisted that there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365.” "Lost Christianities" - Bart Ehrman








          “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

            There is no “developed form”. Paul never knew Jesus. He wrote from the perspective of his Damascene conversion and Christophany, which he specifically says in Galatians he did not receive from any man. As for the gospels, they are dated from c. 70 CE onwards, i.e. 40 + years after Jesus’ death and are based upon hearsay, NOT eyewitness accounts.
            There are plenty of decent arguments showing that the gospels had to be written before the fall of the Temple. Part of this is that the writers would have confirmed that the Temple had fallen rather than just stating it would fall. Another problem is that people across vast distances and varying cultures would have had to have learned something different from the published gospels -- and would have fought over the inaccuracy of the gospels -- if the gospels were indeed a late writing. It would have been quite miraculous for the gospels to be written at a late date and not be accurate. You have to think these things through, not just spout out weird stuff like this.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post

              There are plenty of decent arguments showing that the gospels had to be written before the fall of the Temple. .
              Conservative Christians tend to date the gospels early, but the consensus among most scholars is for late dating. “The four canonicals were probably written between AD 66 and 110. All four were anonymous (the modern names were added in the 2nd century), almost certainly none were by eyewitnesses, and all are the end-products of long oral and written transmission. Mark was the first to be written, using a variety of sources; the authors of Matthew and Luke, acting independently, used Mark for their narrative of Jesus's career, supplementing it with the collection of sayings called the Q document and additional material unique to each; and there is a near-consensus that John had its origins as a "signs" source (or gospel) that circulated within a Johannine community. The contradictions and discrepancies between the first three and John make it impossible to accept both traditions as equally reliable”.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel








              “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post

                There are plenty of decent arguments showing that the gospels had to be written before the fall of the Temple. Part of this is that the writers would have confirmed that the Temple had fallen rather than just stating it would fall. Another problem is that people across vast distances and varying cultures would have had to have learned something different from the published gospels -- and would have fought over the inaccuracy of the gospels -- if the gospels were indeed a late writing. It would have been quite miraculous for the gospels to be written at a late date and not be accurate. You have to think these things through, not just spout out weird stuff like this.
                Ok, then let us look at those arguments: what are they? What scholars hold them? Which scholars agree with your first argument above?

                The gospels were not histories of the Jews and Jerusalem- they were stories, theologies about Jesus and they are written about this man: his teachings, his mission, his acts, his passion - all of which took place around 30 CE - they were not about 70CE, they were not about the Temple.

                My understanding is that critical scholars put all of the gospels after the Temple (including Mark but to be fair I will check on Mark). These scholars include Allison, Fredriksen, Ehrman, Hurtado, Johnson, Levine ........just to mention a few of the best.

                Just out of curiosity: published gospels? When were they published, how were they 'published' and what scholars agree with this position?


                Respectfully, it is your position that is not only weird but simply inaccurate.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                  Conservative Christians tend to date the gospels early, but the consensus among most scholars is for late dating. “The four canonicals were probably written between AD 66 and 110. All four were anonymous (the modern names were added in the 2nd century), almost certainly none were by eyewitnesses, and all are the end-products of long oral and written transmission. Mark was the first to be written, using a variety of sources; the authors of Matthew and Luke, acting independently, used Mark for their narrative of Jesus's career, supplementing it with the collection of sayings called the Q document and additional material unique to each; and there is a near-consensus that John had its origins as a "signs" source (or gospel) that circulated within a Johannine community. The contradictions and discrepancies between the first three and John make it impossible to accept both traditions as equally reliable”.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel







                  And this from an atheist. Nicely and accurately laid out.

                  My only issue is although the Synoptics and John were very different - none are histories or the equivalent of modern biographies. Paula Fredriksen actually gives John credit for the probability that Jesus, a faithful Jew, traveled to Jerusalem more than just once.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                    There is no “developed form”. Paul never knew Jesus. He wrote from the perspective of his Damascene conversion and Christophany, which he specifically says in Galatians he did not receive from any man. As for the gospels, they are dated from c. 70 CE onwards, i.e. 40 + years after Jesus’ death and are based upon hearsay, NOT eyewitness accounts.



                    Well we can never know given that there is no record of eyewitness accounts and that the records we do have of the Jesus events in the gospels undoubtedly grew in the telling and varied from person to person as the stories were passed from mouth to mouth. “During the first three Christian centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christian were so varied that that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison. Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the world today. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others who insisted that there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365.” "Lost Christianities" - Bart Ehrman







                    It is accepted and agreed that Paul never knew Jesus. There are some questions about the 'perspective' that you associate with him and Bart Ehrman has commented about what 'received and passed on' means in such writings or settings. While Paul does refer to his revelation 'not from any man' - he also used the formula (see Ehrman) that speaks to doing just that.

                    The 'developed form' refers to the pre-Pauline beliefs and devotional practices that sprang up within months perhaps to the first 1-2 years but before Paul. Actually it is these beliefs and devotions to Jesus that so incensed Saul. Also, scholars have shown that his writings don't explain but 'takes for granted' these beliefs and devotional practices which he 'received' from the earliest community.

                    Again, Hurtado, and Hengel are great sources for this.

                    It seems that you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater: a careful, scholarly (guided by scholars) reading, points to the pre-Pauline material that goes to the early Jerusalem community - which includes disciples. As one scholars points out, one has to make hypothesis in such cases but it is also clear that these scholars have a preponderance of 'evidence' on their side on which to make their case.

                    I love and agree with Ehrman but Hurtado is not talking that timeframe but going back as far as one is able to the beginnings - to months/a year or two after Jesus.
                    Last edited by thormas; 10-28-2020, 07:52 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by thormas View Post

                      That's just it, the 'developed form' predated Paul and it is assumed, not explained, in his writings. It was what he persecuted and then received and passed on to his groups.

                      Hurtado says, chronology matters and there was 'something already there, already professed' that Paul persecuted within 2-3 years after the death of Jesus.

                      I get the canon and the gospels but Hurtado is going much earlier. As for Thomas I have never seen it dated that early but that would still make it contemporary with Matthew - 50 years after Jesus and 30 after Paul. I have seen dates of 100 CE and 250 CE.

                      The early Christian devotion had Jesus as a man raised and exalted by God​​ (again dy​​​​adic devotion) that Hurtado traces to months or 1-2 years after the death of Jesus.
                      To this point, I give you Hurtado from the first link above:

                      "Were there other circles of Jesus-followers who didn’t share these beliefs? If so, we have no evidence of them. And Paul wasn’t reluctant to indicate or engage issues of difference with others! So, it’s conspicuous that there is no mention of differences over christological issues. Without evidence of major christological differences, or of circles that didn’t regard Jesus as glorified and sharing in divine honor, to posit such circles is an exercise in fantasy. Not good historical practice. To be sure, there are later references to “Ebionites” who may or may not be actual groups by that name. But these groups can’t be placed early or function as rival versions of earliest believers, nor is it clear that they denied the glorified status of Jesus."


                      I have no problem discussing the later formulations but Hurtado aims much earlier.
                      I will have to side with Tassman to a degree. Your assumptions and conclusions are looking back to a hypothetical chain of beliefs to justify the traditional Trinity belief.


                      There is no reasonable evidence that 'early Christian devotion had Jesus as a man raised and exalted by God​​ (again dy​​​​adic devotion) that Hurtado traces to months or 1-2 years after the death of Jesus.' can be claimed with any certainty. Hurtado like you are looking back from the perspective of belief and justification. Other than some basic biographical information that a Messianic rebel lived at the time the New Testament describes nothing of the miraculous belief and the Trinitarian belief of traditional Christianity can be traced back before writings of Paul, and the later compilation of New Testament. We only have the word of the Church Fathers that edited, selected and compiled the New Testament, and they had no demonstrated first hand knowledge of Jesus Christ and his life. Even the letters of Paul are not likely written by Paul.
                      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                      go with the flow the river knows . . .

                      Frank

                      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post

                        I will have to side with Tassman to a degree. Your assumptions and conclusions are looking back to a hypothetical chain of beliefs to justify the traditional Trinity belief.


                        There is no reasonable evidence that 'early Christian devotion had Jesus as a man raised and exalted by God​​ (again dy​​​​adic devotion) that Hurtado traces to months or 1-2 years after the death of Jesus.' can be claimed with any certainty. Hurtado like you are looking back from the perspective of belief and justification. Other than some basic biographical information that a Messianic rebel lived at the time the New Testament describes nothing of the miraculous belief and the Trinitarian belief of traditional Christianity can be traced back before writings of Paul, and the later compilation of New Testament. We only have the word of the Church Fathers that edited, selected and compiled the New Testament, and they had no demonstrated first hand knowledge of Jesus Christ and his life. Even the letters of Paul are not likely written by Paul.
                        Respectfully, you don't get it. These are not my assumptions and conclusions: I am presenting the findings and providing the references of critical biblical scholars. If you disagree then present information (and not just your opinion) to the contrary; provide scholarly positions to refute what I have presented. I suggest you read and seriously consider Hurtado on the early Christian devotion. And if you still disagree, have at it but back it up with others of like expertise.

                        There is never 'certainty' (nor have I said there is certainty - at least I hope I didn't) but the preponderance of evidence (if you will) that he presents is overwhelming and I don't know of any serious scholars who dispute him. So, present away. I am not talking trinity but it is clear that there is what has been called dyadic devotion and that Jesus is believed raised, exalted and seen as Messiah and Lord. I have no problem discussing whether the idea of trinity is right or wrong; this is a different issue.

                        There is no need for justification (of belief) on my part as this was not even an issue or concern for me. Bart Ehrman made a reference to Hurtado on his blog, I read him out of curiosity - and I am merely reporting what I read. And, to say that someone like Hurtado is trying to justify belief rather than be an honest broker of where the texts lead and what they reveal is a statement that is not backed up by his reputation as a man or a scholar.

                        One question for you is since we know that Paul, as Saul, persecuted the followers of Jesus before his conversion - what is it that upset him so much? What do you make of Paul's use of 'received and passed on' as discussed by Ehrman and others?

                        And, actually a number of the letters attributed to him were written by Paul and scholars show how they differentiate between the letters of Paul and 'pseudo' Paul. Again, if you disagree, make your case and back it up. Or if is just your opinion (your own assumptions and conclusions), that's fine but state that clearly so others can weigh that against scholarly 'opinions.'




                        Last edited by thormas; 10-28-2020, 11:21 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Ehrman on his blog, also speaks of a pre-Pauline belief:

                          (1 Cor. 8:6)

                          This verse may well incorporate another pre-Pauline creed of some kind, as it divides itself neatly, as can be seen, into two parts, with two lines each, the first part a confession of God the Father and the second a confession of Jesus Christ. It is “through” Christ that all things come into being and that believers themselves exist.

                          Comment


                          • Ehrman, again from his blog, writes:

                            (Paul) "admits in 1 Cor. 15:3-5 that he “received” from others the view that Christ died for sins and rose from the dead, before appearing “first” to Cephas and then others. I should stress, this language of “receiving” and “passing on” has long been understood as a standard way of indicating how tradition was transmitted from one person to another. Paul did not “receive” this information from his visionary encounter with Jesus (Jesus didn’t tell him: first I appeared to Cephas then to… and then to… and then finally to you!). Paul received this core of the Gospel message from those who were Christians before him."

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by thormas View Post

                              It is accepted and agreed that Paul never knew Jesus. There are some questions about the 'perspective' that you associate with him and Bart Ehrman has commented about what 'received and passed on' means in such writings or settings. While Paul does refer to his revelation 'not from any man' - he also used the formula (see Ehrman) that speaks to doing just that.

                              The 'developed form' refers to the pre-Pauline beliefs and devotional practices that sprang up within months perhaps to the first 1-2 years but before Paul. Actually it is these beliefs and devotions to Jesus that so incensed Saul. Also, scholars have shown that his writings don't explain but 'takes for granted' these beliefs and devotional practices which he 'received' from the earliest community.

                              Again, Hurtado, and Hengel are great sources for this.

                              It seems that you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater: a careful, scholarly (guided by scholars) reading, points to the pre-Pauline material that goes to the early Jerusalem community - which includes disciples. As one scholars points out, one has to make hypothesis in such cases but it is also clear that these scholars have a preponderance of 'evidence' on their side on which to make their case.

                              I love and agree with Ehrman but Hurtado is not talking that timeframe but going back as far as one is able to the beginnings - to months/a year or two after Jesus.
                              The bottom line is that there are NO eyewitness accounts of Jesus, his life and resurrection. Paul never knew him; the gospels are late and not eyewitness accounts.

                              Paul’s knowledge of the post-mortem Jesus is based upon his visionary “appearance” of Jesus on the Damascus road. His little creed in 1 Cor 15 is a statement of belief that Paul received after his apostolic call.

                              Presumably Paul had heard from other Christians – e.g. Peter and James whom he knew – who told him that they also had had experiences of Jesus “appearing” to them - as listed in the Little Creed of 1 Cor 15. To this day devout Christians claim to have personal experiences of Jesus in their lives. But none of this indicates literal physical appearances. It wasn’t for Paul and there is no good reason – other than church tradition – to think it was regarding the other “appearances.”
                              “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                                The bottom line is that there are NO eyewitness accounts of Jesus, his life and resurrection. Paul never knew him; the gospels are late and not eyewitness accounts.

                                Paul’s knowledge of the post-mortem Jesus is based upon his visionary “appearance” of Jesus on the Damascus road. His little creed in 1 Cor 15 is a statement of belief that Paul received after his apostolic call.

                                Presumably Paul had heard from other Christians – e.g. Peter and James whom he knew – who told him that they also had had experiences of Jesus “appearing” to them - as listed in the Little Creed of 1 Cor 15. To this day devout Christians claim to have personal experiences of Jesus in their lives. But none of this indicates literal physical appearances. It wasn’t for Paul and there is no good reason – other than church tradition – to think it was regarding the other “appearances.”
                                But that is not the bottom line. You ignore or refuse to accept the ability of scholars to read Paul and make note of things that devote readers or bottom liners miss.

                                It is obvious that there was something already in (circa) 32 CE that Saul persecuted. In addition, something all can see, (1 Cor: 15) he acknowledges that he 'received' from others the information about the death and the resurrection of Jesus and that Jesus died for our sins. Additionally, it is the case, made clear with the help of scholars/experts, that he assumes common knowledge and practices among Christians. There is pre-Pauline 'Christian' beliefs and practices that he inherits or receives and does not invent. If you disagree, provide the information and not just your opinion - but that of expert scholars.

                                I respect your right to your opinion..........but it is not backed up by any scholars to refute what I have presented. You are simply wrong about Paul's knowledge. Who do you think he 'received' the information from......the risen Jesus,,,,,,,,over coffee?

                                I haven't been discussing the resurrection but regardless of physical appearances (which I doubt) - what we have is the 'experience and belief' (of the disciples) that Jesus was risen and exalted by God......after his death.



                                See Ehrman above - "Paul received this core of the Gospel message from those who were Christians before him."

                                And again from Ehrman, "(1 Cor. 8:6) This verse may well incorporate another pre-Pauline creed of some kind.......... a confession of God the Father and the second a confession of Jesus Christ......... “through” Christ that all things come into being and that believers themselves exist."

                                Last edited by thormas; 10-29-2020, 07:32 AM.

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