Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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rgprice
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Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by rgprice » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:45 am

I just put up a new article on this issue here: http://www.rationalrevolution.net/artic ... thesis.htm

Basically, I'm saying the case that the Gospel of Mark is an entirely fictional story is much more broadly supported by serious scholarship than most people realize. In fact, devout Christian scholars accept that the Gospel of Mark is fictional. It seems that what many have not done, however, is fully acknowledge the implications of the GMark being fictional. That's essentially what my book is about, but the point I'm making here is that the root of my argument, that GMark is fictional, is actually well supported by a broad cross section of scholars and research.

Giuseppe
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:01 am

Thanks for the article.

I would be interested to read Robert Price's review of the your book.

Should I wait a lot of time before that reading?

Thanks in advance for any answer.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

rgprice
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by rgprice » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:39 am

I don't know what's taking him so long. He sent me a draft of it at least 3 weeks ago. I'm assuming he'll have it up on his website some time soon.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:07 am

A great example of Giuseppe's cognitive abilities.
“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: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:35 am

also a great band name

John2
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by John2 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:32 pm

rgprice wrote in the linked article above:
Dykstra offers an explanation that I believe is correct but incomplete. Dykstra states that, “Mark’s primary purpose was to defend the vision of Christianity championed by Paul the Apostle against his ‘Judaizing’ opponents.” (Mark, Canonizer of Paul pp 23) Dykstra goes on to conclude that the narrative is not based on testimony from the disciples or any oral tradition, rather that it is based on the Old Testament, Homeric epics, and the Pauline epistles.

I think the assessment of Mark’s narrative being a defense of Paul against “his ‘Judaizing’ opponents” is correct, but fails to really address why this defense was needed. As I explain in my book, I think it was the First Jewish-Roman War, and the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, that precipitated this defense. I think the writer was a follower of Paul, who saw in the outcome of the war the proof that Paul had been right. I think the writer’s view was, “See, if they had listened to Paul none of this would have happened”, or perhaps, “This was destined to happen, in accordance with Paul’s gospel.” So I think a critical piece that is missing from Dykstra’s work is the relationship between the war and the Markan narrative.

I think the perspective of the writer of Mark was that the war happened because of Jewish opposition to Gentile integration, or rather because of those Jews who did not believe that their god was a god of all people as opposed to being just a god of the Jews. So the message of the writer is that the Jews brought the war upon themselves because they failed to heed Paul’s teachings.
I disagree with the idea that "Mark’s primary purpose was to defend the vision of Christianity championed by Paul the Apostle against his ‘Judaizing’ opponents,” at least with respect to Torah observance. I think Mark 7:5-13 alone disproves it, where Jesus is opposed to nullifying the Torah.
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

And he continued, "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ e But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
So in this respect, at least, Jesus (or at least Mark and his presentation of Jesus) did not follow Paul's teachings. Jesus also upholds Torah observance in Mk. 1:44, when he tells the leper to "show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." And while he disagreed with the Pharisees' interpretation of work, Jesus upholds Sabbath observance in Mk. 2:27 and 3:4 ("The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath"; "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”).

And while Jesus is opposed to divorce in Mark, he bases his opinion on the Torah in 10:5-9:
It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”


And Jesus tells the rich man to observe the Torah in Mk. 10: 17-21:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Jesus also uses the Torah to castigate the Sadducees in Mk. 12:24-27:
Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”


My understanding is that Jesus only opposes the Pharisees' oral Torah in Mark and not the written Torah, and this seems more in keeping with Jewish Christianity (and other Fourth Philosophic factions) than Pauline Christianity to me.

And I'm wondering what gives you the impression that "the perspective of the writer of Mark was that the war happened because of Jewish opposition to Gentile integration, or rather because of those Jews who did not believe that their god was a god of all people as opposed to being just a god of the Jews." I don't see anything about this in Mk. 13, at least (excepting, perhaps, v. 10, which some think is an interpolation).
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John2
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by John2 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:37 pm

Regarding what Jesus says in Mk. 13, to me it resembles what another Fourth Philosopher, Niger of Perea, says in War 4.6.1:
Now when they were slaying him, he made this imprecation upon them, that they might undergo both famine and pestilence in this war, and besides all that, they might come to the mutual slaughter of one another; all which imprecations God confirmed against these impious men, and was what came most justly upon them, when not long afterward. they tasted of their own madness in their mutual seditions one against another.


And what Josephus says about Fourth Philosophers in Ant. 18.1.1:
All sorts of misfortunes also sprang from these men, and the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree; one violent war came upon us after another, and we lost our friends which used to alleviate our pains; there were also very great robberies and murder of our principal men. This was done in pretense indeed for the public welfare, but in reality for the hopes of gain to themselves; whence arose seditions, and from them murders of men, which sometimes fell on those of their own people, (by the madness of these men towards one another, while their desire was that none of the adverse party might be left,) and sometimes on their enemies; a famine also coming upon us, reduced us to the last degree of despair, as did also the taking and demolishing of cities; nay, the sedition at last increased so high, that the very temple of God was burnt down by their enemies' fire.
These passages seem more relevant to Mark 13 to me than does Paul. And regarding "Jewish opposition to Gentile integration," offhand I can think of several Gentiles who participated in the 66-70 CE war and/or converted to Judaism during the first century CE. As noted here in an article about King Monobaz II of Adiabene, for example:
Many of his kinsmen took part with distinction in the war against the Romans (Wars 2:520).

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/monobaz-i-and-ii
War 2.520:
... of whom the most valiant were the kinsmen of Monobazus, king of Adiabene, and their names were Monobazus and Kenedeus; and next to them were Niger of Perea, and Silas of Babylon, who had deserted from king Agrippa to the Jews; for he had formerly served in his army.
I would also add the Damascus Document, which I see as pertaining to the Herodian era and the Fourth Philosophy. As Harrington notes:
It is important to recognize that the Damascus Document is the only scroll to truly accept the ger at all ... Gentiles are not neutral; their idolatry makes them impure and contaminating. Nevertheless, presumably after an initiation and purification process, they can be included among the ger category of the sect.

https://books.google.com/books?id=o26q1 ... nt&f=false
And Himmelfarb notes:
We have already seen that Jubilees rejects the possibility of conversion ... of the ger; similarly 4QFlorilegium prohibits the ger along with a series of foreigners from entering its eschatological temple (4Q174 I 3-4). The presence of the ger among the members of the sect shows that for the Damascus Document, in contrast, gentiles were not so essentially different from Jews that it was impossible to cross the boundary.

https://books.google.com/books?id=ZgYAx ... nt&f=false
So even if Mk. 13:10 is not an interpolation, I don't see it as being any different than the inclusion of Gentiles in the Fourth Philosophy and the Damascus Document. It isn't an exclusively Pauline idea.
Last edited by John2 on Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John2
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by John2 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:57 pm

To me Jesus sounds like a Fourth Philosopher. While he may have been a relatively peaceful one compared to other Fourth Philosophers, his thing appears to have been just a different way of accomplishing the same thing other Fourth Philosophers were trying to do, i.e., to defeat Rome and bring on the End Time. Jesus was also opposed to the Pharisees' oral Torah, which is also like the Fourth Philosophy, since Josephus says that Fourth Philosophers had altered "the customs of our fathers" (Ant. 18.9), an expression that is commonly used to describe the oral Torah, including in the NT (e.g., Gal. 1:14 and Mk. 7:3).

Fourth Philosophers were also arguably inspired by Daniel, and Josephus, who had joined them during the war, certainly was, and so was Jesus in Mark, as were whoever wrote and collected the Dead Seas Scrolls, which have a relatively high number of copies of Daniel and Daniel-related texts, at least half of which are dated to the Herodian era, during the time of the Fourth Philosophy. So if Mark invented the historical Jesus, I think it was based on information about the Fourth Philosophy rather than (or more than) Paul.
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rgprice
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by rgprice » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:37 pm

You'd have to read Dykstra's book or mine to see the case for the relationship between GMark and Paul, it's quite definitive. That doesn't mean that it's all encompassing and that there aren't also other things going on, but Paul is definitely one influence.

John2
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Re: Fictional Jesus Synthesis

Post by John2 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:01 pm

rgprice wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:37 pm
You'd have to read Dykstra's book or mine to see the case for the relationship between GMark and Paul, it's quite definitive. That doesn't mean that it's all encompassing and that there aren't also other things going on, but Paul is definitely one influence.
There's no preview for Dykstra's book on Google books (which is my only option right now), but I can see part of your book Deciphering the Gospels here and will take a look at it now.

https://books.google.com/books?id=23poD ... rk&f=false

And while I see Mark as being more influenced by the Fourth Philosophy than Paul, I at least agree that Paul is one influence (like he was on Peter). I even think Mark is the Mark mentioned in Phm. 1:24 (and 1 Pet. 5:13).

And I used to think Mark was Pauline and have only recently changed my mind. But I look forward to reading what I can see of your book. I think it's a great subject whatever one concludes.
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