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astro
12-11-2006, 10:22 AM
Interesting take on the genesis of Christian morals. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16116328/site/newsweek/). I've never considered it quite from that perspective. Joseph has always been sort of a peripheral character in the Christ story, but this sort of puts him, and his moral choice, front and center as the catalyst. It's an interesting take on who the real father of Christianity was.



Dec. 18, 2006 issue - Sometime around the beginning of the Common Era, a nice Jewish girl comes to her fiancé with a problem. She is pregnant; he is not the father. The groom-to-be is understandably enraged. In his world, almost nothing brings more shame on a man and his family than a broken promise of virginity. Her explanation, that the baby was conceived by God, must have sounded implausible, desperate, even insane. On reflection, though, the man, who is profoundly decent—"righteous," as the story goes—decides that he cannot bear to inflict upon the girl the rare (but wholly legal) punishment for such crimes, which is stoning. And so he resolves to handle the matter in his own way. He will "divorce her quietly."

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 11:39 AM
It's not that remarkable (within the context of Matthew's story) since Joseph is constantly being harrassed by angels telling him what to do and what's going on. he never really thinks that Mary was unfaithful so it isn't accurate to say that he "forgives" it. The author seems to believe that (prior to Joseph being visited by an angel) his initial inclination to quietly divorce her rather than stone her was some kind of unusual act of kindness or charity o his part. In fact, that was the norm and it wasn't even all that kind since it basically amounted to throwing her out on the streets with very limited options for survival.

If Joseph really had been portrayed as forgiving a true infidelity and accepting a illegitimate child as his own, then the author might have a point, but since Joseph only makes his decisions after being told by God what to do, then I don't think he deserves any brownie points for compassion or moral courage.

The author of that article does ot seem particularly well informed about history or the Bible and makes a number of sweeping, overreaching statements. For instance:
The Jewish family values that were prevalent in first-century Judea—the values of Mary and Joseph and of the young Jesus—became the values of Christianity, and of the regions of the world in which Christianity has long been a critical force.

It all began with the habits and culture of Judaism. The emphasis on family, on sexual morality, on caring for one's kith and kin—all were (and are) sacred Jewish traditions, and the transmission of those mores from a relative backwater of the Roman Empire in the first years of the Common Era to our own time is the unlikely result of Mary and Joseph's parenting, the disciples' failed apocalyptic hopes and, ultimately, the early Christians' search for a way to survive once they realized the Second Coming was not as imminent as they first believed.

<snip>

The values of Jewish families were unique given the circumstances of the time.

<snip>

But Jewish devotion to family predates the Romans by thousands of years.
Is all pretty much bullshit. Judaism itself doesn't predate the Romans by "thousands of years" much less "Jewish devotion to the family."

Jewish familial and moral codes were not much different from those of the Romans or the Greeks and "Christian" family values derived as much, if not more from those cultures than from Judaism.

Anyway, the Nativity myths are the product of Greek authors, not Jewish ones.

kelly5078
12-11-2006, 12:20 PM
Its fairly revealing that this trite, and inaccurate, article (or sermonette) is foisted upon us by an organization that purports to give us the news. No wonder we're stuck in Iraq.

gigi
12-11-2006, 12:28 PM
Darn sexists. Mary's acceptance of what would happen is the ultimate role model in obedience and trust in God, and now Joseph's action is being touted as the true miracle? Way to give a man all the credit!


;)

Jodi
12-11-2006, 12:48 PM
I didn't read the article as saying that Joseph's forebearance was the true miracle, but maybe I didn't read it closely enough.

My reaction is "eh."

The fact that Christianity is based on Jewish morals and ethics -- that's hardly a breaking newsflash, there. Jesus and his entire family were Jews, and the earliest Christians considered themselves Jews and considered seriously whether (a) Gentiles could ever be accepted as followers of Christ, or if all FOC had to be Jewish and (b) if FOC had to follow Judaic law in matters like circumscision. Christianity is a religion that sprang from Judaism -- why would it's similarities to Jewish morals and ethics be noteworthy, much less surprising.

And I like Dio do not find Joseph's forebearance miraculous, even if that is the thrust of the article. He was visited by an angel who explained the situation to him; he knew Mary had not been "unfaithful" and her son was not "illegitimate." Placing him in the position of "forgiving" those things implies he did not believe the truth imparted to him by the angel. Either the angel is lying, or Joseph disbelieves him, or both. That certainly is not how the story is generally read. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about Joseph is his belief in the news given to him and his obedience to God, even if the face of an unprecedented miracle that surely would not be believed by many, leaving him open to public censure if he stood by his wife -- which he did. The best spin probably put on it was that he and Mary had done some premarital canoodling and Jesus really was his son. In any event, nothing if the development of Christianity as it followed indicates that the lessons of Joseph include forebearance of infidelity or illegitimacy.

astro
12-11-2006, 01:01 PM
I didn't read the article as saying that Joseph's forebearance was the true miracle, but maybe I didn't read it closely enough.

My reaction is "eh."

The fact that Christianity is based on Jewish morals and ethics -- that's hardly a breaking newsflash, there. Jesus and his entire family were Jews, and the earliest Christians considered themselves Jews and considered seriously whether (a) Gentiles could ever be accepted as followers of Christ, or if all FOC had to be Jewish and (b) if FOC had to follow Judaic law in matters like circumscision. Christianity is a religion that sprang from Judaism -- why would it's similarities to Jewish morals and ethics be noteworthy, much less surprising.

And I like Dio do not find Joseph's forbearance miraculous, even if that is the thrust of the article. He was visited by an angel who explained the situation to him; he knew Mary had not been "unfaithful" and her son was not "illegitimate." Placing him in the position of "forgiving" those things implies he did not believe the truth imparted to him by the angel. Either the angel is lying, or Joseph disbelieves him, or both. That certainly is not how the story is generally read. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about Joseph is his belief in the news given to him and his obedience to God, even if the face of an unprecedented miracle that surely would not be believed by many, leaving him open to public censure if he stood by his wife -- which he did. The best spin probably put on it was that he and Mary had done some premarital canoodling and Jesus really was his son. In any event, nothing if the development of Christianity as it followed indicates that the lessons of Joseph include forebearance of infidelity or illegitimacy.


I should have been clearer, and I apologize for not having been so. My perspective is that after the article's framing the initial scenario of Mary's "I'm pregnant and it's not yours" , everything after that (IMO) was a non-miraculous, personal moral choice by Joseph. The visitation by angels & such were the CYA spin. The real miracle was that he decided not to be spiteful or vengeful and figured out a moral way to make it all work.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 01:15 PM
I think it was just the ordinary reaction for males of that time and place. "What? She's she's not a virgin? I guess I'll have to just throw her out then."

Sarahfeena
12-11-2006, 01:21 PM
I should have been clearer, and I apologize for not having been so. My perspective is that after the article's framing the initial scenario of Mary's "I'm pregnant and it's not yours" , everything after that (IMO) was a non-miraculous, personal moral choice by Joseph. The visitation by angels & such were the CYA spin. The real miracle was that he decided not to be spiteful or vengeful and figured out a moral way to make it all work. That is some pretty imaginative spin, don't you think? It seems to me he could come up with something a little less fantastic and more believable...hadn't he ever heard of a premature baby? :)

Captain Amazing
12-11-2006, 01:31 PM
I think it was just the ordinary reaction for males of that time and place. "What? She's she's not a virgin? I guess I'll have to just throw her out then."

No, it's worse than that, because she became pregnant after they had already married ("bethrothed", which in this context seems to mean that a ketubah had already been signed), so it's not just that she's coming into the marriage not a virgin...she committed adultery against him.

Jodi
12-11-2006, 01:52 PM
I should have been clearer, and I apologize for not having been so. My perspective is that after the article's framing the initial scenario of Mary's "I'm pregnant and it's not yours" , everything after that (IMO) was a non-miraculous, personal moral choice by Joseph. The visitation by angels & such were the CYA spin. The real miracle was that he decided not to be spiteful or vengeful and figured out a moral way to make it all work.

Okay, but this assumes that the account given in the Bible isn't true*, which is fine with me so far as it goes, but where does that leave us? You reject the authenticity of the visitation and therefore Joseph's actions become magnanimous, in your mind nigh unto miraculous. It seems to me you could apply the same reasoning to explain how smart Mary was to cover her premarital sex and pregnancy with her own "visitation by angels and such CYA spin." And Jesus rising from the dead -- CYA spin by the apostles to keep alive a religion that otherwise would have died with Him.

When you reject the underlying premises of divinity and holy intercession, then you're left with people inventing stories for reasons of their own, both good or bad. And I don't have any problem with that, I'm just not sure where such speculation begins, ends, or leads us. And I find the use of the term "miraculous" to be ironic under the circumstances. I mean, you've sucked the miraculous right out of it. :)

* And I mean "true" in terms of reading the story as just that, a story or myth that contains its own internal "truth," the veracity of the narrator, regardless of whether you or I personally buy the story as ultimately factual or "true."

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 02:47 PM
No, it's worse than that, because she became pregnant after they had already married ("bethrothed", which in this context seems to mean that a ketubah had already been signed), so it's not just that she's coming into the marriage not a virgin...she committed adultery against him.
Yes, but tossing her out on her ear would still be nothing more than customary and not especially compassionate.

Zabali_Clawbane
12-11-2006, 02:53 PM
I was under the impression that Joseph was "of the line of David" and the prediction from on High was that the Messiah would be "of the line of David"? (And that since it was counted via the father's line, it wasn't likely that they meant Mary.) :confused: Couldn't Joseph and Mary gone at it hot and heavy, not had intercourse, but through a divine fluke she ended up pregnant anyway?

Captain Amazing
12-11-2006, 03:02 PM
Yes, but tossing her out on her ear would still be nothing more than customary and not especially compassionate.
Still more compassionate than having her stoned.

Zabali_Clawbane
12-11-2006, 03:05 PM
I was under the impression that Joseph was "of the line of David" and the prediction from on High was that the Messiah would be "of the line of David"?

Not prediction, announcement! :smack:

Guinastasia
12-11-2006, 03:16 PM
I was under the impression that Joseph was "of the line of David" and the prediction from on High was that the Messiah would be "of the line of David"? (And that since it was counted via the father's line, it wasn't likely that they meant Mary.) :confused: Couldn't Joseph and Mary gone at it hot and heavy, not had intercourse, but through a divine fluke she ended up pregnant anyway?


Could it be one of those situations, where he prematurely ejaculates on her genitals, and she manages to get pregnant that way?

:p

(My inner Catholic school girl is cringing!)

Jodi
12-11-2006, 03:25 PM
I was under the impression that Joseph was "of the line of David" and the prediction from on High was that the Messiah would be "of the line of David"? (And that since it was counted via the father's line, it wasn't likely that they meant Mary.) :confused: Couldn't Joseph and Mary gone at it hot and heavy, not had intercourse, but through a divine fluke she ended up pregnant anyway?

This is sometimes cited as an objection to Christianity: Either Jesus was the Son of God, in which case He wasn't of the line of David (through Joseph), and therefore was not the Messiah (who was/is/will be of the line of David); or He was of the line of David (through Joseph) in which case He's not the Son of God. The response is generally that although He was not Joseph's biological son, He was his son for paterity/geneology purposes, because He was born of Joseph's wife during their marriage (and therefore was presumptively Joseph's son) and Joseph never repudiated Him. Not sure what you mean by your last sentence, though.

zev_steinhardt
12-11-2006, 03:46 PM
Still more compassionate than having her stoned.

Well, since there weren't two witnesses, she wouldn't have been stoned anyway.

Zev Steinhardt

Captain Amazing
12-11-2006, 04:08 PM
Well, since there weren't two witnesses, she wouldn't have been stoned anyway.

Not legally. Still could have happened.

HazelNutCoffee
12-11-2006, 04:10 PM
Well, since there weren't two witnesses, she wouldn't have been stoned anyway.

Zev Steinhardt
Witnesses to... her having committed adultery?

Eonwe
12-11-2006, 04:20 PM
Like others have suggested, I think the article cherry-picks (pun only partially intended) what it wants to believe is true in the nativity story.

Did Angels really tell Joseph what they are purported to have told him? If so, why would his reaction be anything other than to stay with Mary. If they didn't, then why believe anything else in the story, and in fact why "report" on it at all?

Or, are they suggesting that Joseph, had he been not a Jew, would have divorced Mary because God got her pregnant?



This is sometimes cited as an objection to Christianity: Either Jesus was the Son of God, in which case He wasn't of the line of David (through Joseph), and therefore was not the Messiah (who was/is/will be of the line of David); or He was of the line of David (through Joseph) in which case He's not the Son of God. The response is generally that although He was not Joseph's biological son, He was his son for paterity/geneology purposes, because He was born of Joseph's wife during their marriage (and therefore was presumptively Joseph's son) and Joseph never repudiated Him. Not sure what you mean by your last sentence, though.

I don't know. I mean, if Jesus is supposed to be both God and man, I don't see why he can't be both son of God and son of Joseph. Forget about biological/geneological, if God gets your wife pregnant, and says, "this is your son, and this is also my son," then that's just how it is, no? I'm not Christian, but that seems like a ridiculous degree of nit-picking.

Captain Amazing
12-11-2006, 04:52 PM
Witnesses to... her having committed adultery?
Yes. Under Jewsh law, a person can't be convicted of a capital crime without the testimony of two witnesses to the crime.

kelly5078
12-11-2006, 05:21 PM
I don't know. I mean, if Jesus is supposed to be both God and man, I don't see why he can't be both son of God and son of Joseph. Forget about biological/geneological, if God gets your wife pregnant, and says, "this is your son, and this is also my son," then that's just how it is, no? I'm not Christian, but that seems like a ridiculous degree of nit-picking.Are you suggesting that the god part comes from God, but the man part comes from Joseph? I don't think it works that way.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 05:23 PM
I don't know. I mean, if Jesus is supposed to be both God and man, I don't see why he can't be both son of God and son of Joseph. Forget about biological/geneological, if God gets your wife pregnant, and says, "this is your son, and this is also my son," then that's just how it is, no? I'm not Christian, but that seems like a ridiculous degree of nit-picking.
We're talking about a royal line of succession here. Literal loodlines are kind of the whole part. The Messiah is supposed to be of the "seed of David." That means he has to be a biological descendant through the father. Whether such ideas of inheritance may now be seen as archaic is beside the point. That's what the OT promises. The prophesies are what they are. The Jewish Messiah is by definition the legal heir to the throne of David.The idea of a demi-god or a literal "son of God" will do such a thing is alien to Jewish theology.

NJ_Kef
12-11-2006, 06:31 PM
Although I am not qualified to debate the matter, it’s possible that the word rendered “virgin” in English may have simply meant “young woman” in Hebrew or Greek. Virgin Birth doesn’t sound feel or sound like a Biblically Jewish story to me. It makes more sense to me, in the context of Biblical Jewish story-telling, that Mary was a normal young bride with normal marital relations informed by heavenly messengers that she was chosen to bring the Jewish Messiah into the world. Joseph was likewise notified that the child of his seed had a divine destiny.

Maybe a lot got changed in the translation to Greek. The Ancient Greeks and Romans seem to be much more literal than the Ancient Jews. When a Greek or Roman spoke of the son of Zeus/Jupiter, they meant that quite literally. But from what I've read, when Jews spoke of a "son of God," their intent was figurative.

In any case, I suspect the story of the Virgin Birth is an early (but not the earliest) example of fanwanking (also known as continuity porn).

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 06:52 PM
Although I am not qualified to debate the matter, it’s possible that the word rendered “virgin” in English may have simply meant “young woman” in Hebrew or Greek. Virgin Birth doesn’t sound feel or sound like a Biblically Jewish story to me. It makes more sense to me, in the context of Biblical Jewish story-telling, that Mary was a normal young bride with normal marital relations informed by heavenly messengers that she was chosen to bring the Jewish Messiah into the world. Joseph was likewise notified that the child of his seed had a divine destiny.

Maybe a lot got changed in the translation to Greek. The Ancient Greeks and Romans seem to be much more literal than the Ancient Jews. When a Greek or Roman spoke of the son of Zeus/Jupiter, they meant that quite literally. But from what I've read, when Jews spoke of a "son of God," their intent was figurative.

In any case, I suspect the story of the Virgin Birth is an early (but not the earliest) example of fanwanking (also known as continuity porn).
This all depends on if you're talking about the New Testament or Isaiah. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke (both Greek compositions) unquestionably say that Mary was a virgin.

However, Matthew's derivation of that idea comes from Isaiah and (aside from being taken totally out of context) DOES stem from a mistranslation of the original Hebrew.

Isaiah 7:14 contains a prophecy that a "young woman shall bear a child and she will call his name Emmanuel." The Hebrew word in the original text is almah which means "young woman" (the Hebrew word for "virgin" would be bethulah). But the author of Matthew used a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (called the Septuagint) which erroneously translated almah into the Greek word parthenos -- "virgin."

In ins original context, the whole Emmanuel prophecy has nothing to do with the Messiah but the authors of the Gospels still search the Jewish Scriptures for anything they believed might give them information about Jesus. Verses and passages were plucked from their surroundings and recontextalized as Messianic or predictave of Jesus, regardless of their original meaning.

Matthew saw the Emmanuel passage as Messianic (possibly because of the meaning of that name in Hebrew) and constructed a virgin birth story based on the mistranslation found in the Greek text.

Largo62
12-11-2006, 06:57 PM
It interests me that Mary's conception is called. at least by some, an act of adultery. But isn't adultery an act of will? And if there is any truth to the biblical tale, Mary was merely informed that God's seed had been implanted in her andf that she had no willing part in the transaction. That sounds to me more like a rape.

kelly5078
12-11-2006, 06:58 PM
Virgin Birth doesn’t sound feel or sound like a Biblically Jewish story to me.No, it's not remotely Jewish. But it is the Christian mythology.

Jewish prophecies are not interested in the virginity of the messiah, nor do they consider the messiah to be divine, in any sense. He is a man who will fulfill certain prophecies (which Jesus is notable for not having fulfilled). The Jewish prophecies are fairly simple: a great king fixes everything for the Jews.

kelly5078
12-11-2006, 07:01 PM
Make that the virginity of the messiah's mother, although the way I originally wrote it is also true.

HazelNutCoffee
12-11-2006, 07:05 PM
Yes. Under Jewsh law, a person can't be convicted of a capital crime without the testimony of two witnesses to the crime.
Wouldn't being pregnant be enough? I'm sure they could have found two witnesses to testify that she was pregnant.

Jodi
12-11-2006, 07:26 PM
I don't know. I mean, if Jesus is supposed to be both God and man, I don't see why he can't be both son of God and son of Joseph. Forget about biological/geneological, if God gets your wife pregnant, and says, "this is your son, and this is also my son," then that's just how it is, no? I'm not Christian, but that seems like a ridiculous degree of nit-picking.

You might find some Christians who would buy this, but Jews would not and do not. They reject the whole "Son of God" thing and therefore do not have to reconcile, as Christians do, how a person could be both the Son of God and the son of humanity. But as far as Christians go, there is AFAIK no denomination that posits that Jesus had two actual, biological fathers, God and Joseph; God was the father in fact of Jesus, and Joseph was the human father who raised Him -- His stepfather, IOW.

We're talking about a royal line of succession here. Literal bloodlines are kind of the whole part. The Messiah is supposed to be of the "seed of David." That means he has to be a biological descendant through the father.

Where does it say that only patrilineal descendants are "of the seed of David"?

Although I am not qualified to debate the matter, it’s possible that the word rendered “virgin” in English may have simply meant “young woman” in Hebrew or Greek.

People have been arguing for centuries the meaning of "alma" (Hebrew) and "parthenos" (Greek), as those words are used in Matthew and in Isaiah (which prophesies the Messiah, not necessarily born of a virgin). It's clear from the NT, however, specifically the book of Luke, that Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin. Regardless of the word used, the context clearly establishes her virginity. The angel comes to her and says "You're going to have a child. She says "How can this be? I'm a virgin!" He says "God will come to you and the Holy Spirit will move over you, and your son will be the Son of God." The entire exchange doesn't make sense if "young woman" or "girl" is substituted, since being a young woman or girl is no impediment to having a child, while being a virgin obviously is.

FRDE
12-11-2006, 07:41 PM
Well Florence King's grandmother had a simple solution :

'Girls in occupied countries tend to get into trouble'

JRDelirious
12-11-2006, 07:45 PM
It interests me that Mary's conception is called. at least by some, an act of adultery. But isn't adultery an act of will? And if there is any truth to the biblical tale, Mary was merely informed that God's seed had been implanted in her andf that she had no willing part in the transaction. That sounds to me more like a rape.

Not quite. The passage in the Gospel according to Luke is as follows (KJV text) :
26And in the sixth month [note: 6 months after the events in the prior chapter - JRD] the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. So Mary is first told she is the chosen one, then what is to happen, then how it is to happen, THEN says "why, now that you put it that way, sure, go right ahead".

Jodi
12-11-2006, 07:56 PM
Well Florence King's grandmother had a simple solution :

'Girls in occupied countries tend to get into trouble'

Which is, of course, an oblique reference to the theory that Mary was raped by or voluntarily slept with a Roman soldier, who was the father of Jesus. IIRC such a story is somewhere in the Talmud, although it's not at all clear the man described in the Talmud story was ever intended to be Jesus. IIRC.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 08:30 PM
Where does it say that only patrilineal descendants are "of the seed of David"?
Women don't have "seed." There was an ancient idea that women reproduced only by being the receptacles for the male seed and that said seed could only be transmitted through the father.

Beyond that, Jewish laws of succession were purely patrilinear. Matrilinear bloodlines weren't even recorded. Some of the verses from the Tanakh used to support this are found in
Exodus 28:4, 29:9-30, 30:30, and 40:15 (which give the rules for priestly lineage), Numbers 1:18, Genesis 49:10, I Kings 11:4, and I Chronicles 17:11-19 are all read as statements that kingship can only be passed through the father.
People have been arguing for centuries the meaning of "alma" (Hebrew) and "parthenos" (Greek), as those words are used in Matthew and in Isaiah (which prophesies the Messiah, not necessarily born of a virgin).
The Emmanuel passage in Isaiah 7:14 has nothing to do with the Messiah. Only Christian apologists really try to argue over the meaning of almah in Isaiah. The verse was clearly not about the Messiah and a virgin birth would have made no sense in the context of that story.

Jodi
12-11-2006, 10:09 PM
Diogenes, for context for our discussion, you said:

We're talking about a royal line of succession here. Literal loodlines are kind of the whole part. The Messiah is supposed to be of the "seed of David." That means he has to be a biological descendant through the father. Whether such ideas of inheritance may now be seen as archaic is beside the point. That's what the OT promises.

I asked:

Where does it say that only patrilineal descendants are "of the seed of David"?

Your response:

Women don't have "seed." There was an ancient idea that women reproduced only by being the receptacles for the male seed and that said seed could only be transmitted through the father.

Women obviously do not have "seed" but nevertheless are also equally obviously "of the seed" of men -- they are "of" their fathers just as much as their brothers are "of" their mothers. The "ancient idea" of women reproducing "only by being receptacles for male seed" is AFAIK not consistent with either Jewish or Christian beliefs. Certainly that idea appears to be contradicted by the Jewish idea, coopted by Christians, that women (mothers especially) were deserving of respect and women, just like men, might be honored for bravery and rectitude.

Beyond that, Jewish laws of succession were purely patrilinear. Matrilinear bloodlines weren't even recorded.

But this isn't quite correct, is it? The OT is replete with geneologies in which women are named. Just paging randomly through Kings and Chronicles: "In the 20th year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem 41 years. His grandmother's name was Maacah, daugher of Abishalom." (1 Kgs 15:9.) "In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. He was 25 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem 16 years. His mother's name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok." (2 Kgs 15:32.) The sons of Abraham are listed in Chronicles by reference to their mothers.

I'm not arguing that Judaism isn't historically a patrilineal faith -- it is, as is Christianity -- but there is nothing in the OT or the NT that demands that being "of the seed of David" "means he has to be a biological descendant through the father;" certainly none of the verses you cited are so clear and unequivocal. You may be faithfully staing the Jewish interpretation, but it is worth noting that it is not the Christian one.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-11-2006, 10:29 PM
Diogenes, for context for our discussion, you said:



I asked:



Your response:



Women obviously do not have "seed" but nevertheless are also equally obviously "of the seed" of men -- they are "of" their fathers just as much as their brothers are "of" their mothers. The "ancient idea" of women reproducing "only by being receptacles for male seed" is AFAIK not consistent with either Jewish or Christian beliefs.
It was what ancient Jews belived. Sorry.
Certainly that idea appears to be contradicted by the Jewish idea, coopted by Christians, that women (mothers especially) were deserving of respect and women, just like men, might be honored for bravery and rectitude.
What does respect have to do with anything? We're talking about laws of succession.
But this isn't quite correct, is it? The OT is replete with geneologies in which women are named. Just paging randomly through Kings and Chronicles: "In the 20th year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem 41 years. His grandmother's name was Maacah, daugher of Abishalom." (1 Kgs 15:9.) "In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. He was 25 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem 16 years. His mother's name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok." (2 Kgs 15:32.) The sons of Abraham are listed in Chronicles by reference to their mothers.
So what? That's still not a matrilinear genealogy. It's just a more detailed patrilinear one.
I'm not arguing that Judaism isn't historically a patrilineal faith -- it is, as is Christianity -- but there is nothing in the OT or the NT that demands that being "of the seed of David" "means he has to be a biological descendant through the father;"
It may not be as explicit as you demand it to be but that is definitely what the phrase denoted at the time, that's how succession was practiced and that's always been the belief in Judaism.
Certainly none of the verses you cited are so clear and unequivocal. You may be faithfully staing the Jewish interpretation, but it is worth noting that it is not the Christian one.[/QUOTE]
The Christian interpretation has no relevance. We're talking about Jewish scripture, Jewish history and millenia of Jewish interpretation of their own writings. The authors who envisioned a heroic heir to David would never have considered anything but a direct patrilinear descendant to be the legitimate heir. This is just one of many ways in which Jesus did not fit the OT expectations. Matthew and Luke apparently thought that Jewish kingship could be transmitted through adoption (as the Romans did), but they were wrong.

I should also add that the discussion of Jesus' matrilinear heritage is kind of pointless anyway since nothing in the New Testament claims that Mary was descended from David.

Jodi
12-11-2006, 10:53 PM
Dio, you may be looking for an argument, but I'm afraid I'm not going to indulge you.

It may not be as explicit as you demand it to be but that is definitely what the phrase denoted at the time, that's how succession was practiced and that's always been the belief in Judaism.

Yes, so I gathered. Which is why I limited myself to pointing out that this is not Christian belief.

The Christian interpretation has no relevance.

Christian interpretation has no relevance to Christian thought, to a discussion of the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary? Seriously? :)

We're talking about Jewish scripture, Jewish history and millenia of Jewish interpretation of their own writings.

Actually, if you'll review the entire discussion, I think you'll find that we're talking about Joseph's role in the birth of Christ and the geneologies of Jesus as set forth by Matthew and Luke -- both authors who quite obviously believed He was the Messiah, and one of whom had a pretty explicit mission to convince Jews of the fact. How that whole discussion suddenly became irrelevant escapes me, so I'll have to decline to join you in proclaiming it so.

Matthew and Luke apparently thought that Jewish kingship could be transmitted through adoption (as the Romans did), but they were wrong.

:: Shrug :: I'm not much for throwing around terms like "wrong" and "right" in matters of faith. I find it comes across as antagonistic. This is also not necessarily correct for the reason given below.

I should also add that the discussion of Jesus' matrilinear heritage is kind of pointless anyway since nothing in the New Testament claims that Mary was descended from David.

There is no explict statement, no, but the generally the accepted gloss on the geneology of Jesus that is presented in the Book of Luke, is that it is the lineage of Mary. That's the most obvious answer to the question of why the geneologies of Matthew and Luke are not the same. Jesus is commonly understood to trace His lineage back to David through both Joseph and Mary -- and His lineage back to God more directly. :) The latter, of course, is the reason why lineage is only even mentioned in two of the four Gospels; having accepted that Jesus is the Son of God, most Christians consider his earthly lineage to be largely irrelevant.

Jodi
12-12-2006, 12:13 AM
It also is worth noting that in the King James Bible, Jesus is referred to as the "seed of David" no less than three times, in John 7:42, Romans 1:3, and 2 Timothy 2:8. (I love teh internetz!) So arguing that He was or wasn't "seed of David" is silly, since Christians will say "yes" and Jews will say "no" and both are entitled to their beliefs.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-12-2006, 12:35 AM
Yes, so I gathered. Which is why I limited myself to pointing out that this is not Christian belief.



Christian interpretation has no relevance to Christian thought, to a discussion of the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary? Seriously? :)



Actually, if you'll review the entire discussion, I think you'll find that we're talking about Joseph's role in the birth of Christ and the geneologies of Jesus as set forth by Matthew and Luke -- both authors who quite obviously believed He was the Messiah, and one of whom had a pretty explicit mission to convince Jews of the fact. How that whole discussion suddenly became irrelevant escapes me, so I'll have to decline to join you in proclaiming it so.
Which one had a mission to Jews? The audience for the Gospels were primarily Gentile, not Jewish. Christianity was basically dead as a Jewish movement before either Matthew or Luke were ever written.

This tangent started as a discussion as to whether Jesus could meet the criteria for the OT Messiah. That is a question can only be answered by looking at the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition. You said yourself that Jesus' lack of patrilinear lineage from David was seen as an "objection" to Christianity. I was pointing out why Christian answers to that question don't work to resolve the problem. Simply reiterating that they are Christian answers is neither here nor there.
:: Shrug :: I'm not much for throwing around terms like "wrong" and "right" in matters of faith. I find it comes across as antagonistic. This is also not necessarily correct for the reason given below.
I wasn't saying anything about faith. I said that it would be factually wrong to state that Jewish kingship could have been passed through adoption. Faith has nothing to do with that. It was a statement about Jewish law.
There is no explict statement, no, but the generally the accepted gloss on the geneology of Jesus that is presented in the Book of Luke, is that it is the lineage of Mary.
Generally accepted by who? Maybe by defenders of inerrancy but not by Biblical scholars or historians. Luke says no such thing, either explcitly or implicitly. Here is Luke's genealogy (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%203;&version=31;):

23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
the son of Neri, 28the son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, 32the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
the son of Salmon,[d] the son of Nahshon,
33the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[e]
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.
(Luke 3:23-38)

I bolded the portion where Luke explicitly identifies Joseph as the son of Heli. Mary's name does not even appear in Luke's genealogy and (contrary to the suggestions of some apologists) there is absolutely no evidence that there was any convention of tracing a maternal bloodline through the father or for referring to a man as the "son of" his wife's father.
That's the most obvious answer to the question of why the geneologies of Matthew and Luke are not the same.
The most obvious answer is that Luke had no knowledge of Matthew and that each author created his own genealogy without beng aware of the other's existence.
Jesus is commonly understood to trace His lineage back to David through both Joseph and Mary
Commonly understood by who? The overwhelming scholarly consensus on this is that both authors created independent (and unintentionally contradictory genealogies). Most NT scholars believe that Luke had no knowledge of Matthew's Gospel and there is nothing wrong with the explanation that the authors simply created his own mythic genealogy for Joseph unless one is unwilling to accept that the Gospels can contradict each other (and there are far more contradictions between these two authors than their genealogies, I assure you).

I should also point out that even if Luke's genealogy went through Mary (which it doesn't), it still wouldn't make him eligible to be the OT Messiah sin the Messiah is supposed to be descended from David through Solomon while Luke's genealogy goes through Nathan.
having accepted that Jesus is the Son of God, most Christians consider his earthly lineage to be largely irrelevant.
Yes, but that requires a complete redefinition of the OT Messiah.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-12-2006, 12:41 AM
It also is worth noting that in the King James Bible, Jesus is referred to as the "seed of David" no less than three times, in John 7:42, Romans 1:3, and 2 Timothy 2:8. (I love teh internetz!) So arguing that He was or wasn't "seed of David" is silly, since Christians will say "yes" and Jews will say "no" and both are entitled to their beliefs.
What does the NT or Christian belief have to do with understanding authorial intent in the OT? All that matters is what the authors of the Hebrew Bible meant by the phrase. It was their prophecy, after all.

Skald the Rhymer
12-12-2006, 01:12 AM
If I were a jerk -- which of course I am, as anyone who's heard my interminable rants on a certain movie trilogy can attest -- I would point out that only 2 of the 4 gospels tell the Nativity story or contend that Jesus was not Joseph's natural son. One can be a Xtian without believing that part of the myth.

Jodi
12-12-2006, 01:40 AM
Which one had a mission to Jews?

That'd be Matthew (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew#Theology_of_canonical_Matthew). Wiki is the first Google hit; there are tons more.

This tangent started as a discussion as to whether Jesus could meet the criteria for the OT Messiah.

Au contraire. The tangent was started by you asserting that only patrilineal descendants could be "seed of David" -- IOW, that "seed of David" = "son of David," not "child of David." The question of whether IYO Jesus meets the criteria of the OT Messiah doesn't interest me, since I (and virtually every Christian you'll meet) will come to a diametrically opposed conclusion than virtually every Jew you'd meet. I don't find arguments about what the OT said about Jesus, without reference to the NT -- y'know, the books about Jesus -- to be particularly helpful or interesting. And the bottom line is that your opinion that "seed of David" must mean "son" (not child) of David because that's the Jewish view. I thank you for answering the question, but -- surprise! -- I don't consider myself bound by the Jewish view.

You said yourself that Jesus' lack of patrilinear lineage from David was seen as an "objection" to Christianity.

A problem for Jewish people, sure. Not a problem for Christians.

I was pointing out why Christian answers to that question don't work to resolve the problem.

For Jews, you mean. And you're right; Christian answers don't work for Jews -- another shocker. But we are not required to interpret the phrase "seed of David" as strictly as you insist on doing. We can interpret "seed of David" to mean "child of David" (through Jesus's mother) or adopted son of David (through Joseph) or through the same ultimate "seed" that made David and Jesus and all men. Again, as far as the NT is concerned, Jesus is clearly accepted as "seed of David" and referred to as such several times. So don't bother restating an argument that is limited in scope to the OT; Christians do not consider themselves wholly bound by the OT, nor do they concede that Jews interpret it 100% correctly.

I wasn't saying anything about faith. I said that it would be factually wrong to state that Jewish kingship could have been passed through adoption. Faith has nothing to do with that. It was a statement about Jewish law.

Jewish law, check. And I take it you gather that Christian belief is otherwise, and that Christians do not consider the Jews to be correct in this regard? Tell me if any of this comes as a shock to you.

Generally accepted by who? Maybe by defenders of inerrancy but not by Biblical scholars or historians.

What, do you think I just make this stuff up? Here's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew#Theology_of_canonical_Matthew) the Clark Commentary, and that link provides others. The NIV Study Bible says (in part): "THere are several differences between Luke's geneology and Matthew's . . . A likely explanation is that Matthew follows the line of Joseph (Jesus' legal father) while Luke emphasizes that of Mary (Jesus's blood relative)." Jamieson's Commentary notes that the matter is open to interpretation, but swings to the Marian camp on the basis that that view "is attended with fewest difficulties, and is the best supported." Your contention that there is "an overwhelming scholarly consensus" to the contrary will have to go unchallenged, since you've presented me with no cites to look at. And don't break a sweat to do so if you don't want to -- at the end of the day it's neither here nor there. I don't really care if Jesus was the son of David through Joseph, Mary, neither or both, and neither does anybody I know. It's an issue that would be important to Jews; it's of almost zero importance to Christians.

Jodi
12-12-2006, 01:45 AM
What does the NT or Christian belief have to do with understanding authorial intent in the OT? All that matters is what the authors of the Hebrew Bible meant by the phrase. It was their prophecy, after all.

I didn't understand your argument to be limited to the OT. Inasmuch as it is, I happily leave you to it. As I said, it's not of much interest to me, as a Christian who is not awaiting the Jewish Messiah.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-12-2006, 01:45 AM
If I were a jerk -- which of course I am, as anyone who's heard my interminable rants on a certain movie trilogy can attest -- I would point out that only 2 of the 4 gospels tell the Nativity story or contend that Jesus was not Joseph's natural son. One can be a Xtian without believing that part of the myth.
Good point. There is nothing crucial about the Virgin Birth. It's not even mentioned outside those two Nativities. Paul seems completely unaware of it. Mark implies an adoptionist Christology. John doesn't mention it. It's not a Messianic requirement. It could easily be accepted as just a little mythmaking after the fact.

Jodi
12-12-2006, 01:55 AM
If I were a jerk -- which of course I am, as anyone who's heard my interminable rants on a certain movie trilogy can attest -- I would point out that only 2 of the 4 gospels tell the Nativity story or contend that Jesus was not Joseph's natural son. One can be a Xtian without believing that part of the myth.

It's true that only Matthew and Luke tell the nativity story, but it is also clear that all four gospels represent and accept Jesus as the Son of God. Now, one could take the view that Jesus was a son of God as all men are sons of God, but, as far as Christianity is concerned, that would be a minority view, to say the least. Since most Christians believe Jesus' divinity was due to his status as THE Son of God (as in "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"), and since belief in Jesus' divinity is a central tenet of most Christian faiths, you would find that many (I confidently predict most) Christians would not agree that "one can be a Christian wihtout believing that part of the myth". This takes us directly into the morass of "who's a Christian/who isn't" where I won't tread any further, since it's pointless and borderline disrepectful -- but it is worth noting that when you're talking about the divinity of Christ you are talking about the nitty gritty of Christian belief, and most would agree it would be hard to dispense with that part and still be identifiably Christian. It becomes a matter of defining the term so broadly it loses any meaning.

Jodi
12-12-2006, 02:05 AM
Good point. There is nothing crucial about the Virgin Birth. It's not even mentioned outside those two Nativities. Paul seems completely unaware of it.

What? The entire dramatic conversion of St. Paul to Christianity is premised upon his sudden realization that Jesus is the Son of God -- the Messiah. Surely you were aware of this?

It could easily be accepted as just a little mythmaking after the fact.

The whole thing would be accepted as just a little mythmaking after the fact. And frequently is.

Jodi
12-12-2006, 02:06 AM
Belay my last, Dio; I misread your post. Which means it's time to go to bed. :)

Diogenes the Cynic
12-12-2006, 02:29 AM
That'd be Matthew (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew#Theology_of_canonical_Matthew). Wiki is the first Google hit; there are tons more.
Your Wiki link claims that there is "speculation" that Matthew was trying to evangelize Jews. Your claim was that he "had a mission" to evangelize Jews. Claiming to know what his "mission" was is rather extraordinary since the author's very identity is completely unknown, much less his motivation. What is known is that the Gospel was written outside of Palestine, after the destruction of JJerusalem (and whatever Jewish Jesus movement which might have remained along with it). By 80 CE, when Matthew was written, Christianity was almost entirely a Gentile movement. Matthew's Gospel was also written in a gentile language, quoted from the Greek Septuagint and contains some vicious anti-Jewish polemic. Matthew shows a little more knowledge of Judaism than the others and casts his Jesus in a slightly more Jewish context. That has led to some speculation that matthew may have been a Hellenistic Jew but making grand declarations about his "mission" is completely unwarranted by the evidence.
Au contraire. The tangent was started by you asserting that only patrilineal descendants could be "seed of David" -- IOW, that "seed of David" = "son of David," not "child of David."
Excuse me, but that post procedeed from a discussion started by your "objection to Christianity" post, in which you erroneously espoused a position that the heir to the throne of David can be adopted.
The question of whether IYO Jesus meets the criteria of the OT Messiah doesn't interest me
It's not my opinion, it's objective fact.
since I (and virtually every Christian you'll meet) will come to a diametrically opposed conclusion than virtually every Jew you'd meet.
If it doesn't interest you then why did you jump into the thread to discuss it?
I don't find arguments about what the OT said about Jesus, without reference to the NT -- y'know, the books about Jesus -- to be particularly helpful or interesting.
What a strange position to take. Do you believe that the authors of the NT had some kind of special knowledge about the authorial intent of those who wrote the Hebrew Bible? Did they really know more than those who actually wrote the Old Testament?
And the bottom line is that your opinion that "seed of David" must mean "son" (not child) of David because that's the Jewish view. I thank you for answering the question, but -- surprise! -- I don't consider myself bound by the Jewish view.
Since the Jewish view is the view of those who actually wrote the prophecies, they are kind of the only views that matter.
A problem for Jewish people, sure. Not a problem for Christians.
You've got that backwards. Conflicts between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament is of no concern at all to Jewish theology. It's the Christians that have the problems.
For Jews, you mean. And you're right; Christian answers don't work for Jews -- another shocker.
The Christian answers don't work period. They don't resolve the conflicts.
But we are not required to interpret the phrase "seed of David" as strictly as you insist on doing. We can interpret "seed of David" to mean "child of David" (through Jesus's mother) or adopted son of David (through Joseph) or through the same ultimate "seed" that made David and Jesus and all men. Again, as far as the NT is concerned, Jesus is clearly accepted as "seed of David" and referred to as such several times. So don't bother restating an argument that is limited in scope to the OT; Christians do not consider themselves wholly bound by the OT, nor do they concede that Jews interpret it 100% correctly.
Sure, you can do that. But then you're saying the Old Testament is wrong. The way the Messiah is defined in the NT is completely different from how he's defined in the OT.
Jewish law, check. And I take it you gather that Christian belief is otherwise, and that Christians do not consider the Jews to be correct in this regard? Tell me if any of this comes as a shock to you.
This doesn't even make sense. You're saying that Jews are "incorrect" about their own laws of succession? Isn't that just a little bit arrogant?
What, do you think I just make this stuff up? Here's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew#Theology_of_canonical_Matthew) the Clark Commentary, and that link provides others. The NIV Study Bible says (in part): "THere are several differences between Luke's geneology and Matthew's . . . A likely explanation is that Matthew follows the line of Joseph (Jesus' legal father) while Luke emphasizes that of Mary (Jesus's blood relative)." Jamieson's Commentary notes that the matter is open to interpretation, but swings to the Marian camp on the basis that that view "is attended with fewest difficulties, and is the best supported." Your contention that there is "an overwhelming scholarly consensus" to the contrary will have to go unchallenged, since you've presented me with no cites to look at. And don't break a sweat to do so if you don't want to -- at the end of the day it's neither here nor there. I don't really care if Jesus was the son of David through Joseph, Mary, neither or both, and neither does anybody I know. It's an issue that would be important to Jews; it's of almost zero importance to Christians.
I'm well aware of the apologetics. Apologetics are not scholarship. I notice your quited cite makes no effort to support the contention about Luke's genealogy going through mary, nor does it address any of the other problems I pointed out with that suggestion.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-12-2006, 02:40 AM
It's true that only Matthew and Luke tell the nativity story, but it is also clear that all four gospels represent and accept Jesus as the Son of God. Now, one could take the view that Jesus was a son of God as all men are sons of God, but, as far as Christianity is concerned, that would be a minority view, to say the least. Since most Christians believe Jesus' divinity was due to his status as THE Son of God (as in "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"), and since belief in Jesus' divinity is a central tenet of most Christian faiths, you would find that many (I confidently predict most) Christians would not agree that "one can be a Christian wihtout believing that part of the myth". This takes us directly into the morass of "who's a Christian/who isn't" where I won't tread any further, since it's pointless and borderline disrepectful -- but it is worth noting that when you're talking about the divinity of Christ you are talking about the nitty gritty of Christian belief, and most would agree it would be hard to dispense with that part and still be identifiably Christian. It becomes a matter of defining the term so broadly it loses any meaning.
For the record, the phrase "Son of God" in Hebrew idiom was often an honorific used for kings. It wasn't taken literally. Within the framework of the culture Jesus lived in, Jews who spoke of the "Son of God" were talking about the heir to David's throne but it was not meant to imply any literal divine descendency.

gigi
12-12-2006, 09:47 AM
It interests me that Mary's conception is called. at least by some, an act of adultery. But isn't adultery an act of will? And if there is any truth to the biblical tale, Mary was merely informed that God's seed had been implanted in her andf that she had no willing part in the transaction. That sounds to me more like a rape.As mentioned already, she absolutely consented to what was "announced". That is why she is held up as the example of trusting in God's will regardless of uncertainty about how it will all turn out.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-12-2006, 10:19 AM
As mentioned already, she absolutely consented to what was "announced". That is why she is held up as the example of trusting in God's will regardless of uncertainty about how it will all turn out.
Where does either story say she consented? She was never given a choice in either Gospel.

Skald the Rhymer
12-12-2006, 11:37 AM
It's true that only Matthew and Luke tell the nativity story, but it is also clear that all four gospels represent and accept Jesus as the Son of God. Now, one could take the view that Jesus was a son of God as all men are sons of God, but, as far as Christianity is concerned, that would be a minority view, to say the least. Since most Christians believe Jesus' divinity was due to his status as THE Son of God (as in "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"), and since belief in Jesus' divinity is a central tenet of most Christian faiths, you would find that many (I confidently predict most) Christians would not agree that "one can be a Christian wihtout believing that part of the myth".


I think the biggest part of their objection would be that there word "myth."


This takes us directly into the morass of "who's a Christian/who isn't" where I won't tread any further, since it's pointless and borderline disrepectful -- but it is worth noting that when you're talking about the divinity of Christ you are talking about the nitty gritty of Christian belief, and most would agree it would be hard to dispense with that part and still be identifiably Christian.


Well, I dispense with it, and I am a Christian.

gigi
12-12-2006, 01:00 PM
Where does either story say she consented? She was never given a choice in either Gospel.I guess it depends on how you interpret "Let it be done to me as you say".