What Happened?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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John2
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What Happened?

Post by John2 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:08 pm

I'm just curious what people here think. You don't have to prove everything, just say what you think happened to produce Christianity. Fill in the gaps however you like.

Here's what I think. There were broadly three sects of Judaism since the time of the Maccabees, like Josephus says. By 6 CE a fourth sect emerged, largely from the Pharisees, and it more or less ran its course between then and the fall of Masada. I would call them radical or extremist Pharisees. And from this fourth sect emerged Jesus and Jewish Christianity. As such, Christianity shares the main Fourth Philosophic belief that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth" and similarly rejected the oral Torah.

Sometime before 70 CE Jewish Christian leaders wrote letters that became part of the NT (James, 1 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, Jude, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon). Then around 70 CE a follower of Peter named Mark wrote two versions of Mark in Greek, one for Romans and one for everyone.

Around the same time someone wrote a Hebrew version of Matthew, from which two or more translations were made into Greek, one of which was combined with Mark and became the canonical Matthew, another of which may have been incorporated into Luke and the Ebionite Matthew, and perhaps another is reflected in the Didache.

Luke and Acts (in perhaps more than one draft) were written by the follower of Paul named Epaphroditus (mentioned in Philippians) who was an imperial secretary and wrote sometime before his execution by Domitian c. 95 CE. He knew some or all of the NT letters mentioned above, Mark and one or more Greek translations of Matthew, and the we passages in Acts are his notes from his time travelling with Paul.

Revelation (or at least the earliest version of it) was written c. 95 CE by someone named John who was exiled to Patmos by Domitian and it reflects Nazarene beliefs.

All these NT writings reflect Nazarene Jewish Christian beliefs up to c. 95 CE. Sometime after 70 CE the Ebionites (as such) emerged from the Nazarenes and created their Matthew with one of the translations that were made of the Hebrew Mathew.

Nazarene Jewish Christianity was more or less the dominant form of early Christianity and peaked by the mid-second century CE (as reflected by Hegessipus) until it was deemed heretical and supplanted by orthodox Christianity by the late second century CE.

Gnostics (as such) were "weirdos" who read the NT writings in Gnostic ways and created other writings reflecting their beliefs until they were deemed heretical and supplanted by orthodox Christians by the fourth century CE.

More or less all of the Nazarene NT writings were to some extent interpolated or altered by orthodox Christians to defend their beliefs (as per Celsus) and were incorporated into their NT canon along with some of their own writings (Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, the Pastorals).

Being deemed heretical by orthodox Christians and orthodox Jews, Jewish Christianity (in all its forms) disappeared sometime during the Middle Ages.

What do YOU think happened to produce Christianity?

Bernard Muller
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Bernard Muller » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:12 pm

What happened?
http://historical-jesus.info/digest.html A brief & comprehensive account on how Christianity started through a sequence of events involving Pilate, John the Baptist, Jesus & others

http://historical-jesus.info/hjes3x.html The group of Seven (proto-Christianity) => The church of Antioch (Jewish Christianity) => Paul (embryonic Gentile Christianity) => Apollos of Alexandria (full Gentile Christianity)

From my intro page http://historical-jesus.info/index.html:
When eyewitnesses were still alive, Paul wrote about a minimal Jesus (but also, for Paul, pre/post-existent as a heavenly deity) who, from "Israelites, ... whose [are] the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, according to the flesh ..." (Ro9:4-5 YLT) and "come of a woman, come under law" (Gal4:4 YLT) (as a descendant of (allegedly) Abraham (Gal3:16), Jesse (Ro15:12) & David (Ro1:3)), "found in appearance as a man" (Php2:8) "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Ro8:3), "the one man, Jesus Christ" (Ro5:15) (who had brothers (1Co9:5), one of them called "James", whom Paul met (Gal1:19)), "humbled himself" (Php2:8) in "poverty" (2Co8:9) as "servant of the Jews" (Ro15:8) and "was crucified in weakness" (2Co13:4) in "Zion" (Ro9:31-33 & Ro11:26-27).
And the same picture can also be seen at the bottom of the earliest gospels, especially the first one, Mark's.

The early Christians did not seem to consider the earthly Jesus as (theologically) sacred:
"Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man [Jesus] will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven" (Mt12:32a)
His historic presence appears to have been rather minimal:
"but made himself [Jesus] of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant" (Paul in Php2:7)
Very little external evidence about him is available.
But then, according to Paul:
"... we speak not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, communicating spiritual [things] by spiritual [means]." (1Co2:13 Darby)
"we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden ..." (1Co2:7)
"For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? ..." (Ro3:7 KJV)
"... I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it." (1Co3:10)
"... it pleased God ... to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles." (Gal1:15-16)
"Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast." (2Co11:18)
"I must go on boasting. ... I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord." (2Co12:1)
"I did not receive it [Paul's good news] from any man [Paul had met Peter & other eyewitnesses], nor was I taught it; rather, ... by revelation from Jesus Christ." (Gal1:11-12)
"... we have the mind of Christ." (1Co2:16)
Christianity did not grow from the sayings or deeds of an earthly Jesus!
Still later, step by step, in order to propel the actual Jesus as "evidence" for the divine entity claimed by Paul:
"... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1Co1:24)
"... one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things ..." (1Co8:6 Darby)
"... God sent forth His Son, come of a woman ..." (Gal4:4 YLT)
the successive gospels considerably enhanced him beyond measure:
"But these [miraculous signs] are written that you may believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God ..." (Jn20:31a)
Cordially, Bernard

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Giuseppe
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:36 pm

My reconstruction of the Origins in short:
  • 30 CE. Hallucinations, in Judea, of a Jewish archangel named Jesus only after the resurrection (EVIDENCE: pre-Pauline Hymn to Philippians + Ascension of Isaiah "who will be called Jesus").
    Debt to James Barlow to realize why this archangel was killed by the rulers: before the question 'who are you?', he didn't reveal the magical passwords. Hence, the sequence is: (1) question, (2) answer, (3) crucifixion of glory.


    “What could Jesus have done to cause himself to be hated and killed if he remained unrecognized in the lower heaven?”
    Enter the ontological domain of demonic control, the realm of their domain, without providing the ‘signum’–passport, as expressly given in L2 Asc. Is.



    He remained unrecognized….

    https://vridar.org/2020/05/30/ascension ... ent-105110
  • 40 CE. Paul was a moderate Gentilizer, since he adored YHWH just as the Pillars.
  • 70-110 CE. But after the death of Paul and especially after 70 CE, the Gentilizers became RADICAL Gentilizers: they become to degrade YHWH to the status of an evil malignant deity, a moral monster.

    The original myth was changed in conformity to this new portrait of YHWH: now he figures among the 7 evil archons who crucified Jesus in heaven (outer space).

    In particular, the primitive version of the Nag Hammadi text known as 'On the origin of the World' was written, where we have in particular a new version of the same sequence of actions found in the Ascension of Isaiah, i.e. : (1) question, (2) answer, (3) crucifixion of glory.

    Then, when the seven rulers came, they saw him and were greatly disturbed. They went up to him and seized him. And he (viz., the chief ruler) said to the breath within him, "Who are you? And whence did you come hither?"

    It answered and said, "I have come from the force of the man for the destruction of your work."


    When they heard, they glorified him, since he gave them respite from the fear and the anxiety in which they found themselves. Then they called that day "Rest", in as much as they had rested from toil. And when they saw that Adam could stand up, they were glad, and they took him and put him in Paradise. And they withdrew up to their heavens.

    'On the Origin of the World' 115,23
  • 110-135 CE. To contrast this fanatical anti-YHWH propaganda, both MODERATE Gentilizers and Judaizers, united by the common worship of YHWH as supreme god, conspired against the RADICAL Gentilizers by inventing the Gospel Jesus: he had to be a mortal Jew totally submitted to YHWH and not even worthy of being compared to him (hence the baptism to purify his sins), he had to be lived in the recent past since the Jewish Messiah was expected for the 'end of times' (hence the mention of Pilate), he had to have disciples worthy of the Jewish Messiah (hence the list of 12 disciples named according to principal Zealots and Rebels of the time), he had to have a Jewish mother (hence the need of a lot of brothers and sisters), and so on.

    Especially, the original sequence of the myth, (1) question, (2) answer, (3) crucifixion of glory, was preserved under this new form:

    1 Corinthians 2:6-8 On the origin of the world 115,23 Oldest Gospel Passion Story

    We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age,
    who are coming to nothing.

    No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden
    and that God destined for our glory before time began.

    None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


    Then, when the seven rulers came, they saw him and were greatly disturbed.

    They went up to him and seized him. And he (viz., the chief ruler) said to the breath within him, "Who are you? And whence did you come hither?"
    It answered and said,
    "I have come from the force of the man for the destruction of your work."

    When they heard, they glorified him.


    So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

    “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

    “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

    He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.



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mlinssen
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Re: What Happened?

Post by mlinssen » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:15 am

The core to all the contrasting and contradictory movements in the NT is the opposition between Gentiles and Jews, with Gentile being an interpretation for the word 'ethnos'

History is being rewritten by giving translations of the Bible that are simply interpretations, but we need not concern ourselves with that, we can simply look at the smoke of the gun and nowhere further

It is evident that Christianity developed in one direction and then had to make room for another, the question just is "which came first, Jew or Jentile?" (Punz!)

Most agree that the justification of Christianity began in the late 1st CE or even after that, and the retro fitting to 20-30 CE is telling; there must have been something going on already back then, or slightly later. I have always taken it as a sign that the Thomas movement became enough of a threat in the 30-40's, hence the attempts to predate that by fixating the canonical Jesus in the decade(s) prior to that

Then, something must have happened, and the movement was joined by its second leg, and suddenly it was Jew and Gentile both that needed to be managed.
And what is more plausible than the second destruction of the Temple - perfectly irrelevant to Gentiles - causing a great flow of Jews towards nascent Christianity?

So then we suddenly find a need for Paul who explains to the newcomers, the Jews, how it really is a mature religion already (thus his lies about the churches in so conveniently located far away places) and can't be turned into their direction, hence the Gentiles won't be circumcised etc.
And perhaps then Mark decided to have Jesus abolish all food laws as an action to support Paul's effort, or perhaps he had already done that and hence the need for Paul's effort?

But it is clear that
- Christianity started as a Gentile movement, nice and simple to follow, loosely based in Judaism.
- Around 30-40 CE.
- Then the Temple gets destroyed again in 70, and Jews-without-a-cause try to hijack the movement en masse.
- And Paul tries to manage them, presenting himself as their role model, a Jew converted to Christianity.
- And Mark comes to Paul's rescue because Paul only aims to steer away from Judaism and the Thomas supporters, without giving Jesus any body at all. Mark provides ample body to Jesus, with 35 logia from Thomas to support and sustain him, trying to lightly root him in the original movement.
- 1 or 2 decades later the situation still is messy, and several other writings have popped up such as Marcion (who supports Mark by copying his material yet doubles the material from Thomas and makes up 14 parables of his own in order to compensate) and Didache. Let's call him Matthew who takes all that and decides to have another try by writing one gospel each for each camp: Matthew copies Marcion as fodder for the Gentiles, the Thomas supporters (and "calls it Luke"), while he reserves his copy of the Didache as basis for his own gospel, directed at the Jews. We're around 90-100 now and nascent Christianity is in explosive growth
- At some point all the excitement wears off and Christianity gets reinterpreted as what it once was: Thomas. John writes about "I and the Father are one", solving the riddle of "making the two one" once and for all. Entering the kingdom by becoming a child? "Being born from above" will do that, becoming reborn by the Spirit

We're around 125 now. I have no idea whether all this is feasible in the light of what the alleged church fathers say.
The Bar Kokhba revolt ends everything, I think. And then the Church Fathers pop up, the movement is politicised, and the writing ceases so that the Church Fathers have to come up with their interpretation in order to guide matters into the right direction

In short:

It started with Gentiles, and was just a Thomas movement.
Then the 70 CE temple destruction caused Jews to flock to that, while misunderstanding it as a religious movement.
Then Paul came up with excuses for all that, and Mark supplied his hollow storyline with a narrative, gave us a Jesus of flesh and blood.
Luke and Matthew added a few pounds to that same flesh and blood and fixed the start and end of Mark (as there were no start and no end).
And John comes full circle by reverting back to the original Thomas with his highly mystic and poetic gospel, undoubtedly reacted by a Christian hand

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Secret Alias
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:01 am

I think we have to go to a minimalist position to begin with:

1. something to do with the Jewish revolt of 70 CE
2. something about God not liking sacrifices and punishing the Jews for divergence from 'the true religion' (however defined)
3. in some form the killing of Jesus by the Jews exemplified their (the Jews) disdain for the true religion and their ignorance of God

And that's it really. That's all that we can know for sure. Whether or not any of this was historical is a separate question. One can certainly see a scenario where it is historical (i.e. the early Christians WEREN'T that imaginative to invent a 'Jesus narrative) or that they lacked the capacity to invent a narrative which encapsulated why the Jews were deserving of divine wrath) or conversely that it is was made-up (i.e. that there were Hellenistic Jews, Greek-speaking Jews, philosophically inclined or culture-making Jews who had the potential to invent a story in the shadow of 70 CE which 'explained,' 'summarized,' 'justified' why the Jewish leadership/Jewish people were abominable and deserved the punishment the Romans inflicted on them).

But we have to get away from John2's childish aping of 'things laid out by the Church Fathers and documents related to the second century Church Fathers which invokes the existence of 'simple Jews' or 'Jews who believed that faith alone was enough to justify men before God.' Those sorts of people likely never existed.

Remember, the Jewish religion is based on a story that never happened. The Exodus as laid out in the Pentateuch was a myth invented by priests to justify their position at the top of the social ladder in ancient Israel. The story as conceived by Ezra (or whomever else you identify as its author) basically tells the story of the calling of A PRIESTLY ORDER out of Egypt and with them a bunch of losers called 'the Israelites.' The fact that the society portrayed by Ezra is complete unnatural - i.e. that it does not rely on MILITARY PROWESS but instead puts the MOST USELESS members of a society at the very top (i.e. the kind of people who occupy themselves with posting at this forum viz. intellectuals) reveals its artificiality. The document was written at a time when Israel was under the thumb of foreign rulers and so dispenses with the most essential aspect of governing - military, policing etc. I happen to think that the fact the main character of the narrative was named Joshua and there was an inherent 'Joshua expectation' in the Pentateuch helps support the argument as to the artificiality of the original gospel narrative (viz. that it was a 'sequel' or Part 2 to the Pentateuch).

As such it is perfectly conceivable that a Jewish man living after the destruction of the temple c. 70 CE would have been exposed to 'real history' i.e. the Egyptian documents epitomized by Manetho and realized what a crock of shit the Pentateuch really was AND knowing it was complete nonsense attempted to rewrite a 'backstory' to the recent catastrophe - i.e. the Jewish War - which was also a complete fiction. That doesn't mean that it happened this way. I am only saying it is at least equally plausible to the more conventional alternative that seems to be followed by John2 i.e. that we take all the documents identified as 'lies,' 'forgeries,' 'falsifications,' romances etc by the original Christians - i.e. the Marcionites - and assume that the things said about Simon Magus and Paul - namely that they invented Jesus out of visions, hallucinations and creativity as always present alongside the fake history.

I can even conceive of a scenario which is a mix of 1 and 2 - namely that 'Mark' (for lack of a better name) heard stories related to a 'Joshua' or a fulfilled 'Joshua expectation' (i.e. a sect leader) who existed sometime before 70 CE and used that as the basis to his narrative which justified the creation of a NEW priestly order. The bottom line however is that Mark's efforts were an aping or imitation of Ezra's original narrative origins for a priestly order. What Ezra did at the beginning of the Persian period so Mark did at the end of the same second commonwealth period hence its appropriateness. In other words, the knowledge of the artificiality of Ezra's narrative was relatively widespread among the Jewish elites (who were all of priestly stock). That is to say on the one hand that educated 'Hellenistic' Jews looked at and treated their religion very much in the same way as educated Greek treated theirs. On the other hand, the educated Jews were all priests or of priestly stock. To that end, they had a cash cow - an inheritance - which, like children of rich parents today expecting an inheritance, never allowed for Jews to completely disavow the myths of the past and encouraged the creation of new myths at the end of the second commonwealth period - i.e. with the expectation that they could continue to bilk the ignorant masses and maintain their high standard of living.

Honor your fathers and mothers for Jewish priests meant perpetuate the myths which sustained their lifestyle and leading position in society.

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Giuseppe
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:12 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:01 am
3. in some form the killing of Jesus by the Jews
are you aware that Pilate killing Jesus is a more old tradition than 'Jews' killing Jesus (as more embarrassing) ?

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Secret Alias
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:23 am

Not interested in going down a rabbit hole with you. But no my points derive mostly from Celsus so goodbye

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Giuseppe
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:31 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:23 am
Not interested in going down a rabbit hole with you. But no my points derive mostly from Celsus so goodbye
excuse my curiosity, but I wanted only to derive this your information by you. :notworthy:

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mlinssen
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Re: What Happened?

Post by mlinssen » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:48 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:01 am
I think we have to go to a minimalist position to begin with:

1. something to do with the Jewish revolt of 70 CE
2. something about God not liking sacrifices and punishing the Jews for divergence from 'the true religion' (however defined)
3. in some form the killing of Jesus by the Jews exemplified their (the Jews) disdain for the true religion and their ignorance of God

And that's it really. That's all that we can know for sure. Whether or not any of this was historical is a separate question.
Agreed. The Jews must have been mind-broken (hehe) after the temple destruction and much in need of practicing religion, as well aa an extremely good excuse for once again being ruthlessly destroyed at its very core

The Jesus story is two sided: it offers the Jews shelter in the form of a safe religion, yet it also must explain why they got punished. Paul's original sin was perfect of course; it supplied them with a reason for the reason that they needed to be punished again and again and again: they simply were bad to the bone, that's what original sin implies

Original sin gives one peace of mind. I think it fully developed much later and I really have no idea how many Jews converted, but yeah, all the story writing began after 70 CE. The Thomas movement must have been thrilled with the destruction of 70, as I suspect that Thomas was Samarian. I have no idea in what direction it had evolved then - leave a spiritual movement of to people and it will go mainstream and turn into religion, simple as that; it's just a matter of time

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Irish1975
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Re: What Happened?

Post by Irish1975 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:31 am

One of the ironies of Jesus questing today is that we have not only the zombie-like survival of quests for a historical Jesus, but also an equally feverish, equally ungrounded quest for the Mythical Jesus. Both are doomed. We should have accepted long ago that questing for a Jesus of any sort, historical or mythical, is never going to succeed. But into the breach one my time!

So then we come to the debate about Christian origins. A podcaster named Earl Fontainelle has a thought-provoking episode on the topic. He thinks that Christian origins can never be untangled, because the evidence is so bad. But that in any intelligent discussion we should consider at least 3 rival origin stories:

1. Christianity evolved out of apocalyptic Judaism
2. Christianity evolved out of zealot-led messianic rebellions against Rome
3. Christianity evolved out of the breeding of Judaism with dying/rising god theme of pagan mystery cults.

An ideal account would blend these three origin stories in accordance with the factual record, if we had an adequate factual record; but we don’t.

So we might as well debate who killed JFK. Life is just no fun if you can’t hypothesize about hopelessly unknowable historical events.

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