How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Ulan
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Ulan » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:46 am

It is funny how human psychology works. In principle, we know that all gospels were written long after Jesus was dead (just rolling with a historical Jesus who lived until Pilate's time here). We also know nowadays that human memory doesn't even allow for remembering anything exactly we experienced ourselves. With regard to "oral tradition", we have a game called "Chinese Whispers" (or "Telephone" in the US) to make fun of this, so everybody should know how ridiculous it is when Bible scholars start talking about how much better stuff like that worked in the olden days. No, it didn't. Human memory is always formed and changed by own views and input from the environment. Memory is rewritten every time we activate it. Additionally, all of this assumes it isn't invented in the first place. And "invention" isn't such an outrageous claim as it may look to a believer, if we look at the NT.

Psychologically, we place Paul's sayings about Jesus second, because he admitted in the letters (as we have them) to be born too late. And yet, he has Jesus talk to him and make announcements to him all the time, not in the past (from his point of view), but in his now and then. He also informs us that his source of info is in no way worse than that of the other apostles (a rather puzzling statement if we take the gospels literally). Furthermore, he also tells us that Jesus wasn't only speaking to him, but to many members in the communities he was attending to. They even have rules for producing these Jesus sayings. Let this sink in for a moment. There's dozens or hundreds of people producing "true" Jesus sayings around Paul's time. That's the situation he describes in his letters. Then think about what this means for the gospels, which were all written later than these letters.

And this is supposed to be criterion to judge the original thesis of this thread?
Also, as to the thread topic, someone seems to need a refresher in Christian dogmata. And no, those are not irrelevant here, as it's about the core of Christian beliefs and not about the NT text per se.

John2
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by John2 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:45 am

John T wrote:
Actually, the Son of Man that Jesus speaks of is based on The Similitudes of Enoch (1 Enoch 46-48). The Son of Man is not God but a faithful servant that does his will.

At best, Jesus may have referred to himself as the Son of Man but not God himself.

Oh, and yeah, I realize that the Similitudes have not been attested in the Qumran literature, not as far as I know.


I think the Similitudes of Enoch is later than (and based on) Daniel's Son of Man (which is a divine figure). As Reynolds writes (citing VanderKam) in The Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of John:
... the scholarly consensus dates the Similitudes to the first century A.D. ... There is no doubt that the Similitudes of Enoch interprets the 'one like a son of man' from Daniel 7. Both Daniel and the Similitudes refer to a figure with the appearance of a man (I En. 46.2-4; Dan. 7.13), the Head of Days/Ancient of Days with a head white as wool (I En. 46.1; 71.10; Dan. 7.9), 'thousand thousands and myriad myriads' standing before the Head of Days (I En. 40.1; 60.1-2; 71.8, 13; Dan. 7.10), God's throne (I En. 45.3, 6; 51.3; 55.4; 61.8; 62.2, 3, 5; 69.27, 29; 71.7; Dan. 7.9), the theme of judgement (46.5; 60.6; Dan. 7.10-12, 26), kings and kingdoms (I En. 46.5; 48.8-10; 62.3, 6, 9; Dan. 7.3-8, 17), and the opening of books in each vision (I En. 47.3; Dan. 7.10). These similarities and the recent scholarly consensus on the date of the Similitudes indicate that the three criteria for determining interpretation of the Danielic figure have been met.

https://books.google.com/books?id=S_lMR ... an&f=false
And as the Wikipedia page for 1 Enoch notes:
In that part of the Book of Enoch known as the Similitudes, it has the technical sense of a supernatural Messiah and judge of the world (xlvi. 2, xlviii. 2, lxx. 27); universal dominion and preexistence are predicated of him (xlviii. 2, lxvii. 6). He sits on God's throne (xlv. 3, li. 3), which is his own throne.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch
Boyarin discusses the Similitudes and the Son of Man in The Jewish Gospels (I cannot tell what page it is online and the book is checked out of the library at the moment, so you'll have to do a word search to find it):
In the Similitudes of Enoch, a Jewish writer of sometime in the first century A.D. makes extensive use of the term "Son of Man" to refer to a particular divine-human Redeemer figure eventually incarnated in the figure of Enoch, thus exhibiting many of the elements that make up the Christ story.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Rd48n ... in&f=false
I think the reason why the Similitudes were not found at Qumran could be due to either chance or because it was written after 70 CE.
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by John2 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:51 am

Jesus is similarly described as having white hair like wool in Rev. 1:12-14, like God in Dan. 7:9.
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.


Dan 7:9:
As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by John2 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:01 am

And Jesus calls himself God in Mk. 14:61-62:
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
As Boyarin writes (same book, same situation regarding the page number):
We learn several key things from [Mk. 14:62]. The first ... is that "Messiah" is for Jesus equivalent to the "Son of Man." Second, we learn that claiming to be the Son of Man was considered blasphemy by the high priest and thus a claim not only to messianic status but also to divinity.

When Jesus answers "I am," he is going even further than merely claiming messianic status, for "I Am," eigo eimi, is precisely what YHVH calls himself when Moses asks his name: "This is what you are to say to the Israelites, 'I am [eigo eimi] has sent me to you' " (Exodus 3:14). The high priest of the Jews could hardly be expected to miss this allusion. Jesus claims to be the Son of God, the Son of Man, and indeed God himself. A statement such as that is not merely true or false; it is truth or blasphemy. It is also the same blasphemy of which Jesus was accused in chapter 2, when he presumed the divine prerogative of forgiving sins.
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:20 am

Right but the point here is that IMHO it is unlikely that Jesus was walking around 'contextualizing' what he was doing by making these elaborate literary references. Leaving aside the question of whether Jesus was historical or whether or not he was conceived as a historical person, the point is that allusions to scripture are by and large literary developments later in the development of the written gospel. This is why, I believe - or how I contextualize - the Marcionite rejection of 'Jewish' scriptures in the canon. It wasn't simply a matter of 'hating' the Jews or Jewish scripture. Surely the Marcionites recognized their underlying indebtedness to Jewish culture which Christianity - even their Christianity - emerged from. They didn't present it - Christianity - as a separate 'thing.' Instead what they were objecting to - or what their older canon necessitated in terms of that rejection - was that someone had come along in the (mid to late) second century 'contextualizing' what Jesus originally said and did with explicit references to Jewish scripture. This is what is key.

To this end, I think it was a bold and innovative step to have a narrative such as the literary gospel 'reveal God' as the main protagonist in the drama. The story of Exodus for instance - or indeed the entire Pentateuch - tells the story from a very different POV. Here man is at the center and god in the margins. By having a story where god comes down from heaven and interacts with human beings we have a Dostoevsky novel. There is something breathtaking and radically new - especially in the context of a Jewish cultural product, literary work.

I think the Marcionites wanted to preserve that radical original vision. For the first time we are seeing god for what or he really was. He isn't relegated to a character in the margins. Instead of being hidden behind a rock and flames, god comes in his weakness, his humanness - something implied from the first chapter of Genesis.

To put prophetic scriptures from Isaiah and the Psalms everywhere obscures that original radical vision. I think for whatever reason people were disturbed by this 'newness' but clearly it is a 'gospel' for a reason. There has to be something suitably radical to be shouted from rooftops (and that is why the proto-orthodox began to argue in favor of the Virgin Birth as a suitable replacement i.e. because it was suitably irrational and hence similarly radical.

Now just as a point to get back to the original OP. I know people don't have a good feel for this understanding but let's attempt at least to synthesize what the Pentateuch is saying. The Pentateuch is incomplete because as we all know it doesn't tell the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan. I know stupid people generally read the Penateuch as if it 'is part of' a greater book called 'the Bible' and so the book of Joshua 'completes the narrative' - but we have to learn to be more sophisticated. All that god instructs Moses to do is build a portable sanctuary suitable for 'being out in the wilderness.' There is no instruction in point of fact, no vision for what to do once they return to the land and perhaps part of that is reflective of the time the Pentateuch was written (i.e. before the Jews had settled in the land).

I happen to think the lengthy sections dealing with sacrifices were added later and this explains the Dosithean sect. I think the Dositheans preserved a shorter version of the Pentateuch but that's neither here nor there. The point is that IMHO again the failure of the revolt which preceded the composition of the gospel weighed heavily on the final product. In fact one of the ways that the gospel is totally out of step or out of sync with the Penateuch is the lack of sacredness associated with the Eretz Israel. There is no way that the gospel could have been written BEFORE 70 CE because this is one of the most fundamental beliefs of the Torah.

In point of fact I would argue that the very concept of 'the kingdom of God' or heaven is a deliberate juxtaposition against the tradition value of eretz Israel. Most kingdoms are founded on land or a piece of land or a 'domain' or kingdom. To speak about a 'kingdom of god' is really a juxtaposition against tradition concepts like 'the kingdom of Judea' which is located within a physical boundary. Since god or heave has no boundary what the author is saying in effect is that our kingdom, the kingdom of god, is everywhere. To this end, this domain - the domain of the Christians will secretly fulfill the messianic anticipation of conquest of the entire world albeit in another way - which is what made Christianity so dangerous.
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Ulan
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Ulan » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:22 am

@John2: You don't need any such roundabout reasoning. As I said, just use gJohn 1 (NRSV):

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.[...]

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known."


It's quite literally written in John's gospel. There's a reason why this is the favorite gospel of many fundamentalists.

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John T
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by John T » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:15 am

John2 wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:45 am

I think the reason why the Similitudes were not found at Qumran could be due to either chance or because it was written after 70 CE.
If memory serves me correct Daniel 7:13 hasn't been found at Qumran either.
Likewise, the entire book of Daniel is missing from the Codex Sinaiticus.

Perhaps you would like to start a new o.p. thread regarding Son of Man and Jesus?
If so, I will join you there because I'm done responding on this thread. :cheers:

Sincerely,

John T
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by John2 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:27 pm

John T wrote:
If memory serves me correct Daniel 7:13 hasn't been found at Qumran either.
Likewise, the entire book of Daniel is missing from the Codex Sinaiticus.
But 4Q246 is pretty close, as noted here:
Martin Hengel suggests that the figure is similar to “the one like a Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14 (Hengel 1976, 45), and argues that the tiles may be interpreted collectively “of the Jewish people.” I also argue that the author of 4Q246 was influenced by Daniel 7. The two texts reveal such an extensive degree of verbal, thematic, and structural correspondence. The most striking parallels between the two texts are the two phrases שלטנה שלטן עלם (“whose dominion is an everlasting dominion” [Dan 7:14; cf. 4Q246 2:9]) and מלכותה מלכות עלם (“his/its kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom” [Dan 7:27; cf. 4Q246 2:5]). Karl A. Kuhn argues that the verb דוש (crush) supplements these two verbal correspondences (Dan 7:23; 4Q246 2:3) in terms of the thematic parallels (Kuhn 2007, 28). In addition to these parallels, Kuhn suggests that the two texts present a transition of the dominion from the beasts/provinces to an individual figure/the people of God:

1. Following the prologue, both begin with a description of distress and destruction resolved by God’s intervention and the coming of God’s agent: in Daniel, the “one like a son of man,” and in 4Q246, the “Son of God, Son of the Most High” (Dan 7:4-14; cf. 4Q246 1:4-2:1ab).

2. The first account is followed by a second, again depicting the dominion of the evil beast(s)/peoples until the people of God arise and gain possession of the kingdom (Dan 7:15-22; cf. 4Q246 2:1c-7a).

3. Both texts conclude with still another rehearsal of the overthrow of the beast(s)/peoples who oppose God’s people (Dan 7:23-28; cf. 4Q246 2:7b-9).

https://otstory.wordpress.com/2008/02/2 ... pocalypse/
And Zimmerman writes:
What all these texts share -Daniel 7, 4Q246 and the later interpretations of 4Q246- is the apocalyptic tradition of the establishment of a divine kingdom, and event that centers around a single figure who, in ever new accentuations, vanquishes all enemies and participates in the world judgment. Here 4Q246 is situated closer to Daniel 7 than 4 Ezra 13 and the Similitudes of the Ethiopian Book of Enoch, as is principally demonstrated by the close links existing between the people of God and the son of man/son of God. The text authorship should therefore, in all likelihood, be situated at no great distance from Daniel 7 ...

https://books.google.com/books?id=-j4YA ... 46&f=false
And Flint notes the relatively high number of copies of Daniel and Daniel-related writings like 4Q246 among the DSS.
No less than seventeen of the scrolls found at Qumran are relevant for the study of Daniel, and present the reader with two surprises of unequal impact. The first surprise is the relatively high number of copies (eight) of the biblical book in the Qumran caves. Despite its relatively small size (twelve chapters), Daniel is outnumbered by only eight other compositions -counting both biblical and non-biblical- at Qumran ... The discoveries at Qumran have yielded several other writings that either mention Daniel or contain material that is in some related to, or of relevance to, the biblical book of Daniel. This new material, none of which was previously known to scholars, bears powerful testimony to several traditions related to "Daniel" among at least some Jews in the last century BCE and the first century CE.

https://books.google.com/books?id=NuZlN ... an&f=false
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by John2 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:57 pm

Ulan wrote:
John2: You don't need any such roundabout reasoning. As I said, just use gJohn 1
I'm just showing why I think it goes back further than that, as far back as we can see and possibly even all the way back to Jesus himself.

As the DSS and Josephus indicate, Daniel was very popular in the first century CE, and was likely, as Ben agrees, the text that was behind the timing and messianic expectation of the 66-70 CE war. I thus see Jesus as being just another one of the "such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of divine inspiration" (as Josephus puts it in War 2.13.4), like those whom Jesus says were "claiming, I am He, and will deceive many" in Mk. 13:6, with Jesus' version being primarily a hybrid of the "Son of Man" and the cut off Messiah in Daniel 7 and 9.
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:02 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:57 pm
As the DSS and Josephus indicate, Daniel was very popular in the first century CE, and was likely, as Ben agrees, the text that was behind the timing and messianic expectation of the 66-70 CE war.
Just to clarify, I am quite certain that Daniel was behind the propaganda surrounding the Jewish War. I am much less certain that Daniel influenced the timing or the actual waging of that war; the 70 Weeks could be manipulated to point to various dates (just as they still are today), and wars do not always start for abstract ideological reasons; it is quite common to pull in the ideological reasons once one has already decided that war is necessary.
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