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Points To Ponder Lesson 2

#1 User is offline   drlmorris 

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:33 AM

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.
Instructor: Master of the Historical Jesus
Founder: The Historical Jesus Project
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#2 User is offline   graham 

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 10:51 AM

Points to Ponder - Lesson Two: Rev. Graham Louden

1. The likelihood is that Jesus, had he been asked to identify himself with a particular known Jewish sect of his time, would have been drawn to the Pharisees rather than to the Sadducees or the Essenes, despite the fact that, superficially, the Essenes would apear to have more in common with nascent Christianity. Their overall philosophy and practice, however, suggests an unsophisticated and definitive approach which was not capable of development and adaptation and their separatist ways contrast with the the outreach message of Jesus and his immediate successors. The Pharisees, despite the bad press alluded to below, actually have much in common with Jesus to the extent that many have suggested that Jesus was himself of that persuasion and that his railing against them was an example of the robust, confrontational debating that was characteristic of their way. Their appeal was to the common people and they were 'disciples of the wise' or sages rather than aristocratic and elitist priests who would not brook opposition; the Pharisees, indeed, appear to have supported the notion of a 'priesthood of all believers' amongst Jews rather than an enshrined priestly caste. They were also much more selective as regards the Hellenistic content of their beliefs than the Sadduccees and believed in free will, the existence of angels and the idea of resurrection and messianic intermediation. Much of Jesus' teaching, such as the Sermon on the Mount, is consistent with the teachings of the Pharisees.

It must be admitted that the Pharisees do receive excoriating criticism from Jesus, especially in Matthew, 23 which is almost totally devoted to their shortcomings. This is difficult to explain as, at this time, the Pharisees were far less numerous and less influential than the Sadduccees who controlled the Temple and enjoyed an accommodation with the Roman occupying power. Many of the accusations levelled against them in these diatribes, do not appear to be borne out in practice as, for example, violating the Sabbath and healing the sick which were not subject to any rabbinic prohibition.
If the gospels were written in the period after the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE it may be that the Pharisees were cited as the antithesis to Jesus and his message because they then became the most powerful Jewish sect as they sought to reestablish Judaism after the debacle and to reunite their people. This, and a reputation for minute attention to a plethora of written and oral laws, would have made them the ideal group to contrast with the purity and simplicity of the Christian message at a time when it was important to ensure that the Jews did not prevail in the battle for converts. It may indeed be that 'Pharisee', in this context, becomes a convenient shorthand for all the defects of the 'old'religion which Christianity claimed to remedy.

2. The suggestion is put forward that John the Baptist fulfils a vital role in a chain of prophecy and messianic preaching that prefigures Jesus and his culminatory role. This link was, in fact, played down by Jesus who at times dissuades his disciples from recommending the draconian penalties that are meted out to those who defy God in the time of Elijah. In Matthew 11, Jesus tells John's followers that he is a messenger preparing the way for the kingdom of heaven, saying, 'and if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.'

3. This an interesting variety of empathy question but the answer depends upon so many different factors. The reasons why people then were Sadducees, Pharisees or Essenes were not usually related solely to choice but also to accidents of birth, upbringing, style of education, etc. In the case of the Essenes, strong repugnance for the existing practices of the main sects drove them to embark upon a contrasting and radical way of life, whilst the revolutionary groups such as the zealots also made a clearcut decision to risk death by opposing both the Roman state and the collaborationist Jewish authorities. Setting that aside, I would probably have opted for the Pharisees as my spiritual bourne because of their scholarly approach and their willingness, despite much comment to the contrary, to debate fundamental issues and to permit all to set aside their impurities and participate fully rather than just the priestly caste.
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#3 User is offline   Wync 

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 09:42 AM

MASTER OF THE HISTORICAL JESUS
LESSON TWO: POINTS TO PONDER

1. My initial response to this would be to say that Jesus did not identify with any of these religious sects. However, on a closer examination from a different standpoint, I would say that he most identified Pharisees because of their teachings. Yet, he was vehemently opposed to their practices, arrogance and sense of elitism. In Matthew 5:20 the following warning is attributed to him: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you will not enter into the Kingdom…”

From what he was teaching previously to stating this, it can be reasonably assumed that he felt that they taught the law but did not abide by it. In other statements he would say something to the affect that they draw near to God with their mouths and honor him with their lips but their hearts are far from it. He talks about how they wash the outside of the vessel and yet the inside is contaminated and dirty. This alludes to the impression that they were all about keeping up outer appearances and maintaining an air of visible superiority to “sinners” who they routinely and overtly ostracized.

This was a thorn in Jesus side because of his awareness of how much the Pharisee needed to reach out to the “sinner” rather than ridicule and exclude them.

2. Elijah was a prophet that was one of a kind during his era. He was a prophet that performed miracles in the Old Testament. He railed against the established religious leaders publicly and showed an unwavering and uncompromising devotion to God. He was carried away in a chariot as a result. John the Baptist, also exhibited many of these same traits in the times in which he lived. Just like in Elijah’s day, religion had become corrupted by greed for power. Yet, here John stood as a purist railing against the established religious leaders and telling them to repent.

3. If I possessed the same critical thinking skills that I have right now, I wouldn’t be comfortable identifying with any of these sects. This would be due to the exclusivity in which they operated.
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#4 User is offline   rev c watson 

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:05 PM

Which religious sect do you think Jesus most identified with?

From the information that is in this lesson, I believe he probably would have identified most with Pharisees.
Why do you think that the Pharisees were portrayed as Jesus’ main opponents when history clearly shows that there were very few of them in Jesus’ day? Remember that the Sadducess were the main political and religious figures in Jesus’ time. The Pharisees did not gain power until after the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E.
Jesus being poor, I don’t think he would have been given an opportunity to converse with the Sadducess much, if any. They were elitists, and most likely not willing to have a conversation with someone that was poor. He would have been extra careful not to get killed before he fulfilled the prophecy. On the other hand the Pharisees would have been relatively easy to approach, being of common people. Their disagreements were over teaching and practice, he thought them to be hypocrites;

Matt 15:1-3 "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?”

Matt 23:1-5 "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men.”


In what way was John the Baptist the Elijah come back from the dead?

Charisma - A personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure. Just kidding, a little!

He preached the prophecy of the messiah.I don’t find that this question needs a long winded answer.

If you were living in Jesus’ time, what religious sect would you most identify with and why?

Most likely the Romans, since I came from non- belief into belief. Although, I share some beliefs of all of the four mentioned. I will leave it at that for now!

Enjoy your next 24, PEACE!
Rev C Watson
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#5 User is offline   jdania 

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 03:38 PM

Historical Jesus, lesson 2: Points to ponder – Dr. Morris
It seems Jesus was a Jewish Protestant. He agreed with Jewish Teachings and laws but wanted to reform and provide a different interpretation of the Torah attuned to the times. Jesus wanted to follow a more worldly application of the Torah that went along with the issues and needs of his time. He wanted to do away with the stringent application of the law and temper it to a progressive and changing world. He wanted a better social world and that meant doing away with archaic, stagnant and stringent laws that did not evolve with changing times and did not adopt to new social and political needs.
Jesus adopted from the Pharisees the sharing of meals but with everyone that wanted to be included. He was open to share his knowledge, food, his self with those who wanted to learn and become pure to enter the Kingdom of God. He was not exclusive, selecting only the few, as the Pharisees did.
Jesus believed in the Temple of God, as the Sadducees did but not in a corrupted one which was used for personal gains of the high priests, but a temple as the place of worship and imparting knowledge.
Jesus did not follow the stringent rules of the Essenes, nor the ascetic type living in the sense of secluding themselves. He wanted religion to be preached to all people, not just to the selected few. Jesus also did not believe in the two messiah theory. He was the messiah and the Kingdom of God would not be of this world in as far as becoming involved in overthrowing the government (Romans) or even the corrupt high priests, or whoever was in power. Jesus believed that through the teachings of God, people could and would be changed for the better and greed, selfishness, need for power, oppression of others would be eliminated. Thus changed people would live in harmony and create a better world for everyone. There would be no need for violence as used by the Siccari or Zealots to overthrow anyone or any government. We, the changed people, the learned people, following the teachings of Christ could create a better world.
If I were living in Jesus’ time I would have belonged to his new sect. We have to evolve, live in harmony and respect one and other. Adapt to and adopt a sense of community living. We must learn to care of ourselves and for each other. We must learn to share all we have and all we’ve learned, and contribute to living in a better way. Fighting, and there has been fighting since the beginning of time/history, has led us nowhere, so we must change our futile ways if we wish to have a better world to live in but us and those who will follow us.
jdania
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#6 User is offline   jdania 

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 01:48 PM

Historical Jesus – Points to Ponder – Lesson 3
1. Martin Luther’s revolution or dissent might have influenced in opening the door to historical Jesus studies indirectly. Martin Luther was not content with the disconnect between the bible teachings and the church’s posture or rather the leaders of the church. He was focused on God’s grace, on the teachings within the words of the bible, the spiritual message and not really on the historical aspect. By taking the focus off the church and its leaders, and placing it on the bible or scriptures, inevitably the scholars, curious and inquisitive opened their appetite for more knowledge. It freed them from the oppression and curfew of the church to seek answers to questions left unanswered and to look deeper to find out who the historical man (Jesus) was whom they knew only through other people’s writings about his philosophy of life and way of living.

2. Was it difficult for believers to separate Jesus of history from the Christ of faith or were they really not interested in doing so. If we regard believers as believers in faith we need not worry about making a distinction between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith. The focus would be one at the spiritual level, one that transcends the body, the world we live in and even logic. We would be concerned with the teachings placed before us in the bible, how we should lead a better life following these teachings and faith in attaining a better life beyond this world when our time is up on earth.

3. My opinion of Reimarus’ theory that Christ’s body was stolen from the cross? That it was stolen from the cross or the sepulcher, it is plausible. Jesus had been teaching about the Kingdom of God and changes that would be coming. People were believers of this change to come and that it was imminent to most of them at that time. Change did not come during Christ’s life because his life was taken away. This meant that Christ’s prophecies would not be fulfilled and if this happened so their movement and the belief of the followers would crumble. Something had to be done to keep the movement alive. Someone had to do something to maintain the faith of the believers/followers in the prophecies/preaching of Christ about the Kingdom of God not being of this earth, that God was in Heaven and that Jesus would resurrect. This could be attained by mysteriously disappearing the body of Christ so that people would believe that he did not die, that he resurrected and later be united with God in heaven.
Jdania
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#7 User is offline   Heidi Jury 

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 06:13 PM

View Postdrlmorris, on 24 September 2009 - 11:33 AM, said:

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.

Quote

"Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek." - Gospel of John 19: 19-20

Today, at St. Peter's Anglican, we prayed the Stations of the Cross; not unfamiliar for Good Friday worship. It was very striking to me, as we read chapters 18 and 19 of The Gospel of John with different readers, that the Passion is a very human, and sadly, a common story in some ways. We think that diversity is a new concept, or that religious splintering is somehow only a modern creation. The differences between peoples in the Passion create part of the tension and prove that difference has been with us from ancient times; Pharasees, the Sanhedrin of the Saducees, and a scared Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, afraid that if he didn't show decisive action that a riot would ensue (as there were so many Jews in Jerusalem for the Passover). Jerusalem, especially under the influence of the Roman Empire, was nothing if not an eclectic group of peoples as evidenced by the sign for the cross written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.

Surrounding Jesus are his own people, whose ancestors were originally of the 12 tribes of Israel, now splintered into various sects. The Sadducees, the priestly class of upper class elite, who live to worship in the Temple at Jerusalem were there as the Sanhedrin. Pharisees stood by, whose religious purity laws seem to have been particularly attacked by Jesus, who preached a more inclusive message. Some may have even been Essenes, although it is more likely that those of this very strict sect would have been more likely to be seen at Qumran. Jesus seems somehow separate from all of these in his preaching of an inclusive community and much more open and accepting of those who were oppressed, especially notable for me, of women.

Much of my own anger at the oppression of women exists because I have spent so much time in religious spheres. And religious arenas that are based on ancient books seem to mirror the attitudes of ancient cultures - so many of which considered women second class citizens. For me, this is one of the most important reasons for studying Jesus in a historical context. Had I been living in the ancient world, I would have been much more attracted to the Jesus Movement and later to early Christianity with its female leaders than to even the most liberal Jewish sect. For Jews, women were considered impure because they experienced menstruation and would thus have been easy to reject by the Pharisees who would have considered women as a cause of ritual defilement. Jodi Magness, in her course, "Jesus and His Jewish Influences", says that "women could not serve as priests in the temple of Jerusalem." Therefore, women could not partake in the most important part of meaningful life to Sadducees. Even amongst the community of the Essenes at Qumran, women were marginalized as evidenced in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here they may have fared the best though as women were protected by law and are at least mentioned (according to Gary Rendsburg, in his course "The Dead Sea Scrolls") in "other texts, including the Damascus Document, the War Scroll, and the Messianic Rule."

So it was, that the experience of Jesus' Mother - a woman - was the most meaningful to me today in the Stations of the Cross. I came home from Good Friday celebrations and recorded the song, "Nothing is Impossible". This song that I wrote to tell Mary's story, takes its refrain from The Gospel of Luke 1:37 when the angel Gabriel has come to Mary, and told her six impossible things before breakfast; including the news that her cousin Elizabeth, who was called barren, was pregnant with a son who would be John the Baptist, a prophet, the new Elijah. As Gabriel says, "With God, nothing is impossible." Not impossible, but so painful, especially for Mary. Even surrounded by the conflict, hate, and suffering that perceived difference created that black day in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified by people of his own tribe and nation though, Mary's faith knew that nothing was impossible; and the darkness was only a too human foreshadowing of a soon-to-be Transformation.





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