Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messianism

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:28 pm

Stephan Huller wrote:So how is it you explain that Samaritans and Jews resemble one another so much? Let's bring more cultures into the discussion. What about Beta Israel? This community preserves a form of Judaism from before the development of the Mishnah https://books.google.com/books?id=wFrAO ... ah&f=false We find them tucked away in far away Ethiopia. Why do they still resemble Jews and Samaritans in the basic shape of their religion? The answer is because the same Torah regulates all aspects of their lives and those of the Samaritans and Jews.
It looks like the same Torah does not regulate the way Jews from Europe treat black Jews:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/wh ... m-1.483494

http://www.forbes.com/sites/eliseknutse ... h-control/
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Stephan Huller
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by Stephan Huller » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:57 pm

I see. So the argument either (a) assumes I am virulently 'pro-Jewish' so this act of racism should wound me or (b) it serves to demonstrate that Jews are racist either of which has nothing to do with the point at hand. As I have said many times at the forum - if you want to find reasons to hate or dislike a people there will be many. Want to find reasons to divorce your wife, hit your kids, cheat on your taxes, not help a person in need etc - any position is easily justifiable. Of course, this demonstration of racist behavior among Jews has nothing to do with the topic at hand. My ancestors 'hated' Russian and Eastern European Jews. They called them 'khazars.' My fathers family hated Jews. What exactly is the point of any of this?

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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:42 pm

Stephan Huller wrote:I see. So the argument either (a) assumes I am virulently 'pro-Jewish' so this act of racism should wound me or (b) it serves to demonstrate that Jews are racist either of which has nothing to do with the point at hand. As I have said many times at the forum - if you want to find reasons to hate or dislike a people there will be many. Want to find reasons to divorce your wife, hit your kids, cheat on your taxes, not help a person in need etc - any position is easily justifiable. Of course, this demonstration of racist behavior among Jews has nothing to do with the topic at hand. My ancestors 'hated' Russian and Eastern European Jews. They called them 'khazars.' My fathers family hated Jews. What exactly is the point of any of this?
Stephan Huller wrote:I see. So the argument either (a) assumes I am virulently 'pro-Jewish' so this act of racism should wound me or (b) it serves to demonstrate that Jews are racist either of which has nothing to do with the point at hand.
Er, no, Stephan. I have no interest in trying to wound you (why would I?) nor have I any suspicion that "Jews are racist" (why do you continually write as if I am antisemitic?). You continue to read me (and so much else) through false either/or glasses.

It does have relevance to the point at hand insofar as it reminds us that Jews are no different from anyone else and have the same fears and motivations as the rest of the human race. I am sure many Jews agree with that statement wholeheartedly. We have no justification for interpreting any history relating to them in any other way.

It merely reminds us that all races are equal. We are all the same. Jews are no different from anyone else. We are all as racist, as bigoted, as deluded in our self-images, as cruel, as virtuous as creative, as heroic, as idealistic and as humane as each other.

It is not antisemitic or antiJewish or antiJudaism to assess Jewish history by the same standards we apply to all other peoples.
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:46 pm

Example: Torah per se does NOT dictate attitudes of Jews of European heritage towards Jews of black descent -- Torah has some function as a rationale and it does play a role, but it does not eliminate normal everyday common human fears and motivations either. Torah does not make Jews any different when it comes down to the bottom line of what makes us all human.

It is misguided to accuse anyone of being "anti" Judaism or such because they interpret Jewish history as acted out by people who are as human as anyone else.
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Stephan Huller
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by Stephan Huller » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:03 pm

Just for the record it was YOU who revived this stupid argument. This is not an obsession of mine.
it reminds us that Jews are no different from anyone else
I see. So the fact that Jewish people have racist tendencies in the contemporary world can be used to argue that pagan and Jews were pretty much the same with respect to needing God to justify a large scale revolt from Rome. Excellent example. I think you've won the argument.

Other examples that you could have also used to further the same point:

1. Gravity applies to both Jews and non-Jews
2. Jews like their non-Jewish neighbors eat, breath air and need water.
3. Cheat on their wives
4. Commit crimes.
5. Engage people making particular stupid arguments for no other reason that it allows them to spend time doing homework with their kids

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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:28 pm

Stephan Huller wrote:Just for the record it was YOU who revived this stupid argument. This is not an obsession of mine.
it reminds us that Jews are no different from anyone else
I see. So the fact that Jewish people have racist tendencies in the contemporary world can be used to argue that pagan and Jews were pretty much the same with respect to needing God to justify a large scale revolt from Rome. Excellent example. I think you've won the argument.

Other examples that you could have also used to further the same point:

1. Gravity applies to both Jews and non-Jews
2. Jews like their non-Jewish neighbors eat, breath air and need water.
3. Cheat on their wives
4. Commit crimes.
5. Engage people making particular stupid arguments for no other reason that it allows them to spend time doing homework with their kids
Peace, Stephan. The world is not really black and white or two-dimensional. Nor am I. Nor is history -- of any people. Try to see the colours in-between and all three dimensions.
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:15 am

The apocalypses considered in this chapter provide further evidence of the breadth of thought current in the Second Temple period, attesting, especially in the case of 1 Enoch (cf. parts of 4 Ezra), to a form of Judaism which was less centred on the Mosaic law and the covenant than that which became dominant in the rabbinic period, and which included a mystical dimension.

This literature has contributed, therefore, to disproving the view once propounded by many Christians that early Judaism was a narrow and legalistic religion.

Nowhere is this diversity of thought clearer than in the remarkable variety of messianic expectation reflected in these writings. In the light of the descriptions of a heavenly son of man redeemer figure (Similitudes of Enoch, 4 Ezra 13), similar to the presentation of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, a Messiah who is called God’s son or servant (4 Ezra 7.28– 9; 13.32, 37, 52; 14.9) and even a Messiah who dies before the final inauguration of God’s kingdom (4 Ezra 7.29), it has now become impossible to continue to accept the once widely held claim that all first-century Jews expected a Davidic warrior Messiah.

Docherty, Susan (2014-09-18). The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple period (Kindle Locations 2949-2958). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by Stephan Huller » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:59 pm

Nowhere is this diversity of thought clearer than in the remarkable variety of messianic expectation reflected in these writings. In the light of the descriptions of a heavenly son of man redeemer figure (Similitudes of Enoch, 4 Ezra 13), similar to the presentation of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, a Messiah who is called God’s son or servant (4 Ezra 7.28– 9; 13.32, 37, 52; 14.9) and even a Messiah who dies before the final inauguration of God’s kingdom (4 Ezra 7.29), it has now become impossible to continue to accept the once widely held claim that all first-century Jews expected a Davidic warrior Messiah.
Ah, the need to sell books no one is interested in through tricks of language. Milik dates the Similitudes in Ezra to the third century and I think the references to Anointed One is a later Christian addition (so I don't go as far as Milik but still the text has been Christianized). 4 Ezra is from after 70 CE so of no interest either in the discussion.

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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:03 pm

I'm not interested in any one to one personal disagreements, least of all hostile ones, but have long been very interested exploring the topic (and think it is of relevance to wide audience here) --

Docherty's book is a great intro to the Second Temple literature and an overview of the scholarly views on its respective documents, published 2014. What is of interest is the broader insights the book crystalizes for anyone curious about the intellectual climate around the period the gospels were composed. Christian influences are an obvious question when it comes to transmission and they are best considered in the broader context of the literature as a whole, I think.

The author is kind of qualified for this task and I don't think anything is gained by dismissing such a work on the grounds that someone just wants to sell a book and because one part of it disagrees with something a favourite author wrote forty years ago:
Susan Docherty is Reader in Biblical Studies and Head of Theology at Newman University Birmingham. She is the current Chair of the Annual Seminar on the Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and serves as a member of the Steering Group for the Society of Biblical Literature Hebrews Section.
Milik's work was published in 1976 and much scholarly work has been done since then. The Similitudes (in Enoch, not Ezra] are generally dated from late first century BCE or early first century CE.
This book [Similitudes] is the latest part of 1 Enoch, and the fact that no trace of it has been discovered at Qumran has contributed to suggestions that it should be dated to the late first century CE and may even be a Christian composition. The current scholarly consensus, however, is that it was composed in, or shortly after, the reign of Herod the Great (37– 4 BCE), and is a Jewish composition, since it makes no reference to Jesus or to any specifically Christian themes.

Docherty, Susan (2014-09-18). The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple period (Kindle Locations 2544-2547). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
Reading the overview of the various types of Second Temple literature one learns what themes and questions were of special focus throughout the periods from the Hellenistic era to the end of the first century CE -- even the generation following 70 CE.

It is more than just one of these texts that informs us of the rich variety of messianic ideas that were extant throughout this period.

My recent comment did not have you in mind, Stephan -- I don't think our own disagreement has any relevance to the larger interest of what recent scholarship has to offer. Judaism before the rabbinic period was evidently of quite a different character and that is worth anyone's study.
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:30 pm

Having read Docherty's introductory overview of the Second Temple works I'm interested in setting out in a post all the points of contact with the early Christian literature -- especially Paul's epistles and the gospels. There is much more of interest than just the messianic concept. The similarities do throw into sharp relief the world from which Christianity emerged and was in dialogue with. One can't help but follow up these similarities by wondering what the differences suggest about the dating of the gospels, too.

But since this thread was about Second Temple Messianic expectations I can conclude with just one final summary from Docherty's work:
Second, the Pseudepigrapha are particularly important for the light they shed on the religious and cultural context from which early Christianity emerged. This volume has highlighted repeatedly the difficulty of drawing hard and fast distinctions between ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity’ in the first two or three centuries of the Common Era. This is evidenced, for instance, in the fact that works like the Testament of Job or The Life of Adam and Eve could have been produced in either Christian or Jewish circles.

A further interesting example of this point is the diversity of messianic thought reflected in this literature. A Messiah figure does not feature prominently at all in the eschatological scenario painted in some of these texts, and in others a variety of future saviours are described with no attempt at harmonization (e.g. Sibylline Oracles, 4 Ezra, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs). Only the Psalms of Solomon attests to a clear and detailed expectation of a Davidic warrior Messiah, although there are some elements of this picture elsewhere, in parts of 4 Ezra and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, for instance. Some authors await the coming of a priestly Messiah (e.g. Testament of Levi), or a pre-existent heavenly figure related to the ‘one like a son of man’ in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7.13; e.g. 4 Ezra, 1 Enoch). In the mysterious Taxo, the Testament of Moses may present an alternative view that the martyrdom of a righteous Israelite will prompt God’s saving intervention. These writings, therefore, offer extremely interesting comparative material for the use of the term ‘son of man’ in the Gospels, for the high priestly Christology of Hebrews and for early Christian teaching about the sinless Jesus’ willingness to accept death on behalf of others.

Docherty, Susan (2014-09-18). The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple period (Kindle Locations 3078-3091). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
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