The Mystery of Jesus Christ. (Page 74)
ghostgeek: So, if two things have always been around, why not a third thing: the universe? In other words, maybe there is no First Cause.
ghostgeek: Mmm ... so you consider the polytheistic gods a creation of some dude having a hard time on the lavatory? Well, could be, especially at night, but why curtail your insight to Thor and his ilk? Why not extend it to Chubby Cheeks Himself, Mr "I'm God and Don't You Go Forgetting It"?
Zanjan: Your flight of fancy reads much like polytheism....it's a good idea to steer clear of anything with an "ism" in it as it's downright political savagery.
The car analogy, I think, only works for the embellished religion you rode in on, not for its Founder. For me, Christianity would be a Ford Pinto and Judaism would be a Model T. (Note to the Gen Y and Z's -the latter could navigate rough & bumpy roads, never blowing its back end off).
I think when we decide to toss partisan politics, the waters wont be so muddy for the bottom feeders. Perhaps then Christians might adjust their view of the relationship between Jesus Christ and God by reading the text as it is, without preconceived notions.
Of course, this means all the clergy have to die. It's a sketchy profession anyway. Gone are the days when a mother hopes her son will grow up to be a priest or president.
ghostgeek: Christianity is dualistic! You have Papa God on His cloud throne and, according to believing gerbils, by His side sits His nipper, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They dress it up in mumbo jumbo but that's what it amounts to.
ghostgeek: If you don't like the car analogy, then think of Christ, the Son of God, as wearing a meat-suit called Jesus whilst working wonders on earth. The suit gets discarded but, when the time's right, Christ dons another one called Titus and destroys the Temple in Jerusalem. It may seem a little fanciful but that's how the evangelist portrays the situation in Mark's Gospel.
Zanjan: You forgot the heavenly concourse - they also sit on the right side of God. The area is pretty crowded, wouldn't you say?
Don't forget the left side - that's where the goats are but Christians ignore that. Makes you wonder who the leader of the goats was. I think they know but it makes them cringe to think he'd be that close to God.
I don't believe in reincarnation but I do believe all are God's servants and do His bidding, whether they know it or not. The Bible says some are lazy, worthless servants but, according to God's Will, they still hang around. We all know some parasites.
(Edited by Zanjan)
ghostgeek: Are we talking sheep and goats here? The sheep to the right side of the Son of Man and the goats on the left?
ghostgeek: Just about every book I open on Jesus appears to assume that behind the Gospels there exists a forty year oral tradition. This I used to accept, as it seems most people still do, but now the notion is starting to seem utterly ridiculous. In a literate society like the first century Roman Empire clearly was, why should anyone assume that Jesus, if he left any impression at all, would be remembered orally for many decades?
The only answer I can think of is the one people most probably don't want to hear. That without this assumed "oral tradition" there is nothing to justify calling the Gospels a historical record of Jesus' ministry.
ghostgeek: Ordinary Roman soldiers could write home begging for warm socks, so it is clearly ludicrous to say that nobody would, or could, write down their recollections of Jesus. Also, to suggest the Apostles went round preaching without anybody recorded their message if it was considered important, is to stretch credulity past snapping point.
Zanjan: Roman society was comprised of a large number of slaves, perhaps half the population - why would you think those were all literate? Only the upper echelon were literate..that would include soldiers who were officers or legionaries (elite soldiers). In those days, they fought right alongside the common trooper, ate the same food, and got as dirty and cold as everyone else. Only the Commander got special consideration.
There were no fully literate societies until recently.
Understand that a small band of movers on foot, even if literate, would still need pens, ink and paper/parchment. These things weren't easily accessible to the common man; even if they could get them, it's not like they had the money or carried tables or scrolls around with them.
The Jesus movement was too small in the beginning to have been noticed as being important; there were lots of other small messianic groups nobody cared about. Jesus, however, was very noticeable but only for 3 years. His stature, in person, was easily recognizable - no one who met Him accused Him of being a faker.
Great leaders are always known right away, especially by other great leaders.
All historical records were published long after the fact. The Printing press was the game changer, followed by newspapers.
ghostgeek: Switch the Gospels off and then tell me about Jesus. Paul only noticed two things about him, that he was crucified and that he was supposedly seen after his death. Hardly the biography of a man who would change history.
ghostgeek: Now, give or take an unknown number of years, there were four decades between the Crucifixion and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. A span of years in which nothing is heard about Jesus save what we read in Paul's bitchy letters. So what evidence have we for thinking there was any communication between the earlier period and the later?
ghostgeek: The Vindolanda tablets (also known as Vindolanda Letters) are thin pieces of wood about the size of a modern postcard, which were used as writing paper for the Roman soldiers garrisoned at the fort of Vindolanda between AD 85 and 130. Such tablets have been found at other Roman sites, including nearby Carlisle, but not in as much abundance. In Latin texts, such as those of Pliny the Elder, these kinds of tablets are referred to as leaf tablets or sectiles or laminae—Pliny used them to keep notes for his Natural History, written in the first century AD. ...
The writers of the Vindolanda documents include soldiers, officers and their wives and families who were garrisoned at Vindolanda, as well as merchants, enslaved people, and correspondents at many different cities and forts throughout the vast Roman empire, including Rome, Antioch, Athens, Carlisle, and London.
The writers wrote exclusively in Latin on the tablets, although the texts mostly lack punctuation or proper spelling; there is even some Latin shorthand which has yet to be deciphered. Some of the texts are rough drafts of letters that were later sent; others are mail received by the soldiers from their families and friends elsewhere. Some of the tablets have doodles and drawings on them. ...
The recovery of over 1300 tablets at Vindolanda (to date; tablets are still being found in the ongoing excavations run by the Vindolanda Trust) is the result of serendipity: a combination of the way the fort was constructed and the geographic location of the fort.
[ https://www.thoughtco.com/vindolanda-tablets-roman-forces-in-britain-173183 ]
Zanjan: Why would Paul need to write a biography when there were 12 others who could do that?
His job was to encourage and admonish believers while being an excellent resource on questions of the law.
Most of the Apostles were alive as long as Paul was - he consulted with them as often as possible; they had agreed in advance what contributions each of them would make.
The only important thing about the time period between the crucifixion and destruction of the Temple is that it had to occur within the lifetime of the first generation, as promised. During that period, the faith was rapidly spreading so you can't say nothing was happening. News went by the grapevine and letters.
If you've ever tried to write on a tree, you know it doesn't work well. The Vindolanda tablets were specially manufactured to have smooth surfaces. The fortress was an established village with plenty of craftsmen to make the leaflets.
The Apostles didn't have time to make such things and were mostly on the move. Their letters were speeches so wouldn't have fit on postcard-sized material. Also, security would have been critical, given their situation.
Zanjan: As another observation about that 40 year span to the destruction of the Temple, it should be noted that whatever Biblical prophecy was made, it can only be fulfilled by the Promised One. So, when even one of them is fulfilled, that's the sign the Promised One had arrived. The Jews knew this.
If Jesus hadn't been crucified, He would have lived to the year 70 AD, as that was within His natural lifespan. The interesting thing there is the Jewish clergy thought they could eliminate the judgment and obviate the prophecy by killing Jesus - they were wrong, it was still happening, dead or alive. So, it seems there was a wisdom in that timing after all.
However, the literal destruction of the Temple building didn't occur 3 earth-days after Jesus was crucified so this prophecy was deeper than that. (maybe it's God's time?) It can be correlated to the earlier story about Joseph and Mary finding Jesus missing on their way home after the Passover festival. They turned back to search for Him but it took 3 days to find Him.
(Edited by Zanjan)
ghostgeek: What makes you think there were twelve Apostles? As far as I can recall, Paul never specified their number. He did mention the Twelve, I'll admit, but they were a separate group.
Zanjan: The "twelve" were appointed by Jesus, except for the replacement for Judas. On Jesus's death, they stopped being disciples (students) and became Apostles. That had always been their destiny, except for Judas, who sold out.
Paul was a unique Apostle and couldn't have got anywhere without the approval of the 'twelve".
ghostgeek: I suppose it's possible that the Twelve were appointed by Jesus but nowhere is this attested to by Paul. To be truthful, we can't even be certain that Jesus ever belonged to Jame's mob in Jerusalem. What is eerie is the similarity between James, Cephas and John plus the Twelve and the Dead Sea Scrolls community with its three priests and "The Twelve".
ghostgeek: As for what was happening between the Crucifixion and the destruction of the Temple, that's simple to state. Paul and his associates were setting up communities so that money could be collected. This is documented in Paul's letters. Some of that money no doubt stayed in Paul's pocket while the rest of it was shipped to James. Everything else is basically conjecture.
ghostgeek: The individual that intrigues me is Cephas. At one time so close to James, he clearly fell under Paul's spell. And then we see him preaching his own gospel. Quite a trajectory.
Zanjan: I think you're doing a bit of conjecture yourself. The Apostles were preaching long before Paul arrived on the scene. You've got it backwards - Paul had to repeatedly prove himself to them and earn their esteem and trust. Others would have given up.
Note that after the Temple was destroyed, the Jews were still looking for their prince and wanted to rebuild the Temple. Then along came Bar Kokhba whose name means "son of the star" - they adopted him as their messiah. However, the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 AD failed and he was killed. There went the belligerent Jews' last hope.
The Apostles, on the other hand, had no promise or aim regarding the Temple. Their glory was in the power of Christ to resurrect souls, a more difficult thing to accomplish.
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