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  • #76
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post

    So we are to believe that Mark's immediate audience would have believed that Mark was saying the women never spoke of the events at the tomb to anyone, and would simply have accepted his statement rather than declaring it nonsense.
    No. I'm saying that it was a clever literary trick designed to spark a reaction. When they heard the part "they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid" the hoped for reaction was something like "Well I'm not afraid. I'm going to tell everyone."

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by tabibito View Post

      So we are to believe that Mark's immediate audience would have believed that Mark was saying the women never spoke of the events at the tomb to anyone, and would simply have accepted his statement rather than declaring it nonsense.
      I think you envision the listeners approaching what they just heard like scholars while I'm seeing them react much more like enthusiastic converts.

      While I'm sure there were those who approached it like you say (the audience of the gospel was primarily Jewish and Jews of the period did tend to do that), I'm picturing how folks, full of enthusiasm (as new converts to anything tend to be), would react on an emotional level.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #78

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #79
          I think something people don't really take into account enough is the high prevalence of Gnosticism (which taught that Jesus was a spiritual being who had never had a human body) in the first and second centuries. I've seen estimates that at times in the 2nd century there were more gnostic Christians than 'orthodox' ones.

          It would be like if a mid-20th century poll were to find that the majority of Americans didn't believe Lincoln was ever actually a real person. That, in and of itself, would be very interesting evidence to a historian 2000 years later studying the question of Lincoln's (non)existence.

          That's the situation we're dealing with with regard to Jesus. It's not just that random people today who know nothing of the evidence shrug and say "I dunno about the historicity of any historical figure, really, how can anyone prove Jesus or anyone else existed?", it's that huge numbers of people near to Jesus's own lifetime didn't believe in a real human Jesus, and instead believed in a Jesus who was a spiritual-only being who appeared to them in visions to give teachings.

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by Starlight View Post
            I think something people don't really take into account enough is the high prevalence of Gnosticism (which taught that Jesus was a spiritual being who had never had a human body) in the first and second centuries. I've seen estimates that at times in the 2nd century there were more gnostic Christians than 'orthodox' ones.

            It would be like if a mid-20th century poll were to find that the majority of Americans didn't believe Lincoln was ever actually a real person. That, in and of itself, would be very interesting evidence to a historian 2000 years later studying the question of Lincoln's (non)existence.

            That's the situation we're dealing with with regard to Jesus. It's not just that random people today who know nothing of the evidence shrug and say "I dunno about the historicity of any historical figure, really, how can anyone prove Jesus or anyone else existed?", it's that huge numbers of people near to Jesus's own lifetime didn't believe in a real human Jesus, and instead believed in a Jesus who was a spiritual-only being who appeared to them in visions to give teachings.
            A circumstance that resulted from attempts to rationalise earlier witness with observable reality and with Greek philosophy. Such things were impossible in the real world, therefore ...

            Origen rejected some parts of the written record (not that the process began with him) and as time went on, even more (e.g. by Athanasius) was rejected. By the fifth century, supporters of competing rationalisations were at war, and the final victors declared themselves orthodox. Meanwhile, primitive Christianity continued to plod along unnoticed by the world at large.
            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by tabibito View Post
              A circumstance that resulted from attempts to rationalise earlier witness with observable reality and with Greek philosophy. Such things were impossible in the real world, therefore ...
              I don't think that was the angle they were coming from.

              From what I can tell, the driving idea was that "the material world is evil, and the spiritual reality is good". It was them really believing that strongly which in turn caused them to think things like:
              a. The creator of the evil material reality must themselves be evil. (e.g. Marcion's view that the Old Testament Jewish creator-god was evil, and that Jesus was a good spiritual being from the True spiritual God)
              b. That Jesus, being pure, must have been a spiritual being, and cannot have had a material body.

              I would point to Zoroastrianism as being a major source for these ideas in the Ancient Near East.

              It's possible to see this matter-is-evil thinking in Paul's writings also - "I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin... nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh" and by contrast he speaks of the spirit with glowing praise, and for this reason many scholars label Paul as 'proto-gnostic'. He also, famously, doesn't say much at all about Jesus' life. And he talks about church services involving believers bringing new revelations from God and interpreting each other's revelations (1 Cor 14:23) and it seems like the only limiting factor he places on the creativity of such revelations was that they had to endorse Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12:3). That seems very strongly of the same flavor as the gnostic visions critiqued by 'orthodox' writers in the 2nd century, where the gnostics would have spiritual visions of beings in the spiritual world (e.g. Jesus) and receive new revelations from them.

              It's not exactly hard to see overenthusiastic believers gradually inventing for themselves whole hosts of new teachings that they received from the spiritual Jesus in such an environment, and gradually consolidating them into 'gospels'. This, after all, is exactly what orthodox Christians tend to believe happened with the various non-canonical gospels! The question then becomes was it also the process that led to the creation of the 4 canonical gospels as well as the non-canonical ones? Occam's razor would tend to say that single explanation for both the canonical and non-canonical gospels is the simplest solution, and this sort of hypothesis would explain the parts in common among the canonical gospels, seeing them as gradually built up from ideas circulating about the teachings of the spiritual Jesus and and events in his 'life', with some people a century later then misunderstanding them as indicating a real human Jesus had actually physically existed.
              Last edited by Starlight; 08-22-2021, 09:01 PM.

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              • #82
                Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                I don't think that was the angle they were coming from.

                From what I can tell, the driving idea was that "the material world is evil, and the spiritual reality is good". It was them really believing that strongly which in turn caused them to think things like:
                a. The creator of the evil material reality must themselves be evil. (e.g. Marcion's view that the Old Testament Jewish creator-god was evil, and that Jesus was a good spiritual being from the True spiritual God)
                b. That Jesus, being pure, must have been a spiritual being, and cannot have had a material body.

                I would point to Zoroastrianism as being a major source for these ideas in the Ancient Near East.
                The ideas adopted in the fifth century derived from Greek philosophical considerations ( first developed sometime BCE) of the characteristics that a real god must possess. Orthodox and Arians both used those concepts in developing their precepts. Both groups were forced to re-interpret (different) rafts of scripture to shoehorn it into conformity with their base concepts. Arians having made a superficially better case in their calls to scripture, Orthodox eventually abandoned any attempt to argue from scripture.

                It's possible to see this matter-is-evil thinking in Paul's writings also - "I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin... nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh" and by contrast he speaks of the spirit with glowing praise, and for this reason many scholars label Paul as 'proto-gnostic'.
                That is good for a giggle. If the Koine Greek writing conventions are ignored, Paul can be thought to say that nothing good resides in a human, or perhaps just in a non-believer. However, one chapter says that the person in the flesh cannot do anything good, the following chapter denying that a person is in the flesh if the Holy Spirit is in him. The one (7) being a "then" and the following chapter (8) an explicit "but now."

                He also, famously, doesn't say much at all about Jesus' life.
                The epistles are written to people who have already heard the gospel. Reiterating the gospel would be like teaching people how to spell "cat" in a high school textbook. (though, these days, maybe that would not be inappropriate.)

                And he talks about church services involving believers bringing new revelations from God and interpreting each other's revelations (1 Cor 14:23)
                Interpreting tongues isn't a matter of interpreting revelations. It is a matter of interpreting from languages unknown to the listener - whether that source language is of human or angelic origin.

                and it seems like the only limiting factor he places on the creativity of such revelations was that they had to endorse Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12:3). That seems very strongly of the same flavor as the gnostic visions critiqued by 'orthodox' writers in the 2nd century, where the gnostics would have spiritual visions of beings in the spiritual world (e.g. Jesus) and receive new revelations from them.
                Not an issue I have encountered before.To date, I haven't looked into gnosticism - so I can't make an assessment.

                It's not exactly hard to see overenthusiastic believers gradually inventing for themselves whole hosts of new teachings that they received from the spiritual Jesus in such an environment, and gradually consolidating them into 'gospels'.
                {ETA I see that a didn't get the gist right on the first pass: Yes! the later developed "gospels" (the couple that I have seen) do indicate that process. Minor groups do indicate influence from a whole lot of areas. One that I encountered had it that the creator was evil, and that matter itself was therefore evil. No loving god called the world good in that scenario.}
                The flow seems to be in the opposite direction. Celsus wrote (disparagingly) that Christians of his time were teaching that Logos had transformed to become flesh. 75(?) years later, Origen claims that Celsus didn't know what he was talking about - Christians had never taught that nonsense (the gospel of John notwithstanding.) Origin did, however, state that Logos had stripped himself of equality with the Father. (Philippians 2:7). Late 4th/early fifth century Athanasius denies that Logos had stripped himself of equality with the Father, and rebukes a fellow bishop for teaching that Christ was Logos transformed to flesh. While I've heard mention of gnostic involvement (but without any details being provided), consensus seems to be that Early teaching declared that Christ was Logos become human, a man attested by God. That he was a man is easy to understand - "Christ means anointed." The Biblical record shows that Jesus of Nazareth was the Lord's anointed, not the Lord.

                This, after all, is exactly what orthodox Christians tend to believe happened with the various non-canonical gospels! The question then becomes was it also the process that led to the creation of the 4 canonical gospels as well as the non-canonical ones? Occam's razor would tend to say that single explanation for both the canonical and non-canonical gospels is the simplest solution, and this sort of hypothesis would explain the parts in common among the canonical gospels, seeing them as gradually built up from ideas circulating about the teachings of the spiritual Jesus and and events in his 'life', with some people a century later then misunderstanding them as indicating a real human Jesus had actually physically existed.
                The problem is the discrepancies between the gospels, which indicates that they were written before the "consolidation of myth" had a chance to come into play (or so I'm told). Given that almost all the books of the New Testament (as I recall, excluding G-John and a few others) are cited in works reliably dated to ca 96CE, those books were in circulation before "spiritualising" variants had become noticable.
                Last edited by tabibito; 08-22-2021, 11:01 PM.
                sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                Comment


                • #83
                  Forgot to mention: prior to Origen, the concept was that the Trinity was a hierarchy.
                  sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                    And he talks about church services involving believers bringing new revelations from God and interpreting each other's revelations (1 Cor 14:23)
                    Sorry typo in the verse number there, should have been 1 Cor 14:26.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                      Sorry typo in the verse number there, should have been 1 Cor 14:26.
                      No problem, it was readily apparent. Interpretation there is just shorthand for "interpretation of tongues." Verses 27-28 elaborate on the meaning-in-context.
                      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        I recently read something where the author presented a good case that Gnosticism arose a later than traditional Christianity as evidenced by all their writings, most of which show evidence of a familiarity with or even rely on traditional Christian writings including the Bible.

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          I recently read something where the author presented a good case that Gnosticism arose a later than traditional Christianity as evidenced by all their writings, most of which show evidence of a familiarity with or even rely on traditional Christian writings including the Bible.
                          Yes. That is the feel I got from my own reading, but gnosticism has been very much a peripheral matter - much along the lines of "there were also gnostic groups in the area around the same time as ..."
                          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                            Yes. That is the feel I got from my own reading, but gnosticism has been very much a peripheral matter - much along the lines of "there were also gnostic groups in the area around the same time as ..."
                            The point being that the available evidence indicates that these competitors like Gnosticism largely grew out of and thus were latter than the traditional church.

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                              I recently read something where the author presented a good case that Gnosticism arose a later than traditional Christianity as evidenced by all their writings, most of which show evidence of a familiarity with or even rely on traditional Christian writings including the Bible.
                              I think it would be inherently hard, perhaps impossible, to actually firmly determine such a timeline. If two sets of writings show similarities, saying which of the two came first can be almost entirely speculative. One can equally say "the gnostics were familiar with the traditional Christian writings" or say "the traditional Christian writers were familiar with the gnostic writings". This kind of problem has been an issue for years in terms of the Synoptic Problem, and the Documentary Hypothesis... even if you can see a relationship between the sources, that doesn't tell you in what direction the relationship went, and A -> B and B -> A and C -> A&B remain equally valid theories.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                                The point being that the available evidence indicates that these competitors like Gnosticism largely grew out of and thus were latter than the traditional church.
                                At an organised level, yes. They may have had nuisance value earlier, if 1 John 2:18; 4:3; 2 John 1: 17 address the issue (and I think they do).
                                sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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