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thormas

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About thormas

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  1. As a side note, the biblical scholar Paul Fredriksen in her book 'When Christians were Jews' writes: from the beginning - before Paul was even involved - the movement had admitted Gentiles without requiring them to be circumcised. James, Peter and John all affirmed that position, back in Jerusalem." She adds, "Paul worked in concert with James about the collection for the Jerusalem community throughout the rest of his missions. No ideological breach yawned between the two men." Hurtado, another scholar, agrees. A rather interesting point which contradicts other impressions of James and the community.
  2. You'll have to establish your first sentence beyond mere opinion. As for Jewish expectations and Paul, I give you Ehrman, ".....words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people." I'm not sure what you mean by preparing but if salvation was to be extended it would require an announcement and there would be questions - just like there was for the Jews. Actually the Jews had the same option as the Gentiles: accept (capitulate) and surrender to God or be annihilated.............and Jesus prepared them. When I have asked for sources to consider, you don't have real answers - so it seems all of this is opinion which is fine but, as previously mentioned, in this endeavor - since we have both on numerous occasions referred to Ehrman (and others) - there are scholars who have studied this stuff in depth, and are helpful in trying to get a real understanding of the available sources.
  3. Paul I get that but we both know and have used scholars like Ehrman to make sense of this stuff - so opinion is one thing (and all are entitled to it) but it would seem that we are trying to determine what is accurate here (regarding the OT and the NT) and that requires reference to the Ehrman's of the world. And it is always nice to know what something is based on because I for one like to follow up and determine if I understand correctly or have missed something. Actually I'm reading and quoting Ehrman and others. For the first quote, Ehrman is making a statement on Paul so I have not read into it, it is there for the reading. Whether or not James and Jesus agreed is another issue: James' issue seems to be 'conversion' (Council of Jerusalem resolved that) and we simply don't know if Jesus had any issues with the outreach to Gentiles. Second quote is also simply quoted from Ehrman. If we don't want to call it an invitation, fine - because it's not like if one said no, life would remain the same. However, an announcement so Gentiles would know what was coming, what apostles were talking about and some explanation (as Jesus did for the Jews) seems necessary since we're dealing with human beings. Isaiah was about all nations feasting at the table of God - it was to be inclusive. And, again, people, the Gentiles had to be given some clue about what was happening. The Kingdom didn't come right away, why? Fredriksen writes that it dawned on the disciples that they had to continue the announcement of Jesus to the Jews in order to prepare 'all' of Israel - thus the missionary activity to the Diaspora. I have not misread and I am not simply relying on opinion. Of course there is a reason for Jesus not preaching to the Gentiles and we have been all over that: his focus was on the people of God as God was fulfilling his promise to them. Jesus did not come to announce to the Gentiles but it does not follow that Jesus wasn't aware that they too would be included. As to how he thought they would be included we have no real idea but he was dead, the Kingdom was not established and it was left to his followers. And it wasn't just Paul who reached out to the Gentiles: the Roman community predated him and there were other missionaries in Galatia and of course we have Peter in Rome and dying there in the mid 60s CE. I would have to check but I assume that as head of the Jerusalem community, James was involved with or at the Council when the decision was made in 50 CE. Did he abide by the council or go off on his own?
  4. Ok, so you agree that Jesus understood his own scriptures and he understood that the Kingdom would include the Gentiles. You just believe his understanding was different than Paul's. But where exactly are you getting Jesus' expectation about Gentile domination by God? Sure other kingdoms and kings would cease to exist but are you saying that Jesus expected that the Gentiles who accepted the Kingdom of God would continue to be dominated 'in the Kingdom' or be considered 2nd class or unequal in the eyes of God or the Jews? Did Paul say that other kingdoms would not be defeated - is that why he was different? Did Paul say the Gentile (kingdoms) would not be dominated and destroyed at the end? If not, the only difference is Jesus preached to the Jews and Paul extended that to the Gentiles. And we have already established that the Jews, of necessity, were the focus of Jesus and the ones to whom the announcement of the fulfillment of the promise of the Kingdom must first be announced. I'm not reading into or missing Jesus' point and I have repeatedly acknowledged his focus and the reason for it. The issue now is your interpretation of 'dealing with the Gentiles.' I get what you're saying but where does Jesus say that capitulation is the only way for a Gentile to 'join the Kingdom?' Again, where does he explicitly rule out letting them know about the Kingdom and making a decision for it? No, the 'initial' surprise, as she stated, was the number of Gentiles, pagans, in the first place - when they came to preach in the Diaspora. As she indicated, there were really very few (any?) Gentiles in the rural areas of Galilee and Judea where Jesus taught and traveled with his disciples and few even in Jerusalem. It was a new world, a new experience for them. The Gentiles, not being Jews, would not know that they were to be overthrown by God so how could they be offended (or not be offended) that Jesus didn't care about this - they had no idea what 'this' was? What modified message? Isaiah speaks of all people assembling on the mountain (Jerusalem): both Israel and the nations will feast together on a meal made by God himself...and God will wipe away every tear. And, unless Jesus was not so great at being an apocalyptic prophet, he understood and accepted this. Outside his preaching to the Jews - yes. Outside his intentions is reading into Jesus. But Fredriksen's point, the teaching of the prophets, was that Gentiles or the nations were not meant to 'join the Jews' (i.e. convert or become Jews) but to 'join with' the Jews (they would still be Gentiles in the Kingdom) all worshipping the true God. Again, unless Jesus was really bad at what he did, he knew and understood his own scriptures - although his focus was the Jews.
  5. I assume that is accurate yet Paul, other missionaries to the Gentiles, the Jerusalem Council and the Jewish scriptures and the prophets have a different understanding about this. Seems Paul was right on this and if he wasn't then we, Gentiles, wouldn't be having this discussion 😜 I believe that Jesus' message was for Jews but it doesn't follow that the message of the Kingdom, the End-Time, was not for 'all nations.' Paul, I have no problem exploring this however everything I'm reading points to the Kingdom being announced to the Gentiles: to join the Kingdom or not requires a choice and, like the Jews, they had to be told what was happening and be encouraged to make that decision for the Kingdom (that those deciding against the Kingdom would be annihilated, I get). Even your sentence (above) assumes a choice: capitulation or annihilation - and a choice requires some understanding. Where, exactly, are you getting this other than it being your opinion? Have you read Ehrman or someone else with similar expertise - I would like to know so I can check it out. I agree that it is apparent that there was a disagreement - however the Council of Jerusalem settled the matter in Paul's favor around 50 CE. And it does appear (unless you have further information) that this finding was in line with the Jewish prophets about the end-time. I get that we don't have writings of Peter and James - but we do have the Council and its finding. As for the Ebonities, given their position, they were not on the side that 'won' at the Council. Paul was preaching to the Gentiles about the Kingdom - and Paul was not alone: there were other missionaries to the Gentiles as evidenced in his letters to the Romans and Galatians. I do think, based on the scholars that I'm reading, that the Ebonities were on the wrong side of this and at odds with the their prophets/scriptures. Where exactly have I misunderstood the Jewish expectation and on what - other than your opinion - are you basing that. I have been careful to not simply give my opinion but to present the findings of biblical experts on this issue.
  6. That is an accurate and sad summary. Then you have this, showing his supporters what exactly they're supporting: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/?hpid=hp_save-opinions-float-right-4-0_opinion-card-f-right%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans
  7. Of course they did because Paul did not require the Gentiles to become Jews.........and the Ebionites were Jews. However if the prophets preached a Kingdom to include the Jews and all nations (which they did) and the Ebionites rejected the Gentiles becoming followers of Jesus without becoming Jews, it is evident that the Ebionites were at odds with their own scriptures for they rejected 'all nations' while the prophets preached their acceptance. It would be interesting to delve into this more.
  8. Exactly. Jesus' focus was the Jews - there is no argument with that at all (and this holds whether or not he reached out to non-Jews during his ministry). The Jews were his focus and that had to happen first (they were the people of God and God was fulfilling his promise to them). It doesn't mean that Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet, did not know or understand that the Gentiles of all nations were to be included in the Kingdom as told by the prophets before him and the scriptures of his people. We both accept from Ehrman and others that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who accepted that the end-time was upon the world. It would be absurd to say that such a prophet would not understand the prophecies of his own people or his own scriptures. We both agree with Fredriksen that Jesus did not include the Gentiles. She argues that except for Roman soldiers (whom they would typically have nothing to do with) and some others there were not many Gentiles in Galilee or Judea (including Jerusalem) and the Jewish Christians encountered a 'world of Gentiles' in the Diaspora. I bet it was a surprise........but the surprise, as indicated in your post, was not the outreach to the Gentiles but the ".....gentiles’ acceptance of their message." The Christians had to be preaching to the Gentiles first (i.e. including the Gentiles at the direction of the Jewish scriptures and the prophets) for them to then react to the Gentiles and be surprised at their acceptance of the good news. I accept that Jesus did not preach to Gentiles and they became part of the later drive or the 'final event of the End-Time.' And that was the work, the mission of the disciples - and Paul. Note: wasn't the main policy for 'inclusion' having to become a Jew or not? Were there other policies or is that one pretty much the crux of the Gentile issue?
  9. As a further note, Paul Fredriksen in her book "Paul, The Pagan Apostle' writes that "the anticipated destruction of their (pagan) idols did not imply, at the End, that scripture's eschatological pagans 'converted' to Judaism, thereby becoming Jews." She adds "....at the End, say these visionary (Jewish) texts, eschatological pagans join with Israel; but they do not join Israel..........the nations, even at the eschatological End-time, remain distinct from israel." Given this it appears that Paul was well in agreement with Jewish expectations by not only reaching out to the Gentiles but rightly recognizing that pagans did not have to convert, become Jews and join Israel.......only join with Israel.
  10. Good luck with that effort................
  11. From your lips to the trumpeter's ears - perhaps he'll make a change (less of his sensational and erroneous claims and constant repetition) with today's press conference on Covid. Fingers Crossed.
  12. "Paul was changing it to an invitation to Gentiles (not in line with Jewish expectations)" ........where are you getting this or is your opinion and if so what is it based on? I just took the time to reread Ehrman's book on Paul (and others) and he writes: "even as a Pharisee, before his conversion, Paul held to apocalyptic views of the world" "once he came to believe that Christ was raised from the dead, Paul did not jettison his apocalyptic expectations..................radically confirmed what Paul had already thought that the end was imminent." "for Paul the resurrection of the dead was about to occur and people needed to be ready." "for Paul the conversion of the Gentiles was the final major event in the history of the world before the end came." "Paul took seriously the words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people. "And the news of this salvation was to be delivered by.........Paul........."the apostle to the Gentiles." It is obvious that, as you agree, Jesus delivered the word of salvation, of God's kingdom about to be established, to Israel. And, given Ehrman and others, it is just as obvious that Paul's mission was the 'final major event' before the coming of God's Kingdom - as told by the prophets of Israel. Two moments or events in the same reality of salvation to ALL. Paul was in line with Jewish expectations! Nobody is debating the change in Paul's emphasis on faith in the messenger, Jesus Christ. We were discussing, however, Paul and the Jewish expectation extending to the Gentiles and Ehrman has confirmed that: Paul did not change it to an invitation to the Gentiles as that was in line with the Jewish expectation of God's Kingdom. I don't misunderstand at all. Apparently, the Gentiles were not the focus for Jesus which makes perfect sense because he came to announce the news to Israel - the first major event. That he didn't care is your opinion - on what is it based? I found this to be a surprise myself as I thought Matthew was a Jew who wrote for a Jewish audience but this (see above) appears to be what Ehrman is saying. Ehrman said by this time (later part of the 1st C) that Jewish Christianity was on the margins. However the 'few drops' scenario seems to be opinion. I am continuing to explore these points. Here we have a seeming difference with Ehrman. Does Saldarini (?) indicate precisely what in Matthew was softened? I am interested. I agree that Paul changed from the message to the messenger and I don't (didn't) think that Jesus thought of himself as the instrument of salvation of the Kingdom but Allison seems to indicate that it appears that Jesus had a high self-conception and might have thought of himself this way, as "the locus of the end-time scenario." Thanks
  13. I know Spong's theory, I just question whether he is correct on it and I haven't come to a conclusion. I do agree on what you said about the Exodus and Jesus' return from Egypt - I think Matthew's gospel is brilliant in showing that Jesus is like Moses, Jesus is grater than Moses. I don't know of any support or agreement with your theory of hidden Jewish identities after 70 CE.
  14. Prior experience is simply a direct and present experience of the past - the only difference is that I don't buy that we have a 'direct' experience of God. Any 'luck' was that I was born to good people and experienced enough good people throughout my life who 'gave me God' - through them I was called, challenged, judged and loved and God was 'bodied' forth in and through them. "People can do both"...........on this we simply disagree. It sounds like a supernatural theism which I don't buy. The disciples were reflecting on the execution of their friend and leader, they were feeling the loss, confused and scared. They were also, as is very human, reflecting on the 'good times' and remembering 'everything' about Jesus. They were also searching and reflecting on their own scriptures to help them comprehend all of this.......and eventually, sometime after the execution.........the 'AHA' moment: he is Alive, he is exalted by God, he is Lord! ________________________________ I am always thinking and always asking - this is a form of prayer for me. Again we don't know one another: I never buy, completely or immediately, what I read - I think about it, I reflect on it in comparison and contrast to others I have read, I reflect on it based on my experience with others and with what I have previously come to believe - yet remain open to more. Suffice to say, I always ask myself, consider and reconsider what I believe. I am curious enough that I have no problem or fear in reading, hearing and considering what others (scholars and 'ordinary' people) have said or written. And, I have made the time to read widely on this in order to know and reflect on what others think and believe. Philosophy and theology are what I decided to study in college and grad school and what I decided to teach and thereafter continued to study when I left teaching and entered business. You did make me laugh though since I learned first to not believe everything I heard (or read) from others but to trust what I knew while being open to those others. You appear to separate what one learns from others and what one learns from looking to oneself - I don't make such a separation and feel it is an artificial. Both take place in each individual.
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