Friday, November 27, 2009
I have mentioned The Jesus Seminar in several of my articles. At first I was reluctant to accept that this long term scholarly deconstruction of the faith was necessary. In many ways, the future Christian church and it will exist in the centuries to come, will be based on a new foundation. The old foundation gave way not unlike the old St Peter’s in Rome that had stood there a thousand years and was torn down around 1500 C.E. to make way for the present structure.
Besides the crumbling foundation being examined and the engineers of The Jesus Seminar trying to determine how to best assess the damage, there is also separate from scholarly review the cancer setting into the Christian Faith from a worldwide RC hierarchy covering up priest abuse and the whole question of celibacy as a major factor in that abuse issue.
Another part of the cancer on the faith is the rigid thoughtless absolute bible hugging notion that the Bible is the unerring word of God as in the unerring opinion (tin god punditry) of fundamentalists. Yeah right.
The Jesus Seminar has moved on from the five gospels (Thomas for the sake of argument was included) and is now dissecting The Acts of the Apostles.
Seminar on the Acts of the Apostles
I invite you to read some of their reports and their blackballing of Acts as more of a second century document than a reflection of first century Christianity as we think of it and or have come to know it.
I eagerly await their seminar on Paul.
In my own amateur studies of esoterics and religion I feel confident to move on with my own brand of Cultural Christianity.
When looking at the Gospel of Mark recently and in a new format, line by line -
Bible, King James Version (KJV)
It struck me that Jesus if he ever existed did not live on the timeline they claim that he did. In my opinion, Jesus and or his ministry happened after the destruction of Herod’s temple in 70 AD.
I say this because I already believe that the Gospel of John is at least two small gospels welded together in the middle to suit a political agenda and claiming legitimacy of the Peter Clique of Christians as the one and only authorized Jesus name brand.
That looking at Mark I see road directions, markers that want the reader to believe in these events occurring in a certain time period. That the beginning of each synoptic gospel has different timeline markers designed for different intended audiences. Mark has John the Baptist. Matthew has Herod the Great and the Persian Magi. Luke has a census ordered by Augustus, with a timeframe not easily found or reconciled anywhere else in writings from antiquity.
And looking at Mark the whole Pilate marker is an amateur writer in the early second century wanting to use a recognizable figure such as Pilate in that he on a verbal or oral scale was somebody the Jews were still talking about decades after his transfer out of Palestine.
The trial with the high priest in the gospels is so phony. An orthodox Jew says he is the messiah and the high priest tears his clothes. In real life the high priest would have most likely said something like “Of course you are the messiah, and so is my nephew and half the people I meet everyday”.
The amateur nature of Jew on Jew and noble Roman letting Jew kill Jew is not early first century drama but early second century drama. Simon Bar Kochba and his Revolt and recycling of Hadrian’s Temple of Jupiter as the new Third Temple was a very short lived but real drama. There are coins of this two, three year era when the Jews almost broke the back of the whole Roman army and deserved a Josephus Flavious to write ripe propaganda about it.
Alas there are no records, very few about Hadrian bankrupting the Roman Empire in his desire to subjugate a foreign people and destroy a unique belief system. Who would want to keep records of the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Jews?
Jesus and or his sayings as in the Gospel of Thomas got written into a post apocalyptic script and backdated to be in the old antebellum Temple before 70 C.E. and to fulfill a hundred real or imagined prophetic conditions of a messiah. A simpler setting in a simpler time was needed to explain the teachings of Jesus and not with the backdrop of the chaos and thunder of the collapsed Jewish Dream in 135 C.E..
A simpler setting but the anger and rancor and political Jewish State infighting appear not to be disguised. The Pharisees as a class were a far more important factor in every day Jewish life after the destruction of Herod’s temple in the year 70 that before its demise.
After Bar Kochba and the total destruction of the Jewish State, some had to backtrack and decide or fabricate who the real messiah had really been if not Bar Kochba. Jesus of Nazereth?
We live in a wonderful age. The words of Jesus, the real words of Jesus and their love, humanity and quest for justice will echo through the centuries to come and not be filled with the hate and anti-Semitism of the hack spec writer scripts of the synoptic gospels.