Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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How to become the author of the New Testament?
Contrary to appearances, this is a current question, as proved by Morton Smith less than 50 years ago. He made it ...
Part One. Revelation. The first way never gets old and is absolutely universal regardless of time, place. For use in any culture and for any deity. This way of entering any religious movement is divine revelation.
The revelation was revealed by Ptolemy, the Hellenistic ruler of Egypt, by telling about his sleepy conversation with the Hellenistic-Egyptian god Serapis. Certainly the ruler experienced this revelation at a time when a large number of the faithful gathered at Serapion. Religion was an important element of power.
Paul of Tarsus had a vision of the risen Christ and he was able to offer his perfect ideas in great letters. A real talent that attracted a multitude of editors and forgers, specialists in historical politics. I am inclined to consider him a literary invention of anonymous authors. It's always easier to skip the questions: How was it? What did you see? Will you tell me again? when they concern an imaginary patron rather than yourself. Paul was so sophisticated that he preferred not to combine his literary production with the stories of others. Probably for safety reasons. He had never imagined that the made-up stories of Jesus' life would stand the test of time. He was wrong. But he still reserved a large place for himself in the New Testament, and his counterfeiters also took up a lot of space in it. Well done.
Another example is Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, the most American religion of all. It's easy to laugh but when I look at Mitt Romney, it's better to think about it. The new community in the third generation put a sensible candidate for the President of the USA - it gives food for thought. Well done indeed.
Part Two. Collection of sayings. We have three examples of such collections of quotes that can be compared to cheat sheets. Jesus said something that the missionary read, and then the missionary himself had to move his head in order to expand the quote meaningfully and explain it to the public. The tool is certainly useful, but quite demanding. A missionary must be intellectually fit and creative. Therefore, this form was only temporary, and we don't know much of the collection of quotes.
They were quickly replaced by the Gospels, testimonials with a simple and clear plot, easy for missionaries and recipients. The most famous collection of quotes is the famous Q (virtual or real), later the Gospel of Thomas. The latest collection of quotes comes from the Islamic tradition, from the work of the 11th-century Sufi al-Ghazali, "Revival of the Religious Sciences". The latter can be found in Robert M. Price The Pre-Nicene New Testament: Fifty-four Formative Texts.
Now. At this point, according to the latest fashion among biblical scholars, I should distance myself from the fatal flaws of this Author, which I am doing here. Robert should definitely cut his hair, because when I look at him, I have an irresistible desire for a cold Coke with lemon, and the doctor forbade me a long time ago. Hope this is enough.
Part Three. Gospels Well, it took quite a bit of courage and courage to write something like the Gospels. Literature began with clichéd divine revelations, be it Paul or John, or the gigantic Hermas Shepherd (where the name of Jesus is mentioned only once). In them, at best, Jesus was crucified, died and rose again. It is not known where, when and by whom. Later, other authors took the courage and came up with a whole lot of quotes from Jesus, but it was a temporary and incomplete form, the result of their unstable attitude (I wish and I am afraid) and lack of skill in creating the plot. But the evangelists immediately realized that they had discovered a perfect form and a golden vein. Stories about the life of Jesus that are the basis of folk religiosity, a religious language for the masses of the poor. The evangelists copied each other in order to bring to the market new editions better than the competing ones, better than the previous ones only as soon as possible. From one gospel, four were created by the method of developing a living document, without having to be authorized to do so. It's like taking the copyright from a Superman comic and removing the author's name. Total madness of copying, correcting, cut-paste, unstoppable creation. The original author would immediately cease to count.
Part Four. Fortune Favors The Bold The last method is to convince the world that something extraordinary, a lost gospel passages has been discovered. One that you wrote yourself. A real masterpiece of the Grand Master of Illusions Morton Smith.