The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
archibald
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:46 am

Arguably the only 'truly rational' sceptical stance to take on this is agnosticism, or fence-sitting. I am not far from the fence. In fact I think I am still holding on to it while leaning a certain way, on whatever issue (be it Jesus's existence or the spread of Christianity, which are slightly different concerns).

I don't mind a bit of speculation, in fact I like it, and I also have a general appetite for alternative explanations. I just need them fleshed out (pun intended) before I can compare them properly.

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MrMacSon
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:15 pm

archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am

My general problem with this sort of thing is not the mere assertion or assertions ...
What assertions? in the Abstract? of an article about a scientific study?


archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
... which, despite that writer's optimism, can surely never 'definitely settle the debate' and certainly not through internal linguistic analysis ...
It wasn't just "internal linguistic analysis" of the specific letter ie. letter 96: it compared the letter to the rest of Book X and found stylistic behaviour appears highly different between letter 96 and rest of the Book.

archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
.. but the lack of a justified alternative thesis, by which I mean a coherent and better overall explanation for a large number of apparent features.
wtf does that mean?


archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
The neutral, in trying to come to any sort of decision about what they take as the likely state of affairs (and it can never be fully known so it will always be a preference) does need such a thesis to be made before ditching a thesis which is already at least broadly of a type put forward in great detail.
huh?

In other words, it's not sufficient to throw up dust, imo.
huh?

And I say that as someone perfectly willing to consider 'alternative' and non-mainstream theses,
That's contrary to what you previously stated.

because ultimately, being an out-and-out, card-carrying atheist, I have no horse in the race, either for 'Jesus' or for the spread of early Christianity.
That seems to be a common appeal these days by those denying evidence or objective studies that reduce historicity .


archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
My first action on fairly recently arriving at this forum was to put forward a case that the founder was a terrorist not even called Jesu,s and that Paul was a lying schemer who never even believed and was just in it for the money, so I am not wedded to the mainstream by any stretch of the imagination.

In that case, it was because I had just read a detailed thesis putting the argument for it. I am now reading another (Eisenman's) though the subject matter is slightly different.

archibald
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:35 am

Error. Double post.
Last edited by archibald on Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

archibald
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:36 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:15 pm
archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am

My general problem with this sort of thing is not the mere assertion or assertions ...
What assertions? in the Abstract? of an article about a scientific study?


archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
... which, despite that writer's optimism, can surely never 'definitely settle the debate' and certainly not through internal linguistic analysis ...
It wasn't just "internal linguistic analysis" of the specific letter ie. letter 96: it compared the letter to the rest of Book X and found stylistic behaviour appears highly different between letter 96 and rest of the Book.

archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
.. but the lack of a justified alternative thesis, by which I mean a coherent and better overall explanation for a large number of apparent features.
wtf does that mean?


archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
The neutral, in trying to come to any sort of decision about what they take as the likely state of affairs (and it can never be fully known so it will always be a preference) does need such a thesis to be made before ditching a thesis which is already at least broadly of a type put forward in great detail.
huh?

In other words, it's not sufficient to throw up dust, imo.
huh?

And I say that as someone perfectly willing to consider 'alternative' and non-mainstream theses,
That's contrary to what you previously stated.

because ultimately, being an out-and-out, card-carrying atheist, I have no horse in the race, either for 'Jesus' or for the spread of early Christianity.
That seems to be a common appeal these days by those denying evidence or objective studies that reduce historicity .


archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
My first action on fairly recently arriving at this forum was to put forward a case that the founder was a terrorist not even called Jesu,s and that Paul was a lying schemer who never even believed and was just in it for the money, so I am not wedded to the mainstream by any stretch of the imagination.

In that case, it was because I had just read a detailed thesis putting the argument for it. I am now reading another (Eisenman's) though the subject matter is slightly different.

Whatever. The bottom line is there's nothing much for me to try to properly assess regarding whatever scenarios you consider plausible because you don't seem to have much of a thesis for any of them.

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MrMacSon
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:03 am

archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
MrMacSon wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:14 am
I don't think there is any evidence that orthodox Christianity existed for a long time after it is said to have begun to exist.
That's incorrect. There is a lot of evidence.
Such as?

archibald
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:26 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:03 am
archibald wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
MrMacSon wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:14 am
I don't think there is any evidence that orthodox Christianity existed for a long time after it is said to have begun to exist.
That's incorrect. There is a lot of evidence.
Such as?
We did this already. Church fathers was the one example I gave, and there is lots of evidence about them. You dispute this evidence. It is still evidence, just that for you it's disputed evidence. More to the point, you don't appear to have much of a fleshed-out alternative for how early christianity spread, or its origins.

archibald
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:35 am

Also depends very much on what is meant by 'orthodox' and 'begun to exist'. It wouldn't likely have just popped up recognizably fully-formed.

We can, it seems, trace it backwards, largely to 'Paul' (and via him to what would later be regarded as a non-orthodox Judean origin).

I mean, setting everything else aside (and it does seem to me that you and I get our wires crossed a lot and I am happy to not attribute that to your fault any more than mine) would you have an issue with that?

archibald
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:52 am

Interesting article, which I enjoyed reading recently. Adolf Harnack's take on Marcion. Might be relevant to the OP:

http://www.marcionite-scripture.info/AH_1_Marcion.html

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MrMacSon
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:22 pm

archibald wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:35 am

Also depends very much on what is meant by 'orthodox' and 'begun to exist'. It wouldn't likely have just popped up recognizably fully-formed.

We can, it seems, trace it backwards, largely to 'Paul'
.
Yes, it seems we can. And to the so-called 'Pillars' and the (cough) so-called council of Jerusalem, and the texts that are supposed to have arisen from them. After all, Mark is supposed to have been a key 'hearer' of Peter. Why is there no similar 'hearer' recounting James?

Why don't we get, through the rest of the first century, and through the second & third centuries, other peoples' accounts of engaging with Marks accounts of Peter -the Gospel of Mark- or other texts? Whether they might be Paul's epistles or the synoptic gospels.

One would expect such accounts beyond Hebrews and the other General epistles, such as the epistle of James. But they don't relate what communities or groups have done. They are letters and treatises written to the church at large. The term "catholic" (Greek: καθολική, katholikē), used in the oldest manuscripts containing these letters to describe them, means "general" or "universal".

We have no account of the reception of what has been "traced backwards, largely to Paul".

archibald wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:26 am
.... Church fathers was the one example I gave, and there is lots of evidence about them. You dispute this evidence. It is still evidence, just that for you it's disputed evidence.
None of the church fathers indicated they are part of a community (that I am aware of). Compare to the wider Jewish community developing the Mishna and Tosefta to reify the Oral Torah - there are accounts, albeit vague, of places they lived, and numerous leaders who were involved. Over more than a century from the 70s AD to 200 AD and beyond, as they sequentially developed the Jerusalem and Babylon Talmuds.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:41 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:22 pm
None of the church fathers indicated they are part of a community (that I am aware of).
What does this mean? Are you saying that the church fathers never claim to represent or be part of the church in any given locale?
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