Nazarene Christianity

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:32 pm

The worst part about any discussion of 'Jewish-Christianity' is that no attempt is made to distinguish between the ten commandments and the Pentateuch. Clearly any Jewish Christian sect was against animal sacrifices. Yet 'the Law' is used in such a haphazard sense by our earliest sources that it essentially renders useless the information they are transmitting. Was Marcion 'against' the ten commandments? There is no evidence to suggest this. Was any early Christian sect 'for' the 603 laws not contained in the ten utterances? No evidence to show that either. So all of early Christianity sits in limbo being something like the two powers tradition and not something like 'full acceptance' of Judaism. Complete waste of time.

It's not that I don't think Christianity is Jewish, or that there wasn't something called 'Jewish Christianity' but rather that the whole endeavor suffers from horrible source material. I've always thought that Marcionism could well be this elusive 'Jewish Christianity' or a variety of it. There's just so little information it's dangerous to speculate or develop speculation from Irenaeus and Epiphanius's nonsense.
“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

John2
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:59 pm

davidmartin wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:03 am
Hi John2 I think the reason for me is that he was accused of breaking the law by the pharisees etc
And he did do some stuff that appeared to go against the traditions. now you might say the traditions isn't the law, yes that's true but then it gets into the fine line between relaxing traditions yet upholding the law, its a grey area
but i'm also not inclined to dismiss the pharisees complaints out of hand. These guys knew their Torah!

Jesus opposed and was accused of breaking only the Pharisees' oral Torah. Josephus explains the oral Torah in Ant. 13.10.6:

... the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses.



Jesus' opposition to the Pharisees' oral Torah is illustrated perfectly in Mk. 7:1-13:

Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, and they saw some of his disciples eating with hands that were defiled—that is, unwashed.

Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially. And on returning from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions for them to observe, including the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and couches for dining.

So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus: “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders? Instead, they eat with defiled hands.”

Jesus answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly 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; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men.’ You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.”

He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever you would have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), he is no longer permitted to do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters.”

Here you can see that Jesus upholds the written Torah and opposes and is accused of breaking only the oral Torah.
Last edited by John2 on Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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John2
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:08 pm

perseusomega9 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:35 am
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:58 pm
David wrote:

What gives you the impression that Jesus' Torah observance was "spiritualized" and that he had "a more relaxed view of things"?

To me he appears to be fully written Torah observant and expected his followers to be as well, as per Mt. 5:17-19:
Um, that's the author of gMatthew's take, not necessarily Jesus.

While I do think Jesus existed, my references to him can be taken to mean "the literary figure named Jesus" for all I care.
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John2
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:52 pm

I wrote:

I don't know what his [Jesus'] position on conversion was (and that's an interesting question I want to look into) ...

Jesus appears to have had a dim view of non-believing Gentiles yet was quite open to conversion, to judge from Mk. 7:26-30, Mt. 8:5-13, 10:5-6 and 18:15-17.

Now she was a Greek woman of Syrophoenician origin, and she kept asking Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

First let the children have their fill,” he said. “For it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Then Jesus told her, “Because of this answer, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my servant lies at home, paralyzed and in terrible agony.”

I will go and heal him,” Jesus replied.

The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell one to go, and he goes; and another to come, and he comes. I tell my servant to do something, and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! As you have believed, so will it be done for you.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go onto the road of the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel."
If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
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John2
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:32 pm

And Jesus appears to have expected Gentile converts to be Torah observant like Jews, to judge from the above citations and Mt. 7:21-23:

"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness!’"
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John2
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:35 pm

I see Jesus' opposition to the oral Torah as being typical of the Fourth Philosophic "I am He" guys I think he likens himself to in Mk. 13:5-6:

Jesus began by telling them, “See to it that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many."

Cf. War 2.13.4:

These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.

As Josephus notes in his description of the Fourth Philosophy in Ant. 18.1.1, one of its aspects was that:

... the customs of our fathers were altered, and such a change was made ... by this system of philosophy, which we were before unacquainted withal ...

And this is how Jesus' teaching was received as well according to Mk. 1:27:

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching -and with authority!"

So I see Jesus as being just another "I am He" type Fourth Philosopher who rejected "the customs of our fathers" and taught things that Jews were "before unacquainted withal."

And another aspect of the Fourth Philosophy that Jesus shared was a willingness to suffer and die for his cause. As Josephus notes in Ant. 18.1.6:

They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear, that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain.

Cf. Mk. 8:31-32:

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke this message quite frankly ...
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Secret Alias
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:13 pm

Do you realize that the concept of 'oral Torah' is antithetical to the very concept of divine Torah? This is just silly. Oral teaching means 'human teaching.' Christianity was founded on divine torah. This whole endeavor of yours is a typical Jewish misunderstanding of Christianity. Christianity was proud that they had God as their head. No oral torah. No human torah. Only divine torah. Jewish people never acknowledge how stupid their tradition is.
“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

davidmartin
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by davidmartin » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:01 am

John,
i was taking the accusations made against Jesus 'the literary figure' by the authorities
These folks were definitely accusing him of breaking the law - not just arguing over the oral Torah

John "Hath any of the rulers believed on him, or of the Pharisees? But this multitude that knoweth not the law are accursed."
Luke "And Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said unto them, Ye brought unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people"
Mark "And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they accuse thee of"

If Jesus was teaching a Qumran style ultra orthodox understanding of the law, they would have no grounds to say this!
If however he was seeking to apply the Torah within a new methodology/framework then it would make a lot of sense, giving grounds for such accusations. Jesus does appear to consistently challenge the standard understanding of the law and how it is applied
To say that he was only challenging traditions, well that isn't what he was accused of - the scope appears bigger including multiple aspects such as Shabbat observance, ritual impurity, and so on

This would also explain Paul. Paul could more easily originate from this type of community and go further and more radically in the direction he did, which of course led to a complete abandonment of the Torah for Christians once the brief Jewish phase of the movement ended

This is what i'm getting at. The church wanted Jesus to be highly law observant, others wanted him to be a law breaker (the authorities and Gnostics). But I think it more likely he was a reformer with a progressive outlook, and such folk do often run into problems with the authorities. The church fathers never grasped that, never realised they had become the authorities now and were doing the same things Jesus complained about!!
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perseusomega9
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:32 am

John2 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:08 pm
perseusomega9 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:35 am
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:58 pm
David wrote:

What gives you the impression that Jesus' Torah observance was "spiritualized" and that he had "a more relaxed view of things"?

To me he appears to be fully written Torah observant and expected his followers to be as well, as per Mt. 5:17-19:
Um, that's the author of gMatthew's take, not necessarily Jesus.

While I do think Jesus existed, my references to him can be taken to mean "the literary figure named Jesus" for all I care.
But then that's still just one among many different conceptions of Jesus at the time. so to say things like, "he appears to be fully Torah observant and expected his followers to be as well" and implying by your argument that this was universal/original is sloppy.

John2
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Re: Nazarene Christianity

Post by John2 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:45 pm

perseusomega9 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:32 am
John2 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:08 pm
perseusomega9 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:35 am
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:58 pm
David wrote:

What gives you the impression that Jesus' Torah observance was "spiritualized" and that he had "a more relaxed view of things"?

To me he appears to be fully written Torah observant and expected his followers to be as well, as per Mt. 5:17-19:
Um, that's the author of gMatthew's take, not necessarily Jesus.

While I do think Jesus existed, my references to him can be taken to mean "the literary figure named Jesus" for all I care.
But then that's still just one among many different conceptions of Jesus at the time. so to say things like, "he appears to be fully Torah observant and expected his followers to be as well" and implying by your argument that this was universal/original is sloppy.

I have the impression that Nazarene Christianity is the version of Christianity that is in Mark, Matthew, Luke and Acts (and James, 1 Peter, Jude and 1, 2, and 3 John) whether Jesus was a person or a literary figure. And since other versions of Christianity used these writings (in whole or in part) yet opposed Torah observance, I conclude (as I wrote in the OP) that they post-date Nazarene Christianity and used these writings because they were "more or less the earliest and only Christian writings available for them to use."
The move about is all we do.

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