Moderator: felix dakat
omar wrote:Just a quick observation as a way of criticizing harnack. Theologians like Augustine and others referenced the bible to grant weight their words would otherwise have lacked. Thus it is not a rewrite that these councils performed but a continuation of a Christian presumption.
They referenced because it was the one revelation. They made deductions at these councils. They clarified the one true revelation. The councils were responses to theological controversies but amending scripture or deviating from the one true revelation.
So to a set of scriptures became the presumed and true revelation of god. Theologians debated over the meaning of various passages. Each did so not according to his genius but what each felt were necessary deductions. By historical accident or state coercion one prevailed. Councils afterward would simply make official the winning theology. But from scripture to interpretation to codification it was all one harmonious process. At least that is my take on it. The councils over played the simplicity of the message but did not manufacture continuity because it was pretty much there all along.
omar wrote:I have to clarify the above some.
Of course the process was not smooth but my point is that for or against everyone since Paul and Jesus took on the tradition to state what was for them one timeless revelation. Take for example the five fundamentals you quoted elsewhere and you see that by each assertion you have accompanying and supportive scripture. If a council latter codified one of various theologies as orthodox the groundwork was already there to help them convince themselves and others that this was the one revelation for all to see all along. If that...
A convinction of fundamentalist like Augustine, the father of Catholicism, is that the revelation is one as god is one but that sin (Paul's ad home in or theology?) had obscured what would otherwise would have been plain for all to see even themselves (which is another reason it isn't a true ad homenin since the speaker cannot claim a higher ground since he was given the gift of sight to see what is eternal but no longer self evident in a fallen world) had made it's apprehension a battle only a few would be allowed to win.
Theologians like Paul like Augustine were tools of god same goes for the councils. This is the harmonious process I speak of. Even the opponents of one orthodoxy did so from another assumed orthodoxy. Every accident was understood as caused by god if it furthered the goals of those who would finally write history. Again from both sides of the aisle.
omar wrote:I think that it was a novel situation and not a cruel imposition. First two centuries has churches in relative independence. Paul's letters are testimony of how fragile orthodoxy was and yet how it was wanted for the internal necessity of their theological claims. As Christianity grew and elbow room between communities disappeared it became a concern to invent a common language.
After the unification of Italy someone said:"we have created Italy, now we must create Italians". It is rarely that honest. It happens most often in shawvian drama.
While it is true that Christianity in its entire history has never been whole Paul and men like him saw it as such. That is why we have those biblical quotations. They are not the product of tampering but the arguments Paul made to his churches of one gospel and one church as the body of Christ. Multiplicity was never the goal nor was it consistent with the history of monotheism.
Seven letters are generally classified as “undisputed”, expressing contemporary scholarly near consensus that they are the work of Paul: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Six additional letters bearing Paul's name lack academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. The first three, called the "Deutero-Pauline Epistles," have no consensus on whether or not they are authentic letters of Paul. The latter three, the "Pastoral Epistles", are widely regarded to be pseudepigraphical works, though certain scholars do consider Paul to be the author.
Sounds like a good book but for now I stand by my reading. The idea of disputed letters is known to me. I read erhman's book on the active editing of what became scripture. From mark to job I easily concur. But the case that Paul intended one message is both the testimony of the undisputed correspondence and it's very existence.
I usually quote from 1 Corinthian and the idea is there when he talks about certain disputes within a church (was it Apollos the other leader? Can't confirm cause I don't have my bible here at this moment) and you can also deduce the principle of one church from Galatians. If everything is equal to Paul then why challenge Peter? And if all is the same to jerusalem council then why did they impose penalties upon Paul? The point is that latter controversies were already present in the first century and that then and later they were important to the players involved because of the shared belief that the path to salvation was one.
We... Well at least I was not trying to discuss here the point of the OP. it was a tangent, a new window. What the theology meant was not my aim in the last post but the possibility, indeed probability that authoritarianism began soon after Jesus death and not simply the invention of Paul.
But you don't want to discuss that anymore? Fine. Let's get back and say that theology of Israel wasn't dualistic. Influenced by Iranian religion? Debatable. But even if it was it was only so imperfectly because it was a world full of angels and demons but these were in the end just creatures. Satan was not coeternal with god but was a rebellious creation. Creation itself is not explained as an eternal struggle between good and evil but as a perfect creation that was lost through choice. What truly is eternal with god is his law and it is that that requires Jesus sacrifice and not defeating Satan in mortal combat.
I want to touch on something else. Every time you find a clear influence you need to be aware that (not everything that shines is gold as I said before) it is an specific section of a group rathe than the entire group. Judaism as well as Christianity were not granite monoliths. This is part of your argument. Thus some groups were influenced much more than others by Hellenism. It wasn't a uniform effect. If true for Hellenism it could be true for this dualism. For example you have Manichaeism which bears all the marks of influence to make your case but it is a type a flavor one possible Christianity. So to say that Christianity is dualistic is to exceed your histical evidence. More justice is done in saying that dualism influence some Christians. But whether they would prevail theologically was as uncertain as the theology of original sin, predestination and others. But the fact that books with stronger dualistic narratives, like Enoch, did not make the Christian cannon and those like the apocalypse did so under strong opposition makes question your notion that even a majority was dualistic. One can argue that a majority was Arian and in favor of Pelagius by the fact that today we have Christians who believe almost as they did in direct opposition to later councils, which in fact existed because of the strength of these "heresies".
felix dakat wrote:All orthodox Christians accept the Pauline epistles of the New Testament as holy scripture. So, having adduced dualism in Paul's epistles, we may conclude that it is present in the heart of Christian orthodoxy.
alyoshka wrote:felix dakat wrote:The christian concept of god is a syncretistic creation ---a synthesis of disparate concepts brought together by ecstatic religious imagination.
No longer, and not for a long time, have we had the ability to write scripture and/or to reveal the Christian God (or the God of the Jews).
(I think that this cultural loss is one of the greatest that we've suffered as a species and something that we desperately need restored.)
So as to your main thesis, that the Christian God is a syncretistic creation, I would say yes and no. I believe that the Christian scriptures reveal the same God as the Old Testament and therefore is not.
O- I concur. But Enoch was not added into the canon, nor some of the others, left rather as apocraphia...interesting reading but not part of the one revelation. And the reason was probably the same other books were often disputed, such as the apocalypse, because in it you found the passages that could support views of competing theologies. After hearing these tied constantly with a heresy, I think that some were inclined to leave out books which would be confusing to the flock. All these books were important inter-testament literature, but Christianity made a name for itself, literally, by shedding it's jewish heritage. The OT was problematic, unaccepted by Manichees and salvaged only by the rhetorical powers of Ambrose and others who made it a proper gentleman religion.
O- Fair enough. But as a principle of evil, co-eternal with the good that is not self-evident. Isaiah is read as either a man or as an angel turned demon, but certainly not as the root of all evil. Demons cause bodily harm but can be destroyed by the Holy One (Luke 4:34). The inequities of the world are a temporary occurrence and not an eternal pre-condition, for the Devil lived in Eden and yet God called it perfect. part of the problem of evil is man. Through His Law God promised well-being...to put it mildly. Heaven on earth so to speak. The prophecy of the Messiah originally involved a very terrenal paradise, when earthly opponents, not merely demons (For Babylon is always just below the surface) would be defeated in a battle that pitted God's people and angels against the powers of this world and the devil. I get all that....but this echoes back to Pharaoh, who had magicians working for him who pitted their magic against Moses, and to David and other patriarchs of old, who often were assisted by God directly or through his angels. The narrative is of the Almighty being inactive for some unknown reason while his people are subjected. But when it is His time, and He awakes from His rest, nothing on earth, Heaven or Hell can oppose His will. Evil is only indirectly attributable to demons. The Psalmist, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Job, Ecclesiates among others see it as directly God's will. And if we get to Paul, again in Roman's tale of the Potter, Paul destroys any need for a co-existing principle of evil, or a creator of evil-- He has fingered God for all evil.
O- The power of the demons is broken because Jesus ' death brings the release of the Spirit by which men can call on His name and defeat any wandering demon. But angels were not "abolished", not by a long shot. Augustine's world was one where you were told to sneeze or spit backwards for there were invisible angels before them. But note that again Augustine is another that fingers God for evil as much as good. There is a pattern then.
O- To demons? He endured some hardship from the ruling of the Jerusalem Council but I doubt that he call them demons. Ephesians makes that case, but isn't it disputable in origin? So how native is it as a belief?
O- Sure. Still does not make them the cause, the root cause of evil, in a universe that bears an omnipotent God.
O- Not so clear actually. Ephesians is of disputed authorship and he speaks of a fallen world, original sin, a sin not caused by the devil but by the seduction of man, the disobedience of man. Therefore and predictably, for him, part of man's redemption is becoming a slave to Christ, which is what man should have been to God. In Isaiah for example it is Israel that is a "born-slave". To bring back something you brought up in the ad hom tread, Paul holds man as responsible for not believing what was self-evident, and in return, God, not devils, gives them "over" to their shameful lust.
But let's say that the duality is there. God working through the Spirit and through the mind, while Satan works through the sinful nature and our flesh. It is still not by the strenght of the flesh or the sinful nature or the devil but whether God has given us over, or predestined us in such a way. That is part of the paulinian theology. So what appears as a duality ends up monism.
O- Agreed. But ask this question: Was it more the zoroastrian influence or the hellenic influence that peppered his thought? And are they one and the same? I think that there is a reason Plato and not zoroaster is seen as a pseudo-christian convert.
The Jewish speculations about Angels and Mediators, which at the time of Christ grew very luxuriantly among the Scribes and Apocalyptists, and endangered the purity and vitality of the Old Testament idea of God, were also very important for the development of Christian dogmatics. But neither these speculations, nor the notions of heavenly Archetypes, nor of pre-existence, are to be referred to Hellenic influence. This may have co-operated here and there, but the rise of these speculations in Judaism is not to be explained by it; they rather exhibit the Oriental stamp. But, of course, the stage in the development of the nations had now been reached, in which the creations of Oriental fancy and Mythology could be fused with the ideal conceptions of Hellenic philosophy.
Palestinian Judaism, without any apparent influence from Alexandria, though not independently of the Greek spirit, had already created a multitude of intermediate beings between God and the world, avowing thereby that the idea of God had become stiff and rigid. Its original aim was simply to help the God of Judaism in his need.
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:The Christian God died. It's started when all His contradictions short-circuited the wires in His head, and God went up in smoke. So those still following this God are high on the smoke and fumes of God. All that's left of the Christian God is smoke and mirrors ... His fumes only leave his followers dazed, confused, with God stricken starry eyes ..
felix dakat wrote:V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:The Christian God died. It's started when all His contradictions short-circuited the wires in His head, and God went up in smoke. So those still following this God are high on the smoke and fumes of God. All that's left of the Christian God is smoke and mirrors ... His fumes only leave his followers dazed, confused, with God stricken starry eyes ..
The death of God on the cross distinguishes the Christian God from other conceptions of God. Rumors of His death in modern times were greatly exaggerated.
felix dakat wrote:The death of God on the cross distinguishes the Christian God from other conceptions of God. Rumors of His death in modern times were greatly exaggerated.
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:felix dakat wrote:V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:The Christian God died. It's started when all His contradictions short-circuited the wires in His head, and God went up in smoke. So those still following this God are high on the smoke and fumes of God. All that's left of the Christian God is smoke and mirrors ... His fumes only leave his followers dazed, confused, with God stricken starry eyes ..
The death of God on the cross distinguishes the Christian God from other conceptions of God. Rumors of His death in modern times were greatly exaggerated.
I have no recipes, but am willing to stir the pot ...
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:felix dakat wrote:The death of God on the cross distinguishes the Christian God from other conceptions of God. Rumors of His death in modern times were greatly exaggerated.
Patripassianism was declared heresy. But I think it's central to all the contradictions (mystery, so called) of the Christian God. We can't imagine that God the Father suffered and died on the cross, but if Jesus was God He did. This brings us to the absurd in absolutes concerning Jesus as God.
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