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Old 06-10-2019, 08:17 PM
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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?
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:57 PM
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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?
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:25 PM
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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.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:30 PM
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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
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In fact, Jefferson was devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ. But he didn’t 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 Christ’s philosophy, distinguishing it from what he called “the corruption of schismatizing followers.”
It didn't go any farther than him, although others could have done something similar.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:34 PM
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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.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:53 PM
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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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:50 AM
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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)

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Old 06-11-2019, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:04 AM
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*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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:38 AM
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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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:41 AM
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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!
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:12 AM
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A little light reading.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:16 AM
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Paul started Christianity
False.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:25 AM
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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 – Who wrote/compiled/edited (and when) the various New Testament Books?
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:56 AM
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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?
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:35 PM
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A little light reading.
Hey, cool. Thanks for that.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:54 PM
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'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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:57 PM
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'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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:38 PM
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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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:08 PM
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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'.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:10 PM
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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.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:15 PM
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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?

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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:17 AM
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Sure are. That's why people have been killing each other over religious matters for millennia now.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:07 AM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:28 AM
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Most religions are similar in what God said.
Providing "religion" is defined very narrowly and "similar" is defined very broadly.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:01 AM
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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?
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:10 AM
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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 – 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
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:19 AM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:52 PM
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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.

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Old 06-12-2019, 03:10 PM
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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 — though part of no organized faction touting this — believed true Christian faith should follow Jesus' words (or that facsimile visible in the Gospels) more closely.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:40 PM
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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.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 06-12-2019 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:51 PM
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...

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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:57 PM
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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"
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:37 PM
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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).
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:24 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:31 PM
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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.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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.

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Old 06-12-2019, 08:36 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:12 PM
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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 ( “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?”") 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.)
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:18 PM
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had in their libraries of works for Christian study the works of Carpocrates
Sorry, I meant Philo:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:31 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:37 PM
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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.

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