Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
theomise
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Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by theomise » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:01 am

Granted that 1st century (pre-gospel) Christianity involved a purely celestial Christ figure (as well-argued by Doherty, Carrier, et al)...

Imagine that - apart from both mythic fantasy and literal history - there emerges a pseudo-history (written early-mid-2nd-century) in which the intertestamental period is characterized via non-mystical yet allegorical narratives along the lines of:

"The Crucible" (Miller)
"Animal Farm" (Orwell)
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (Baum)
"Faerie Queen" (Spenser)
"Pilgrim's Progress" (Bunyan)
...

maryhelena
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by maryhelena » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:53 am

theomise wrote:Granted that 1st century (pre-gospel) Christianity involved a purely celestial Christ figure (as well-argued by Doherty, Carrier, et al)...
No - not granted......not necessary to choose between the spirit and the body..... ;)

Imagine that - apart from both mythic fantasy and literal history - there emerges a pseudo-history (written early-mid-2nd-century);
Dating? Methinks that's an open question.

in which the intertestamental period is characterized via non-mystical yet allegorical narratives along the lines of:

"The Crucible" (Miller)
"Animal Farm" (Orwell)
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (Baum)
"Faerie Queen" (Spenser)
"Pilgrim's Progress" (Bunyan)
...
Yep, the gospel story is not mythic fantasy nor literal history. The gospel story is prophetic history. Hasmonean/Jewish history viewed, and interpreted, through a prophetic lens. The Jews were just as interested in their political situation as they were in their theological speculations. Theological speculations does not negate the political realities on the ground.

Notice what Josephus says he is doing - writing his history where 'our prophets leave off'.
Preface to the War of the Jews Chapter 1. Par 6.

...many Jews before me have composed the histories of our ancestors very exactly; as have some of the Greeks done it also, and have translated our histories into their own tongue, and have not much mistaken the truth in their histories. But then, where the writers of these affairs and our prophets leave off, thence shall I take my rise, and begin my history.
Thus, for instance, when reading Josephus one has to take care if he is writing history or writing an interpretation, a prophetic take, on that history. As, for example, his James story.

Likewise, when reading the gospel story one needs to be looking for historical reflections within the stories of mythology, theology, allegory and symbolism. Especially so if one is seeking early christian origins. It is these historical reflections that allow one to understand why the gospel story and it's Jesus figure were created. It is these historical reflections that have allowed the Jesus figure a veneer of historicity. A veneer of historicity that the Carrier-Doherty celestial crucifixion cannot penetrate. That veneer of historicity needs a historical attack not a spiritual attack. That's like water off a duck's back....The real debate here is over history verse the veneer of historicity in the gospel story. History can expose the veneer for what it is - a shadow, a reflection of the reality. The genuine wood puts the veneer to shame.....
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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MrMacSon
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:24 am

maryhelena wrote:Yep, the gospel story is not mythic fantasy nor literal history. The gospel story is prophetic history. Hasmonean/Jewish history viewed, and interpreted, through a prophetic lens.
I can agree the gospel sotry is not literal history.

I think the term "prophetic history" is far-fetched; an oxymoron. The gospel story has elements of OT prophecy, but I don't think one can call that 'prophetic history'.
maryhelena wrote:Likewise, when reading the gospel story one needs to be looking for *historical reflections* within the stories of mythology, theology, allegory and symbolism. Especially so if one is seeking early christian origins. It is these *historical reflections* that allow one to understand why the gospel story and it's Jesus figure were created. It is these *historical reflections* that have allowed the Jesus figure a veneer of historicity. A veneer of historicity that the Carrier-Doherty celestial crucifixion cannot penetrate. That veneer of historicity needs a historical attack not a spiritual attack. That's like water off a duck's back....The real debate here is over history verse the veneer of historicity in the gospel story. History can expose the veneer for what it is - a shadow, a reflection of the reality. The genuine wood puts the veneer to shame.....
You assert *historical reflections* - care to elaborate?

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MrMacSon
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:29 am

maryhelena wrote:
theomise wrote:Granted that 1st century (pre-gospel) Christianity involved a purely celestial Christ figure (as well-argued by Doherty, Carrier, et al)...
No - not granted......not necessary to choose between the spirit and the body..... ;)
Not necessary b/c the pre-Gospel 1st C was full of Gnostic stories full of Logos-Christ figures ...

The narrative about a humanly [Jesus] figure was added later ...
theomise wrote:Imagine that - apart from both mythic fantasy and literal history - there emerges a pseudo-history (written early-mid-2nd-century);
Agree. The pseudo-history was likely further redacted & elaborated on; from mid-late 2nd c until codices Vaticanus & Sinaiticus emerged 4th C; and beyond, as we know there were modifications after those codices.

maryhelena
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by maryhelena » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:25 am

MrMacSon wrote:
maryhelena wrote:
theomise wrote:Granted that 1st century (pre-gospel) Christianity involved a purely celestial Christ figure (as well-argued by Doherty, Carrier, et al)...
No - not granted......not necessary to choose between the spirit and the body..... ;)
Not necessary b/c the pre-Gospel 1st C was full of Gnostic stories full of Logos-Christ figures ...

The narrative about a humanly [Jesus] figure was added later ...
Actually, dating the manuscripts of the gospel story does not date the data within those manuscripts. It's the gospel story that has to be dealt with - ie the data in those manuscripts. Even if, for the sake of argument, the gospel story could be proven to have been written 200 years post Paul - that would not change the relevance of that gospel story for Jewish history. The gospels we do have are not first editions of the Jesus story. The Jesus story has been worked over a number of times; from the wonder-doer story in Slavonic Josephus, to gMatthew and then gLuke. One should not be putting all ones eggs in a Pauline basket....
theomise wrote:Imagine that - apart from both mythic fantasy and literal history - there emerges a pseudo-history (written early-mid-2nd-century);
Agree. The pseudo-history was likely further redacted & elaborated on; from mid-late 2nd c until codices Vaticanus & Sinaiticus emerged 4th C; and beyond, as we know there were modifications after those codices.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

maryhelena
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by maryhelena » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:31 am

MrMacSon wrote:
maryhelena wrote:Yep, the gospel story is not mythic fantasy nor literal history. The gospel story is prophetic history. Hasmonean/Jewish history viewed, and interpreted, through a prophetic lens.
I can agree the gospel sotry is not literal history.

I think the term "prophetic history" is far-fetched; an oxymoron. The gospel story has elements of OT prophecy, but I don't think one can call that 'prophetic history'.
It's prophetic history in that it's history viewed through a prophetic lens i.e. an interpretation of history. Hasmonean/Jewish history. Prophecy is not just about predicting stuff - it's about fulfillment, however arbitrary that fulfillment may well be.
maryhelena wrote:Likewise, when reading the gospel story one needs to be looking for *historical reflections* within the stories of mythology, theology, allegory and symbolism. Especially so if one is seeking early christian origins. It is these *historical reflections* that allow one to understand why the gospel story and it's Jesus figure were created. It is these *historical reflections* that have allowed the Jesus figure a veneer of historicity. A veneer of historicity that the Carrier-Doherty celestial crucifixion cannot penetrate. That veneer of historicity needs a historical attack not a spiritual attack. That's like water off a duck's back....The real debate here is over history verse the veneer of historicity in the gospel story. History can expose the veneer for what it is - a shadow, a reflection of the reality. The genuine wood puts the veneer to shame.....
You assert *historical reflections* - care to elaborate?
OK - I'll re-post my historical chart a little later.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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MrMacSon
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:04 am

maryhelena wrote: The gospels we do have are not first editions of the Jesus story. The Jesus story has been worked over a number of times; from the wonder-doer story in Slavonic Josephus, to gMatthew and then gLuke. One should not be putting all ones eggs in a Pauline basket....
I agree that it's almost certain that "The Jesus story has been worked over a number of times".

I don't put gospel eggs in the Pauline basket. I think the gospels & the Pauline texts had distinctly separate origins, and were redacted & merged later to give the impression they were confluent stories.

I don't think Paul was anymore than a literary character (a la the Jesus-character), or a redactor along the way, or a composite; perhaps even a component of a preacher-dude.

maryhelena
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by maryhelena » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:05 am

MrMacSon wrote:
maryhelena wrote: The gospels we do have are not first editions of the Jesus story. The Jesus story has been worked over a number of times; from the wonder-doer story in Slavonic Josephus, to gMatthew and then gLuke. One should not be putting all ones eggs in a Pauline basket....
I agree that it's almost certain that "The Jesus story has been worked over a number of times".

I don't put gospel eggs in the Pauline basket. I think the gospels & the Pauline texts had distinctly separate origins, and were redacted & merged later to give the impression they were confluent stories.

I don't think Paul was anymore than a literary character (a la the Jesus-character), or a redactor along the way, or a composite; perhaps even a component of a preacher-dude.
:thumbup:
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

maryhelena
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by maryhelena » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:47 am

OK - here is my chart. I did post it a few years ago on FRDB but no longer able to give a link to that forum. (it's more or less the same chart - with a few nice colours now....)
----------------------------

Historical artefacts, such as coins, are testimony to the fact that certain individuals were historical figures. That is the bare bones of historical evidence. However, history requires a story; a narrative, to joins up the facts and present a meaningful picture. The picture could be cloudy and unclear or it could be a reasonable explanation of what happened. In the chart that follows, Josephus is the primary source for building that historical narrative. Did Josephus himself, writing after the events, have accurate material to work with? Or is Josephus creating his own narrative - and without a secondary source there is no way to be sure. All one can do is work with his material and question his story when it presents problems.

The chart below has set out Josephan Hasmonean history for Antigonus. It also presents the Josephan history for Philip the Tetrarch. Philo’s story about the mocking of Carabbas and Agrippa I is also used. This chart is the historical backdrop that allows the gospel literary, mythological JC, a veneer of historicity, an ability to reflect historical events. It is this reflection, this veneer of historicity, that has allowed the assumption that the gospel JC figure is a historical figure. That assumption, when considered in the light of history, the Hasmonean and Herodian coins, and that history’s narrative as set down by Josephus and Philo, is unfounded.

HISTORY and Coins Philo (died about 50 c.e.) Flaccus JOSEPHUS: War (about 75 c.e.)Antiquities:(about 94 c.e.) The composite gospel Jesus figure based upon the historical figures of the last King and High Priest of the Jews, Antigonus; Philip the Tetrarch and Agrippa I.
King Antigonus Mattathias II High Priest of the Jews: 4 b.c.e. – 37 b.c.e. Hasmonean Bilingual Coins, Hebrew and Greek. Antigonus enters Jerusalem: Antigonus himself also bit off Hyrcanus's ears with his own teeth, as he fell down upon his knees to him, that so he might never be able upon any mutation of affairs to take the high priesthood again, for the high priests that officiated were to be complete, and without blemish. War: Book 1.ch.13 (40 b.c.)........................Antony came in, and told them that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be king; so they all gave their votes for it. War: Book 1.ch.14 (40 b.c.) John 18.10; Mark 14.47; Matthew 26.51; Luke 22.50. John and Luke specifying right ear, Mark and Matthew have 'ear'. gJohn stating that Peter cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant.
Now as winter was going off, Herod marched to Jerusalem, and brought his army to the wall of it; this was the third year since he had been made king at Rome; War: Book 1. ch.17 (37 b.c.).. Herod on his own account, in order to take the government from Antigonus, who was declared an enemy at Rome, and that he might himself be king, according to the decree of the Senate. Antiquities Book 14 ch.16. gJohn indicates a three year ministry for JC.
Cassius Dio: Antigonus. These people Antony entrusted to one Herod to govern, and Antigonus he bound to a cross and flogged,—treatment accorded to no other king by the Romans,—and subsequently slew him. Roman History, Book xlix, c.22. Then it was that Antigonus, without any regard to his former or to his present fortune, came down from the citadel, and fell at Sosius's feet, who without pitying him at all, upon the change of his condition, laughed at him beyond measure, and called him Antigona. Yet did he not treat him like a woman, or let him go free, but put him into bonds, and kept him in custody.... Sosius ......went away from Jerusalem, leading Antigonus away in bonds to Antony; then did the axe bring him to his end..War: Book 1.ch.18. ..Antigonus, without regard to either his past or present circumstances, came down from the citadel, and fell down at the feet of Sosius, who took no pity of him, in the change of his fortune, but insulted him beyond measure, and called him Antigone [i.e. a woman, and not a man;] yet did he not treat him as if he were a woman, by letting him go at liberty, but put him into bonds, and kept him in close custody....... The soldiers mock Jesus: Mark 15.16-20; Matthew 27:27-31.Jesus flogged: John 19:1; Mark 15:15; Matthew 27:26. JC crucified. Trilingual sign over cross: Aramaic, Latin and Greek. gJohn 19.19-21. JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Other variations: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS; THE KING OF THE JEWS; THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
...and then but Herod was afraid lest Antigonus should be kept in prison [only] by Antony, and that when he was carried to Rome by him, he might get his cause to be heard by the senate, and might demonstrate, as he was himself of the royal blood, and Herod but a private man, that therefore it belonged to his sons however to have the kingdom, on account of the family they were of, in case he had himself offended the Romans by what he had done. Out of Herod's fear of this it was that he, by giving Antony a great deal of money, endeavoured to persuade him to have Antigonus slain. Antiquities: Book 14 ch.16. (Slavonic Josephus has the teachers of the Law giving the money to Pilate...) Judas betrays JC for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 27.3.
Now when Antony had received Antigonus as his captive, he determined to keep him against his triumph; but when he heard that the nation grew seditious, and that, out of their hatred to Herod, they continued to bear good-will to Antigonus, he resolved to behead him at Antioch, for otherwise the Jews could no way be brought to be quiet. (37 b.c.) Antiquities: Book 15 ch.1. Acts: 11:16.The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Philip the Tetrarch: Herodian Coins. 4 b.c.e. – 34 c.e. When Philip also had built Paneas, a city at the fountains of Jordan, he named it Caesarea. He also advanced the village Bethsaida, situate at the lake of Gennesareth, unto the dignity of a city, both by the number of inhabitants it contained, and its other grandeur, and called it by the name of Julias, Antiquities: Book 18 ch.2. John 1:43-45. Philip, Andrew and Peter come from Bethsaida. Around the villages of Caesarea Phillipi JC asked the disciples who do people say he is. Peter says: "You are the Messiah". Mark 8:27-30; Matthew 16: 13-16.
(about 34 c.e.) About this time it was that Philip, Herod's brother, departed this life, in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius, after he had been tetrarch of Trachonitis and Gaulanitis, and of the nation of the Bataneans also, thirty seven years. He had showed himself a person of moderation and quietness in the conduct of his life and government; he constantly lived in that country which was subject to him; he used to make his progress with a few chosen friends; his tribunal also, on which he sat in judgment, followed him in his progress; and when any one met him who wanted his assistance, he made no delay, but had his tribunal set down immediately, wheresoever he happened to be, and sat down upon it, and heard his complaint: he there ordered the guilty that were convicted to be punished, and absolved those that had been accused unjustly. He died at Julias; and when he was carried to that monument which he had already erected for himself beforehand, he was buried with great pomp.His principality Tiberius took, (for he left no sons behind him,) and added it to the province of Syria, but gave order that the tributes which arose from it should be collected, and laid up in his tetrachy. Antiquities: Book 18 ch.4. disciples/apostles: John 6:70; Mark 3:14; Matthew 10:2; Luke 6:13. A rich man from Arimathea, Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. Matthew 27:57-59. Mark 15:43. Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. JC crucified during rule of Pilate - which ends in 36 c.e.
Agrippa I. (d.44 c.e.) Herodian Coins. The mocking of Carabbas:... a diadem, and clothed the rest of his body with a common door mat instead of a cloak and instead of a sceptre they put in his hand a small stick ..., he had received all the insignia of royal authority, and had been dressed and adorned like a king, ....Then from the multitude of those who were standing around there arose a wonderful shout of men calling out Maris; and this is the name by which it is said that they call the kings among the Syrians;..when Flaccus heard, or rather when he saw this, he would have done right if he had apprehended the maniac and put him in prison, that he might not give to those who reviled him any opportunity or excuse for insulting their superiors, and if he had chastised those who dressed him up for having dared both openly and disgustedly, both with words and actions, to insult a king. The soldiers mock Jesus: Mark 15.16-20; Matthew 27:27-31. ..... The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him............Pilate released Barabbas.

While the chart has set down the historical backdrop in which to view the gospel JC figure, the chart is not the whole JC story. That story goes on to include OT midrash and mythological elements. However, without the historical backdrop, the gospel JC story would have had no legs upon which to run; no legs to allow it to be viewed as a plausible historical account. Crucified itinerate carpenters might well present historical possibilities and assumptions. However, belief in historical possibilities is something down the line, not something immediate. The immediate reality does not allow for possibilities - it allows only for what reality is. And that is historical reality not assumptions or possibilities.

The gospel JC story is not history; it is a mythologizing of history; an interpretation of history; salvation history. History viewed through a Jewish philosophical and a prophetic lens.
--------------------------------------

While a lot of what Josephus wrote re Antigonus cannot be historically verified ie biting off the ear of his uncle Hyrcanus, his writing is what we have. All one can do is put the Josephan account/stories alongside the gospel account and acknowledge the reflection of the Josephan account/stories within the gospel story.
Last edited by maryhelena on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

bcedaifu
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Re: Political allegory in the 'exoteric' legend of Jesus

Post by bcedaifu » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:07 am

theomise wrote: Imagine that - apart from both mythic fantasy and literal history - there emerges a pseudo-history (written early-mid-2nd-century) in which the intertestamental period is characterized via non-mystical yet allegorical narratives along the lines of:
"The Crucible" (Miller)
"Animal Farm" (Orwell)
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (Baum)
"Faerie Queen" (Spenser)
"Pilgrim's Progress" (Bunyan)
I cannot write anything about the other titles listed here, theomise, but Wizard of Oz is 100% supernatural, not just simple fiction. It is based on pure imagination, and describes various violations of natural science, including overt repudiation of physics, chemistry and biology. I cannot imagine how you consider this title to belong to a group of “non-mystical” writings. It is obviously hostile to reality. There is no such thing as “pseudo-history”, here. The bible is pure fantasy, with myriad stories elaborating one denial of the laws of science after another. Yes, it may contain a hint of genuine figures, like War and Peace, but it is none the less absolute fiction. Do you regard Tolstoy as an historian of Napolean?
maryhelena wrote: The gospel JC story is not history; it is a mythologizing of history; an interpretation of history; salvation history. History viewed through a Jewish philosophical and a prophetic lens.
The gospels are not history, whether viewed through one skewed lens or another.
http://www.louis-chor.ca/emaki3.htm

The Moko shurai ekotoba represent an “historical” component to the record of the Mongol invasions of Kyushu in the 13th centuy CE. The central figure, Takezaki Suenaga, is thought to have been an actual participant in the struggle to repel the invaders. These 750 year old paintings may or may not portray the actual character of the Korean invasion, but at least the scrolls are not duplicates, edited several times in the past 8 centuries, to conform to the political ideology du jour, as is the situation for our extant copies of the writings of both Josephus and the gospels.

The “gospels” are not gospel, that is, we have multiple versions of the same stories, none of them authentic, all copies, all with evidence of falsification (tampering), all with legends embedded within fables, contained as components of myths.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox may indeed represent allegory, or a snapshot of life in the timber camps of French Canada in the early 19th century, but these legends are not “history”. The stories are not “mythologizing of history”. The stories are not “an interpretation of history”. They are fiction. There has never been any human capable of violating the laws of physics to accomplish the feats exhibited by Paul and his Babe. No need to invoke “Jewish philosophical” or “prophetic lens”. The gospel stories, Superman, and Paul Bunyan are simply literature, not history. The only (tenuous) association with Judaism, may be the authorship of one or more of these fables by humans of Jewish ethnicity, however that may be defined....

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