Why crucifixion?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:29 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:41 am
You don't see a contrast between the docetic theme of the previous passages and the crude reality of death of the last passages.
It is possible; but it seems less likely than the interpretation I have laid out. Overall, your point seems to depend exclusively on the repetition of the word death itself, but I have shown you that this repetition may bear multiple meanings. But the entire context, as well as the cultural meaning of crucifixion in antiquity overall, supports my case over yours.
it is partially true. My argument is not based only on that anomaly. Not only on the effect contrast between the docetic theme and the crude reality of the final verse. But, as the my first quote specified, even in the passages relatives to the docetic theme, there is the anomaly of the repetition of the docetic theme, really with some interest to point out already there the humanity of Jesus:

Both phrases say approximately the same thing; it is debatable whether both should be attached to the second stansa, or separated by attaching the first to what precedes it. The second solution is, in my opinion, more logical: "become in the likeness of men" is the arrival point of the first voluntary humbling; "and in appearance found as a man", the starting point of humbling.

A more important issue is whether or not a more realistic meaning should be given them. The expressions "in the likeness", "in appearance, found as" lend themselves to a docetic interpretation, and were undoubtedly exploited a such. They do not necessarily imply, however, that Jesus' humanity was not real. On the contrary, since his divine form was real, so should his human form be. Otherwise what becomes of kenosis ?

In other terms, the author concedes the docetism, but only to claim the reality of the humanity before, the reality of the death after.

A progressive insistence on the reality is in view here, against an initial concession to docetic hearsay.

You can't ignore that progression.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:45 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:29 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:41 am
You don't see a contrast between the docetic theme of the previous passages and the crude reality of death of the last passages.
It is possible; but it seems less likely than the interpretation I have laid out. Overall, your point seems to depend exclusively on the repetition of the word death itself, but I have shown you that this repetition may bear multiple meanings. But the entire context, as well as the cultural meaning of crucifixion in antiquity overall, supports my case over yours.
it is partially true. My argument is not based only on that anomaly. Not only on the effect contrast between the docetic theme and the crude reality of the final verse.
Docetism can bear (at least) two meanings. One can only seem to be real flesh, and one can only seem to suffer. I think the Jesus hymn, if it is docetic, is of the first kind and not of the second.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:27 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:45 am
Docetism can bear (at least) two meanings. One can only seem to be real flesh, and one can only seem to suffer. I think the Jesus hymn, if it is docetic, is of the first kind and not of the second.
That distinction doesn't work when a Death is in view: in both the cases, the death was not real. But the my point is not that the author of the hymn denies the docetism. He can even concede it. The author of the hymn writes against who denies that there was a death at all. The author of the hymn want to deny that Jesus was only a Revealer. He claims that Jesus was basically only a Redeemer. Hence the crucifixion confirms the expiatory role of Jesus. Anything you say about sufferings, humbling of the Servant, crucifixion as implied by the servitude, etc, is meant to make Jesus a Lamb. To make Jesus what the name "Jesus" means: "YHWH saves"... ...how? By expiatory death.

Hence the crucifixion is designed to transform a presumed Revealer (who never died, not even only apparently) in a Reedemer by slavish death.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:11 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:27 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:45 am
Docetism can bear (at least) two meanings. One can only seem to be real flesh, and one can only seem to suffer. I think the Jesus hymn, if it is docetic, is of the first kind and not of the second.
That distinction doesn't work when a Death is in view: in both the cases, the death was not real. But the my point is not that the author of the hymn denies the docetism. He can even concede it. The author of the hymn writes against who denies that there was a death at all. The author of the hymn want to deny that Jesus was only a Revealer.
I am favorable overall to the whole redeemer/revealer distinction, and am certainly not against the revealer aspect having come first. But I think you are reading this whole debate into the hymn, not out of it.
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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:25 am

Today I have found another reason for the choice of crucifixion for a mythical Death of Jesus:

Matthew 23:34
34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.

The verse is further evidence that in a Jewish milieu, only the corpses were crucified. But the verse adds something of new: the death of the prophets was interpreted as including also a crucifixion of their corpses.

Hence, the argument:
  • Jesus was considered as the fulfillment of prophecies
  • the prophets persecuted in the past were considered as crucified
  • therefore: also Jesus had to die crucified.
Thoughts ?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Apr 26, 2020 9:03 pm

Ben, I think that you should modify your first post by adding this point:


  • The passage beyond the limit coincides therefore with the death of the messiah. The death of the messiah is not other than the passage beyond the limit. This is why, inter alia, the first Christians were so much concerned about the quote from Osea 11:1: from Egypt (mi-mitsrayim) I have called my son. In Hebrew, metsar is the limit. The son (the messiah) is called when the limit is reached.

    (extract and translated from Maurice Mergui, Comprendre les origines du Christianisme: De l'eschatologie juive au midrash chrétien, my bold)
  • And we have evidence that some Christians considered the cosmic Cross between upper heavens and lower heavens as the Limit.
  • Therefore: the passage Beyond the Limit (metsar) by the Messiah, during his descending "in the flesh" (= the entire corruptible world), inspired the crucifixion idea.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:05 am

Evidence that the passage Beyond the Limit was considered the sign of the coming of the Messiah:

FACT: some Jews believed that king Herod (sic) was the Jewish Messiah of YHWH.


EXPLANATION OF THE FACT:
how could an impious not-Jew be on the throne of Judah ? Genesis 49:10 is the answer: the Messiah comes when a not-Jew rules the Jews. Therefore, the not-Jew is the Messiah.

In virtue of the same reason, the Gospels placed the life of the Messiah during Herod. To refer Genesis 49:10 Shilo to Jesus.

The Passage Beyond the Limit says: more the Messiah is despised, more his coming is near. His death is equivalent to his arrival.

The Herodians in the Gospels are the people who believed that Herod was the Messiah.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:17 am

another evidence that the Passage Beyond the Limit signs the arrival of the Messiah.

In Mark there is everywhere the Messianic Secret.

Until the Barabbas episode.

If the rival Christians started to consider Messiah the Son of an alien Father (not YHWH), then the Limit is reached: the maximum of (Gnostic) heresy (hatred against YHWH) coincides with the arrival of the true Messiah and king of Jews, the Son of YHWH: Jesus called Christ.

Jesus doesn't prohibit more that someone claims that he is the Christ.

The Messianic Rumor breaks the Messianic Secret.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:43 am


This [cross] is the tree of my eternal salvation … This tree, wide as the firmament, extends from earth to the heavens, with its immortal trunk established between heaven and earth; it is the pillar of the universe, the support of the whole world, the joint of the world, holding together the variety of human nature, and riveted by the invisible bolts of the Spirit, so that it may remain fastened to the divinity and impossible to detach. Its top touches the highest heavens, its roots are planted in the earth, and in the midst its immeasurable arms embrace the ever present breaths of air. It is wholly in all things and in all places.

(pseudo-Hippolytus, In Sanctum Pascha 3)
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Why crucifixion?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:27 am

I have heard about an ancient Talmudic writing that identifies the Ladder of Jacob as the battlefield between demons and angels, and a Christian writing that identifies the Ladder of Jacob as the celestial Cross.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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