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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 9. ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS .


**”So many gods, so many creeds;
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.”—Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

We have to keep in mind, and never lose sight of the fact that the historical “Jesus” was culturally a product of the ancient Near East, and in an area under Roman sovereignty.

“Christ” was a product of the people and times that came after him, most notably Pauline thought, as well as a Greek influence.

The parables and stories of the historical Jesus were the product of a first century Jewish “rabbi-sage-cynic” from Galilee who had an enormous influence on a handful of people around him.

We will refer to the historical figure as “Jesus” from now on, and the person of mythology as being the “Christ” of our modern religion.

Christianity, in its simplest terms, is the result of previous centuries of Jewish and Greek myth and conjecture.

It’s all about the coming of a “Messiah,” and revolves around the Resurrection.

The teachings of Jesus were altered to fit the legend but definitely took a secondary role.

We all know that the gospels were composed many years after the death of not only Jesus, but even of most of the people who knew him directly.

Not only were these Gospels displaced in time, but were also displaced culturally, and since Greek speaking Christians composed them, even further meaning was lost in translation from the Aramaic.

There are now two main, and disparate, schools of thought about the origin of Christianity.

The first, and mistaken belief is that Jesus himself, as well as his teachings, was the founder.

The other is that the Christ or “Anointed One” of the Resurrection, (Shaped by Pauline thought) is the bases of this religion.

This may seem to be a small distinction upon first inspection, but in the end a very crucial one.

If it is based on the teachings, and more importantly, the example of Jesus, then his words take on enormous significance.

If, on the other hand, the “Resurrection” and “Pauline thought” is taken as the bases for Christianity, then it is based on the ideas and beliefs of the people who came after him!

The Problem with the Historical Jesus (as postulated by Dr. Burton Mack.)

1. The historical Jesus is to be distinguished from the gospel portraits of him.
2. Jesus taught his disciples orally. Jesus wrote nothing.
3. Traditions about Jesus were circulated by word of mouth for many years after Jesus' death. Oral tradition is fluid.
4. The oral mentality remembers, not the precise words, but the core of what was said.
5. Jesus' mother tongue was Aramaic; the gospels were written in Greek.
6. Jesus was itinerant: he moved around and adapted his sayings and parables to the occasion. Jesus' disciples were also oral and itinerant: they moved around and revised his sayings and parables as the situation demanded.
7. The oral tradition exhibits little interest in biographical data about Jesus.

Chronology

1. At least two decades separate the death of Jesus from the first written records.
2. Forty years elapsed after the death of Jesus before the first canonical gospel was composed.
3. Mark was the first of the canonical gospels to be written. (Mark was not an eyewitness of the events he reports.)
4. The synoptic gospels - Mark, Matthew, Luke - share a common view of Jesus in contrast to the gospel of John.
5. Between them Matthew and Luke incorporate nearly all of Mark into their gospels, often almost word for word, and they also make use of a sayings gospel, known as Q, often almost word-for-word. (Q is a collection of sayings without a narrative framework.)

Gospel of Thomas

1. The Gospel of Thomas has provided a new and important source for the Jesus tradition. It consists of 114 sayings without a narrative framework.
2. Thomas represents an earlier stage of the tradition than do the canonical gospels and represents an independent witness to the Jesus tradition.

Age of the written gospels: (Now agreed upon most scholars!)

1. Q and Thomas were composed during the period 50-60 C.E.
2. Mark was written about 70 C.E.
3. Matthew was composed about 85 C.E.
4. Luke-Acts was created around 90 C.E.
5. The signs gospel embedded in the Gospel of John was composed during the period 60-80 C.E.
6. The first edition of John appeared between 80 and 100 C.E.

Independent and derivative gospels:

1. The major independent sources of information about Jesus are Q, Thomas, Mark, and the signs gospel embedded in the Gospel of John. The earliest sources are “Q” and Thomas.

Assessment of written sources:

1. Only a small portion of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels was actually spoken by him.
2. The greater part of the sayings tradition was created or borrowed from common lore by the transmitters of the oral tradition and the authors of the gospels.

Surviving copies of the gospels:

1. The original manuscripts of the gospels have disappeared.
2. The earliest small surviving fragments of any gospels date from about 125 C.E.
3. The earliest major surviving fragments of the gospels date from about 200 C.E.
4. The earliest complete copy of the gospels dates from about 300 C.E.
5. Prior to 1454 C.E. no two surviving copies of the same gospel are exactly alike.
6. In the copying process, copies of the gospels were "improved" and "corrupted."

Research Methods: Revolt against dogma:

1. The same methods of study should be applied to the Bible that are used in the study of other ancient texts.
2. Jesus should be studied like other historical persons
3. The Bible should be studied without being bound to theological claims made by the church, after all, Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew.

Oral Evidence

1. In the oral transmission of Jesus' words, his disciples remembered only the core or gist of his sayings and parables, not his precise words.
2. The bedrock of the sayings tradition is made up of single aphorisms and parables that once circulated independently.
3. The simpler forms of saying and parables are more likely to be original with Jesus. More complicated forms may mask earlier and simpler forms.
4. Words are frequently borrowed from the fund of common lore or from the Old Testament and put on the lips of Jesus.

TOMORROW; THE LAST DAYS!

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Sharon A., said...

So fascinating! I keep saying to my daughter: "Why can't we just accept one another already?"

Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:17:00 PM  

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