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manson1972 06-10-2019 09:17 PM

Religion based only what Jesus said
 
I was having a discussion with someone the other day, and I used some quotes from the Bible, and the response was "Jesus didn't say that"

Got me to thinking, are there any religions that are based on only what Jesus said in the Bible?

UDS 06-10-2019 09:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21691442)
I was having a discussion with someone the other day, and I used some quotes from the Bible, and the response was "Jesus didn't say that"

Got me to thinking, are there any religions that are based on only what Jesus said in the Bible?

Not so far as I know. Nor would I expect to find one. If you think about it, "what Jesus said" is unimportant unless you believe that Jesus had some special position or authority and, while you can appeal to the bible in support of that proposition, much of the material you'd be appealing to is not accounts of what Jesus said. If you disregard accounts of Jesus's life, deeds, death and resurrection, what reason have you got to pay any particular attention to what Jesus is noted as having said?

Thudlow Boink 06-10-2019 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21691442)
Got me to thinking, are there any religions that are based on only what Jesus said in the Bible?

It's not that, really, but there is a Christian movement, "Red Letter Christians," that emphasizes the teachings of Jesus (so-called because in some old Bibles, the words of Jesus are printed in red ink).

And I see that the "See also" section of that Wikipedia article contains a link to "Jesusism," which may be along the lines of what you're looking for.

Exapno Mapcase 06-10-2019 11:30 PM

Thomas Jefferson went through the Bible, to cut out all miracles and condense the gospels to the "authentic" Jesus.

How Thomas Jefferson Created His Own Bible
Quote:

In fact, Jefferson was devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ. But he didnít always agree with how they were interpreted by biblical sources, including the writers of the four Gospels, whom he considered to be untrustworthy correspondents. So Jefferson created his own gospel by taking a sharp instrument, perhaps a penknife, to existing copies of the New Testament and pasting up his own account of Christís philosophy, distinguishing it from what he called ďthe corruption of schismatizing followers.Ē
It didn't go any farther than him, although others could have done something similar.

digs 06-11-2019 12:34 AM

The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada.

md2000 06-11-2019 12:53 AM

Also keep in mind that a lot of the gospels are writer embellishments and redactions long after the fact, to conform to the orthodoxy of the day. Whole "gospels" are dismissed as apocrypha because of doubtful authenticity and because they contradicted to dominant dogma at the time of the consolidation of church teachings around the Nicaean council. (Plus, many other works over the years were "updated" - consider that the reference to Jesus in the works of Josephus is generally believed to have been altered to suggest Josephus affirmed Jesus' divinity.

kanicbird 06-11-2019 06:50 AM

The faith that Jesus taught and showed us was called 'the way'. Paul started Christianity, which was apparently Paul's way to do his divine mission, which was to get the name of Jesus known to the gentiles. There are great differences and contradictions between the two, as Paul seemed to mix what he knew as Saul (his former name) who was a jewish pharisee, with the gift of Grace that Jesus taught.

But as I see it when a person, coming through Christianity, finds the way, the 'religion' is then discarded, and the relationship with God, and your life plan path is revealed, is what is left. There is no need or room for religion. The best I can come up with as a definition is Follower or Disciple of Lord Jesus, where one is guided and instructed by the Holy Spirit, and can hear and recognize the voice of God through whatever way God wants to speak (thus no need for religion, as this person has a direct line to God and is God's child - Jesus)

CalMeacham 06-11-2019 07:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 21691621)
Thomas Jefferson went through the Bible, to cut out all miracles and condense the gospels to the "authentic" Jesus.

How Thomas Jefferson Created His Own Bible


It didn't go any farther than him, although others could have done something similar.

Well, except that the Jefferson Bible isn't composed of only "what Jesus said" -- it's the material from the four evangelists stripped of what Jefferson thought fanciful and unlikely (even if Jesus said it) and assembled in chronological order.

The current edition (I picked one up at the Smithsonian last year) is a beautiful photoreproduction, with a binding that's identical to the binding of the original. If you strip off the protective plastic dust jacket (which has all the usual jacket material), you could put it right on a bookshelf among a bunch of early 19th century books and the only way it would stand out was by looking new new and unused. I've read it twice.




Regarding the OP's premise -- I don't know of any religion that's based only o the words of the founder. In the cases of most religions, it's a combination of the writings they have and a whole host of traditions and thins based on supporting and even apocryphal texts. It's practically impossible to "reconstruct" religions even from their sacred texts, because there's so much missing from the texts filled in by that tradition. Some aspects of religions even contradict parts of their sacred texts.


A religion based solely upon the words of Jesus* (and nothing else in the existing Evangelists) would be a very different thing. You run into trouble right away with Matthew 16:28 "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Taken in a straightforward and literal sense, this implies that the Son of Man already came about 2000 years ago. To many, this means that the Apocalypse has already come.






*and which words? Which texts do you take as canonical? There are significant differences between the three Synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and the Fourth Gospel of John. Do you reject John? How about the Gospel of Thomas? Or the infancy narratives, or...well, you se the point.

manson1972 06-11-2019 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 21691952)
*and which words? Which texts do you take as canonical? There are significant differences between the three Synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and the Fourth Gospel of John. Do you reject John? How about the Gospel of Thomas? Or the infancy narratives, or...well, you se the point.

Thanks everyone for responding. Regarding this, are the actual words of Jesus that much different between the Gospels?

(I understand that they were written years later and whatnot)

And this: "The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada"

I would think that would be sort of the point.

digs 06-11-2019 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21692046)
Thanks everyone for responding. Regarding this, are the actual words of Jesus that much different between the Gospels?

Those gospels are pretty short books, you could read them yourself in a couple of hours.

manson1972 06-11-2019 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digs (Post 21692108)
Those gospels are pretty short books, you could read them yourself in a couple of hours.

Reading? BAH!

I'm at work, so I have to wait until I get home. This is a pressing matter!

Inigo Montoya 06-11-2019 12:12 PM

A little light reading.

Thudlow Boink 06-11-2019 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kanicbird (Post 21691914)
Paul started Christianity

False.

Thudlow Boink 06-11-2019 12:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21692046)
Regarding this, are the actual words of Jesus that much different between the Gospels?

There's quite a bit of overlap among the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke, called the "synoptic" gospels), though there's also material that only appears in one or two of them, and there are sometimes slight differences even when the same material appears in more than one of them.

There's not much overlap between the words of Jesus in the gospel of John and the synoptic gospels.

For more info, see the Staff Report Who wrote the Bible? Part 4 Ė Who wrote/compiled/edited (and when) the various New Testament Books?

CookingWithGas 06-11-2019 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 21692427)
Quote:

Originally Posted by kanicbird (Post 21691914)
Paul started Christianity

False.

I am not a theologian or biblical scholar, but isn't this a matter of some debate that cannot be objectively be proven true or false?

manson1972 06-11-2019 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 21692421)
A little light reading.

Hey, cool. Thanks for that.

Corry El 06-11-2019 01:54 PM

'Only what Jesus said' is hard to define in two ways.

The first isn't so hard. You could take it to mean not literally what's objectively known to have been said without reference to the Gospels, and just take it as what's attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. That may seem obvious but not 100% since sometimes people argue about what Biblical scholars think is more/less likely to have been said or added later. I assume a religion based on 'only on what Jesus said' defines that as 'all that is attributed to Jesus in the Gospels'.

The second is harder if you accept the first solution. Which is that the Gospels as written are full of references to the Jewish scriptures as foreshadowing Jesus and Jesus as a supremely knowledgeable teacher and interpreter of Jewish scripture (as it then existed). Major Christian sects (Roman Catholicism for example) emphasize all that was written in the Old Testament much less than some relatively smaller but high profile sects in the US do (literalist Evangelical Protestants). But it would still be a lot harder to remove the Old Testament entirely from Christianity than to remove New Testament writings other than the Gospels. Some religion could go back and change the judgments of the Roman era Church as to what was really scripture among all the writings vying for that label at the time, and kick Paul's writings out. Because, obviously, the Gospels don't refer to Paul. It's a lot harder to have a meaningful religion based on the Gospels that entirely ignores the OT.

manson1972 06-11-2019 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corry El (Post 21692639)
'Only what Jesus said' is hard to define in two ways.

The first isn't so hard. You could take it to mean not literally what's objectively known to have been said without reference to the Gospels, and just take it as what's attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. That may seem obvious but not 100% since sometimes people argue about what Biblical scholars think is more/less likely to have been said or added later. I assume a religion based on 'only on what Jesus said' defines that as 'all that is attributed to Jesus in the Gospels'.

Yes, I was thinking this one.

Thudlow Boink 06-11-2019 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CookingWithGas (Post 21692506)
I am not a theologian or biblical scholar, but isn't this a matter of some debate that cannot be objectively be proven true or false?

I guess it depends on how you define your terms. Something, that it seems not unreasonable to refer to as "Christianity," existed before Paul got involved with it.

But it absolutely is a matter of debate, and we'll never know for sure, how much of what we think of today as "Christianity" originated with Paul, or how much different it would be if Paul had never gotten involved.

Still, it seemed wrong to me to claim, unequivocally, in the General Questions forum, that "Paul started Christianity," for reasons explained in the article I linked to.

Corry El 06-11-2019 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 21692747)
I guess it depends on how you define your terms. Something, that it seems not unreasonable to refer to as "Christianity," existed before Paul got involved with it.

But it absolutely is a matter of debate, and we'll never know for sure, how much of what we think of today as "Christianity" originated with Paul, or how much different it would be if Paul had never gotten involved.

Still, it seemed wrong to me to claim, unequivocally, in the General Questions forum, that "Paul started Christianity," for reasons explained in the article I linked to.

It does depend on definitions, but 'invent' is a fairly extreme word. If somebody said 'Paul was a key figure in the spread of Christianity and the start of its evolution toward the dominant religion in the Western world' it would be hard to argue with that from any perspective, pro- or anti- or genuinely neutral toward Christianity. I think claims like 'Paul invented Christianity' are really more a reflection on recent Western civilization and its conflicted relationship with Christianity, or among Westerners for or against Christianity (pretty much by definition there's not a large % of people who genuinely don't care one way or the other about Christianity but are still interested in discussing stuff like this :) ). There's a tendency to make statements that sound controversial that could be put in less controversial terms.

Also, in recent decades Christianity's take on homosexuality has become much more important than previously when it was in line with society's general take (whether or not society's general take was dictated by Christianity, which it wasn't necessarily). And Paul had something to say about that topic which Jesus did not, again under the assumption 'what they said' just means what is attributed to them. That's a big elephant in the room in discussing Paul now.

But as the linked article said, there just isn't much logic to the idea that Paul gained a following writing about his missionary work supported by existing churches founded by followers of Jesus...which didn't exist until he came along. Anything's possible, as in the whole thing could have been invented much later. Nobody can disprove that, but that doesn't mean it's plausible as a default assumption. And this is why I asked before what is meant by 'what Jesus said'. If it's what's attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, though most or maybe all of that was probably written down after Paul, what the's invention or reinvention exactly by Paul? The claim that 'Paul invented Christianity' generally goes logically with a view that the Gospels, especially John, don't accurately reflect the ministry and message of the historical Jesus (if any). There's no basic reinvention by Paul of what the Gospels say, again if not focusing on a few cases where Paul instructed Christians how to live their lives on topics Jesus did not touch on. In general Paul is less specific than Jesus, but along a basically similar theme. Again, with the key being definition of 'what Jesus said' as what the Gospels say Jesus said. Otherwise you have to define what other method the new religion based 'only on what Jesus said' would use to determine 'what Jesus said'.

Sage Rat 06-11-2019 05:10 PM

I haven't read any of their reports, but the various mentions that I have encountered of the output of the Jesus Seminar - which sought to identify the likelihood that any one saying could genuinely be attributed to the real Jesus - have all seemed fairly reasonable and likely.

It goes beyond just saying "this one is" and "this one isn't". A fairly common feature that they seem to have identified is that the Biblical version of parables will usually be longer, with an explanatory text at the end that is skewed to a particular viewpoint. For example, it looks like they doubt the final line in the Parable of the Wandering Sheep but otherwise accept it.

Other things they don't accept at all, like the Parable of the Talents.

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Gospels-.../dp/006063040X

I'm sure that there are a few Christians who have accepted their results, but I don't know if that could be classified as its own religion. It doesn't look (based on some Googling) like they have really added any material that isn't already in the Bible except one story called the Parable of the Assassin, so it would be difficult to take from their results a version of Christianity that was directly opposed to the Orthodox Christian one, just one which that was a smaller portion of it.

UDS 06-11-2019 09:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21692046)
Thanks everyone for responding. Regarding this, are the actual words of Jesus that much different between the Gospels?

As Thudlow says, there's a good deal of common material between the three synoptic gospels, whereas John is a different kettle of fish. In John, Jesus's teachings are presented in a serious of long discourses which are unlikely to have been speeches actually given by Jesus (or to have been understood by the readership as speeches actually given by Jesus) but instead are a theologically-formed synthesis of the teachings of Jesus. Which raises the question; if you're going to base your religion only on what Jesus said, do you confine that to (purported) reports of direct speech only?

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21692046)
And this: "The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada"

I would think that would be sort of the point.

That's only a problem if you take an absurdly simplistic approach and thnk that the only signficance Jesus' words (or indeed anybody's words) can have is their immediate surface meaning. On this view, for example, if Jesus says something about swords, that refers only to swords but has nothing to tell us about guns or about violence or about the use of force or the assertion of power in general. Or, Jesus's teachings about adultery cannot be used to draw any conclusions about fidelity, or loyalty, or commitment more generally.

But this is absurd. Much of Jesus' recorded speech is in parables, where the whole point is that you are to draw a lesson of general application from a (fictional) story about specific people and circumstances by looking beyond a simplistic interpretation.

So, Jesus may have said nothing about moral issue X or Y, but that doesn't mean that what Jesus did say can't be critically interrogated to derive principles and values which could illuminate moral issues X or Y. A religion based on such a reading of what Jesus said is still based on what Jesus said.

DesertDog 06-12-2019 08:17 AM

Sure are. That's why people have been killing each other over religious matters for millennia now.

md2000 06-12-2019 11:07 AM

As I understand it - after he had his "stroke" on the way to Damascus, Paul went around claiming to be an apostle too and preaching a version of Christianity very different from the flavour the original followers of Jesus (led by his brother James) tried to preach to Jews from Jerusalem. After assorted confrontations, and epistles where Paul tells his followers not to listen to those people (embellished with interesting name-calling) in Jerusalem, where is hijacked during a visit to Jerusalem and forced to undergo ritual cleansing, the two sides come to an agreement. Paul will not try to corrupt Jews, the real target of the "real" Christians; in return, he was free to make up whatever he wanted and tell it to the gentiles.

In the end, the temple was wiped out along with much of the Jerusalem community, and Paul's widespread ministries became the dominant flavour of Christianity.

Czarcasm 06-12-2019 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Depether (Post 21693671)
Most religions are similar in what God said.

Providing "religion" is defined very narrowly and "similar" is defined very broadly.

Thudlow Boink 06-12-2019 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 21694199)
and preaching a version of Christianity very different from the flavour the original followers of Jesus (led by his brother James) tried to preach to Jews from Jerusalem.

Do you have a cite for this?

DrDeth 06-12-2019 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 21691714)
Also keep in mind that a lot of the gospels are writer embellishments and redactions long after the fact, to conform to the orthodoxy of the day. Whole "gospels" are dismissed as apocrypha because of doubtful authenticity and because they contradicted to dominant dogma at the time of the consolidation of church teachings around the Nicaean council. (Plus, many other works over the years were "updated" - consider that the reference to Jesus in the works of Josephus is generally believed to have been altered to suggest Josephus affirmed Jesus' divinity.

Well, not very long after and there were still plenty of living people around who could say "that aint so". In fact John dictated most of the Gospel ascribed by him, altho admitted at a very old age.

Yes, one of the TWO Josephus quotes is assumed to have been altered. But not the other.


Most of the gospels not accepted were either copies or very late. The council at Nicea didnt discuss which Gospels were canon, that had mostly been discussed much earlier, before any dogma had set in. By the time of Irenaeus, c. 130 Ė c. 202ad , they had already decided which Gospels were canon, altho some later Letters of Paul, etc were still being debated. John the Apostle was said to have lived until AD100. Pretty much there was never any argument which Gospels were canon.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_...Biblical_canon

DrDeth 06-12-2019 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CookingWithGas (Post 21692506)
I am not a theologian or biblical scholar, but isn't this a matter of some debate that cannot be objectively be proven true or false?

Well, no doubt Jesus started it. Carried on by his brother James, Peter and a number of other apostles. However, at that time, it was still a Jewish messiah sect. It was Pauls idea to spread it to the gentiles more, which very likely was the thing that made Christianity a roaring success.

If no Paul, what would have happened? Would the sect have grown? Disappeared? Another person gets the idea to spread to the gentiles? We dont know.

So, who is responsible for the popularization and spread of Christianity among the gentiles can be said to be Paul.

Corry El 06-12-2019 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21693052)
I haven't read any of their reports, but the various mentions that I have encountered of the output of the Jesus Seminar - which sought to identify the likelihood that any one saying could genuinely be attributed to the real Jesus ..

I had this in mind of course when mentioning how else the new religion based on 'what Jesus said' could define 'what Jesus said' besides just whatever is attributed to Jesus in the 4 Gospels. But, it's a stretch in discussions like this to even assume a common familiarity and understanding of the Gospels (as opposed to cherry picking, simplistic literalism, furious googling and linky-linky to try to support what someone has already said talking while out of their ass, etc). It's just not plausible to assume a common understanding and agreement what 'historical Jesus' scholars have said Jesus 'really' said. And OP also clarified that 'what Jesus said' in the original question meant 'what the Gospels say Jesus said'.

In which case the whole issue of supposed Paul Christianity v Jesus Christianity largely disappears. Again the Jesus of the Gospel of John in particular (though as I and others noted that was probably written decades after Paul's letters, whether dictated by the original John or not) is not really different than the one Paul refers to. Paul is more general, spiritual, mystical rather than usually referring to everyday situations or telling parables based on daily life. With again the elephant-in-room exception that Paul condemns homosexuality (at least in the contemporary Hellenic context) while the Gospels never directly mention it, quoting Jesus or otherwise. And in general if there ever was "version of Christianity very different from the flavor" of Paul among 'original' Christians, that's also from indirect inferences about the Synoptic Gospels and their theorized progression, their validity v John, combined with indirect inferences from historically known facts, though few if any directly answer the question. If you define 'what Jesus said' as in the Gospels as a whole, the idea of a different Christianity prior to Paul is purely speculative. Which it pretty much is anyway you look at it.

septimus 06-12-2019 04:10 PM

I just read the first half of the thread; most of the posters have a view almost completely opposite from mine.

The words of Jesus are very important to the Gospels, whether printed with red ink or not. Of course there's much controversy about the New Testament, but that Jesus is purported to have said these things is not strongly disputed.

Oh sure, the papers jotting Jesus' words contemporaneously have gone missing, and disciples surely "edited" the words of Jesus even if only inadvertantly. Yet still we know that (1) those words are a major source of Jesus' original support and fame, and (2) the "Christian" churches meandered here and there and de-emphasized the words of Jesus, which were sometimes contrary to Church doctrine.

I've talked to several others who ó though part of no organized faction touting this ó believed true Christian faith should follow Jesus' words (or that facsimile visible in the Gospels) more closely.

Sage Rat 06-12-2019 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corry El (Post 21694685)
In which case the whole issue of supposed Paul Christianity v Jesus Christianity largely disappears. Again the Jesus of the Gospel of John in particular (though as I and others noted that was probably written decades after Paul's letters, whether dictated by the original John or not) is not really different than the one Paul refers to. Paul is more general, spiritual, mystical rather than usually referring to everyday situations or telling parables based on daily life. With again the elephant-in-room exception that Paul condemns homosexuality (at least in the contemporary Hellenic context) while the Gospels never directly mention it, quoting Jesus or otherwise. And in general if there ever was "version of Christianity very different from the flavor" of Paul among 'original' Christians, that's also from indirect inferences about the Synoptic Gospels and their theorized progression, their validity v John, combined with indirect inferences from historically known facts, though few if any directly answer the question. If you define 'what Jesus said' as in the Gospels as a whole, the idea of a different Christianity prior to Paul is purely speculative. Which it pretty much is anyway you look at it.

As I'm not part of the Biblical studies community and don't read anything from it, I couldn't say what percentage of the scholars are Christian versus non, but it's certainly not zero and I suspect that it's more than half. That will make any contention that the New Testament religion is different from the teachings of Jesus be completely sunk by the popular vote of the community and allow/force basically every review of that writing to say that the idea goes against the majority scholarly view. But, of course, the majority scholarly view can't be relied on to be founded in historic merit.

But, to be fair, there are probably some number of people who study the Bible simply to troll Christians or because they want to endorse a different religion than Christianity. So it is, similarly, difficult to ignore the majority scholarly consensus in favor of the others, particularly when you know that you're reliant on their translations and dating, and that you the reader have no way to weigh in on that.

Personally, I would say that it's almost certain that the religion of Jesus would be wildly different from the New Testament portrayal, based on my personal read through of 1st and 2nd century sources. This includes everything from big clues like the fact that we can't seem to find an early heretical church that isn't Gnostic and that they cover all of the dirt from Syria to Egypt, there are no non-Gnostic portrayals of the teachings of John the Baptist, and everyone agrees that Jesus'beliefs flowed directly off of John; to small clues like that the early church writers - on whose testimony the Orthodox books of the New Testament were decided - had in their libraries of works for Christian study the works of Carpocrates and debated and defended the meaning of the Ophite diagrams when attacked by Celsus.

Like I said that's a "from...to". There are beyond dozens of things that make it relatively clear that there was a distinct divide between Paul and Jerusalem, that Paul's vision won, and that everything which conflicted with the Pauline view (as determined by the Council of Nicaea) was scrubbed out of history and burned.

Reconstructing Jesus' beliefs would be sketchy. It's relatively likely that the bits singled out as being authentic by the Jesus Seminar are authentic. But that's just a small segment of the teachings of Jesus and plausibly they are being taken out of context wildly. I would say that it's likely that Jesus' said a whole bunch of esoteric stuff like, "The blind man sees with his eyes, the sighted man sees with his soul." (Not an actual quote - I just made that up.) Personally, I classify that as rubbish nonsense that only makes seeming sense if you're high. But, given enough of it, you could probably isolate a few small portions that seem to make something like actual sense and write it down, then take those that are either relatively meaningless or (seem to) agree with your own personal philosophy, tack on something that "explains" it, and you're all set.

The Gnostic works will include just random silly nonsense like a few lines of just vowel sounds in some order and tell you that it's the secret name of the Heavens, or whatever.

All of which leads one to think that Jesus and his band were just some pothead idiots spouting nonsense.

But, on the other hand, it does seem likely that Jesus' did hold strong beliefs. He held animosity towards the Temple and money. He was strongly a defender of the poor, the outcast, etc. Paul's conversion was almost certainly an artifact of Jesus' teaching that you should care for all who are in need. Paul was their enemy and yet Jesus' followers cared for him in illness.

Jesus' brother James was, likely, a vegetarian. He is purported to have had knees like a camel from kneeling down and praying regularly. Supposedly, he refused to cut his hair. Supposedly, he was an ascetic.

James seems to have taken over the church in Jerusalem after Jesus' death. One would presume that he followed the steps of his brother. If James was a vegetarian with camel knees, likely so did Jesus.

There's no indication that James or anyone in Jerusalem was aware of Jesus ever saying anything like that some people might not have to follow the laws of the Old Testament. While we do believe that James decided to go along with that for the Gentiles, we also are told that Paul decided to have that conversation with the Jerusalem church in the midst of a famine and when he was bringing a big ol' bag of money that he'd collected from his very very profitable church.

And we also note that the next time Paul came to Jerusalem, James and company told Paul that he should go to a certain part of town and talk to some folk. Paul did that, and it resulted in his being sent off to be executed to death. Both that and the bag of money are in the Bible.

Personally, I would be suspicious of the idea that you can ignore Deuteronomy. In my estimation, probably Jesus believed that you had to follow the laws of the Old Testament.

Divorce was completely forbidden. Full stop. There's no work - not the New Testament and not anything in the Gnostic works that says anything beyond that once you're married, you're stuck for it. John the Baptist, purportedly, died over that issue. Debate homosexuality all you want, divorce is looking a vast chunk of Christians in the eye and calling them shameful or sinners or whatever Jesus' view of badness should be called.

I would probably vote that he wasn't a pacifist.

We are told that he told Peter to put his sword away, when the authorities came to arrest him. But why did Peter have a sword? Swords are the ancient and medieval version of a handgun. There's zip about their existence that jibes with turn the other cheek. You don't eat with a sword. You don't use it as a tool. It exists for the sole and express purpose of killing, and Peter was a fisherman.

Jesus' behavior at the Temple was not what one would call peaceable. He destroys a bunch of stuff and goes on a curse-ridden rant.

When Jesus goes on trial, we are told that none if his followers come to defend him. They have all fled the city.

The Gospel of Peter says that the rumors around town were that the followers of Jesus were believed by the authorities to be plotting to burn down the Temple.

Again, why did the Fisherman - in a group dedicated to peacefulness and asceticism - have a sword and what was their big dinner all about anyways? Why did Judas feel like he needed to report Jesus to the authorities?

No other text than the Gospel of Peter makes that statement and even it only says that the Romans were saying it, not that the apostles genuinely were plotting along those lines. But, it does also feel like the sort of thing that you would be rather hush hush about and maybe pretend didn't happen once the ring leader is no longer around.

So at best, Jesus had his people getting swords in order to defend himself because he knew that he'd gotten himself into trouble by destroying a bunch of stuff at the Temple.

(Or he wanted to have the swords around for symbolic reasons so that when people later wrote about the event, they would be able to see Jesus' options and actions, and learn from it.)

We have the Parable of the Assassin that does not in any way decry violence nor even provide any rationale for the smaller guy to murder the bigger guy. And we have Matthew 10:34–36.

Though, I also wouldn't be surprised if Jesus said and did things that are completely in line with pacifism. Humans are known to be inconsistent and find ways to say that in case A you should be peaceful and in case B you shouldn't be. Some of those cases may even be completely fair and reasonable. But then you're not a pacifist, you're just somewhere in the middle.

There's some decent evidence that women were equal in Jesus' church - in Jesus' estimation, if not so much among his followers. Plausibly, this was a bone of contention between Peter and the Jerusalem church and caused him to side with Paul. The Gospel of Mary singles him out as calling her a liar for saying that Jesus taught her just as much as he taught all the guys.

To be certain, this is all my read and anyone is free to decide that my intentions are not honest in this presentation.

But I would say that we can probably rule out some things as being clearly non-Jesus - like abandoning the laws. The Parable of the Talents is probably not from Jesus. Even just within the Orthodox Gospels it sticks out like a sore thumb.

But in terms of what we can rule in.... We probably have a decent view of what sort of thing Jesus was doing, but the remaining apocryphal works are too incomplete to lock anything down very tightly.

Overall, we can probably trust that Jesus used some marriage of Hebrew religion's rules with neo-Platonism's view of how the universe is structured. On top of that he added some esoteric nonsense that some segment of the population would think is spiritually meaningful, and he added a very ascetic anti-money pro-equality philosophy.

The Gospel of Matthew, as it is currently written, in the New Testament is very plausibly close to a work used by the followers of Jesus' church, in the 2nd century. There are a series of notes about the differences between the two documents from like the 4th or 5th century that indicate that there's not a giant difference between it and the heretical Gospel of Matthew. Of course, it's possible that whatever heretical group he was talking about had been forced to use the Orthodox version and simply fudged it to match what they'd been told about their beliefs.

Outside of Matthew, though, I wouldn't assemble a "New Testament according to Jesus" that included any of the works of the New Testament. They may be closer to the lifespan of Jesus, but they're also closer to the lifespan of Paul. We're more certain that they are accurate depictions of the religion of Paul than we are that any of the apocryphal works are accurate to the religion of Jesus.

But, even within the works of the New Testament, we see a wide range of views and the reader is asked to find the truth among them. A Testament from Jesus would just be a bit more extreme, in that measure, but there are probably enough works available of sufficiently plausible historicity that you could construct it and get your own view.

DrDeth 06-12-2019 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21695118)
...

Outside of Matthew, though, I wouldn't assemble a "New Testament according to Jesus" that included any of the works of the New Testament. They may be closer to the lifespan of Jesus, but they're also closer to the lifespan of Paul. We're more certain that they are accurate depictions of the religion of Paul than we are that any of the apocryphal works are accurate to the religion of Jesus.
...

Good post.

But not quite. John is the antipaul, and likely never even met him.

manson1972 06-12-2019 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21695118)
Divorce was completely forbidden. Full stop. There's no work - not the New Testament and not anything in the Gnostic works that says anything beyond that once you're married, you're stuck for it. John the Baptist, purportedly, died over that issue. Debate homosexuality all you want, divorce is looking a vast chunk of Christians in the eye and calling them shameful or sinners or whatever Jesus' view of badness should be called

Thank you for your thoughts on this. But one question regarding divorce that you mention: I thought divorce was allowed if the woman commits adultery? I mean, Jesus said "But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery"

Sage Rat 06-12-2019 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21695149)
Thank you for your thoughts on this. But one question regarding divorce that you mention: I thought divorce was allowed if the woman commits adultery? I mean, Jesus said "But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery"

Minus that one case (possibly). :p

UDS 06-12-2019 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21695149)
Thank you for your thoughts on this. But one question regarding divorce that you mention: I thought divorce was allowed if the woman commits adultery? I mean, Jesus said "But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery"

On that quote, adultery is a consequence of [improper] divorce, not the grounds for it. The only ground for divorce is "sexual immorality", which is not the same thing as adultery. There's a view that what this means is that divorce is permitted where a sexual relationship between the spouses is intrinsically immoral - e.g. they are closely related, one of them is already married to someone else, or there is some other fundamental objection to the whole idea of their getting married in the first place.

Sage Rat 06-12-2019 09:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21695136)
But not quite. John is the antipaul, and likely never even met him.

The authorship of the Johanine works is pretty unclear. Revelations is sufficiently "different" and esoteric, that it does incline itself to being considered as part of the Jesus school of things. Except that, I don't believe, I have seen any reference to it as part of the corpus of the Gnostics, the Jewish-Christians, the Naassenes, the Ebionites, or anyone else. It's not part of Nag Hammadi. Manichaeism didn't seem to accept it.

Į\_(ツ)_/Į

I have read something recently indicating some usage of the Gospel of John. But, while I don't remember what that was, I feel like it was later (3rd century?).

As to the epistles.... Assuming that they're all written by the same person, I do note that the third one talks about a Gaius, Demetrius, and a Diotrephes (whose name means "Nourished by Jupiter"). To my ear, they come from a Roman not a Jew.

manson1972 06-12-2019 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UDS (Post 21695273)
On that quote, adultery is a consequence of [improper] divorce, not the grounds for it. The only ground for divorce is "sexual immorality", which is not the same thing as adultery. There's a view that what this means is that divorce is permitted where a sexual relationship between the spouses is intrinsically immoral - e.g. they are closely related, one of them is already married to someone else, or there is some other fundamental objection to the whole idea of their getting married in the first place.

Fair enough, but having read that many times for this topic, it doesn't seem like, from that quote alone, that the man suffers anything from divorce. Only if he doesn't do it for "sexual immorality" that he makes the woman commit adultery. As long as a man doesn't marry a divorced woman, he's in the clear.

UDS 06-12-2019 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21695302)
Fair enough, but having read that many times for this topic, it doesn't seem like, from that quote alone, that the man suffers anything from divorce. Only if he doesn't do it for "sexual immorality" that he makes the woman commit adultery. As long as a man doesn't marry a divorced woman, he's in the clear.

He's certainly not in the clear; he "makes her (his divorced wife) commit adultery", which sounds to me like imputing moral responsiblity to the man.

To put this in context, Jesus is (we know) talking about the morality of divorce in a regime in which only men could divorce. Jesus is addressing a question much debated at the time; given that a man can divorce his wife, is it moral (or, when it is moral) for him to do so? In Matt 19 he is in fact explicitly answering this question ( ďIs it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?Ē") He doesn't comment on the question of whether women should have the capacity to divorce their husbands; nobody asks him that.

(Also relevant, I think, that in Jewish law men could take multiple wives (even though ini Jesus's society this was strongly deprecated and not done in practice). So a man taking a second wife might be morally reprehensible for other reasons but would not, strictly, be adultery.)

Sage Rat 06-12-2019 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21695118)
had in their libraries of works for Christian study the works of Carpocrates

Sorry, I meant Philo:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo

DrDeth 06-12-2019 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21695291)
The authorship of the Johanine works is pretty unclear. Revelations is sufficiently "different" and esoteric, that it does incline itself to being considered as part of the Jesus school of things. ...
I have read something recently indicating some usage of the Gospel of John. But, while I don't remember what that was, I feel like it was later (3rd century?).

As to the epistles.... Assuming that they're all written by the same person, I do note that the third one talks about a Gaius, Demetrius, and a Diotrephes (whose name means "Nourished by Jupiter"). To my ear, they come from a Roman not a Jew.

I am talking about the Gospel of John. The Revelations of St John was clearly written by a different person. Most scholars now say the Apostle John had a major part in his gospel. In fact the SD article even sez that.

That means little, since most letters and such in those days were dictated to a secretary.

Corry El 06-12-2019 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21695118)

Personally, I would say that it's almost certain that the religion of Jesus would be wildly different from the New Testament portrayal,

My point repeated a couple of times is more basic.

How do we define 'what Jesus said'? Earlier the OP agreed the idea was 'what is in the Gospels' which to me means the canonical Gospels. In which case there is no significant gap between 'Paul's religion' and the 'Jesus' religion', just on a few, or even just one particular modern social hot button that drives a lot of cultural hostility now towards Christianity IMO. That whole discussion of Paul v Jesus is largely a tangent under the assumption that 'what Jesus said' is what the 4 Gospels say he said.

If instead we define 'what Jesus said' by looking at rejected (by the Roman era Church) scripture and 'clues' and 'inferences' then 'what Jesus said' could be a wide variety of things depending which other sources, clues and inferences, highly subject to opinion and IMO doubtful to say anything much about it is 'almost certain'. There would be no general understanding or agreement as to 'what Jesus said', and discussion of a 'religion based only on what Jesus said' without a common idea 'what Jesus said' is basically pointless IMO.

Dark Sponge 12-20-2019 09:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21695401)
I am talking about the Gospel of John. The Revelations of St John was clearly written by a different person. Most scholars now say the Apostle John had a major part in his gospel. In fact the SD article even sez that.

That means little, since most letters and such in those days were dictated to a secretary.

It's not universally accepted that they were written by different people. In fact, John plays with patterns of 7 in both books. Some scholars believe John actually wrote the Gospel of John after Revelation.

Musicat 12-20-2019 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark Sponge (Post 22039235)
It's not universally accepted that they were written by different people. In fact, John plays with patterns of 7 in both books. Some scholars believe John actually wrote the Gospel of John after Revelation.

This is GQ (General Questions). Therefore, it is entirely logical that I should say, "cite?"

burpo the wonder mutt 12-20-2019 10:35 PM

There's no pleasing some people.

SPOILER:
That's just what Jesus said, sir.

Senegoid 12-21-2019 01:28 AM

Jehovah's Witnesses base their religion largely on what Jesus "commanded" them to do.

Or, so they often claim. They seem to see Jesus as some kind of military commander, and what Jesus said to do are referred to as "commands". And JWs also say they don't do the things that Jesus didn't command them to do. This is one of the two explanations I've heard for why they don't celebrate birthdays: Because Jesus didn't command them to.

Of course, that needs to be taken with a grain of myrrh. The JW religion seems to be largely based on the Book of Revelation, which doesn't consist largely of the actual words of Jesus.

Little Nemo 12-21-2019 01:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digs (Post 21691698)
The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada.

I think a bigger issue would be differing interpretation of what Jesus meant by what he said.

DrDeth 12-21-2019 01:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digs (Post 21691698)
The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada.

Well, He did say "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." And of course the Lords prayer- which is not supposed to be said over and over again.

Yep, in fact it really looks like Jesus would have forgiven Homosexuals as He did adulterers.

The Celtic Christian Church does emphasize the Words of Jesus, as opposed to Paul.

DrDeth 12-21-2019 02:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 21691714)
Also keep in mind that a lot of the gospels are writer embellishments and redactions long after the fact, to conform to the orthodoxy of the day. Whole "gospels" are dismissed as apocrypha because of doubtful authenticity and because they contradicted to dominant dogma at the time of the consolidation of church teachings around the Nicaean council. (Plus, many other works over the years were "updated" - consider that the reference to Jesus in the works of Josephus is generally believed to have been altered to suggest Josephus affirmed Jesus' divinity.

Actually, no. Mark and Matthew are based mostly on Q, and Q is thought to be more or less contemporary with Jesus. The Gospel of John was likely dictated to the Apostle John's followers when John was a very old man.

The other gospels were either duplicates or transparent forgeries, written at a late date. By the Council of Nicaea , they were quite aware of which 3 synoptic gospels showed up not too long after the Crucifixion.

It's very true that one mention of Jesus in Josephus was likely edited by some monk. However, there werent many copies of Josephus around. There were many copies of the Gospels, and what we have found from early scrolls (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls*) pretty closely match what we have now, with some minor translation and copiest errors, none of any substance.

The Council was in AD 325. Many scrolls dated earlier than that date have been found. Not to mention the Council didnt discuss the Gospels and apocrypha. Wiki "Biblical canon
Main article: Development of the Christian biblical canon
There is no record of any discussion of the biblical canon at the council.[79] The development of the biblical canon was nearly complete (with exceptions known as the Antilegomena, written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed) by the time the Muratorian fragment was written.[80]"...."Irenaeus (died c. 202) quotes and cites 21 books that would end up as part of the New Testament, ..."


So the canon was mostly set before the 2nd century ended.

Pretty much then, everything in your post is incorrect.

*mostly OT, not NT but similar scroll caches have been found- papyrus fragment, also known as ďP52" has the Gospel of John. Bodmer Papyrus II AD c200 has the epistle of Jude and the two epistles of Peter and earliest known copy of the Gospel according to the Luke and one of the earliest of the Gospel according to John. The A. Chester Beatty Papyri C AD200 has part of a codex of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, letters written by Paul: Romans, Hebrews, I and II Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and I Thessalonians and contains the oldest known text of the Book of Revelation. and so forth.

DrDeth 12-21-2019 02:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 21692427)

Paul promoted Christianity and was primarily responsible for spreading to the gentiles. But there was a Christian Church before Paul. Small, mostly Jewish, yes.

DrDeth 12-21-2019 02:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CookingWithGas (Post 21692506)
I am not a theologian or biblical scholar, but isn't this a matter of some debate that cannot be objectively be proven true or false?


No, because there was a Christian movement before Paul, led by Peter and James- the brother of Jesus. It wasnt very large, and you could call it a Jewish Messianic sect, I guess. But it existed. They stoned James because of it.

DrDeth 12-21-2019 02:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 21692747)
I guess it depends on how you define your terms. Something, that it seems not unreasonable to refer to as "Christianity," existed before Paul got involved with it.

But it absolutely is a matter of debate, and we'll never know for sure, how much of what we think of today as "Christianity" originated with Paul, or how much different it would be if Paul had never gotten involved.

Still, it seemed wrong to me to claim, unequivocally, in the General Questions forum, that "Paul started Christianity," for reasons explained in the article I linked to.

Yes, "how much of what we think of today as "Christianity" originated with Paul, or how much different it would be if Paul had never gotten involved" is very much a matter for debate.

ASL v2.0 12-21-2019 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22039533)
Actually, no. Mark and Matthew are based mostly on Q, and Q is thought to be more or less contemporary with Jesus. The Gospel of John was likely dictated to the Apostle John's followers when John was a very old man.

There is an alternative hypothesis, the Farrer Hypothesis, that posits that there never was a Q (and we certainly don’t have a Q now) and that the order goes Mark, Matthew, Luke, with Matthew making shit up to make the content of Mark fit more in line with the Old Testament and to make Jesus appear to fulfill OT prophecies. Then Luke came along and, based on Mark and Matthew both, modified the message to make the religion a little less Jewish and focus more on Christ's humanity and his innocence, among other things.

And then John came way out of left field, the latest of the canonical gospels. We don’t need to go into it here (other thread), but I’ll reiterate that "John as an eyewitness account" is very much disputed, and that my take on the consensus is that NONE of the gospels are considered to be eyewitness accounts.

I personally find the Farrer Hypothesis more convincing than the two-source/Q hypothesis because the former makes fewer assumptions. That is, it does not assume there was yet another "important historical document" that somehow found its way into canon indirectly through the other gospels and so was clearly important to early Christians and largely compatible with what eventually DID make it into canon, but somehow failed to be preserved itself, even as a great many more dubious sources (such as the majority of the epistles) were included in canon.

fedman 12-22-2019 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21692046)
Thanks everyone for responding. Regarding this, are the actual words of Jesus that much different between the Gospels?

(I understand that they were written years later and whatnot)

And this: "The problem I think they'd run into is that there's a LOT that Jesus didn't say anything about...

Homosexuality? Nothin'. Masturbation? Nope. Priests, church services, hymns? Nada"

I would think that would be sort of the point.

He referred to "husband and wife" numerous times but not "husband and husband"

ftg 12-23-2019 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fedman (Post 22042229)
He referred to "husband and wife" numerous times but not "husband and husband"

I call this a "kangaroo argument". Since the Bible nowhere mentions kangaroos, they clearly do not exist.

Annie-Xmas 12-23-2019 10:33 AM

Even if you tried to do this, you'd run into the "Yeah, but" people. Did Jesus say "Judge not, least ye be judged?" Yeah, but...."Did Jesus tell the woman taken in adultery to go and sin no more, but totally ignore the guy" Yeah, but.....

Some vegetarian groups argue that John did not eat locust and Jesus did not eat fish. No, John ate locust bean (carob) and Jesus ate fish plant (seaweed).

Sage Rat 12-23-2019 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 (Post 22039858)
I personally find the Farrer Hypothesis more convincing than the two-source/Q hypothesis because the former makes fewer assumptions. That is, it does not assume there was yet another "important historical document" that somehow found its way into canon indirectly through the other gospels and so was clearly important to early Christians and largely compatible with what eventually DID make it into canon, but somehow failed to be preserved itself, even as a great many more dubious sources (such as the majority of the epistles) were included in canon.

There is no factual answer.

I don't have my references with me at the moment but there are some references to the sky opening up and angels coming down out of the heavens - or something like that - at the start of one of the primary (synoptic) gospels or something that became one. I'll update later if I'm wrong but I think one was from Justin Martyr and the other is an Arabic work that describes an early version of the Diatessaron and also includes such a description. I am inclined to believe that this comes from an early version of Matthew AKA, the Gospel of the Hebrews, which is consistently described as starting around Luke 3, jumping straight to Luke 4.

The Gospel of Marcion also has this beginning - no angels, just that placement.

The historic record tells us that Mark was created after Matthew but the historic records of Matthew do not match what we see. As said, the beginning wasn't there and it seems to have had a bit about angels coming out of the sky near the beginning.

The historic record does tell us that the Gospel of Marcion was a chopped down version of Matthew, by a Roman who thought that they should just focus on Paul's religion and say the heck with the Jerusalem church. The Gospel of Mark does largely match what we would expect to see if we imagine a Gospel of the Hebrews and then cropped it down to remove anything overtly Jewish.

And, well, Mark <-> Marcion. Not a terribly fancy argument but ignoring it for being obvious is possibly being too clever by half.

My personal guess, based on one or two other things, is that the part that the historic record got wrong wasn't the order of the Gospels, it was that when they reviewed "The Gospel of Marcion", they were actually looking at Hebrew Matthew or an earlier version of Luke that the Marcionites had accepted that had built off of Mark.

I would also guess that Mark, the scribe of Paul, was in fact Marcion and that The Gospel of Mark was the official Gospel of the Roman church during and just after Paul's tenure.

Luke, as a Roman, would naturally work off of their trimmed down version, so he developed it out - possibly from a version that hadn't yet been chopped down quite so much as our Mark or, as said, was shorter than it is now at the point in time when the Marcionites split off.

But, meanwhile, the Roman and Eastern churches were negotiating a "shared" text that they would both agree to. There was an early attempt to fulfill the declaration of the Council of Jerusalem and to find a harmony between the different teachings of the two churches. Through that process of revisions, Hebrew Matthew was developed into what we see today - sufficiently revised by committees, haggling it out over a few years that it is scarcely connected to the original - but, still the most Jewish of the bunch since the church in Antioch and elsewhere had half a say in what went into it.

Hebrew Matthew - Marcion = Gospel Mark

Gospel Mark + Luke = Gospel Luke

Hebrew Matthew + Committees +? Gospel Luke = Gospel Matthew

IMHO

Particularly if we take the idea that the Marcion created Mark but the Marcionites took an early variant of Luke that was based off of that, all of the historic record and dates line up.

md2000 12-23-2019 12:47 PM

Thanks Sage Rat

Plus we have to remember in the days before printing presses and mass media, and when matching the spiritual message counted more than historical accuracy - every copy of every work had to be written by hand; meaning a moderately educated person with the resources and time to create a copy. No doubt some were done from memory, some were edited to fit (as mentioned about Marcion) either the audience or the author's predilections. Some were created from the imagination, as evidence the variety of legends about figures such as Robin Hood or King Arthur (or even George Washington and the cherry tree - the GW Principle - "It's easy to tell the truth when you're the one holding the axe"). It's pretty easy to conclude that stories about childhood Jesus zapping his teacher were the imaginings of a bored scribe. It's pretty easy to imagine someone wanting to impress his view - whether Jesus was human, or a divine apparition, etc. - those doctrinal assertions being inserted into someone's personal copy and/or spread to others. It's even easy to imagine - like Jefferson - that miracles were later legends inserted to drive home the message of divinity. (Or, they could be as meaningful as the miracles performed at Lourdes or by southern fundamentalist preachers)

Councils later would suppress not only what they saw as obviously fake texts, but also those that disagreed with the "party line".

the short answer is we'll never know. All we can do is read between the lines and make educated guesses.

Really Not All That Bright 12-23-2019 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fedman (Post 22042229)
He referred to "husband and wife" numerous times but not "husband and husband"

He didn't refer to space travel either, but that doesn't mean astronauts are bad Christians.

Annie-Xmas 12-24-2019 09:31 AM

How does anyone know what Jesus said anyways? It's not like his ever utterance was recorded. SSo how do you know he never referred to "husband and husband." Paul, being the asshole he was, would not have made reference to it. He was too busy telling women to sit down and STFU in church.

md2000 12-24-2019 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 22044642)
How does anyone know what Jesus said anyways? It's not like his ever utterance was recorded. SSo how do you know he never referred to "husband and husband." Paul, being the asshole he was, would not have made reference to it. He was too busy telling women to sit down and STFU in church.

Like everything else in antiquity, we have very few original sources. People wrote down or told others what they heard, and then someone copied that into what they were writing, etc. Later writers maybe polished, embellished, or "clarified". Sometimes nuggets of truth shine through.

St. Paul, who also claimed he was an apostle despite never having met Jesus, and also claimed to talk to Jesus regularly after he had a seizure on the road to Damascus, is probably not a reliable source for actual quotes. Actual apostles, maybe.

Plus, if there's a guy spending several years preaching to bigger and bigger crowds using parables, you can be sure that the bible probably only captures a fraction of the stories he told over that time. A lot has likely been lost.

As for "husband and husband" - the bible does say that when confronted with a woman who had violated sexual mores and Jewish law, Jesus said essentially nobody had the right to punish her. Why would anything different apply to men?

(He did say "Love thy neighbour" :D )

DrDeth 12-24-2019 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 22044642)
How does anyone know what Jesus said anyways? It's not like his ever utterance was recorded. SSo how do you know he never referred to "husband and husband." Paul, being the asshole he was, would not have made reference to it. He was too busy telling women to sit down and STFU in church.

Even in areas and times when homosexuality was tolerated or even common, afaik, no one thought of "Gay marriage". Marriage was for making kids. It's only recently it has so many legal ramifications, like taxes, that gay marriage has become a necessity.

Jesus made it clear what he thought of rules like "no gay sex' "no adultery" etc "Let those without sin cast the first stone." Love and forgive.

ASL v2.0 12-24-2019 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 22044874)
Like everything else in antiquity, we have very few original sources. People wrote down or told others what they heard, and then someone copied that into what they were writing, etc. Later writers maybe polished, embellished, or "clarified". Sometimes nuggets of truth shine through.

But what are those "nuggets of truth" when it comes to Jesus? How do we know? It is so clear that each of the gospel writers had their own agenda in crafting an image of Christ that I donít see how we can really take any of them as "gospel."

For instance...
Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22045189)
Jesus made it clear what he thought of rules like "no gay sex' "no adultery" etc "Let those without sin cast the first stone." Love and forgive.

Oddly enough, that particular passage in John is among the most troublesome. Not only because it would appear to equate all wrong-doing as equal and therefore preclude any notion of a human justice system (I mean, what other "sins" do we have to cast a blind eye to just because everyone said a cross word to their parents once in a while as a kid?), but also because itís authorship and place in the gospel is somewhat questionable (more so than other random sayings attributed to Christ), as it is noticeably absent from the oldest manuscripts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_...extual_history

What I keep coming back to is that we have no way of knowing what Jesus actually said, but then even if we did Iím not sure why anyone should care.

DrDeth 12-24-2019 06:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 (Post 22045516)
...
What I keep coming back to is that we have no way of knowing what Jesus actually said, but then even if we did Iím not sure why anyone should care.

why do we care what the Buddha said? Or Confucius? or Mohammed? Or Socrates? Or anyone not alive today? Because their teachings and sayings are immortal.

ASL v2.0 12-24-2019 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22045557)
why do we care what the Buddha said? Or Confucius? or Mohammed? Or Socrates? Or anyone not alive today? Because their teachings and sayings are immortal.

I donít care. Maybe thatís why you care, but I donít. If a saying is true or useful, it is so irrespective of who said it. Iíll leave it at that because weíre in GQ, but needless to say I disagree.

Flyer 12-25-2019 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 (Post 22039858)
There is an alternative hypothesis, the Farrer Hypothesis, that posits that there never was a Q (and we certainly donít have a Q now) and that the order goes Mark, Matthew, Luke, with Matthew making shit up to make the content of Mark fit more in line with the Old Testament and to make Jesus appear to fulfill OT prophecies. Then Luke came along and, based on Mark and Matthew both, modified the message to make the religion a little less Jewish and focus more on Christ's humanity and his innocence, among other things.

And then John came way out of left field, the latest of the canonical gospels. We donít need to go into it here (other thread), but Iíll reiterate that "John as an eyewitness account" is very much disputed, and that my take on the consensus is that NONE of the gospels are considered to be eyewitness accounts.

I personally find the Farrer Hypothesis more convincing than the two-source/Q hypothesis because the former makes fewer assumptions. That is, it does not assume there was yet another "important historical document" that somehow found its way into canon indirectly through the other gospels and so was clearly important to early Christians and largely compatible with what eventually DID make it into canon, but somehow failed to be preserved itself, even as a great many more dubious sources (such as the majority of the epistles) were included in canon.

I personally am quite dubious as to the existence of Q itself. However, it is not "making assumptions" to think that other sources existed, when Luke explicitly tells us that they did. "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us. . . ." (Luke 1:1) That's the whole reason why Luke wrote his Gospel, because some of those other sources evidently did not have as much knowledge about what Jesus said and did as Luke.

Incidentally, any "consensus" by scholars (who evidently are not worthy of the title), that none of the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, is worth diddly-squat. Luke explicitly tells us that he was an eyewitness. And if you're going to ignore or designate as unreliable the vast bulk of the primary source material just because you don't like what it says, any subsequent research is going to invariably lead you to false conclusions.

It's amazing to me how so many people who consider themselves to be academics and researchers in pursuit of the truth treat research into Jesus so much differently that research into other ancient figures. You never see researchers into Aristotle, for example, throw out 90% of the source material right off the bat and then construct hypotheses from the remaining 10%. Like it or not, the four Gospels are our primary sources of information regarding Jesus, and any research that ignores or denigrates that fact is worthless.

ASL v2.0 12-25-2019 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flyer (Post 22046217)
I personally am quite dubious as to the existence of Q itself. However, it is not "making assumptions" to think that other sources existed, when Luke explicitly tells us that they did. "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us. . . ." (Luke 1:1) That's the whole reason why Luke wrote his Gospel, because some of those other sources evidently did not have as much knowledge about what Jesus said and did as Luke.

It would have been really awesome for Luke (here referring to the anonymous author or authors) to actually name his sources. That he did not might tell us something about just how rigorous his source-gathering methodology was. With that said, I’m happy to concede that he would have used at least two sources: Mark and something else (my vote is for Matthew, but as previously discussed, many scholars still hold to Q). Those two sources alone quite obviously could account for the bulk of the content in Luke, and the differences seem to point to just kind of making things up to sell his particular narrative on the nature of Christ, rather than to other (unnamed) sources.

Quote:

Incidentally, any "consensus" by scholars (who evidently are not worthy of the title), that none of the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, is worth diddly-squat. Luke explicitly tells us that he was an eyewitness.
Kindly cite chapter and verse for that. My impression was that, at best, assuming we take his word for it on his sources, he claimed to have spoken with eyewitnesses, but not to actually have been one himself. Wasn’t the traditional view of scholars that the author of Luke-Acts was merely a follower of Paul?

Quote:

It's amazing to me how so many people who consider themselves to be academics and researchers in pursuit of the truth treat research into Jesus so much differently that research into other ancient figures. You never see researchers into Aristotle, for example, throw out 90% of the source material right off the bat and then construct hypotheses from the remaining 10%. Like it or not, the four Gospels are our primary sources of information regarding Jesus, and any research that ignores or denigrates that fact is worthless.
Nobody bases their religion on Aristotle or, by extension, tries to enact policy "because Aristotle said." At least not lately, anyway (the medieval Church being a notable exception).

But if memory serves, the historicity of at least one of the Socrates/Plato/Aristotle trio (I’m thinking Plato) is sometimes called into question, positing that he was merely a character employed in dialogues. With that said, whether he existed or not does not lend any more or less weight to his philosophy. The same should be true of Jesus, but alas many people take "he probably existed" and then run with it to to conclude that he was also "probably was resurrected, and probably was the son of God, which means god exists and all the stuff that we attribute to Jesus is true, and so is everything in the Old Testament, whether we have to follow it (Matthew's Jesus) or not (Luke's Jesus)."

ftg 12-25-2019 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flyer (Post 22046217)
Incidentally, any "consensus" by scholars (who evidently are not worthy of the title), that none of the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, is worth diddly-squat. Luke explicitly tells us that he was an eyewitness. And if you're going to ignore or designate as unreliable the vast bulk of the primary source material just because you don't like what it says, any subsequent research is going to invariably lead you to false conclusions.

It's amazing to me how so many people who consider themselves to be academics and researchers in pursuit of the truth treat research into Jesus so much differently that research into other ancient figures. You never see researchers into Aristotle, for example, throw out 90% of the source material right off the bat and then construct hypotheses from the remaining 10%. Like it or not, the four Gospels are our primary sources of information regarding Jesus, and any research that ignores or denigrates that fact is worthless.

Oh, boy.

Here's the Wikipedia article on the Authorship of Luke-Acts. Note that while likely written by the same person and there is some bits in Acts that suggest that the author was a traveling companion of Paul and witnessed at least part of Paul's mission first hand, the Gospel of Luke is another thing entirely.

Quoting from the article:

"The traditional view recognizes that Luke was not an eyewitness of the events in the Gospel, ... " [My emphasis.]

Note that this is the traditional view.

To go around slamming people who clearly know more about this than you do is ridiculous.

The author of Luke-Acts clearly did not witness a lot of what he wrote about. He gets a lot of historical facts wrong. Acts is the most error filled book in the New Testament.

If you were going to pick one of the four gospels to be the most likely one written by an eyewitness, Luke is the last one you'd choose.

Flyer, it is you that is ignoring the material in the New Testament.

ASL v2.0 12-25-2019 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 (Post 22046240)
Nobody bases their religion on Aristotle or, by extension, tries to enact policy "because Aristotle said." At least not lately, anyway (the medieval Church being a notable exception).

But if memory serves, the historicity of at least one of the Socrates/Plato/Aristotle trio (I’m thinking Plato) is sometimes called into question, positing that he was merely a character employed in dialogues.

Correction to the above: the answer is Socrates. Though Socrates is acknowledged as a historic character (as, FWIW, Jesus currently is), the words attributed to him are passed down to us primarily (exclusively?) through the works of his student, Plato, and other philosophers of the era. As with Jesus, the views expressed by Socrates in these various surviving works and the details of his life tend to vary—or even contradict one another—and so cast doubt on whether or not we can ever actually know "what Socrates said," in spite of the wide volume of works that are supposed to feature him. It's known as the Socratic problem and is, I think, a perfectly appropriate analogue to the problem of someone claiming "Jesus said."

The difference is, honest historians acknowledge this and no one finds it particularly controversial because Socrates is not a major religious figure. But try and apply a similar level of skepticism to the sayings attributed to Jesus and, well, you get some of the responses in this thread.

Even if I grant (for the sake of argument) that the gospels are eyewitness accounts or the work of good historians (for their time), it should not be a controversial view at all that the words of Jesus may not have actually been spoken by Jesus, but rather were put into his mouth by (possibly much later) followers trying to advance their own particular philosophy.

ALOHA HATER 12-27-2019 02:18 AM

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned what they call the Sayings Gospels, which (like Q) are a theoretical lost work that the canonical gospels and other books drew from. The idea is that it was pretty much a list of quotes from Jesus, rather than a narrative work.

Someone did mention the Jesus Seminar, which is relevant.

As a nonexpert, I don't believe that there's some secret key to the sources of early Christian writing. There must have been countless texts going around which all influenced each other. There were a good roughly 40 years between crucifixion and the earliest gospel. That's plenty of time for ideas to intermix.

md2000 12-27-2019 02:10 PM

Having sat through the church readings of the nativity story in the last few days, it is hard not to appreciate the obvious embellishment present in the gospel stories. There was a Syrian census a few years BC, but nobody - especially not day labourers - had to traipse halfway across the country for days to simply register where they did not live. It sounds like something someone else would have added decades later to twist their messiah to be of divine origin. Similarly, Josephus had no problem describing Herod the Great's misdeeds and misfortunes in detail, (Including his rotting genitals) and never thought to mention that he ordered the massacre of all (male) babies in a wide area of his kingdom? So widespread that one would need to travel all the way to Egypt to escape?

As a non-expert, it seems to me the nativity gospels provided several things that advanced the young church's party line - affirmed Jesus' divine lineage, his link to David (wait, through Joseph who actually wasn't his father??), the fact that he was also fully human from birth, not just a divine apparition (to contrast another early "heresy"), and that both the heavens and civil authorities believed his divinity and the prophecies.

Sage Rat 12-27-2019 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 22047983)
Having sat through the church readings of the nativity story in the last few days, it is hard not to appreciate the obvious embellishment present in the gospel stories. There was a Syrian census a few years BC, but nobody - especially not day labourers - had to traipse halfway across the country for days to simply register where they did not live.

While the story is almost certainly made up, having spoken to people who live in places where you have to register with the government, notify them of movements, get permission to move, etc. it seems common to simply let your data linger in an old condition. A married couple might, officially, live in different provinces just because one of them never bothered to update their registration, even though they've been living together under the same roof for the last decade.

But that does inconveniences at time since you might be called upon to continue the lie, report to vote, or whatever.

So, I could conceive of a situation where you might end up having to go back to where you're registered as living, for some government thing.

A bigger issue is that the "prophecy" that the Bethlehem birth was supposed to fill had already been filled. Micah 5.1 is (pretty likely) an addition to the original works of Micah (chapters 1-3). The later parts were written after Israel was taken over by Cyrus the Great and then given great freedom and money to rebuild the Temple.

The king at the time (a descendant of David), and the person who commissioned the Bible was Josiah.

The prophecies refer to the works of Josiah and Cyrus, establishing the rightness of the work they were doing by putting words into the mouths of earlier religious leaders. This is less apparent if you quote snippets of text out of the prophecies but become more clear if you read about Cyrus and Josiah and then read through the whole text with that context set.

We don't know where either man was born. I'd lean towards suspecting that Josiah was born in Bethlehem on the basis of Micah.

ftg 12-27-2019 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2000 (Post 22047983)
As a non-expert, it seems to me the nativity gospels provided several things that advanced the young church's party line - affirmed Jesus' divine lineage, his link to David (wait, through Joseph who actually wasn't his father??), ...

Note that there are two significantly different genealogies for Jesus given in Matthew and Luke. (Which in the older parts also disagree with the Old Testament.) One explanation for some of the differences is one is goes thru Mary rather than Joseph. But that, and a bunch of other explanations are all problematical.

That neither the of author's of Mark and John didn't care about genealogy, virgin births, etc. and pretty much picked up the story with John the Baptist and then Jesus getting baptized is telling, facts-wise. Paul clearly didn't care about any of this. (He, in fact, stressed how Jesus was born in a not unusual way.)

All these facts were known to early Church scholars, and yet ...

DrDeth 12-27-2019 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 (Post 22046369)
...
Even if I grant (for the sake of argument) that the gospels are eyewitness accounts or the work of good historians (for their time), it should not be a controversial view at all that the words of Jesus may not have actually been spoken by Jesus, but rather were put into his mouth by (possibly much later) followers trying to advance their own particular philosophy.

Sure, that certainly could have happened. We do think that MOST of the sayings were the Words of Jesus, but I dont believe in divine intervention to make them all 100% kosher (pun intended).

ASL v2.0 12-27-2019 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22048520)
Sure, that certainly could have happened. We do think that MOST of the sayings were the Words of Jesus, but I dont believe in divine intervention to make them all 100% kosher (pun intended).

Who is "we" and on what grounds?

RioRico 12-27-2019 08:50 PM

Since the existence of Yeshua bir Miryam is uncorroborated, and many attributed sayings in both canonical and apocryphal books have long lineages, one can find or invent almost any Wisdom Saying or Divine Relevation to blame on that Holy Mouthpiece. Thus Xianity is the most flexible of religions, infinitely malleable, like tinfoil.

kanicbird 01-22-2020 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 22039539)
Yes, "how much of what we think of today as "Christianity" originated with Paul, or how much different it would be if Paul had never gotten involved" is very much a matter for debate.

Actually in practice quite a lot of the church's authority is usually a cite to Paul. But it appears that when Paul states the authority of the church he is stating things from what he knew as a expert of Jewish temple law, which is what Jesus came to free us from. Paul admits what he says is sometimes things knowingly not of God but only from Paul himself, and other times that Paul states a command from God which Paul is apparently not in agreement with. Paul frequently talks about this war going on inside himself.

And that's the whole Paul founded Christianity thing, as a mix of what people ask for (wanting rules, leaders), and what God wants (Christ is sufficient). It is the same thing that God did with the Jewish people, giving them things to try to get them to understand they never needed them.

Contrast this to what Jesus taught, the kingdom is near, drop everything and follow me, lean accept and do as I do. That is not Christianity as we know it, however it may be a stepping stone to the way Jesus lives and teaches for those willing to make the leap of faith.


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