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Thread: Was the antisemitism in the Book of John just an internecine squabble between Jews?

  1. Top | #21
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    Initially Hitler rejected religion as part of National Socialism, but realized an alliance could be of value. Part of the Nazi platform, was a return to traditional German values. Christianity was in decline and they hopped on board with the Nazis, at least at the start. Not too dissimilar to Trump populism and Evangelicals.

    Hitler cited 'the Jews killed Christ' as a rationale for anti-Semitism. I heard the slogan as a kid in the 50s.

    The RCC was anti-sematic without question. I believe Luther was as well.

  2. Top | #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whollygoats View Post
    Why don't you try thinking of 'Jews' as being those who were resident in Judea? That means everybody who lived and paid taxes in the geographic area known as Judea. If you were a devotee of YHWH, and gave credence to the Temple and its priesthood in Jerusalem, then you might be referred to as a 'Hebrew' or an 'Israelite'. But, in Jerusalem, there would have been an admixture of other peoples, both pagan and other Hebraic sectarians, including believers in the likes of the Great Angel, and the Enochians, as well as the neighboring Samaritans. And well all know about the various 'libraries' like those in Qumran, evidencing robust divergent religious traditions. Indeed, only a lifetime earlier, the Parthians had occupied Jerusalem, and lurked just beyond the frontier, so Zoroastrianism would probably have been present, as well. And, of course, after 135 CE, the new temple to Jupiter would rise on Mount Moriah, thanks to the exasperated Latins. What we call Judiasm was not some monolithic belief system....it had a central temple and an active priesthood that was widely resented by much of the local population, as it was a known puppet to the political powers of the day. Most of them would have spoken a Semitic language and acknowledged Semitic customs, even the likes of Herod, who was not a Jew.

    What we call 'antisemitism' is a resentment of the teachers of the scriptural interpretations of what became diaspora Judaism and claimed the scriptural underpinnings of the teachings of the Christian sectarians. The 'authorities' of the scriptures denied the Christian interpretation and explicitly excluded Christian teachings as heretical. The antisemitism is reactionary to their exclusion from the congregation.
    There were the Jerusalem, Syrian, Rome, and Greek Jews. I read there was a dispute between Jerusalem and Syrian Jews as to who was the true line going back to Moses and Abraham. Similar to the Muslim Sunni Shiite split. I read that for a time the Roman Jews were respected for business skills and a strong patriarchal family. It became a Roman fad religion for a while.

    In the time of the gospels there was no monolithic Jewish culture.
    Correct.

    And, there was a very strong Babylonian Hebraic community, still. They were soundly settled amongst the Parthians in the neigbboring, and hostile, empire.

  3. Top | #23
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    I don’t think you can divorce what's going on in the New Testament with what was going on in the Roman Empire in the latter half of the first century when the Gospels were first written. It seems blatantly obvious that first century Christians were desperate to distance themselves from those revolting Jews. They weren’t so much anti Semitic, but desperate to identify themselves with the empire and not those damn traitors who were rebelling against them. The early Christians were an easy scapegoat for Romans to persecute. Nero could use them to divert attention from his failures and could be seen to blame the Jews without angering too many Jews, just a small sect of them. To me the antisemetic parts of the gospels and epistles are nothing but an attempt to differentiate themselves so they wouldn’t be persecuted anymore.

    SLD

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    Jews were not unified. I read there was conflict between Jerusalem Jews and Syrian Jews as to who were the authentic Jews. Like the Sunni Shiite split.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Jews were not unified. I read there was conflict between Jerusalem Jews and Syrian Jews as to who were the authentic Jews. Like the Sunni Shiite split.
    Far more complex than that.

    For example, there were fundamentalist terrorists, known as the Sicarii, who systematically stalked and assassinated high-placed Jews they thought not devout enough. Then, if you familiarize yourself with the products of the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' from Qumran, you will note that there are multiple interpretations of messianic saviours, amongst other issues of dogma. The 'Jews' despised the Samaritans, and resented Herod the Great because he was not a Jew, but an Idumean. The Sadduccees pretty much controlled the temple councils and the temple police, while the Pharisees represented a pietist reaction to the conservative Sadduccee. There are even scriptural antagonisms between the priesthood and the prophetic traditions. According to Margaret Barker, there was a even more widespread support for the Great Angel and other Enochian teachings flowing under the primary, and apparent, antagonistic theological parties.

    Remember, the reason the Romans were invited in was that there had been a protracted civil war between familial factions of the Hasmonean regime.
    Last edited by whollygoats; 07-25-2018 at 03:06 AM.

  6. Top | #26
    New Member DCHindley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD
    I don’t think you can divorce what's going on in the New Testament with what was going on in the Roman Empire in the latter half of the first century when the Gospels were first written. It seems blatantly obvious that first century Christians were desperate to distance themselves from those revolting Jews.
    This sort of thing needs a closer look IMHO. Who were these "apostates" from Judaism that later re-defined themselves as ("big-C") Christians?

    In my opinion, groups of gentiles had attached themselves to Jesus' faction. Jesus, for his part, preached about the impending establishment of a kingdom of God on earth, a very bountiful one indeed, which will be enjoyed by the holy people of God.

    For these gentiles, it was important to be part of the holy people of God. I assume that some adopted Judean traditions (their "law") as best as circumstances allowed, and some fully converted by becoming circumcised. They became experts in their own way in the Judean scriptures, although in Greek translation, which contain some differences from Hebrew scriptures, and Greek translations of other beloved Apocryphal & Pseudepigraphical books.

    It was not until the Judean rebellion against Rome, though, that the divide really widened. "Big-C" Christians seemed to feel betrayed by natural-born Judeans ("Jews," if you like) in the aftermath, and if you read Josephus' account of the atrocities committed by both sides, you can see how these gentile converts could feel themselves between a rock and a hard place. Many Jews didn't trust these recent converts as "real" converts, but opportunists. Then their own kinsmen must have turned their backs on these converts for "going to the enemy."

    With no place to go, they circled the wagons and thought deeply. How could they have been so wrong? But in the end, they decided that they were not wrong, but the Judeans were wrong to have tried to establish the kingdom of God by human actions. They blamed those Jews who revolted, including the whole former aristocracy, for the destruction of the temple (formerly beloved too). With the temple now gone, they decided that temples were superfluous. Stephen's speech contained an outline of this line of thinking, but now rounded off with a scathing denunciation of all things Judean.

    The higher Christology followed, adopting some Platonic philosophical concepts probably borrowed via Philo of Alexandria, partly from the mystical traditions that developed from Judaism (Sethian gnostic ideas involving a redeemer). This high Christology (where "anointed" no longer referred to a human leader chosen by God, but now transferred into a title for their new redeemer god, "Christ"), was projected into collections of letters of Paul.

    Those letters, originally not Christian at all, but which had developed independently a rational for gentiles to be considered people of God able to inherit the bountiful future age, were thus hijacked and adapted to be testimonies of their own Christological beliefs. Unfortunately, as most folks have noticed already, the purely Judean solution of Paul (faith in God's promise that Abraham's seed would inherit a future fruitful land, was all that was required to justify a gentile before God) was like oil and the high Christology was like water, which do not mix well at all.

    Christians have since made a silk purse (Gods revelation that Judaism was "out" and a Christ Redeemer had replaced it) out of a sow's ear (the mess of the interpolated Pauline letters). Oh Joy!

    DCH

  7. Top | #27
    Zen Hedonist Jobar's Avatar
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    The higher Christology followed, adopting some Platonic philosophical concepts probably borrowed via Philo of Alexandria, partly from the mystical traditions that developed from Judaism (Sethian gnostic ideas involving a redeemer). This high Christology (where "anointed" no longer referred to a human leader chosen by God, but now transferred into a title for their new redeemer god, "Christ"), was projected into collections of letters of Paul.

    Those letters, originally not Christian at all, but which had developed independently a rational for gentiles to be considered people of God able to inherit the bountiful future age, were thus hijacked and adapted to be testimonies of their own Christological beliefs. Unfortunately, as most folks have noticed already, the purely Judean solution of Paul (faith in God's promise that Abraham's seed would inherit a future fruitful land, was all that was required to justify a gentile before God) was like oil and the high Christology was like water, which do not mix well at all.
    I think this is the first time I've heard the idea that Paul's epistles were not originally Christian. DCH, can you link me to other writers who think this?

    I have always considered the genuine Pauline writings as the earliest texts of the Christian religion.

    For many years I've thought that Paul was more or less a Gnostic, although that has been mostly covered up by many redactions of his works. In fact, his constant refrain of 'I preach Christ crucified' leads me to believe that he had a larger part in the creation of Christianity as we know it today, than any other individual before Constantine.

  8. Top | #28
    New Member DCHindley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobar View Post
    The higher Christology followed, adopting some Platonic philosophical concepts probably borrowed via Philo of Alexandria, partly from the mystical traditions that developed from Judaism (Sethian gnostic ideas involving a redeemer). This high Christology (where "anointed" no longer referred to a human leader chosen by God, but now transferred into a title for their new redeemer god, "Christ"), was projected into collections of letters of Paul.

    Those letters, originally not Christian at all, but which had developed independently a rational for gentiles to be considered people of God able to inherit the bountiful future age, were thus hijacked and adapted to be testimonies of their own Christological beliefs. Unfortunately, as most folks have noticed already, the purely Judean solution of Paul (faith in God's promise that Abraham's seed would inherit a future fruitful land, was all that was required to justify a gentile before God) was like oil and the high Christology was like water, which do not mix well at all.
    I think this is the first time I've heard the idea that Paul's epistles were not originally Christian. DCH, can you link me to other writers who think this?

    I have always considered the genuine Pauline writings as the earliest texts of the Christian religion.

    For many years I've thought that Paul was more or less a Gnostic, although that has been mostly covered up by many redactions of his works. In fact, his constant refrain of 'I preach Christ crucified' leads me to believe that he had a larger part in the creation of Christianity as we know it today, than any other individual before Constantine.
    Aside from those who thought/think that the letters were *all* pseudepigraphic products of a 2nd century Pauline "school," I do not believe I can offer any scholarly authority to support my proposed origins for them.

    The idea that the letters were originally pep-talk by a traveling retainer of a large Judean household (and thus probably a Herodian household) in the hellenized Diaspora, completely unrelated to the early Christian movement, whose work was edited to make it "Christian," is - I believe - original to me, cooked up in the early 1990s. I've subjected it to minor revisions a couple times since. For a long time I was stymied by a lack of a Unicode Greek font and available time (I had a 60+hr/wk salaried job involving travel and lots of evening and weekend hours), so I couldn't produce analytic tables that weren't in ASCII. Yuk!

    I do now have access to good Unicode Greek fonts (and a "real" 40hr/wk job) and have so far produced much nicer analyses of Galatians, 1 Cor & Romans. The others, including the letters to individuals, are on the back burner of my secret lab for the time being.

    At the Text Excavation website, Ben Smith has nice enough to host an earlier form of all the letters, fully divided between "original" and added commentary/comments/redirections (in English only), here:

    http://www.textexcavation.com/dch.html

    The newer versions in Unicode Greek/English tables that analyze the NT texts, with OT quotes also compared to the Septuagint/Brenton's ET, has been posted time to time on Peter Kirby's BC&H forum. A full explanation for how I got to these is still not even started, the matter of interrelations being more complex than might at first seem.

    Read ... feel the dissonance ... then . Once exploded from info overload, take a long nap, and when you wake, everything will suddenly seem clear as mud.

    DCH

  9. Top | #29
    New Member DCHindley's Avatar
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    Jobar,

    Regarding a precedent for looking at the Pauline letters as composite, Albert Schweitzer had written about the efforts of Allard Pierson, Samuel Adrianus Naber & Arthur Tappan Pierson, Verisimilia: laceram conditionem Novi Testamenti (1886):

    [123]BAUER REDIVIVUS

    In a critical introduction to his study of the Sermon on the Mount, Allard Pierson examined the earliest witnesses for the existence of Christianity, and in doing so threw out the question whether the historicity of the main Pauline epistles was so completely raised above all doubt that they could be treated with perfect confidence as archives from the earliest period of the new faith. (123n2)

    In the year 1886 he published, in association with the philological scholar, Samuel Adrian Naber, the Verisimilia. The book was not adapted to make a deep impression. It was too much the ingenious essay for that.

    The two friends combined their efforts in order to show New Testament exegetes how much they had left unexplained in the Epistles to the Thessalonians, Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans, and how many problems, incoherencies, and contradictions appear when one reads these writings with an open mind. (123n3)

    [124]

    But instead of making a thorough examination of the problems and laboriously arguing the case with the other students of Paulinism, the authors at once proceed to suggest what appears to them a possible solution. They claim to have discovered that the inconsistencies are due in the main to the presence of two strata of thought which have been worked together. The one is of a sharply anti-Jewish character; the other consists of milder and more conciliatory ideas.

    If it be assumed, so runs their argument, that Christianity was in its real origin a Jewish sect which had liberal ideas in regard to the law and directed its expectation towards the Messiah, the antinomian sections of the Epistles represent documents of that period.

    The present form of the letters is due to the fact that a later "Churchman" — the authors call him Paulus episcopus, and think that he may have served as model for the Paul of Acts — worked into them the second, milder set of ideas.

    123n2) Allard Pierson, De Bergrede en andere synoptische Fragmenten, 1878, 260 pp.; on Paul, 98-112. With his doubt of the Epistles the author associates a doubt of the Gospels, and asks whether Christianity as they represent it can have been founded by a historical Jesus.

    123n3) A. Pierson and S. A. Naber, Verisimilia. Laceram conditionem Novi Testamenti exemplis illustrarunt et ab origine repetierunt, 1886, 295 pp. The work gives a running analysis of the letters in the course of which very interesting questions are thrown out. Why is nothing said about the earthly life of Jesus? Why is no trace of the influence of this Paul's thought to be found in history? Do the various characteristics and actions of his which are recorded show us a character which is at all intelligible? The authors assume that the Jewish movement which led up to "Christianity" at first had only to do with the Messianic belief in general. Only later, through the blending of Greek myths with Isaiah 53., did the belief arise that the expected Messiah had already come and had passed through death and resurrection. The analysis of the Pauline Epistles is followed by essays upon the Paul of Acts and some chapters on the Fourth Gospel. The close is formed by an essay on the gradual origin of the conception of Christ in the New Testament.

    [Paul and His Interpreters: A Critical History (1912)]
    Their take on how the letters came to be as we receive them, was almost the polar opposite to what I have concluded, but I think I can justify my POV with a milder set of ideas being overwritten with "liberal ideas in regard to the law and directed its expectation towards the Messiah, the antinomian sections" which were peculiar to the evolved Christ movement.

    For me there were two players here:
    1) A Jesus movement centered on the inauguration of a fruitful age to be enjoyed by descendants of Abraham, with concentration on its anointed leader.
    a) Jesus, was assumed by many to have been this leader. After his execution, though, the belief arose that God will resurrect him one day to inaugurate the new blessed age. This was led by members of Jesus' family, so the family likely laid claim to Judean crown. They were competing with Herodians, and may have been a rump faction within the Hasmonean dynasty.
    b) One faction within this movement, consisting of gentiles who have converted to Judaism, apparently hoping to participate in this fruitful age to come along with natural born Judeans. The Judean rebellion of 66-73 CE changed this faction into bitter enemies of the Judean people who participated in the revolt. Not willing to believe that they were wrong about God letting them participate in the fruitful future age, they developed the concept of their dead leader Jesus actually being a semi-divine redeemer, "Christ," fashioned from Platonic cosmology as understood by Philo, and proto-gnostic concepts developed by Judean's who had lost faith in their national God in consequence of that war.
    2) A completely unrelated Paul movement centered around members of a large Herodian household with estates throughout the Mediterranean region. Paul, a retainer, and perhaps son, of a gentile convert to Judaism, his father probably having been manumitted by the master of the household, when he first encountered gentile slaves and retainers of this household who wished to be included in the future blessed age all Judeans hoped for one day, was hostile to any attempt by them to evade full conversion to Judaism and adherence to circumcision and law observance, like his dad had. In time, he had his seizure which he interpreted as a vision which caused him to see a solution for treating these "faithful" gentiles as justified before God, by means of the same simple faith that Abraham had that God would fulfill his promise of that fruitful inheritance, as Abraham was thus justified before his God even before he had himself circumcised and well before there was any Law, making them "spiritual" children. It was creative, but not popular. He suffered a lot of blow back from other Judeans who were not so lenient. After his death, the remnants of this movement was decimated by the aftermath of the Judean rebellion, where the status of Herodians was degraded as Judea was no longer a state in Roman preservation to be handed over to a strong Judean prince when it would be convenient for the Romans.

    I think the Jesus movement, now developed into a mystery cult around a semi-divine redeemer, reached out to their former foes, the Herodians, by adopting these letters of Paul with their peculiar solution to the justification of gentiles, and adapted them to make Paul a Christian. The result of all these digressions, glosses and redirections was clunky and doesn't read smoothly. But it contained seminal elements of the Christ theology that was developing. Finally, the author of Hebrews, who was actually a very thoughtful person, worked out the Christ theology of the letters, which is rough and tumble, into a coherent theology of Jesus as the divine redeemer Christ.

    <puf puf> That was a lot to get out in one breath!

    DCH

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