It’s been a long time since I did religious studies classes.
Did Jesus say he was the son of God, or was it a label that his followers bestowed upon him? Did he believe himself to be divine/semi-divine, or did he believe he was just a mere mortal prophet/messenger of God?
I appreciate that the sources, like the Bible, may not necessarily present a historically accurate report of what Jesus actually said about this subject (assuming he existed).
It looks like quotation marks were invented after the Bible was written - and what a revelation they must have been!
So, according to the Bible at least, Jesus did believe himself to be the son of God.
A follow-up question then. Were there any other Jesuses in the ancient Near East that we know of - individual people who declared themselves divine and managed to gather up a circle of followers, for a time at least?
I’ve heard about the other Judaean sects of the time and so on, but have no knowledge of whether they were considering themselves divine.
Also, did Muhammad consider himself divine or just divinely-inspired?
But didn’t he also instruct his followers to pray “our father, who art in heaven?”. Not that I believe he necessarily said everything the Bible claims he did, just pointing out that it didn’t always appear that he considered himself the only child of God.
Possibly not, but it’s probably the closest you’ll get in Judaism (and its descendants). If you look to other religions, you’ll find a bunch of those “(grand)sons of (a) God”; from ancient Egyptian kings through Alexander the Great and Roman Caesars all the way to Emperor Hirohito…
The bible is not a consistent, monolithic work. Since it was written by many authors over many centuries, it is logical that not all parts agree with each other.
Anytime you say “according to the Bible,” it would be wise to say which parts of the Bible you are referring to.
If you quote from John, you are quoting from one of the later, more-developed books, which includes stuff that is not in the earliest gospels like Mark. It seems likely that the later writers embellished as they felt so inclined; the tale grew with the telling; and the man became more like a god. The biblical writers didn’t feel a need for truth or accuracy, but a need to promote their beliefs.
But couple that with yet another famous Jesus quote: the bit about how he hungered, and you gave him meat; he was thirsty, and you gave him drink; he was a stranger, and you took him in; he was naked, and you clothed him; he was sick, and he was in prison, and so on, and you were there for him — and if this is puzzling, and prompts folks to say, uh, I don’t remember feeding you when you were hungry, or the thing with the clothes; and I sure don’t remember visiting you when you were sick or in prison, the reply is, oh, hey, when you did that for someone else, you did it unto me.
Which means — as far as I can tell — that, yeah, he says stuff about how what you do with regard to him is some kind of royal road to God the Father; but I figure that any uniqueness implied by that vanishes if he says that what you do to ‘some other guy’ is what you’re doing with regard to Jesus; he’s one with, uh, both, I guess?
As I understood things - Jesus was a Jewish zealot (See Reza Aslan’s book Zealot) who wanted to restore the Temple to its glory and expected divine intervention to kick out the temple hierarchy and the Romans. He was executed as a threat to public order on the pretence that he was fomenting rebellion; not difficult after he ransacked the Temple market.
Years later Paul had some sort of mind-blowing experience - medical or otherwise - and basically made up a lot of the embellishments that made Christianity a religion full of mysticism to appeal to the gentiles of the Eastern Mediterranean, including such mystical 3-in1 doctrine as the trinity. He also claimed for himself the mantle of “apostle” and that it was unnecessary to consider the original followers as he had all the answers. The followers who hung around the temple tolerated him saying whatever he wanted to the gentiles provided he did not try to pervert members of the Jewish faith. When the Romans destroyed the temple and murdered most of Jerusalem, that left Paul’s as the dominant version.
Over the next few centuries, the gospels were collected and embellished to match Paul’s message. So many of those quotes are as likely as not writer embellishments, putting words in Jesus mouth to match the orthodoxy of the early church; just as the “gospels” that did not match up with the message of the dominant sect of the church were relegated to the apocrypha and suppressed.
In your opinion. This is never stated explicitly in the Bible, and in fact there was considerable debate in the early church as to whether Jesus was only divine, only human, both human and divine, or something else entirely. The issue was not fully settled until the 5th century CE, but even today there is widespread disagreement among the major traditional churches on the exact nature of the duality, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were still some restorationist sects out there who believe that Jesus had only a single nature and who believe that the scriptures support this belief.
If you quote from John, you are quoting from one of the later, more-developed books, which includes stuff that is not in the earliest gospels like Mark. It seems likely that the later writers embellished as they felt so inclined; the tale grew with the telling; and the man became more like a god.
On the other hand, for what it’s worth, John is the only one of the gospels that is claimed to be written by, or at least based on the testimony of, one of Jesus’s disciples.
The earliest-written parts of the New Testament, most scholars agree, are the letters of Paul, and one of them contains a passage where many believe Paul is quoting an even-older hymn or poem:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
So it’s not as though the earliest writings showed Jesus as a mere man, and the divine part got added on later.
The biblical writers didn’t feel a need for truth or accuracy, but a need to promote their beliefs.
I don’t know how you can say what the writers “felt a need for”; but Luke, at least, claims to have some interest in presenting the gospel (heh) truth:
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.