How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
andrewcriddle
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:57 am

Ulan wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:41 am
This starts resembling that infamous "toe stub" exchange.

@John T: Would you mind explaining what your issue is? Is your real question whether the NT says that, specifically, God the Father comes down to Earth to get sacrificed? If so, you would have had to specify this, as according to the creed of all Christian denominations (Mormons don't apply here), Jesus is God, which makes that distinction moot. The point that he came to Earth from heaven is established in the first verses of gJohn. The point that the sacrifice is the wish of God is established in the Gethsemane episode. Ergo, God came to Earth to get sacrificed.

If you have any issues with this, you should get more specific in your answers and stop playing games here.
Formally speaking the idea that God the Father comes down to Earth to get sacrificed is the heresy of Patripassianism

Andrew Criddle

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Ulan » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:05 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:57 am
Ulan wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:41 am
This starts resembling that infamous "toe stub" exchange.

@John T: Would you mind explaining what your issue is? Is your real question whether the NT says that, specifically, God the Father comes down to Earth to get sacrificed? If so, you would have had to specify this, as according to the creed of all Christian denominations (Mormons don't apply here), Jesus is God, which makes that distinction moot. The point that he came to Earth from heaven is established in the first verses of gJohn. The point that the sacrifice is the wish of God is established in the Gethsemane episode. Ergo, God came to Earth to get sacrificed.

If you have any issues with this, you should get more specific in your answers and stop playing games here.
Formally speaking the idea that God the Father comes down to Earth to get sacrificed is the heresy of Patripassianism

Andrew Criddle
Indeed. However, nobody made this specific claim in this thread.

If I'd take a guess here, (parts of) early Christianity didn't try to be a monotheistic religion. Those parts of Christianity that made Jesus a God (gJohn mostly) seemed to have several gods in their pantheon (there may be a third god that is not the Holy Spirit in gJohn). As such, the question of the OP probably didn't come up at that time, as God (the Father) was more or less out of the picture in this whole sacrifice business. The problems like the one in the OP arose when all those different Christianities got cobbled together under the banner of the trinity, which tried to unite the polytheistic and monotheistic branches.

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:39 am

Even this early hymn:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
It echoes the sentiment or idea expressed in the Prologue of John. It seems to correspond to:

a) Jesus was a god in heaven with God (the Father)
b) he was man-like coming down to earth to obediently crucifying himself

My original question was how does this - i.e. the path laid out for divine sonship - connect back to the obvious tangible benefits of Christianity viz. civic idealism? I guess I am starting to find my answer. Those who become divine (i.e. following the path to divinity via being crucified, buried and resurrected with Christ) are like the angels and thus enter a community of angels like that in heaven.

But doesn't that mean that even the Marcionites had 'Valentinian-like' notions of a plurality of divinities in heaven? Heaven must have been crowded even for the Marcionites, no?

Moreover it occurs to me also that the beginning of this hymn assumes that nothing changes about Jesus's status after his resurrection. He was equal to god before and after the 'event' of coming down from heaven. His purpose is to display himself (God) crucified. That's the purpose he sets out with. He wants to be what Paul says he displays/portrays in Galatians - Christ crucified.

So his crucifixion is intentional. He intents to have men see God crucified. They have to see the old man crucified in order to take on the new man. Jesus or Christ doesn't need to do this for himself. There's nothing in it for him. He does it because 'in the beginning' it was foretold or decided that a time would come when humanity would receive the grace of this act, they would benefit from the opportunity of the path to divinity being manifest for them through his actions.

But this understanding leaves more questions than answers. Why did the temple have to be destroyed? Why did the Jews have to punish him in order to fulfill the promise? And most importantly who was intended to gain the benefit of seeing God crucified?? I must be biased but it would seem obvious that the Jews are the beneficiaries. Why else have this take place in Judea? Yes Jerusalem and its temple will be destroyed but if 'seeing' Jesus or Christ go through his Passion is the one and only path to salvation (and this 'seeing' transmitted or transcribed in the gospel) clearly the location of Judea means that Jews are going to do the seeing? Are we really serious in arguing that Pilate or the centurion are the only intended targets? Why then aren't Pilate and the centurion part of apostolic circle? The 'apostle' (or apostles) are sent to 'broadcast' the message and they are Jews right?

I can't get over the fact that if you take apart the logic of earliest Christianity it is clearly:

1. a god deliberately crucifying himself
2. to make an example for his chosen people so that they can follow his path
3. and those chosen people are necessarily Jews or Jewish proselytes

Gentiles did not get crucified in large numbers. But, interestingly Jews did in the period of the Jewish War. Did the gospel writer somehow take all the crucified Jews that surrounded Jerusalem in the final days of the war as the first imitatio dei? Yes that would be my suspicion. Even for the Jews of post 70 CE these were 'martyrs.' But Christianity must similarly have co-opted these rebels as martyrs for Christ. My point is that the gospel writer wasn't writing from the perspective of Jesus dying on the cross but also the first martyrs having already established. The gospel begins with the assumption that Christianity has already begun because (a) Jesus died and (b) the first martyrs following his example (perhaps unconsciously) have already been established.

I don't think the first gospel writer or Paul is/are waiting for the imitatio Dei to occur. He/they aren't writing to establish for the first time what was only promised in the example of Christ. The assumption is that (i) Christianity is a Jewish phenomenon and (ii) the perfect society/the kingdom of God/heaven has already been spread out on the world thanks to Jesus dying and his first martyrs already being established. I don't think the first apostle/evangelist is arguing for a dream being realized. God has already made it happen and he's just explaining what is taking place. I don't know if that makes sense but I think it is an important distinction.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:23 am

. I don't think the first apostle/evangelist is arguing for a dream being realized. God has already made it happen and he's just explaining what is taking place.
I would have some doubts about this claim. The basic feature of any Gospel (from the first to the more recent) is the polemic against the others. The "others" can be the Jews, the gentiles, the various heretics, etc. But they are people who "have" to be corrected and purified someway, in this or in the other life. By the same Gospel. I don't see as this "purification" could be designed to have a positive effect on the "purified" people without fall in the more banal religious hate. I can't see how who wrote the Earliest Gospel could be a Jew. There is too much hate in the his story.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:28 am

I don't remember who was that historicist scholar who wrote something as this: the Earliest Gospel was so anti-Jewish since the Jews, at the time of who wrote the Earliest Gospel, were considered the cause of the failure of the apocalyptic prophecies of the historical Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:31 pm

The basic feature of any Gospel (from the first to the more recent) is the polemic against the others.
This is complete nonsense again. Why do 'glad' or 'good tidings' necessitate hostility towards another group? Maybe that's how you look at the world but there's no evidence to suggest this. In fact that Church Fathers always speak in terms of a gospel speaking 'to' not 'against' groups.
“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

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:39 pm

And again to go to the basic point of the thread. The underlying logic of the gospel is Jesus martyring himself to 'make manifest' something or 'bring into acquaintance' a particular group of eyewitnesses with some sort of knowledge. This is the definition of 'gnostikos' as a philosophical terminology and clearly one 'brings into acquaintance' something positively to a particular individual or group. It is not 'against' outsiders.

We are all at this forum sophisticated enough to acknowledge that we have two levels of gnostic initiation. There is the gospel written by an author whom we know little or anything about. We don't know what his literary purpose was. And then there is the story itself. Most of us think that the story is just a story, there is little if any 'history' to the story. The story serves as an initiation into knowledge of something greater, something which was planned from the beginning of the world (so the propaganda).

But I wanted to also say this. Because 'secrecy' or 'mystery' is part of the gospel formulation it is apparent that ignorance of doctrine at the heart of the gospel is also purposed. God kept the Jews away from this knowledge. But it seems curious to me that the Jews are the principal witnesses to the drama that is the gospel (again is you buy into the historical claims of the gospel on any level even a 'lie' propagated by the author).

God clearly comes to earth to make the Jews see the divine plan. His coming down to earth to get crucified is only part of the plan. The 'full plan' is the eye-witnessing of the drama. To be certain there are some Gentiles present (Pilate, the soldiers). But was it really to be expected by god, by the author of the gospel that ignorant Gentiles would understand what was taking place beyond the historical or 'factual' details of the scourging, crucifying and burial of Jesus? I can't get over the fact that the vast majority of the eyewitnesses are Jewish because 'the Jews' are supposed to be the eye-witnesses. This cosmic drama is for them.

You see the story as being written against the Jews by an unknown author. My difficulty with this is that while you have no doubt the story was intended to be taken as myth, it is difficult to believe that Romans main point (cited earlier) - namely that we are supposed to partake in the same divine drama as Christ) could have worked if early Christians 'knew' it was all myth, all fiction. It might be a lie. The author might have made up what he claimed to be history but surely the fact that Romans expects us to also 'crucify the old man' assumes that Jesus really was crucified.

Again the author might have lied about this crucifixion (i.e. allowing for you to claim it never happened). But surely you will have to admit that you approach the gospel as myth because it allows you to ignore the fact that god comes to be crucified in order to be beheld by someone. If it fiction, the act of reading the fiction brings us into acquaintance with the ideas of the author. But the author is clearly asking us to do more than that. Paul at least is saying partake of the divine drama - something which doesn't make sense if the audience is Gentile because god obviously came to witnessed by Jews and secondly by asking us to partake in the divine drama, he assumes that Jesus must really have come down because it makes no sense to ask his literary authors to imitate fiction.
“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

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Ulan » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:42 pm

I guess the first gospel was written for a completely different reason than for this specific salvation message (salvation as consequence of the sacrifice). Note that not even all gospels follow this idea. gLuke is relatively mute on this point.
If we start with a gospel written as reaction to the disaster that struck Jerusalem and the temple, there was a need to explain why this happened. God sent a messenger to bring the people to their senses, but they didn't listen and killed the messenger. The punishment followed (the cleansing by fire in Malachi, the text gMark starts with). However, afterwards, God was supposed to set things straight, following the prophecies. This never happened. At this point, the killing of God's messenger had to be turned into the actual salvific act.

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:44 pm

But I wonder whether we suffer from our own cultural biases. For instance, the mythicism of an idiot like Giuseppe is - oddly enough - a direct by product of the Protestant emphasis or presupposition that the gospel is a historical narrative. Giuseppe can't see that he isn't dealing with the gospel per se but the way the gospel has been read ever since the Protestants took over the scholarship of the gospel. He thinks he's dealing with or approaching 'Marcionism' merely because he develops this 'historical bias' into an anti-Jewish myth but two dimensionality of the approach is still consistent with the historicist model.

Now since you mention the 'first gospel' - let's suppose that first gospel was Marcionite for argument's sake. When I read Ephrem and his constant reference to Jesus beginning in 'his own heaven' and then coming down a great distance to the earth I see very little emphasis on the destruction of the temple. This is particularly odd given the supposition that Marcion was anti-Jewish. I don't see a single reference to - what we naturally suppose to be - the Marcionite 'joy' of the Jews being punished with the destruction of their temple and their city. Why is that?

Is it simply a matter that the orthodox were reluctant to acknowledge what the Marcionite attitude was toward the temple or was it (as I suppose) that Marcionism already assumes the end of Judaism has taken place and it represents 'the new Israel' so that dwelling on the past wasn't important to its promulgation? Even though Giuseppe is a moron, what he assumes about a Marcionite 'fixation' on the 'war' between the Marcionite god and the Jewish god does generally pervade thought on the religious tradition. But why don't actual Marcionite sources (the Church Fathers) make any reference whatsoever to the Marcionite 'fixation' on the destruction of the temple?
“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

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Re: How Did God Crucified Establish Civic Idealism?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:04 pm

Another thing that strikes me is that the gospel(s) aren't written as a historical document. If, let's say, Peter stood behind the reporting of the gospel we'd expect to see Peter's POV consistently reflected - i.e. that Peter was there or that Peter saw this or that. Instead we have to ask ourselves - from what POV was the gospel written? My answer would be - it was written from the POV of God. Maybe not Jesus's point of view but nevertheless someone or something 'hovering' around Jesus and reporting all the things that were going on.

The reason I bring this up is that one of the reasons the gospel was so successful is that it really isn't connected to any particular time. If, for instance, the gospel had dealt as you suggest:
as reaction to the disaster that struck Jerusalem and the temple, there was a need to explain why this happened. God sent a messenger to bring the people to their senses, but they didn't listen and killed the messenger.
You'd think that there would be more signs that it was written around 70 CE when in point of fact the only reason we know when it was written is the fact that it seems to know the destruction of the temple has already taken place.

All of this is standard stuff of course. But I would argue that there are good reasons to suppose that the gospel wasn't written at 70 CE + 1 year but in fact at a slightly greater distance from the destruction because an Israel beyond the Second Commonwealth has already been presupposed. The 'kingdom of God' isn't a 'hope' or an expectation to come but rather - owing to the mystery or 'gospel secret' - something on the earth which the author knows about, wants to initiate the hearer into but can't (because of the restrictions placed on him by the culture of ritual mystery religions). I see the gospel story as operating in the manner of Clement of Alexandria.

I am sure you are familiar with Clement's writing. Clement constantly operates with the presumption that what he is setting in front of the reader is only part of the story. 'This is much as I can say,' he says over and over again. But he writes in order to draw people into the Christian community to make them ask more questions, to pique an interest in the culture. I read the gospel the same way. The author isn't writing a history of Jesus. He isn't trying to explain the destruction of the temple. There was a Jesus, there was a destruction of the temple but all of this was necessary in order to establish the Christian community which is the real subject of the gospel narrative - viz. 'the new Israel.'

The story of the gospel is really the story of the new Israel much in the way that the Book of Exodus is the story of the old Israel. The Pentateuch supposes that the god of Israel was there throughout the time from Adam to Moses but only mentions his explicit manifestation at Sinai (and even then it is pretty obscure). But clearly in the same way as the Israelites crossed the sea and the Egyptians drowned the new Israel was established through the events of the Passion.
“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

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