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Historical Jesus - Other Opinions

#1 User is offline   AmyLong 

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:36 AM

Borg makes two negative claims about the historical Jesus: he was nonmessianic, which means that he didn't claim to be the Messiah or have a message focused on his own identity, and he was noneschatological, which means that he did not expect "the supernatural coming of the Kingdom of God as a world-ending event in his own generation" (Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, p. 29).

Borg summarizes his view of the historical Jesus in these words: "he was a spirit person, subversive sage, social prophet, and movement founder who invited his followers and hearers into a transforming relationship with the same Spirit that he himself knew, and into a community whose social vision was shaped by the core value of compassion" (op. cit., p. 119). By "spirit person," Borg means that Jesus was a "mediator of the sacred" for whom the Spirit or God was a reality that was experienced.

Based on his experience of the sacred, for the historical Jesus compassion "was the central quality of God and the central moral quality of a life centered in God" (op. cit., p. 46). Jesus spoke against the purity system in sayings like "blessed are the pure in heart" and in parables like that of the Good Samaritan. The historical Jesus challenged the purity boundaries in touching lepers as well as hemorrhaging women, in driving the money changers out of the temple, and in table fellowship even with outcasts. Jesus replaced an emphasis on purity with an emphasis on compassion.

The historical Jesus spoke an alternative wisdom in aphorisms and parables that controverted the conventional wisdom based upon rewards and punishments. The earliest Christology of the Christian movement viewed Jesus as the voice of the Sophia. The images of Jesus as the Son of God and the Wisdom of God are metaphorical, just as much as the images of Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Word of God.
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#2 User is offline   AmyLong 

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:39 AM

Another author's point of view.

Earl Doherty holds that Christianity began with a mythical Christ. Earl Doherty argues that the diffuse undercurrent of religious thought called early Christianity can be shown to be a plausible descendant or cousin of Jewish mystical speculation on the scriptures (found in such writings as the Odes of Solomon, the Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria) and was probably well-received by those converts to early Christianity who were influenced by Platonism and Hellenistic soteriological ideas of the day.

According to Doherty, religious thinking of the time saw the heavens as multi-layered and would understand the descent of a heavenly Christ to be sacrificed in the lower spheres of the heavens before being raised to the right hand of the Father. This is called the "Jerusalem Tradition," and it is exemplified by the epistles of Paul, seven of which are accepted as authentic.

As the other tributary to early Christianity, we have the "Galilean Tradition," a separate Kingdom of God preaching movement located in Syro-Palestine. According to Doherty, the earliest version of Q had no mention of any kind of founder of the Q community but rather was an anonymous wisdom collection. Doherty maintains that the final redaction of Q as well as the Gospel of Thomas derived from this original document and added the "Jesus said" references only at a subsequent stage.

Doherty sees the author of the Gospel of Mark as one who had been brought up in the "Galilean Tradition" and devised a brilliant bit of religious syncretism in identifying the fictional Q founder with the exalted Pauline Christ in fashioning the passion story whole cloth. Mark's narrative (c. 85-90 CE) was the sole basis upon which the later evangelists retold the story: Matthew (c. 100 CE), Luke (c. 125 CE), and John (c. 125 CE) all depended upon Mark.

The book of Acts is a catholicizing fiction of the mid second century. Although certain second century apologists continued to espouse a purely divine Christ, the Gospel myth eventually came to dominate Christian thought.
I have been ordained through the Universal Life Church , and I post spiritual articles at ULC and at the Universal Life Church Seminary course listings. I'm also a martial artist and I teach Sacramento Martial Arts. I support the Universal Life Church Article Directory, and have blogs that contain ULC Seminary Essays and Wedding Ceremonies.
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#3 User is offline   AmyLong 

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:52 PM

Robert Eisenman

In the tradition of S. G. F. Brandon and Robert Eisler, Robert Eisenman has argued that the original Jamesian Christianity consisted of Torah-observant and nationalistic Jews of insurrectionist bent. In order to reconstruct the historical James, Eisenman peers behind the texts as we have them to get to the source of things; for example, Acts and the Pseudoclementine Recognitions are maintained to be both dependent on a source, now lost, which is better preserved in the Pseudoclementines. The Gospels are seen to be pro-Gentile, pro-Roman fictions which deliberately portray Jesus as a pacifistic, spiritual Messiah. In the Gospels, the original Heirs of Jesus are played down for political reasons.

Ancient tradition has it that the first Jewish revolt was sparked by the unjust execution of James the Just. In order to disassociate James the Just from his brother Jesus, the Gospels split him into two: on the one hand, the family of Jesus including James think Jesus is mad; on the other hand, James the son of Zebedee is one of the trio of James, Peter, and John as found in the Gospels. Yet the fiction is exposed when we look at the earlier letters of Paul, in which the trio is James the brother of the Lord, Peter, and John - what an odd coincidence, which so many scholars take at face value, that one James the son of Zebedee should have died only to be conveniently replaced by another by the name of James, the brother of Jesus! Yet, Eisenman argues, the Gospels and Acts are full of this kind of misinformation designed to obscure the significance of the James faction and to domesticate Christianity for Gentile consumption.

In addition to propounding his central thesis that the original Christianity of James was a Jewish nationalist resistance movement and that Paul transformed it into a Hellenistic cult, Eisenman has an auxiliary theory that has likely drawn both impressive book sales and scholarly derision, which is his attempt to bring the Dead Sea Scrolls into the mix. Eisenman identifies James the Just with the Teacher of Righteousness and Paul with the spouter of lies, figures vaguely identified in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, in so doing, Eisenman must strenuously argue against the use of carbon-dating and paleographical methods which suggest that the documents in question were written prior to the Christian era. Fortunately, his identifications for the characters in the Dead Sea Scrolls need not be seen as essential to his thesis.
I have been ordained through the Universal Life Church , and I post spiritual articles at ULC and at the Universal Life Church Seminary course listings. I'm also a martial artist and I teach Sacramento Martial Arts. I support the Universal Life Church Article Directory, and have blogs that contain ULC Seminary Essays and Wedding Ceremonies.
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#4 User is offline   normr 

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 06:45 AM

Wow Amy

Yet more absorbing "Yes, But...." material to be considered. Thank you for contributing to making this course so interesting !

Norm
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