oao wrote:Let me get this straight: Arguments are offered here about judaism and christianity and their commonality, at the root of which is the existence and death of Jesus and it is REACTIONS who question this that are unnecessary, not the original arguments? So what, questioners of religion should not participate here because they "offend"? If so, I assume we should not question Islam either, because muslims are quicker to offend, no?
It is curious that informed, reasoned doubts about religion are offending while calling them trash is OK.The more interesting question is: what did the life and death of Jesus mean? There is no real consensus about this among Christians. And none of the answers are quite satisfying to Jews.
It is only interesting if you accept Jesus' existence and the nature of his death, which is precisely what some of us are questioning and what the Jews at the time did too. As Vermes stated "Without resurrection, faith is rubbish".
But again, even if Jesus did exist and died on the cross, there is no significance to it of the type that Christianity claims.
I won't even get into the morals of a god who tortures his son for the sins of others, it is much simpler to take the story -- and that is just what it is, a myth from religious gospels -- at its possible historical meaning: Jesus, if he existed, was deemed troublesome by the Romans because he instigated Jews to stop cooperating with them and to rebel against their regime. He was punished like anybody else who would do that. Period.There was a good deal of anti-semitism in the pre-christian gentile world. A good and easily accessible example is to be found in the first five chapters of Book 5 of Tacitus's Histories, much of which is drawn from the Alexandrian writer Apion, against whom Flavius Josephus wrote his famous Apology It is easy to find similar ideas in Seneca (De Superstitione) and in Dio Cassius. Juvenel is so xenophobic, it is difficult to know whether he had a special animus against Jews.
Well, perhaps my language was not sufficiently careful. I should have said "not as anti-semite as it was after christianity contributed to it" and that is what I meant. Based on the known history it is hard to assume that there was a period in which jews were not hated at all. But I would still argue that jewishness was probably not THE obstacle for Paul and that christian anti-semitism started with him. This does not negate, however, the argument about Paul's alteration of the dogma over time in order to attract gentiles, making it less attractive for jews. And am I wrong in thinking that he did not emphasize jewishness, or that he emphasized it less and less over time?
I've seen a lecture by Eisenman where he reads from Paul and considers the psychological roots of some of his dogma and teachings. Ignore that at your peril.
I would have said that Alexandria was a hot-bed of anti-semitism from Hecataeus of Abdera and Manetho onwards, but thank you for clarifying. certainly some of those ideas were adopted (or never relinquished) by Alexandrian Christians, in particular. I was merely arguing that such ideas were current in the 1st century, long before Chritianity started to have a strong cultural influence, which cannot have been later than the early 4th century.
The idea of Christ's death as "penal substitution" or satisfying Divine justice is merely one theological interpretation and there is little evidence of it in the early Church.
Thus Athanasius in the 4th century says
He takes from us a nature similar to ours and, since we are all subject to corruption and death, He delivers His body to death for us
For the Fathers, the result of the Fall is mortality as the devil's victory, rather than inherited guilt, with sin and corruption as its consequence. Christ's death and resurrection are seen as a victory over death and thereby breaking the devil's power. A very different idea, this, than the suffering substitute. The legal idea of crime, punishment and satisfaction is comparatively late and, characteristically, Western. It was first fully developped by St Anselm in the 11th century.