Did Jesus Exit? – Part 19

In Part 14, we saw that Mark portrays Jesus as a devout follower of the Jewish faith. In Part 15, we saw that Q portrays Jesus as a devout follower of the Jewish faith. Does L, the special source used by Luke, portray Jesus as an adherent of Judaism? as a devout follower of the Jewish faith? While the evidence is not as extensive as it is in the case of Mark and Q, the evidence is fairly clear that Jesus is portrayed by L as a devout follower of the Jewish faith.

Jesus and the Jewish Scriptures

L 4:25-27:
Jesus refers to Old Testament stories about the prophets Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:1-16 and 2 Kings 5:1-14), indicating familiarity with the Jewish scriptures. Jesus calls Elisha a “prophet” and says that Elijah was “sent to…a widow” indicating his belief that Elijah was also a prophet. So, Jesus accepted the stories in Jewish scriptures about these men as true, and Jesus accepted the Jewish view of these men as being messengers from God.

L 10:30-37a
Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. It involves a man who is travelling “from Jerusalem to Jericho”. Characters include “a priest” (presumably a Jewish priest from the temple in Jerusalem) and “a Levite” and “a Samaritan”. A man who was beaten up, robbed, and left for dead is not helped by the priest or the Levite, but is helped by the Samaritan. Jesus asks “Which of these three was ta neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” In this Jewish context, Jesus is making a reference to the Old Testament command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

L 14:12-14
Jesus also taught that we should be generous and kind towards the poor, disabled, and the blind, which is in keeping not only with the “Love your neighbor” command in Leviticus, but is also a theme in other O.T. passages (caring for the poor, orphans, widows, and resident aliens): Exodus 22:21-27, 23:10-12; Leviticus 19:9-11, 23:21-23; Deuteronomy 14:28-29, 15:10-12, 24:11-16, 27:17-19.

L 16:19-31
Jesus told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Jesus portrays Abraham as a saint, in keeping with the Jewish faith. Jesus teaches that there will be rewards and punishments in the afterlife, and that to avoid punishments in the afterlife one ought to “listen to Moses and the prophets” (verse 31).

L 17:12-18
In this story Jesus heals ten lepers, and then tells them “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Presumably he is referring to Jewish priests, and his order reflects a law found in the Jewish scriptures (Leviticus 13:2-8 & 14:2-3). Jesus is pleased by one of the healed lepers who later returned and thanked Jesus, because that leper gave “praise to God”. In other words, that leper showed gratefulness for the miraculous healing brought about by God. Giving praise to God is clearly an important part of the Jewish faith, and is part of the ten commandments of Moses (see Exodus 10:1-6, 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:1-21, 10:19-21).

Jesus as a Teacher of Jewish Beliefs, Values & Practices

L 7:11b-15
In this story Jesus is accompanied by “his disciples and a large crowd”. Jesus performs a healing miracle, a resurrection of a dead man. There is no indication in this passage about what sort of teacher Jesus was, but the fact that he performs a miraculous healing suggests that he was some sort of religious teacher.

L 7:36-47
In this passage Jesus is clearly portrayed as a teacher within the Jewish faith tradition. Jesus is invited to have a meal at the house of a Pharisee. A Pharisee would be unlikely to invite a Gentile or a non-practicing Jew or a promoter of another religion (polytheism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism) to eat with him in his home. Pharisees were devout followers of the Jewish religion. This Pharisee is concerned about the question of whether Jesus was a prophet (verse 39), and he calls Jesus “Teacher”(verse 40). Clearly, in the context of wondering whether Jesus was a prophet, a messenger from God, the term “Teacher” implies a teacher of religious beliefs and practices, not a teacher of mathematics or a teacher of rhetoric, etc.

L 13:10-17b
“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.”
(verse 10). If Jesus was teaching in synagogues on the sabbath, then this strongly implies that Jesus was a teacher within the Jewish faith tradition. Obviously, he would not be allowed to teach in a synagogue on the sabbath day if he promoted atheism or polytheism or Hinduism or some other alternative to the Jewish religion.

Furthermore, Jesus heals a crippled woman on that sabbath day, and is criticized by “the leader of the synagogue” for violation of the sabbath day of rest. Jesus argues that healing a woman who was “a daughter of Abraham” who had been crippled “for eighteen long years” was a legitimate exception to the divine command not to work on the sabbath day. Note that Jesus does not say “Hey, I’m not a devout Jew, so I don’t care about observing the sabbath”. In arguing that this is a reasonable or legitimate exception to the rule, Jesus is implicitly accepting the rule or commandment not to work on the sabbath (see Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

L 14:2-5
Jesus again argues for healing as a legitimate exception to the prohibition of work on the sabbath:

And Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?” (verse 3)

Clearly, Jesus is not rejecting the Jewish rule against working on the sabbath, since he wants to discuss whether healing on the sabbath is “lawful”, meaning whether healing on the sabbath would be in keeping with the ten commandments and other laws of Moses.

Jesus on Repentance, Forgiveness of Sins, and Divine Judgement

A major theme in L is repentance and forgiveness of sins, in order to avoid divine judgement and punishment. This was the core message of John the Baptist according to the canonical gospels, and it appears to be a core message of Jesus in L.

In three passages, Jesus approves of or encourages people to repent of their sins to avoid divine judgement.

L 7:36-47
And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he [Jesus] was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with ointment. …he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house: you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgeiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to who little is forgiven loves little.”

L 13:1b-5
Jesus comments on a couple of recent events. Pilate had killed some Galileans. And eighteen people were killed in Jerusalem when a tower fell on them. Apparently, popular sentiment viewed both incidents as being a divine punishment for sins of the victims. But Jesus says that these people were not any more sinful than other Galileans or other residents of Jerusalem: “…Unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.” (verse 3 & 5).

L 19:2-10
Jesus befriends Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector who was rich, and Zacchaeus responds enthusiastically: “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” (verse 8). Jesus responds to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man cam to seek out and to save the lost.” (verse 9). Jesus appears to be following in the footsteps of John the Baptist, teaching and encouraging sinful and non-devout Jews to repent, and to start living in accordance with the ten commandments and to worship Jehovah, the God of Israel.

L 15:4-6
Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Sheep (see Jesus’ comments to Zacchaeus in L 19: 8-9).

L 15:8-9
Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Coin.

L 15:11-32
Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Son (Prodigal Son). The son in the story clearly represents a sinner who repents and returns back to love and obey Jehovah.

L 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the Lazarus and the Rich Man. The rich man is being tormented in the afterlife, and he pleads with Abraham: “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house–for I have five brothers–that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” (verses 27 & 28). Abraham replies, “They have Moses and the prophets: they should listen to them.” The rich man replies, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” (verses 29 & 30). Here we see Jesus teaching that one must repent of sin in order to avoid divine punishment in the afterlife.

L 18:10-14a
Jesus tells the story of the Self-Righteous Pharisee and the Repentant Tax Collector. When the Pharisee prays at the temple, he thanks God that he is devout and religious. When the tax collector prays, he says “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” (verse 13). Jesus comments that “…this man [the repentant tax collector] went down to his home justified rather than the other [the Pharisee].” (verse 14).

Jesus and Prayer

L 11:5b-8
Jesus teaches that we should be persistent in prayer.

L 18:10-14a
Jesus teaches that we should pray for divine forgiveness.

L 18:2-8a
Jesus teaches that we should be persistent in praying for justice. Presumably, he had in mind the Jewish hope that God would save the Jewish people from oppression and domination by the Romans, although he might also have had in mind the elite Jewish priests of Jerusalem, who were collaborators with the Roman authorities.

I conclude that there is ample evidence that L portrays Jesus as a devout Jew, as an adherent of the religion of Judaism. Jesus was, according to L, familiar with the O.T. and believed Moses, Elijah, and Elisha were messengers from God, and that Abraham was a saint. Jesus believed that we should obey God, specifically that we should obey the commandments and laws of Jehovah, and that most people, perhaps all people, are sinful and need to repent, change their minds and their lives to conform to the commandments and laws of Jehovah, in order to avoid terrible divine punishments in the afterlife. Jesus believed that we should pray to God and worship God. All of this reflects the idea that Jesus was a devout follower of the Jewish faith.

  • L.Long

    Back in my xtian daze, I always wondered why we were xtian when the stories show jebus as a jew? Every where I looked in the buyBull it shows jebus being jewish.
    It wasn’t until deep into atheism that I realized xtians where really Paulians.

    • Greg G.

      Have you considered that Jesus was a Paulian? Paul never quotes Jesus but we find many of Paul’s ideas coming out of Jesus’ mouth in the gospels, including Thomas, particularly from Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Galatians. But there’s also some of James ideas attributed to Jesus, too, and that epistle is anti-Pauline. It seems to be a direct refutation of Galatians.

      If Jesus actually said those things, Paul’s and James’ arguments would have been stronger if they quoted Jesus if he was a prominent teacher. However, the epistles never portray Jesus as a teacher or a Minimal Historical Person. Paul laments that the Jews want signs and the Greeks want wisdom but he doesn’t know any of that, he only preaches Christ crucified. Of course, that’s one Jesus echoes when he says “there will be no signs for this generation. “

      • Pofarmer

        Yes, think it’s important to remember that Paul was writing first, so basically all the later writings would have been polluted by Paul’s teaching. It seems like at least some of what’s in the
        Gospels is just expounding on some of Pauls doctrines, the you have Randal Helms “Gospel Myths” which traces back almost all of Jesus supposed works to stories about Elijah and Elisha, as well as some Greek mythology. Greek mythology os particularly the “wild man” with the demon possession, being an analog to the cyclops.

        • Joseph O Polanco

          Excepting the reality that subscriptions , showing right at the end of Matthew’s Gospel in many different manuscripts stipulate that the account was penned around the eighth year after Christ’s ascension ( c . 41 C .E . ) . This certainly not dispute internal attestation . That simply no acknowledgment was made to the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction regarding Jerusalem’s devastation would undoubtedly allude to a time of writing earlier than 70 C .E . ( Mt 5 :35 ; 24 :16 ) Additionally the term “to this very day” ( 27 :8 ; 28 :15 ) denotes a lapse of an appreciable span between the incidents contemplated and the time of composition .

          The testimony of the primitive Church Fathers , such as that of third-century theologian Origen , furthermore certifies that the apostle as well as eyewitness Matthew was the very first to compose a Gospel . Origen outlined : “The first is written according to Matthew , the same that was once a publican , but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ , who having published it for the Jewish converts , wrote it in the Hebrew .”

          • Pofarmer

            Yes, because 200 years after the act, Origen would have been dead certain about who wrote what.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            And how precisely does this change the fact that that subscriptions , showing right at the end of Matthew’s Gospel in many different manuscripts stipulate that the account was penned around the eighth year after Christ’s ascension ( c . 41 C .E . )?

          • Bradley Bowen

            I believe that you are grasping for any tiny scrap of information that will support your desired conclusion, but before I agree that this information has any significance, there are lots of questions that need answers…

            How many different manuscripts have this notation?

            What exactly does the notation say? in what language?

            Are the notations worded exactly the same, or very similar in their wording, or do they make similar claims but in very different words?

            What are the dates of these manuscripts?

            Who wrote the notations?

            Do we know anything about the beliefs and interests and character of the person(s) who wrote the notations?

            Are there any other notations occur on these manuscripts?

            If so, what do the other notations say?

            Most importantly:

            Is there any reason to believe that the person(s) who wrote the notations had first-hand knowledge of the author or composition of the Gospel of Matthew?

          • Joseph O Polanco

            All excellent questions. Let me know how your research goes :)

          • Bradley Bowen

            If you don’t know the answers to any of my questions, then you ought not be putting forward an argument based on these “subscriptions” that were allegedly found in some manuscripts of the gospel of Matthew. Without answers to most of these questions, your “information” is worthless.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Who says I don’t know? I’m simply encouraging you to do your own homework – as I have done for myself :)

          • Bradley Bowen

            I have no reason to believe that your “information” has any real significance, so no interest in wasting my time researching this point. If you don’t want to back up your argument with further explanation and details, then the matter is settled, as far as I’m concerned.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            “Unbelief is as much of a choice as belief is. What makes it in many ways more appealing is that whereas to believe in something requires some measure of understanding and effort, not to believe doesn’t require much of anything at all.”

            ― Frederick Buechner

          • Bradley Bowen

            To believe what your friends and neighbors believe requires virtually no thinking at all.

            To doubt and challenge what your friends and neighbors believe, especially to demand that they provide good reasons (and not just rationalizations and sound bites) to support their beliefs requires a degree of intellectual integrity and intellectual autonomy.
            - Me.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” – Soren Kierkegaard

          • Bradley Bowen

            I agree with Kierkegaard on that point.

            Skepticism can serve the interests of domatic belief, if one’s skepticim is always pointed at the beliefs of those with whom one disagrees and rarely is pointed at one’s own beliefs.

            My mother would believe any sort of crap if it came from the lips of an evangelical christian minister or evangelist, but she was extremely skeptical when it came to scientific conclusions such as that the earth is billions of years old and that life has existed on this planet for more than a billion years, and that various life forms on the earth evolved from simple forms of life, and that human beings evolved from primates over the past million years or so. There is very powerful evidence for the scientific view of the age of the earth, the age of life on earth, for evolution of species, etc.

            But the evidence made no difference to her. She believed nonsense at will and on a daily basis, if it fit her religious biases, but she stubornly refused to believe scientific theories that were well founded on facts. Skepticism kept her mind closed up like a bank vault. But it was skepticism that was very selectively applied, in order to preserve her cherished belief system.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Maybe your mom was wiser than you give her credit for. I suspect she recognized that if exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate designs and systems present in nature ( Biomimetics ) then much more the original being replicated. Creation is thus proof of a Creator.

          • Bradley Bowen

            Here is my thinking:

            1. If this extremely dubious point about “subscriptions” on some unidentified manuscripts of Matthew is one of his best arguments for an early dating of Matthew, then he probably doesn’t have any good arguments for an early dating of Matthew.

            2. This extremely dubious point about “subscriptions” on some unidentified manuscripts of Matthew is one of his best arguments for an early dating of Matthew.

            Thus,

            3. He probably doesn’t have any good arguments for an early dating of Mattew.

            When you give me a crappy argument like the one about subscriptions, you verify both my view of the dating of Matthew and my view of your lack of intellectual integrity.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            It’s ok if you disagree with me. After all, I can’t force you to be right.

          • Keith Parsons

            Bradley,

            Here is a short but instructive dialogue:

            Officer Bob: Joe, I know that it was you that burglarized the pawn shop last night.

            Joe: No way! I was over at Moe’s all night. Right, Moe?

            Moe: Yeah, he was at my place drinking beer and watching TV all night.

            Officer Bob: And why should I believe you, Moe?

            Joe: I’ll vouch for him!

            Most of the “evidence” for the reliability/credibility/historicity of scripture is like this. One dubious claim is supported by another equally dubious claim. When the second claim is questioned, apologists often advert back to the testimony of the first! Of course, the agreement of independent witnesses does add much strength to a claim, but “independent” is the key word here. When the witnesses have been in communication or have the same ax to grind, the agreement in testimony is generally worthless. Establishing the genuine independence of any supposed witnesses is one of the thorniest problems with historical evidence. Many supposed witnesses will claim to have seen something when really they only heard someone else’s account and formed a false memory. Happens all the time and has been strongly confirmed by experiment.

            Further, we know that there are circumstances that make people particularly susceptible to shared delusions. Some years ago a woman in a small town in Georgia began to claim to experience Marian apparitions on the 13th of every month. When the 13th would fall on a Sunday, literally hundreds of thousands would gather to hear the insipid “revelations.” They frequently claimed to experience miraculous phenomena, like the sun dancing and spinning in the sky. A skeptical friend of mine attended one of these occurrences and set up a telescope with a solar filter to view the sun. While crowds were proclaiming a miraculous dancing sun, she observed the sun steadily following its usual course and invited anyone who wanted to see to look through the telescope. Some looked, but most just went on enjoying their “miracle.”

            This is why, by the way, that in debating William Lane Craig and others, it seems odd to me that they tend to put much emphasis on the “500″ supposed witnesses of the risen Jesus mentioned by Paul in I Corinthians 15. If there ever were 500 “witnesses” (we have only Paul’s word) how can we know what, if anything, they really saw? Did each one know Jesus personally so that they would certainly recognize him? Did each get close enough for a good look? Was Jesus on a stage or platform so that everybody could see him? Could they be reasonably sure it was not an impostor? Did he say anything or do anything to confirm that he was indeed Jesus? We have no answers to any of these questions, yet they are vital for evaluating the claim. With no such answers, the hypothesis that they were suffering from the “madness of crowds” is much more plausible.

          • Bradley Bowen

            Keith,
            I read a report of a psychology experiment in which people were interviewed about their experiences at Disneyland.

            Before being interviewed, the subjects waited in a room that had a cardboard figure from Warner Bros. cartoons (like Buggs Bunny). Many of the people interviewed recalled seeing the Warner Bros. character while at Disneyland, which is not possible, because only Disney characters appear at Disneyland.
            The mere presence of the cardboard figure in the waiting room was sufficient to create or distort memories of a previous trip to Disneyland, so that many people remembered meeting a cartoon character at Disneyland that they clearly had never met at Disneyland.

          • Keith Parsons

            Bradley,

            Remarkable example. We now have much knowledge about the foibles and fallacies of perception and memory. My personal favorite is the illustration of selective inattention where subjects are asked to watch a video and count the number of times that certain individuals pass a ball back and forth. They are so absorbed in doing this, that they fail to notice someone in a gorilla suit walking through the middle of the group!

            Michael Shermer in The Believing Brain reports that during the 2004 presidential election season, brain imagers got a number of Bush supporters and a number of Kerry supporters to volunteer to have their brains imaged while asked some questions. Each was given a set of statements by Kerry and Bush and asked to comment on their truthfulness. Unsurprisingly, the Kerry supporters said that Kerry was telling the truth and that Bush was lying. The opposite conclusions were naturally drawn by Bush supporters. The real kicker is that the brains of the respondents showed no activity in the regions associated with reasoning while making these judgments. The active areas were those associated with emotion.

            The upshot is that seeing, believing, and remembering are compromised in innumerable ways by our emotions, desires, and circumstances. A book that very much needs to be written is one by an expert on such distortions of perception, belief, and memory showing how much of the biblical “evidence” can be interpreted in those terms.

          • Bradley Bowen

            The author of Matthew used both Mark and Q as sources. Mark was written about 70 C.E. so Matthew was probably written in the mid-70s to 80s C.E.

          • Joseph O Polanco
      • L.Long

        No jepus was not Paulian as he probably never existed. But besides that there is NO writings by jepus and all the writings that exist are most likely NOT made by anyone who directly knew jepus.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think Jesus of the New Testament is a made up character in the singular sense. Jesus of the epistles is based on prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures and imagined hidden mysteries who existed in the early first century’s distant past while Gospel Jesus is based on the same prophecies but the hidden mysteries are prophecies, too, with lots of Greek literature added, who existed in the late first century’s recent past.

          • L.Long

            Claimed prophesies! There are no specific prophesies that can be said to be completed according to scholars. Me? I don’t care as jepus is BS no matter how you believe.

      • Bradley Bowen

        The Jesus of the synoptic gospels seems to have a different core message than Paul. Jesus basically taught in keeping with the message of the Jewish preacher John the Baptist: Repent or your sins for the day of divine Judgement is at hand; you must return to love and to obey Jehovah and his commandments.

        The message of Paul, however, was focused on the idea that Jesus’ death was a sacrifice to pay for our sins, and that the key to salvation was faith in Jesus and in the death and resurrection of Jesus as the source of salvation. Now, some of Paul’s message does seem to be present in the synoptic gospels, but not so much in the teachings of Jesus.

        In other words, Jesus’ core message was basically aimed at Jews who had fallen away from the faith. Jesus was calling Jews back to the faith of their fathers. Paul, however, invented a whole new theology surrounding Jesus, and esp. the death and resurrection of Jesus, and Paul was focused on Gentiles and had little to do with promotion of Judaism.

        • Joseph O Polanco

          Christ Jesus taught, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16

          So you see, Paul’s divinely inspired teachings were completely consonant with Christ’s.

        • Greg G.

          Hi Bradley,

          In 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, Paul is explaining Deuteronomy 24:1-4 to the Greek Corinthians, with “not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband”, as there is no provision for a wife to divorce her husband as the Gentile law allowed.

          We see the idea put into Jesus’ mouth in Mark 10:11-12. Matthew and Luke saw the problem with the mention of women divorcing and deleted the thought.

          Mark 7:1-19 comes from the argument between Peter and Paul in Antioch in Galatians 2. Jesus takes Paul’s position which shows that it couldn’t have actually happened or Peter would have agreed with Paul and Barnabas would not have been led astray.

          Paul takes Rabbi Hillel’s position (“Don’t do what your neighbor hates. All the rest is commentary.”) that to love one another fulfills the whole law in Romans 13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14 while Mark 12:28-31 slightly downgrades that maxim to second place, as opposed to James 2:8-10, who insists breaking one part of the law breaks the whole law.

          Romans 1:29-31, Romans 14:14, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and/or Galatians 5:19-21 contribute to Mark 7:15,20-23. 1 Corinthians 1:22 leads to Mark 8:12. 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 becomes Jesus words in Mark 4:11-12. Mark 10:6-8 has Jesus quoting the same OT scripture as 1 Corinthians 6:16. Likewise, Mark 12:36 and 1 Corinthians 15:25-26. 1 Corinthians 13:2 is the source for Mark 11:23. Galatians 3:19 shows up in Mark 10:5. Mark 14:36 has “Abba, Father” but Paul had already used it twice in Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15 but not as a Jesus quote. There’s a tenuous connection between Mark 7:27 ad Romans 1:16 so it might be a stretch.

          Since Mark relies so heavily on 1 Corinthians, it’s a good bet that the Eucharist story in Mark 14:22-25 comes from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

          1 Corinthians 9:13-15 ends up in Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7. Paul is very sarcastic in Galatians 5:12 (“I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!”) but Matthew 19:12 took Paul literally and has Jesus praising those who have made themselves eunuchs.

          We have a pattern of Jesus words coming from 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians. The Gospel of Thomas has several more coming from those three epistles plus James. Matthew 5:33-37 grew out of James 5:12.

          There are only a few slight similarities with other Pauline letters. It is unlikely that so many similar ideas could come from three Pauline letters and only three letters by coincidence. (I may be missing some. Please correct me if you know of some. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 > Mark 13:28-29?)

          If the ideas originated with Jesus, Paul’s arguments would have been much stronger if he had begun each with “Jesus said”. In 1 Corinthians 1:22-23, he laments not having the wisdom the Greeks desire. It would be strange that if there was a document with Jesus quotes or an oral tradition floating around that Paul would never have been aware of it in a decade or two of travel in Christian circles.

    • Bradley Bowen

      The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany

      Susannah Heschel

      Paper | 2010 | $28.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691148052

      360 pp. | 6 x 9 | 30 halftones.

      Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant
      theologians, motivated by racism and tapping into traditional Christian
      anti-Semitism, redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. In 1939, these theologians established the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life. In The Aryan Jesus, Susannah Heschel shows that during the Third Reich, the Institute became the most important propaganda organ of German Protestantism, exerting a widespread influence and producing a nazified Christianity that placed anti-Semitism at its theological center.

      […]

      http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8820.html

      I’m no fan of Judaism either, but Jesus, if he existed, was clearly Jewish, meaning that he was a descendant of the Hebrew people AND also a devout follower of the religion of Judaism.

  • Greg G.

    Hi Bradley,

    The parable about Abraham and Lazarus is set in Hades with the characters talking to somebody in the Tartarus section. This seems more like a Greek teaching than a Jewish story. Salting it with a Hebrew name or two wouldn’t make it kosher.

    • Bradley Bowen

      I’m not so sure. Can you say a bit more about why you think this story does not seem Jewish?

      One reason for seeing this story as being Greek is the whole idea of life after death. The books of Moses say almost nothing about life after death, and the view of death in the O.T. is generally the idea that death is a degraded state; being dead is basically being only half alive, being in a place of darkness, separated from loved ones and the normal activities of life.

      But Greek and Persian thought influenced Jewish thought prior to the first century, prior to the alleged life of Jesus. Some Jews were influenced by Platonism, and some Jews were influenced by Persian belief in resurrection.

      So, Jesus’ belief in a coming day of divine judgement, in which eternal punishments and rewards would be given out to the living and the dead, and in which eternal life for the dead would begin with resurrection from the dead, was imported from outside the O.T. (with the possible exception of the book of Daniel), but the importation of these ideas had already taken place before the time of Jesus.

      The punishments and rewards that Moses promised and threatened based on the obedience or disobedience of Israel to the laws of Jehovah, appear to have been moved to the afterlife as a result of domination and oppression of the Jews by other nations plus the influence of ideas about the afterlife from the Greeks and Persians. Because the Jews were not getting the blessings that Moses had promised, they moved the blessings into the next life:

      ===================

      Long-haired preachers come out every night,

      Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;

      But when asked how ’bout something to eat

      They will answer with voices so sweet:

      Chorus:

      You will eat, bye and bye,

      In that glorious land above the sky;

      Work and pray, live on hay,

      You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

      The starvation army they play,

      They sing and they clap and they pray

      ‘Till they get all your coin on the drum

      Then they’ll tell you when you’re on the bum:

      Holy Rollers and jumpers come out,

      They holler, they jump and they shout.

      Give your money to Jesus they say,

      He will cure all diseases today.

      If you fight hard for children and wife

      Try to get something good in this life

      You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell,

      When you die you will sure go to hell.

      Workingmen of all countries, unite,

      Side by side we for freedom will fight;

      When the world and its wealth we have gained

      To the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:

      You will eat, bye and bye,

      When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry.

      Chop some wood, ’twill do you good,

      And you’ll eat in the sweet bye and bye.

      (by Joe Hill)

      http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/282700.html

      • Greg G.

        You pointed out to me once that Enoch had some afterlife punishments in it but didn’t that come after Hellenization had begun? AIUI, the Greeks thought all the dead went to Hades but there was a section called Tartarus where some are forever tormented with creative punishments like Sisyphus and Tantalus. If the rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus, it follows that they were also in Hades, as well as the chasm. Interchanging Greek, Jewish or Persian names still has them in Hades and Tartarus.

        If you search for all uses of the word “Hell” in the New Testament, you find the Greek uses “Hades” or “Gehenna” but they seem to be different ideas when you aren’t shoehorning them into Hell. Revelation says Hades will be cast into hellfire.

        • Bradley Bowen

          “I Enoch, also known as the Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch, is the oldest of the three pseudepigraphal books attributed to Enoch, the man who apparently did not die, but was taken up to heaven (Gen 5:24). The book was originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, perhaps both, but it survives in complete form only in Ethiopic (Ge’ez), and in fragmentary form in Aramaic, Greek (1:1-32:6; 6:1-10:14; 15:8-16:1; 89:42-49; 97:6-104), and Latin (106:1-18).”

          “The materials in I Enoch range in date from 200 B.C.E. to 50 C.E. I Enoch contributes much to intertestamental views of angels, heaven, judgment, resurrection, and the Messiah. This book has left its stamp upon many of the NT writers, especially the author of Revelation.”

          – Craig A. Evans, Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation, (1992) p. 23
          =============================
          Although the Book of Enoch is considered as apocryphal, it was clearly known to early Christian writers as the following quote from 1 Enoch 1:9 indicates:

          “In the seventh (generation) from Adam Enoch also prophesied these things, saying: ‘Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners spoke against him’.”
          – Jude 14-15
          =================================
          The above quotations are taken from this web page:

          http://reluctant-messenger.com/enoch.htm

          • Greg G.

            Thank you.

            “The materials in I Enoch range in date from 200 B.C.E. to 50 C.E.”

            That statement was confusing until I read some other entries at the link you provided. Enoch is composed of five books and some were not part of it in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

            “Over a hundred phrases in the New Testament find precedents in the Book of Enoch.”

            That sentence caught my eye at the link. I would like to see the list and if there are Enoch precedents in the Gospel of Thomas.


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