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  2. Not vague yet 'open to reading into the gospels what is not there.' As mentioned, certain verses and stories might need scholarly interpretation/assistance. If there is confusion, even questions like, "what the hell are these about?" - we go to the scholars, the professionals: the Temple acting out a parable, a highly symbolic act done in a very small section of a 25 football field sized Temple grounds that didn't even rise to the level of Jesus being arrested; the closet actually being a comment on public praying for show (ala the hypocrites, which still takes place today) vs. private or simply sincere prayer preached and practiced by Jesus himself; and so on. The stories, listed above, go to the essence of Jesus that is consistent throughout the gospels. Many people might also know the other stories, even have question about them, but they don't leap to your conclusion: a Jesus whose words and actions give approval for the harm done throughout Christian history. Most don't conclude, "Hey, Jesus cursed a fig tree and turned tables over in the Temple so I have the green light to attack and bomb a building in which abortions take place and if anybody is hurt - burned, blown up or killed, I'm still right with Jesus." Rather, most Christians, even with much smaller 'sins' would say, "I have failed to act as my Christ in the world." Such is not merely mis-interpretation: this is an inability to read what is 'there' or, if confused, a refusal to seek assistance in understanding passages that might not be readily understandable or, sadly, reading into the gospels for the justification they so need and desire. So, no one is discounting anything; there is no problem with acknowledging confusion over certain passages and all the stories play a part and do get to the essence of Jesus (simply as in all lives, some stories speak more powerfully or are simply more familiar and remembered). What is discounted are 'interpretations' that, in spite of all the gospel stories presented, settle on 1 or 2 for justification for their own bad actions.
  3. Today
  4. Rather than vague I should say 'open to interpretation'. I know you want to focus on the 'good' Jesus stuff (as outlined above) but just because the other aren't as familiar doesn't discount them or indeed acknowledge that they do confuse the image of Jesus at the very least, to some degree. It seems this 'essence' you refer to is determined because of some stories but not all.
  5. Actually, the essence (i.e. gist) of Jesus is not vague at all for most Christians or many other human beings. The paragraphs would capture the essence of Jesus; what they wouldn't contain is the interpretations of a Jesus, that you suggest are valid, whose actions and teachings provide approval for the harms you listed many posts ago. The Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, The Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, the healings and the Cross - are much more familiar than your fig tree, praying in the closet or even the Temple cleansing and - reveal the gist/essence of Jesus. Of course there are contradictory elements, including what Sanders calls pericopes that are placed in different places by the writers for theological purposes and of course there are writings that need further explanation, including the aid of scholarly research (like the fig tree, the closet, the family and the cleansing) but ...........the essence of Jesus is consistent throughout. Whether he is portrayed as the Beloved Son at his Baptism or this is pushed back to the eternal Word present before creation; whether he is the secretive Messiah of Mark, the new Moses of Matthew or the exalted Lord of John - the essence remains.
  6. The orthodox version which developed from the proto-orthodox version as Erhman would say. The gist of the 4 x Gospels being relatively consistent is not surprising - that's why they were chosen by those who won the day as the 4 x gospels representing Christianity. But what I actually think is that because the 'gist' is somewhat vague (if everyone wrote a paragraph on the gist I am certain there would be differences) and there are elements of the Gospels that are either contradictory or at the very least very open to interpretation, that there is risk in saying that the Gospels are an accurate representation of Jesus. I agree they are pretty much all we have, but that doesn't mean that haven't excluded an essential view or actiosn of Jesus that could provide some differences in understanding him. You are content acknowledging elements could be wrong, but in general the Gospels 'speak' to you. I think there is room for error, irrespective of whether the teachings speak to one or not. Certainly others come away with a different gist of Jesus - you seem to fail to acknowledge that, but rather simply say they have understood the gist wrongly. That seems to be denying them the fact that the Gospels speak to them differently. Further, I don't know that the gist you believe is the same as Jesus' necessarily. Again, there is room for error because: a) we're relying on the only versions we have, but we do know there were alternate or various other voices drowned out in the decades following Jesus b) we don't know and can't validate the accuracy of the original authors of the gospel or the writings. We might be able to make an educated guess, but it's not 100% (which you acknowledge), but this does create room for error (e.g. should I believe one must accept Jesus to get to God, can I have a hissy fit and attack a legal business if I think it goes against what God wants, etc). c) who knows how any originals were amended or tampered with over the extensive decades between their alleged penning and the oldest actual copies we have.
  7. Exactly, it is the 'orthodox' version (for example differing from gnosticism or Marcionism versions on issues like secret knowledge or the Jews) but what is consistent in the versions of the 4 gospels is the gist (the essence of who Jesus is and what he does) and actually that same gist is present in some other gospels, for example, the sayings gospel of Thomas. There seem to be differences (again gnosticism) but there is also a consistency on the essence of Jesus. What I argue against is someone who 'sees' or creates a Jesus whose essence is so at odds with the NT gospel, that he supports, approves or justifies the 'sinful' actions of Christians. Merely because someone 'sees' this, it does not follow that ii is accurate. You seem to think it does and it is. and, as you have demonstrated, people have used their 'versions' to justify the harm they have done throughout the history of Christianity.
  8. Yesterday
  9. Then what have we been discussing for days! You say the 'gist' of Jesus is accurate as portrayed by the Gospels - I say there is room for error because a particular element of Christianity won the day and their writings are what eventually became regarded as accurate (or accurate enough). But even then, what their actual writings were and what the end product we finally received looks like, could be very different things. For me it is not always enough to say that because the Gospels seem to present a 'gist' of Jesus that they are necessarily accurate of that 'gist'. But that only becomes a problem (in my opinion) when it causes people to believe what I consider harmful to others. But that is how things speak to me. I think you see it similarly, except you put a little more validity to it because it speaks to you or resonates. Much resonates with me too but I still regard it as a personal thing and not necessarily accurate of Jesus.
  10. I know one 'element' of Christianity 'won out' and presented their version. But I also recognize that we are not dealing with 'history' in any traditional sense of the word.
  11. I thought of Wiki andI will check on YouTube. And I appreciate the book recommendation.
  12. Which is exactly what I am trying to say about the authors of the Gospels!
  13. I think it is fair to say that many Christians throughout history, well before Darby, took the words of the bible to be historical proof on many things which today we can categorically determine did not occur or did not exist. It would seem the Jews and Christians of Jesus' day believed the OT accounts of Moses, King David, Solomon etc - characters all who mainstream biblical scholarship and historians today discount as myth and storytelling. Perhaps Darby introduced a more savage form of inerrancy and reading of the bible literally, but I think history demonstrates many shades of this before Darby. And many Christians well before Darby have told others through oral history, tradition, reason and experience, what Jesus is, what he means, what he did etc, all based on writings that did make it to the cannon as being the ONLY documents worth including. But also, reading the bible meant nothing to Christians for the first 300 or so years of their existence, simply because there wasn't one! So who knows what developed through oral tradition and eventually into somebody's writings representing Jesus - ever hear of the game Telephone? The oldest fragment we have of ANYTHING written about Jesus is a cigarette pack size fragment of John. Scholars date that fragment to about 125-175CE. So the earliest known written account of anything to do with Jesus (in this case a fragment that has parts of verses 31–33 and parts from verses 37–38, all chapter 18) is dated some 100-150 years after Jesus even existed. Subsequently, we simply cannot say how accurate the text is to events and actions of Jesus it portrays. Maybe it's biased, maybe it misses other relevant information that could affect how Christians understand Jesus. We simply don't know. The best we can say is that we have to trust the generations of Christians before this was written to have accurately portrayed information about Jesus. I think most people would see the huge room for errors here (and that's before we even start to consider the reality where this fragment came from and what the final product was when we see the first complete manuscript of John). Interpret Jesus how you want - all I am saying is that for anybody to say that the Gospels are an accurate rendering of the important bits about Jesus, is to deny the sensible likelihood that what has been presented has a bias which could be errant.
  14. History is written by the victors. it is a version of what occurred at a particular time, in a particular place, involving particular people.
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  16. I would suggest the specifics of history indeed do need to be necessarily accurate, otherwise they are not history but interpretation, story telling, opinion, etc. The 'specifics' that are recounted after an event and then regarded by some or all as history is where the breakdown between actual history (fact) and the presented version of history occur. In fact, if history is being incorrectly reported then I doubt you could call that information even 'specifics'. There can be only one version of history, otherwise its simply not history.
  17. Start with Wikipedia on Darby. Lots of YouTube stuff on him too. Darby, Scofield, Miller and that thread is where inerrancy, dispensationism, rapture theology and the other wierd ideas started. Like all cults they centered around a single person, usually one with a self-translated Bible to support their eccentric ideas. As for the literary interpretations of the Bible in Christianity absolutely everything written before the Protestant Reformation will serve. A really great, short book on the pioneer American circuit rider is The Autobiography of Peter Cartwright. I used to work it into my classes on Methodism whenever possible.
  18. I wasn't fully aware of the details, never concentrated on it. Is there a source/book you can recommend?
  19. The Christian opinion until the 1800's has always been that the Bible must be read as a Divine symbolic and poetic narrative. Reading the Bible 'literally' meant reading it as literature, and taken along with with the oral history, tradition, reason and experience. A 19c lay preacher named Darby was the guy who taught the Bible must be interpreted strictly as inerrant fact. He was rejected by Christian Europe and finally found succor on the American frontier. Mix a wannabe preacher with no training and a bunch of hardscrabble pioneers in a dangerous and unforgiving land and you get inerrancy. This inerrancy concept simply did not exist earlier.
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  21. Paul, Hey, are you tampering with the gospel? Are you saying there is direct evidence of tampering in the Cleansing episode? On a quick read, he didn't whip anyone, he might have had a whip but.............. Most of the scholars suggest 'something happened' and don't go to tampering but theology. Exactly Paul, many Christian accept that every word in the gospel, in the Bible is God's - so we would never get by that to even present and explain the idea of the gist - but we are on a progressive site, so opportunities abound. However, whether one is relaxed or another up tight is opinion and prejudices the situation; the idea of gist comes from a leading biblical scholar. Not necessarily accurate and not necessarily inaccurate but again we are not talking history - then again, not even all the specifics of history are necessarily accurate. I consider a great many issues but I have never gotten to the point that nothing can be trusted. I suspect that most Christians (ranging from Fundamentalist to Progressive), if asked what was Jesus like, that is, what did he say or what does his life suggest, specifically, about how we should live in the world, would agree on the ..........gist.
  22. As I mention to Burl, the incident doesn't seem to flow well and possibly a verse or two may have been deleted. Maybe the original passage read like this: "In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, firstly the money changers and then both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables"...or something like that. Later scribes may have redacted the bit about Jesus driving out the money changers with a whip because it didn't suit their version of Jesus of the day (some 150+ years after Jesus) that he was the 'Prince of Peace'. Now none of this is scholarly work naturally, but just my humble opinion that in the light of direct evidence that some of the Gospels have been tampered with (e.g. the two different endings to Mark) is it totally beyond the realm of all possibilities that original stories such as this one may have in some way been tampered with during the following one hundred+ years between when they were first written (themselves several decades after the event and not by eye witnesses) and the copies we have ended up with today? Is there any significant difference between a Jesus who strikes the money changers with a whip and the Jesus who doesn't? So apart from being a hyper-fundamentalist apparently, the main reason I think this sort of stuff is relevant or of interest is because much of Christianity says "You must believe this about Jesus because the bible said it and this is how it shall be interpreted". Many Christians are not as 'relaxed' about the Gospels capturing the general 'gist' about Jesus but are rather adamant that every verse and story must be interpreted a certain way. I would suggest that throughout human history we have seen good and bad associated with this. My hangup is simply that the NT and the Gospels are not necessarily accurate on all things Jesus. Personal interpretation is fine and natural. What I don't like is when that personal interpretation becomes the 'only' way people must interpret it and if they don't they are belittled or called names or ostracized (not saying you're doing that, but many have, and do). I understand you and others may not consider these issues to in anyway affect an accurate reflection of true Christianity, the true 'gist' of Jesus' life and message, as was embraced by the early Christian community in the years following the death of Jesus. I don't share that confidence but I think we've done that bit to death here.
  23. Oops, sorry, didn't realise Bart was there at the time. But seriously, I think Bart would even say this is his best guess and not something you should take to the bank. But irrespective of its actual significance in its day, it was clearly a story that some early Christians considered important enough to repeat (or create). Why? Is it accurately copied? Has anything been removed from this seemingly otherwise insignificant occurrence which otherwise wouldn't seem to warrant the light of day in a book about Jesus' life?
  24. From Ehrman's website: " It was very small time and at the time insignificant, a barely noticeable event that was full of symbolic importance for Jesus and his followers, but only a minor irritation to anyone who cared about the orderly functioning of the Temple and its cult."
  25. So, I will have to check Sanders to see what parable he believes Jesus acts out. But it sure seems he didn't whip anyone as the Bible doesn't seem to shy away from the grotesque and gory. A scare tactic - I mean if you saw a guy with a whip coming at you - you'd run too. Hey, it worked :+}
  26. I was just referring to the North Carolina statement - mine. Who, on behalf of the Bible, does not claim inerrancy? And some Christians believe it, correct?
  27. Please read the text - it never says Jesus whipped the animals. John 2 (NRSV version): 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. Where does the text say Jesus hit the animals with the whip? But if we are going to play semantics, what about the grammar of the first two sentences? Sentence two does not properly follow on from sentence one. In sentence one it says Jesus found people selling three types of animals but in the second sentence it says he drove them 'both' out (referring to sheep and cattle). It doesn't cover off the doves or the people. Most people would say that this doesn't read correctly. I'm guessing it has been lost in translation or possibly amended since it was originally written.
  28. By inerrant I assume you are referring to the Chicago Statement? The Bible never claims inerrancy, so I don't pay much attention to that type of Darbyist dogma.
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