Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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Brian LePort has offered his reply in our continuing conversation about Islam, Christianity, and God or gods.
It should be emphasized here, once again, that we must learn the difference between Christian and Muslim love for Jesus. Apparently, Muslim love Jesus because he is considered by them to be a prophet of God in the line of Adam, Noah,Abraham, Joseph…etc. Nothing more and nothing less about him.On the other hand, Christians love Jesus because he is a unique Son of God, who did not consider his Sonship to be a matter of bragging about but rather chose to serve men unselfishly in this corrupt world, up to the point of death!Now, the consequences of having love for Jesus centred on right beliefs about him is evident today among Christians and Muslims. Muslims cannot comprehend the fact that the God could possess a Son who can be murdered unjustly by mere men, yet have the ability to comprehend that God could send someone as selfish, dictatorial, ruthless and unjust as Muhammad to be a prophet of God. The consequences? Muslims have always lived under dictatorship and tyranniical regimes but cannot raise eyebrows becuase, that's what Allah is. which Muslim today has a gut to challenge Al Qaeda or the Talibans?Johannine, Lucan, Paulian, McGrathian, etc, view of Jesus is irrelevant here. What is relevant is that, you have the correct beliefs about Jesus and those beliefs are going to manifest themselves outwardly in a person. What is going on here is this pseudo-intellectual hocus-pocus by so called biblical scholars to attract the attention and frenzy of extremely naive people.
Edson, although I'm honored that you'd try to elevate me to the level of Biblical author, I must emphasize that I'm not the author of any of the texts that are in the Bible – just to be clear.
But as a History scholar,you did author two books, The Burial of Jesus and The Only True God!What strong reasons do you have to suggest that you are less honorable, than say, John of the Bible?At any rate, I wanted to emphasize the point that you seem to be of the view that John's gospel is less important than that of Luke when it comes to the understanding of Historical Jesus, a point, I'm very critical of, but I had no other way of putting it to be known to you. Thanks goodness, it made sense to you that you have no basis of discarding John.
There is good reason to doubt that the vast majority of the words attributed to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel reflect the historical figure of Jesus. In John's Gospel, Jesus speaks in the same style and vocabulary as John the Baptist, who uses the same style and vocabulary as the narrator/author, which also resembles that of 1 John. This unique style and vocabulary, as well as the unique claim that Jesus was conscious of having pre-existed, all raise problems for historians because John is the first Gospel in which they appear, and thus seem to reflect that author's unique perspective.
The unique style in the use of vocabulary by John in the gospel and in his letters that reflects John's style of writing. The same can be said of the unique style of writing of Luke's gospel and the book of Acts. And this is only just that, stylish writing.It's really baffling that you have a tendency to gravitate towards Luke's, who at any rate never is reported anywhere to have met Jesus but find it easy to shun John whom it is reported somewhere to have met Jesus in person.Consistency, honesty and level-headedness are always virtues.
Well, Luke presents Jesus as speaking in parables, and agrees with Mark and Matthew in not presenting Jesus as claiming pre-existence. This facet is particularly noteworthy in Matthew, too, since Matthew's Gospel seems to know the Similitudes of Enoch, which depict the Son of Man as pre-existing, and yet that aspect of the Similitudes' depiction doesn't make it into Matthew, although it probably helps us understand how we get from Matthew to John.
"as well as the unique claim that Jesus was conscious of having pre-existed"I missed to touch on this in my latest post. I firmly believe that after Jesus baptism, his consciousness was upgraded by the Holy Spirit to self aware Himself, he is just a Prophecied Messiah!And remember, Jesus was a firm believer in the writings of Jewish prophets, that the Messiah will be both the Son of Man and the Son of God at the same time. And it is also amazing that Jesus believed himself to be the Messiah!And being the Son of God, it was apparent to him that he shared the nature of eternal existance with his Father. This made sense to Jesus as it made sense to John, at the time of writing his gospel.
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