Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

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Secret Alias
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Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:50 am

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

perseusomega9
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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:20 am

There's not much in the article making the connection.

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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:55 am

Well if the world was undergoing a pandemic at that time what more connection do you need? If the thesis was "prohibition and the stock market crash of 1929" what sort of proof do you need? There's obviously a connection.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:00 am

Even if there was this plague in all the world, the number of plagued people in Galilee, according to the Gospels, remains still an anomaly.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:02 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:55 am
Well if the world was undergoing a pandemic at that time what more connection do you need? If the thesis was "prohibition and the stock market crash of 1929" what sort of proof do you need? There's obviously a connection.
That's just as informative as the linked article.

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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:00 am
Even if there was this plague in all the world, the number of plagued people in Galilee, according to the Gospels, remains still an anomaly.
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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:15 am

But at the same time I - personally - loved the article. It finally presented a reasoned explanation as to why people would have been so transfixed with - what amounts to a religion built on a silly premise. Why should people from across the Empire have flocked to a movement centered around a dead crucified individual? This is Celsus's question. And I think the author misses something that Celsus (or his Jew) says:

In the preceding pages we have already spoken of this point, viz., the prediction that there were to be two advents of Christ to the human race, so that it is not necessary for us to reply to the objection, supposed to be urged by a Jew, that the prophets declare the coming one to be a mighty potentate, Lord of all nations and armies. But it is in the spirit of a Jew, I think, and in keeping with their bitter animosity, and baseless and even improbable calumnies against Jesus, that he adds: Nor did they announce such a pestilence (ὅτι οὐχὶ <δὲ> τοιοῦτον ὄλεθρον κατήγγειλαν). For neither Jews, nor Celsus, nor any other, can bring any argument to prove that a pestilence (ὄλεθρος) converts men from the practice of evil to a life which is according to nature, and distinguished by temperance and other virtues. (2.29)

Certainly ὄλεθρος can be used metaphorically. But notice earlier in the text Origen says:

And besides this, one may well wonder how it happened that the disciples--if, as the calumniators of Jesus say, they did not see Him after His resurrection from the dead, and were not persuaded of His divinity--were not afraid to endure the same sufferings with their Master, and to expose themselves to danger, and to leave their native country to teach, according to the desire of Jesus, the doctrine delivered to them by Him. For I think that no one who candidly examines the facts would say that these men devoted themselves to a life of danger for the sake of the doctrine of Jesus, without profound belief which He had wrought in their minds of its truth, not only teaching them to conform to His precepts, but others also, and to conform, moreover, when manifest destruction to life impended over him ( ὀλέθρου τῷ τολμῶντι πανταχοῦ) who ventured to introduce these new opinions into all places and before all audiences, and who could retain as his friend no human being who adhered to the former opinions and usages. For did not the disciples of Jesus see, when they ventured to prove not only to the Jews from their prophetic Scriptures that this is He who was spoken of by the prophets, but also to the other heathen nations, that He who was crucified yesterday or the day before underwent this death voluntarily on behalf of the human race,--that this was analogous to the case of those who have died for their country in order to remove pestilence (ἐπὶ τῷ σβέσαι λοιμικὰ), or barrenness (ἀφορίας), or tempests (δυσπλοΐας)? For it is probable that there is in the nature of things, for certain mysterious reasons (ἀποῤῥήτους) which are difficult to be understood by the multitude, such a virtue that one just man, dying a voluntary death for the common good, might be the means of removing wicked spirits (ἀποτροπιασμοὺς ἐμποιεῖν φαύλων δαιμονίων), which are the cause of plagues (ἐνεργούντων λοιμοὺς), or barrenness, or tempests, or similar calamities. Let those, therefore, who would disbelieve the statement that Jesus died on the cross on behalf of men, say whether they also refuse to accept the many accounts current both among Greeks and Barbarians, of persons who have laid down their lives for the public advantage, in order to remove those evils which had fallen upon cities and countries? (1.31)

I think the early demonic interest of authors like Justin reflects the contemporary reality.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Antonine Plague and Early Christianity

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:13 am

Also, that Christianity is described as a plague, might imply some association in the contemporary educated mindset.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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