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11 hours ago, thormas said:

This to me is a bit of a minor point but what would be interesting to determine is if Luke and Matthew get this from Q or from their separate traditions of L and M? And if the latter do we then have 2 separate sources? I do allow that it is a later addition but my question is does it 'reveal' something that Jesus would have done (or said) (a criterion used by Dale Allison).

I don't think it is likely the centurion story came from Q, as Q is generally agreed to be a source of 'sayings of Jesus' not his doings.  Most likely the story came from somewhere else.  Luke is generally accepted as an associate of Paul's, so possibly the story was in circulation in Pauline Christian circles, and perhaps Matthew picked it up from there also.  I don't think we can really know at this point.  That both Luke and Matthew were written some 40 years after the death of Jesus adds caution for me as to accurate representation of what Jesus actually thought about the matter.

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Allison, one of the top biblical scholars, in his book 'The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus' pretty much (as I understand him) gives up on whether we can know definitively what Jesus did or said, however he speaks of "making inferences from patterns that characterize the sources (the Gospels) as a whole." He continues " the Synoptics are not primarily records of what Jesus actually said and did but collections of impressions. They recount, or rather often recount, the sorts of things that he said and did, or that he could have said and done.'

Or how others later thought of the things initially attributed to Jesus, aka Chinese Whispers. 

I agree with Allison's approach.  Making inferences is one things - saying that it is likely Jesus did or said this or not, or that it was probably something he did, are all just degrees of probability on the scale of speculation, and depending on one's personal view, the degree of accuracy varies greatly.  How much it matters to anybody is also in the eye of the beholder I think.

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For example, it is not about the historicity of particular miracles: Allison writes, that Jesus "was reputed to be and thought himself to be a successful exorcist, healer, and wonder-worker and that some who knew him believed that they had witnessed truly extraordinary events." So too, as I understand it (and am further exploring it), it is not about the historicity of the story of the centurion but that this crossing boundaries (the Roman, the Samaritan, the Canaanitethe Official, etc.) was the sort of thing that Jesus could/would have done (even with the acknowledgement that his focus was the Jews). 

For me, it sounds more like a Pauline take on Jesus that has developed rather than actual Jesus, mainly on the basis that we simply do not see anywhere else Jesus having a kind word for the Romans let alone any involvement with them.

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Both the miracle stories and the stories of interactions with non-Jews are impressions of Jesus that characterize the Gospels.

4 x gospels and very, very little mention of Jesus interacting with non-Jews during his 3-years or so ministry.  I think there might be more to it than accurately representing that Jesus was embracing all.  But if you mean to a degree that it was part of the story that later Christians began to tell, accurately or not, I would agree.

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Time to throw AJ into all this.  

Forgiveness is the only way to rid yourself of resentment.  It does nothing for the other, but everything for the self.

I agree.

13 hours ago, thormas said:

I believe we're talking about two different 'moments:'  the meaning of the inbreaking of the Kingdom for Jesus and the meaning of the Kingdom in light of the reality that it was not established in the lifetime of his followers (as promised). 

If I follow you, I too think that "the in-breaking of the Kingdom is different" now than what Ehrman and others say it was for Jesus - i.e. it is different than what Jesus thought and expected. Which is ok because we are talking about different discernments of the Divine (but I still hold that the present understanding, thought different, is built on Jesus).

It seems in the understanding of Jesus, God was the one who was expected to do it. Repenting was not our participation in bringing the Kingdom, it was our getting ready for that Kingdom which God would establish. It was all about God for Jesus. As said, that didn't happen and with a changing understanding of the Kingdom there was also an evolving understanding that we do have to participate and I would go as far as saying that without our participation the Kingdom will not be established.

And that would be an interesting discussion.

I'm wondering if the Kingdom did start coming in Jesus's day and has been coming and inbreaking ever since. Yes, that would be an interesting discussion. 

12 hours ago, thormas said:

Paula Fredriksen (in Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) states that the "during Jesus' lifetime, Gentiles scarcely figured at all in his mission." Again this does not mean that Jesus did not cross traditional boundaries and 'reach out' to non-Jews - however he was, as those prophets before him, a Prophet for his people, the people of God, the Jews and his message to them was urgent: the Kingdom was coming.

She also writes that "a strand within traditional Jewish apocalyptic though anticipated the Gentiles turning to the God of Israel as one of the events at the End of Days."  Isiah 2:2-4:  "....will draw all the nations to it (God's house), to the worship of the God of Jacob." And it was Paul, anticipating the coming of Christ and the full establishment of the Kingdom who (with others) took on the mission of spreading the good news to the Gentiles - this was his focus.

I don't think I would say "Gentiles scarcely figured at all" I would say that they were less prominent in Jesus's mission and during his "earthly life".

I'm wondering what "the End of Days" means. I tend to go with an end of worldliness instead of "the end of the world". Perhaps as one enters more eternal types of thought, the meaning of time and the significance of 'days' becomes less important. Or maybe it means the end of worldly significance. Or the end of an era.

 

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9 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I'm wondering if the Kingdom did start coming in Jesus's day and has been coming and inbreaking ever since. Yes, that would be an interesting discussion. 

I don't think I would say "Gentiles scarcely figured at all" I would say that they were less prominent in Jesus's mission and during his "earthly life".

I'm wondering what "the End of Days" means. I tend to go with an end of worldliness instead of "the end of the world". Perhaps as one enters more eternal types of thought, the meaning of time and the significance of 'days' becomes less important. Or maybe it means the end of worldly significance. Or the end of an era.

 

Even with the verses you quoted above, Jesus had limited interaction with non-Jews. They were simply not the focus of Jesus' mission: the Jews were the people of God, God was fulfilling his promise of the Kingdom, Jesus the Prophet (the Messiah) was announcing that Kingdom to them.........and then all nations (Gentiles) would worship him.

 

I think (for us) it can be said that the Kingdom did start coming in and with Jesus: he was already living it as he was announcing that it was near (in its fullness). And I believe it is always 'there' waiting to in-break in the lives of individuals and perhaps even communities. When it is ever established fully (whatever that means) is an interesting and unanswerable question.

I think Jesus saw the Kingdom in the understanding of his day but we, looking back, have a different insight or discernment; he was the Kingdom in the flesh, he is the possibility of us all.

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10 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

Ehrman did a talk on how Jesus did not negate or reject the law but enhanced it. He took many of the principals of the law and took them a step or a few steps further. I listed a few examples on another comment I made, I got these ideas and this understanding from Ehrman. Essentially Ehrman was saying, he took the law and made it better.

I like both Marcus Borg and John Crosson. It's good to know that there are some folks that I'm in agreement with. The subject as to whether Jesus was apocalyptic or not is probably better left for another thread.

I probably should have used a better word than "grew". I believe that somehow God evolved Jesus through and out of the Jewish nation. I also believe that God created him and conceived  of him from the beginning as it says in John 1. Exactly how this all works is another thing altogether, and I certainly don't know what or everything about it.

I agree with Ehrman but any enhancements were already present in Judaism. I think there is a depth to Jesus and it seems, from the Gospels, that he cuts through to the heart of the Law that is created for man and so that man might have Life. So I can see how one would say Jesus made it better but all that is there is still already part of the Law of the Jews.

The caution for all, and the criticism of Borg and Crosson in particular, is that they create a Jesus in their image, Allison is great in speaking about this and also critiques himself. 

 

I prefer to say that Jesus 'grew' out of his people as we all do. I'm not sure what you mean by God 'creating and conceiving' Jesus from the beginning.

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't think it is likely the centurion story came from Q, as Q is generally agreed to be a source of 'sayings of Jesus' not his doings.  Most likely the story came from somewhere else.  Luke is generally accepted as an associate of Paul's, so possibly the story was in circulation in Pauline Christian circles, and perhaps Matthew picked it up from there also.  I don't think we can really know at this point.  That both Luke and Matthew were written some 40 years after the death of Jesus adds caution for me as to accurate representation of what Jesus actually thought about the matter.

 

I see that (your comment on Q) and can agree with it so perhaps M and L and perhaps by way of Paul. Agree that we can't know definitively. What is a bit intriguing for me is the different 'incidents' of Jesus interacting with non-Jews. 

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Or how others later thought of the things initially attributed to Jesus, aka Chinese Whispers. 

I agree with Allison's approach.  Making inferences is one things - saying that it is likely Jesus did or said this or not, or that it was probably something he did, are all just degrees of probability on the scale of speculation, and depending on one's personal view, the degree of accuracy varies greatly.  How much it matters to anybody is also in the eye of the beholder I think

Again, hard (impossible?) to know but I do think Allison is on to something and if I remember correctly he also goes outside of the canon. And there seems to be consensus on much of the patterns he identifies (that I included from his book above).

A degree of possibility on the scale of speculation or probabilities based on repeating patterns? You might like Allison's book as he is brutally honest, critiques himself and speaks to the 'eye of the beholder' for the scholars, including him.  

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

For me, it sounds more like a Pauline take on Jesus that has developed rather than actual Jesus, mainly on the basis that we simply do not see anywhere else Jesus having a kind word for the Romans let alone any involvement with them.

You lost me here. We know Paul does not get into the historical Jesus (more interested in the Christ) but he was writing letters to different communities with specific issue in mind. Again the few gospel stories about interaction with Romans, Samaritans, even the Official - especially in light of his emphasis on the two commandments and his call to love, turn the other cheek, etc. seems a piece or at least consistent with 'reaching beyond the Jews.'

What do you mean by a Pauline take?

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

4 x gospels and very, very little mention of Jesus interacting with non-Jews during his 3-years or so ministry.  I think there might be more to it than accurately representing that Jesus was embracing all.  But if you mean to a degree that it was part of the story that later Christians began to tell, accurately or not, I would agree.

I have two minds on this: on one hand one could argue that Jesus' ministry was to the Jews, that was all consuming and if he didn't reach out to non-Jews (who were to be first) that was fine as it was taken up by Paul and also others in the early communities once they believed the Kingdom was imminent (2nd coming). On the other hand, it there was very limited out reach to non-Jews by the historical Jesus, many would not be surprised given his call to repent, forgive, love and assuming he knew his own holy book and that the prophet Isiah spoke of all nations, i.e. Gentile nations, worshipping the God of the Jews. 

So it was later Christians (gospels) and we simply do not know with any degree of certainty if it was also the historical Jesus at least reaching out to a few???

 

 

 

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Was just reading a bit on Larry Hurtado's website and thought this would be of interest:

Hurtado quotes Martin Hengel’s essay:  “Christology and New Testament Chronology,” in his book, Between Jesus and Paul

  • "Speaking of Paul’s “conversion”, which likely must be placed within at most a couple of years subsequent to Jesus’ execution, we have to consider that an “enormously rapid christological development” took place within this even shorter period.  Paul’s characterization of the cognitive content of his religious re-orientation is that it was a “revelation of God’s Son”.  But, since he then promptly associated himself with other Jewish Christians (including Peter/Cephas, per Gal. 1), the most reasonable inference is that the christological view he adopted was pretty much what he had been opposing.  And that means that some pretty powerful developments must be dated within the very first few years!"
  •  

And Hurtado himself writes:

"This is “the gospel that is preached by me” (Gal. 1:11), and “the gospel that I preach among the nations” (Gal. 2:2). Paul didn’t create his christology or the devotional practices that he affirmed.  But the boldness of his sense of mission, and his unstinting commitment to it, made a major contribution to the subsequent shape of what became Christianity."

 

 

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8 hours ago, thormas said:

Even with the verses you quoted above, Jesus had limited interaction with non-Jews. They were simply not the focus of Jesus' mission: the Jews were the people of God, God was fulfilling his promise of the Kingdom, Jesus the Prophet (the Messiah) was announcing that Kingdom to them.........and then all nations (Gentiles) would worship him.

 

I'm wondering if Jesus came first to the Jews because for many of them, their understanding was ripe and ready, as in "ripe for the harvest". The had the understanding of One God. They had the Messianic tradition. They had an understanding of the Law that Jesus enhanced and built on.

But there were other people too, who were not Jewish, who were open to and received Jesus's words and had faith in him. How and why they were ready for this and open to it, is another question.

7 hours ago, thormas said:

I prefer to say that Jesus 'grew' out of his people as we all do. I'm not sure what you mean by God 'creating and conceiving' Jesus from the beginning.

God creating and conceiving Jesus from the beginning as it is stated in John 1. In the beginning there was the Word/Logos,... etc.

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30 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

But there were other people too, who were not Jewish, who were open to and received Jesus's words and had faith in him. How and why they were ready for this and open to it, is another question.

The question is were there and how many - there seems to be no definitive answer. Whereas with Paul and other missionaries, the flood gates opened for the Gentiles.

 

32 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

God creating and conceiving Jesus from the beginning as it is stated in John 1. In the beginning there was the Word/Logos,... etc.

I take this as a later (circa 100 CE) development from the writer/community of John. The earliest understanding of Jesus was that he was a human being 'exalted' by God to be Lord and Son. If Jesus was not merely from the beginning but was the means by which creation came to be, how could the historical man be 'like us?' 

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11 hours ago, thormas said:
What do you mean by a Pauline take?

I don't think the centurion story was the sort of thing that Jesus could/would have done, based on the total lack of any other interaction of Jesus with a Roman (other than his arrest).  It seems Paul (and his associate, Luke) is saying these things about Jesus because it fits Paul's understanding of Jesus - the Jesus who he never even met.

12 hours ago, thormas said:
I have two minds on this: on one hand one could argue that Jesus' ministry was to the Jews, that was all consuming and if he didn't reach out to non-Jews (who were to be first) that was fine as it was taken up by Paul and also others in the early communities once they believed the Kingdom was imminent (2nd coming). On the other hand, it there was very limited out reach to non-Jews by the historical Jesus, many would not be surprised given his call to repent, forgive, love and assuming he knew his own holy book and that the prophet Isiah spoke of all nations, i.e. Gentile nations, worshipping the God of the Jews. 

So it was later Christians (gospels) and we simply do not know with any degree of certainty if it was also the historical Jesus at least reaching out to a few???

We see clearly in the synoptic Gospels that Jesus had extremely limited interacting with non-Jews and probably zero with the Romans.  The centurion story just doesn't fit the mould of the rest of Jesus' ministry so I think, on the balance of probabilities, it is likely a fictitious creation.  I think it is because of the Pauline influence on early Christianity that Jesus became this all-loving, all-encompassing figure that really wanted everybody to live happily ever after in the Kingdom of God.  I think this is not what is presented about Jesus in the synoptic gospels.  I think his message was only focused on the Jews repenting, forgiving, loving etc.  Their God was to rule the world and they had a special place in it.

We might not have certainty about that, but it seems clear to me the very few stories of Jesus reaching out to non-Jews seem largely out of sync with everything else the synoptic Gospels present about Jesus and who he was trying to convince.

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

The question is were there and how many - there seems to be no definitive answer. Whereas with Paul and other missionaries, the flood gates opened for the Gentiles.

 

I'd have to go over the gospels to figure out how many are mentioned. In Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount there seems to be quite a good many. Everyone that the 'woman at the well' talked to and who Jesus stayed with and preached to for two days, became believers, How many they were, again the bible doesn't say.

I know that Paul opened more doors for the Gentiles. From my perspective however the door was already opened in the Gospels, and by Jesus himself.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

I take this as a later (circa 100 CE) development from the writer/community of John. The earliest understanding of Jesus was that he was a human being 'exalted' by God to be Lord and Son. If Jesus was not merely from the beginning but was the means by which creation came to be, how could the historical man be 'like us?' 

I know that John 1 is a latter development, but I still believe it. I also believe he was a person and a human being like all of us too. Exactly how this all happened and comes together, I don't know. I sometimes wonder if in some way we were all conceived of and created before physical creation began, though of course Jesus was first and the one who brings us into our true selves. 

I can't say I know how both conceptions of Jesus can be true, but I think that they both are true. Maybe it's something like God conceived of Jesus before the beginning of the universe and then wanted everything to be manifested through physical creation so E created the more physical universe and designated a time when Jesus would come into it also. A time perhaps when we people were more ready to see and experience who he was and who we are supposed to be and what direction we are supposed to be going in.

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24 minutes ago, PaulS said:

We see clearly in the synoptic Gospels that Jesus had extremely limited interacting with non-Jews and probably zero with the Romans.  The centurion story just doesn't fit the mould of the rest of Jesus' ministry so I think, on the balance of probabilities, it is likely a fictitious creation.  I think it is because of the Pauline influence on early Christianity that Jesus became this all-loving, all-encompassing figure that really wanted everybody to live happily ever after in the Kingdom of God.  I think this is not what is presented about Jesus in the synoptic gospels.  I think his message was only focused on the Jews repenting, forgiving, loving etc.  Their God was to rule the world and they had a special place in it.

 

I disagree with you. I really do think that Jesus wanted everybody to be living happily ever after in the Kingdom of Heaven. He wanted everyone to get on the same bandwagon and have a great old spiritual time. He came first to the Jews, yeah, because maybe they were more ready for him, but to my understanding he communicated to a good number of non-Jews also. When he gave out the great commission he said "go out to all the world", not just go out to any Jews that I might have missed.

Hey, we've always been good about disagreeing - hope we still are 🙂 

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12 hours ago, thormas said:
  • But, since he then promptly associated himself with other Jewish Christians (including Peter/Cephas, per Gal. 1), the most reasonable inference is that the christological view he adopted was pretty much what he had been opposing.  And that means that some pretty powerful developments must be dated within the very first few years!"

I haven't read much of Larry but I think he makes a couple of jumps here without evidence.  Paul says he persecuted Christians, but not the specific details of why or what message in particular he persecuted them for.  We can estimate that it was probably largely because these Christians were promoting Jesus as the messiah, when the bulk of Judaism (and Paul) thought that was rubbish.  Paul later changed his mind and called himself a Christian, but what sort of Christian?  I think we can see that Paul's beliefs about Jesus differ somewhat from the Jesus presented in the synoptics (I'm talking here about who the Kingdom was for and why) and we get no alternate point of view presented for early Christianity.  I find it hard to imagine that this was the only take on Jesus that people who called themselves Christian, had.

Paul himself seems to acknowledge this in Galatians when he refers to people deserting the faith and turning to a different gospel - so I expect there were other views of Jesus and his message among the earliest Christians.

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And Hurtado himself writes:

"This is “the gospel that is preached by me” (Gal. 1:11), and “the gospel that I preach among the nations” (Gal. 2:2). Paul didn’t create his christology or the devotional practices that he affirmed.  

I think we might have a different view if some of Jesus' apostles had decided to write letters and share their views on christology post-Jesus' crucifixion.  We just don't have the evidence as to what christology or devotional practices they held, so to state that Paul didn't create these, is a jump in my opinion.  We can be reasonably certain that Paul  deviated from Jewish Christianity in his emphasis on inclusion of the gentiles into God's New Covenant, and his rejection of circumcision as an unnecessary token of upholding the Law.  So I think there are two straight up examples of christology that Paul has created himself (in that he likely created the understanding that this is what Jesus would have wanted).

Bart Erhman also points out some differences in Jesus v Paul in his post 'Are Paul and Jesus on the Same Page?' dated 26 Jan 2018, if you still subscribe.  He demonstrates the difference in between how Jesus says you're saved vs how Paul says one is saved.  So I expect there were some different understandings of Jesus' and his message about in the early days.  What Paul simply agreed to rather than created himself, can not always be demonstrated.

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Just now, Elen1107 said:

I disagree with you. I really do think that Jesus wanted everybody to be living happily ever after in the Kingdom of Heaven. He wanted everyone to get on the same bandwagon and have a great old spiritual time. He came first to the Jews, yeah, because maybe they were more ready for him, but to my understanding he communicated to a good number of non-Jews also. When he gave out the great commission he said "go out to all the world", not just go out to any Jews that I might have missed.

Hey, we've always been good about disagreeing - hope we still are 🙂 

Elen,

I have no issue whatsoever with our disagreement.  We agree to disagree is all.

I enjoy the discussion.

Cheers

Paul

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36 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I disagree with you. I really do think that Jesus wanted everybody to be living happily ever after in the Kingdom of Heaven. He wanted everyone to get on the same bandwagon and have a great old spiritual time. He came first to the Jews, yeah, because maybe they were more ready for him, but to my understanding he communicated to a good number of non-Jews also. When he gave out the great commission he said "go out to all the world", not just go out to any Jews that I might have missed.

Hey, we've always been good about disagreeing - hope we still are 🙂 

I forgot to address your point about the great commission.  Where this is mentioned in the NT are books that have Pauline or gentile influences - Luke, Acts, John, Matthew etc were either written by Paul, his associate Luke, or others where by the time of their writing, gentiles were a solid presence in Christianity.  I don't think this commission can necessarily be attributed to Jesus, in fact, I think it shouldn't be.

The later addition to Mark of the great commission would seem to indicate that it was not originally from Jesus but a development after his death.

 

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

I forgot to address your point about the great commission.  Where this is mentioned in the NT are books that have Pauline or gentile influences - Luke, Acts, John, Matthew etc were either written by Paul, his associate Luke, or others where by the time of their writing, gentiles were a solid presence in Christianity.  I don't think this commission can necessarily be attributed to Jesus, in fact, I think it shouldn't be.

The later addition to Mark of the great commission would seem to indicate that it was not originally from Jesus but a development after his death.

I tend to agree on this but the so called great commission or the inclusion of the Gentiles of all nations was an inevitable part of the Kingdom's establishment (Isiah). 

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11 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I'd have to go over the gospels to figure out how many are mentioned. In Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount there seems to be quite a good many. Everyone that the 'woman at the well' talked to and who Jesus stayed with and preached to for two days, became believers, How many they were, again the bible doesn't say.

I know that Paul opened more doors for the Gentiles. From my perspective however the door was already opened in the Gospels, and by Jesus himself.

I know that John 1 is a latter development, but I still believe it. I also believe he was a person and a human being like all of us too. Exactly how this all happened and comes together, I don't know. I sometimes wonder if in some way we were all conceived of and created before physical creation began, though of course Jesus was first and the one who brings us into our true selves. 

I can't say I know how both conceptions of Jesus can be true, but I think that they both are true. Maybe it's something like God conceived of Jesus before the beginning of the universe and then wanted everything to be manifested through physical creation so E created the more physical universe and designated a time when Jesus would come into it also. A time perhaps when we people were more ready to see and experience who he was and who we are supposed to be and what direction we are supposed to be going in.

I understand what you're saying but for me or to my ears, this is a more theistic approach that I no longer accept. 

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

haven't read much of Larry but I think he makes a couple of jumps here without evidence.  Paul says he persecuted Christians, but not the specific details of why or what message in particular he persecuted them for.  We can estimate that it was probably largely because these Christians were promoting Jesus as the messiah, when the bulk of Judaism (and Paul) thought that was rubbish.  Paul later changed his mind and called himself a Christian, but what sort of Christian?  I think we can see that Paul's beliefs about Jesus differ somewhat from the Jesus presented in the synoptics (I'm talking here about who the Kingdom was for and why) and we get no alternate point of view presented for early Christianity.  I find it hard to imagine that this was the only take on Jesus that people who called themselves Christian, had.

Paul himself seems to acknowledge this in Galatians when he refers to people deserting the faith and turning to a different gospel - so I expect there were other views of Jesus and his message among the earliest Christians.

 

Not sure what you mean by 'evidence' but Hurtado makes a solid case. Interestingly your estimate matches Hurtado's conjecture based on his in-depth study. 

Perhaps it makes more sense to say that the Synoptics differ from Paul since Paul's epistles came first. I do agree that Paul has a 'different' understanding about 'who the Kingdom was for' but, rather than a difference, it seems more of an expansion and is still a piece with the Jewish understanding of all nations recognizing the God of Israel and with the imminent expectation of the return of Jesus, Paul reached out to those nations, the Gentiles. 

Hurtado's point, in part, is that Paul's beliefs are in sync with the beliefs of the earliest communities (more than I can explain in a post but his blog is worth a read if interested) and his writings begin 18 years after the execution of Jesus - as compared to the estimated dates of the Synoptics. In addition. Paul writes in a way that the Christology in his letters is already 'understood' - he is not introducing it for the first time and Hurtado presents it as the same Christology that in in place in the earliest communities and for which, as you also estimated, Paul prosecuted them.

I have no problem recognizing Paul preaching 'the Christ' as opposed to Jesus preaching the Kingdom or Paul's out reach to the Gentiles as opposed to Jesus' focus on the Jews. However, ideas like the understanding of the meaning of the death of Jesus, his exaltation by God and a Christology and devotional practices that recognize Jesus as Lord, Messiah, son of God are pretty much identical to the Jerusalem based community of Peter and James.  

Also not denying other views but the Gal. letter was about the whole idea of Gentiles having to become Jews, a disagreement Paul had with the community of James and Peter? 

 

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

 It seems Paul (and his associate, Luke) is saying these things about Jesus because it fits Paul's understanding of Jesus - the Jesus who he never even met.

Does Paul talk about the centurion and Jesus or was it the Synoptics?

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think it is because of the Pauline influence on early Christianity that Jesus became this all-loving, all-encompassing figure that really wanted everybody to live happily ever after in the Kingdom of God.  I think this is not what is presented about Jesus in the synoptic gospels.  I think his message was only focused on the Jews repenting, forgiving, loving etc.  Their God was to rule the world and they had a special place in it.

But Paul was not that interested in Jesus - providing no details about the (earthly) man so how could an "all-loving, all-encompassing (Jesus) figure that really wanted everybody to live happily ever after in the Kingdom of God" come from Paul? Isn't there more of a loving Jesus in the Synoptics than in Paul? 

 

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22 hours ago, PaulS said:

I forgot to address your point about the great commission.  Where this is mentioned in the NT are books that have Pauline or gentile influences - Luke, Acts, John, Matthew etc were either written by Paul, his associate Luke, or others where by the time of their writing, gentiles were a solid presence in Christianity.  I don't think this commission can necessarily be attributed to Jesus, in fact, I think it shouldn't be.

The later addition to Mark of the great commission would seem to indicate that it was not originally from Jesus but a development after his death.

 

Well, I'm going to disagree with you on this one too. Since I first read the NT I was surprised to hear people say that Jesus only came for the Jewish people.

I think that the fact that he has spoken to so many people who are not Jewish down through the ages also says something. Jesus, I believe, speaks to us each spiritually, not just through the NT. I think this is as important as any textual witnesses.

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9 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

Well, I'm going to disagree with you on this one too. Since I first read the NT I was surprised to hear people say that Jesus only came for the Jewish people.

I think that the fact that he has spoken to so many people who are not Jewish down through the ages also says something. Jesus, I believe, speaks to us each spiritually, not just through the NT. I think this is as important as any textual witnesses.

It's a fair point from a believer point of view, and I genuinely understand how you feel that.  I'm not convinced it's what Jesus actually intended, but if it does no harm and better yet, if it is a positive influence on people, then I think great.

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21 hours ago, thormas said:

I tend to agree on this but the so called great commission or the inclusion of the Gentiles of all nations was an inevitable part of the Kingdom's establishment (Isiah). 

I think Isaiah was more talking about these other nations being defeated and then coming to around to Israel's God, as opposed to sharing the good news (the great commission) that God is coming and wants all gentiles and Israel to live happily ever after.  My take anyway.

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20 hours ago, thormas said:

Does Paul talk about the centurion and Jesus or was it the Synoptics?

Just Luke & Matthew.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

But Paul was not that interested in Jesus - providing no details about the (earthly) man so how could an "all-loving, all-encompassing (Jesus) figure that really wanted everybody to live happily ever after in the Kingdom of God" come from Paul? Isn't there more of a loving Jesus in the Synoptics than in Paul? 

I think the synoptics are pointing to a Jesus that was like that for the Jews, largely because his message was only for the Jews to get ready for the Kingdom.  I just don't think his message was for all.  I think Paul expanded that message for his own reasons, or the reasons of others that he co-opted, but I think it was different to Jesus' intention.  So I mean to say that Paul was the one saying that Jesus' message (aka the good news) was for all and not just the Jews, in difference to what I think the synoptic (largely) show of Jesus' actions.

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20 hours ago, thormas said:
Not sure what you mean by 'evidence' but Hurtado makes a solid case. Interestingly your estimate matches Hurtado's conjecture based on his in-depth study. 

I think we've been down this path before in another thread.  It doesn't seem so solid to me, but each to their own. I just don't think there is enough evidence available to anybody to determine what the state of early Christianity was (in say the first 50 years after Jesus).  We can speculate by all means, but I don't find much of what people say we 'know' as compelling.  To me, anyway.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

Perhaps it makes more sense to say that the Synoptics differ from Paul since Paul's epistles came first. I do agree that Paul has a 'different' understanding about 'who the Kingdom was for' but, rather than a difference, it seems more of an expansion and is still a piece with the Jewish understanding of all nations recognizing the God of Israel and with the imminent expectation of the return of Jesus, Paul reached out to those nations, the Gentiles. 

You say expansion, I say difference.  The 'expansion' wasn't part of the original, so I see it as a 'difference' to the original.  I don't synthesize Paul's understanding with that of the Jewish understanding necessarily.  Jesus was inviting Jews to prepare for the Kingdom before God (or the son of man)  came and defeated the Romans and others.  Paul was selling a different product - everybody can live in the kingdom if they just believe in Jesus.  Jesus wasn't reaching out to those nations because I think he thought they were going to get their comeuppance.

20 hours ago, thormas said:

Hurtado's point, in part, is that Paul's beliefs are in sync with the beliefs of the earliest communities (more than I can explain in a post but his blog is worth a read if interested) and his writings begin 18 years after the execution of Jesus - as compared to the estimated dates of the Synoptics. In addition. Paul writes in a way that the Christology in his letters is already 'understood' - he is not introducing it for the first time and Hurtado presents it as the same Christology that in in place in the earliest communities and for which, as you also estimated, Paul prosecuted them.

The problem for me is that we only have the victor's account of Christianity.  We simply do not have accurate understandings of what all early Christians did or didn't think about Jesus.  We know there were different understandings (what they all were is not clear but even Paul mentions these exist).  We've been down this path before though - I just don't think there is enough for anybody, scholar or not, to say we know what the earliest Christian communities believed in as though they were all aligned with all beliefs about Jesus and his message. 

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4 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think the synoptics are pointing to a Jesus that was like that for the Jews, largely because his message was only for the Jews to get ready for the Kingdom.  I just don't think his message was for all.  I think Paul expanded that message for his own reasons, or the reasons of others that he co-opted, but I think it was different to Jesus' intention.  So I mean to say that Paul was the one saying that Jesus' message (aka the good news) was for all and not just the Jews, in difference to what I think the synoptic (largely) show of Jesus' actions.

I think you judge Paul too harshly as his reasons were in line with the Jewish expectation that all nations would turn to the true God. Also, there were other 'missionaries' also preaching to the Gentiles: Paul addresses Gentiles in a Roman community which he did not establish.  As for the Synoptics, even Ehrman, on his blog, writes, "The vast majority of the New Testament books – including that “most Jewish” of our Gospels, Matthew – appear to be directed largely if not exclusively to gentile audiences, and most may well have been written by gentile authors." Ehrman writes that the Jewish 'Christians' were always at the margins of the movement.

So the Synoptics were not written for Jews nor is there message only for Jews.........if at all. 

 

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think we've been down this path before in another thread.  It doesn't seem so solid to me, but each to their own. I just don't think there is enough evidence available to anybody to determine what the state of early Christianity was (in say the first 50 years after Jesus).  We can speculate by all means, but I don't find much of what people say we 'know' as compelling.  To me, anyway.

I get that all are entitled to their opinion but I would be curious where and why you find Hurtado as not solid. Fifty years after Jesus would bring us to 80 CE and we already have Paul's letters beginning 18 years after Jesus and his encounter with the early Christians dating to within the first 1- 2 years after the execution of Jesus. It certainly seems that the scholars have something to go on and Hurtado is not alone in this. In addition, the chronology for Paul seems to be accepted among scholars. Anyway......that could demand a lot of time, so we will leave it here..

I should add that if I used the word 'know' that was not intended as that word is too definitive and belongs to science rather than biblical scholarship.

 

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