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Ask a Theologian IV

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Jun 24, 2011.

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  1. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    I read the Jesus wars, and IIR some of the votes were "purchased".

    If the manuscripts are still around from the first 100 to 200 years, it would be hard to re-invent any conspiracies unless new evidence came to light. Spinning things that don't exist can still happen. I am no theologian by any stretch of the definition, but it is an interest of mine. Perhaps it is making things too simple to compare the division between James and Paul as being similar to the US's current political structure. Both sides want the "best" for the populace but their attempts are at odds with each other. It would seem to me that Paul had the education and political status advantage over James, but I am missing the point how their portrayal of the Gospel is at odds with each other in light of their backgrounds.

    Could it not be said that the Roman version of how history unfolded was a conspiracy theory to portray Peter as the founder? According to some Jesus appointed James as the first leader. Some would say Peter was the first leader. And then others would say Paul was the leader. Could it not be said that each followed their heart and thoughts and did what they could. That they were leaders or influential was only a by product, not who they set out to be.
     
  2. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I don't know what you're referring to there, so I can't comment on it.

    There are a few little fragments of New Testament texts that arguably date from the first century, but really for pretty much all texts of this period (Christian and non-Christian) we're dependent on manuscript copies from hundreds of years later. Fortunately in the case of the New Testament there are many copies in many different traditions, not to mention all the quotations in patristic texts, so we can be very confident of the text.

    I agree with you. People often get a bit carried away with early Christianity and make it out to be a thing of great moment. These people weren't titanic world-striding leaders; they were the most prominent figures in what was then a very minor movement. If Paul and James disagreed about something, that wasn't like Obama disagreeing with Bush; it wasn't even like the archbishop of Canterbury disagreeing with the Pope; it was like Alex Sanders disagreeing with Gerald Gardner. A big deal to those within that little movement, but still; they were just small-time people who were prominent in a small-time movement because of their own charisma and ability.

    That said, I do think we should bear in mind that Paul, at least, set out to be a leader, at least in some sense. His own conception of himself as an "apostle" anointed directly by the risen Christ, and therefore equal to (and independent of) the apostles in Jerusalem, is one of the most important themes of his letters. No doubt it also helped that, despite the relative unimportance of the Christian movement at that time and of Paul himself, he happened to be a religious genius whose letters are so brimming with creative ideas that they're still the subject of a mountain of books today.
     
  3. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

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    Two questions for Plotinus:

    1. What was the official crime which Jesus was crucified for?
    2. What do you think was the real reason Jesus was crucified? (if different)

    I've often wondered about this but never thought to ask here. It seems sort of sinister that people like Jesus or Martin Luther King were murdered when really all they did was try to promote love and kindness toward others. I sort of wonder what that says of humanity in general, that there are so many martyrs out there?
     
  4. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    Isn't a new thread a bit overdue now?
     
  5. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    You're right. I've been putting it off because the index is so hopelessly out of date and it feels wrong to start a new thread without updating it. But I will anyway.

    New thread is here. This thread is now closed.

    (I'll answer Gary Childress' questions in the new thread.)
     
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