I have alittle doubt about your words:
messiani jewish sects (save the small groups who often call themselves "ebionites", based on the old jewish heretical sect who rejected the divinity of Christ and the virgin birth),
That is, since Christ's divinity and virgin birth seem like such big concepts for me as a skeptical person, I have alittle doubt whether they are true. When I hear that there was an old Jewish heretical sect that rejected these ideas, it makes me think that maybe the ideas didn't exist in Christianity and were added later like myths. It seems possible that the virgin birth concept was added later, since St Paul doesn't mention it. But on the other hand, Christ's divinity plays a big role throughout the gospels and St Paul's letters, that it doesn't seem it was made up later than the time of the early Jewish Christian community in the mid first century AD.
It's true that
The Scriptures themselves state that... God could turn stones into biological descendents of Abraham.
But I doubt that this means
that to be ethnically decended from Abraham means nothing
If God turned rocks into descendants of Abraham, it at least sounds like a miracle. God's ability to work a miracle doesn't mean "nothing". Similarly, the Bible refers to Israel as God's children. But God's ability to have a physical, biological child doesn't mean nothing, and vice verse.
Rather, Jesus' point in saying thatGod could turn rocks into Abraham's descendants means that the biological descendants shouldn't be chauvinistic about it. That is, they shouldn't act like they have a superior biologic status no matter what.
This doesn't contradict your following analysis, which is correct:
what makes a true son of Abraham, a spiritual semite, is to inherit the promises made to Abraham. This is a point often overlooked in studies of St.Paul - a big them for St.Paul is the idea of being a "child of the promise." For example, while both Ishmael and Isaac were Abraham's son, simple biological descent did not make both inheritor's of the sacred/messianic promise given to Abraham - no, it was only Isaac who became the inheritor. Same with Isaac's sons - it was not both Esau and Jacob who inherited the promise, but Jacob. ...what matters, is to be the "child of promise."
At least for Jacob, biological descent at least played a role in his inheritance, as it gave him a family connection to Isaac that presumably he might not have had otherwise.
I agree that
blood lineage of itself means nothing [is] something that never seemed to sink into the Jewish mindset
. But I am not sure that blood lineage of itself means nothing. After all, Jesus had a blood lineage to Adam, the first man, and there are some religious comparisons poetically between them. But in terms of Salvation, simply having blood lineage is insufficient, and it isn't decisive either for whether someone is saved, as people lacking the descent can be saved too.
Also, I am not sure how the claim that
blood lineage of itself means nothing... never seemed to sink into the Jewish mindset... explains why so many of them felt justified in resisting both St.John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ, and presumably John the Baptist had blood lineage descended from King David and the priesthood, respectively, and such lineages should have been respected in such a biological-oriented mindset.
You are correct when you say:
Rather what matters, is to be the "child of promise." It is precisely for this reason, St.Paul teaches, that the "seed of Abraham" cannot be understood to refer to all who gentically issue forth from him.
That is, as you point out, even one of Abraham's children wasn't among those who received the promise.
I am unsure if
In the strictest sense, that "seed" is absolutely singular - the Person of Jesus Christ, Who as it was, was the inheritance of those who succeeded in the line of "children of promise."
1. The term seed can be a collective noun.
2. I remember looking back at the place in the Old Testament St Paul was referring to, and it wasn't clear to me, from the Old Testament passage itself, whether this was used as a collective noun or singular one.
It makes sense though that those who succeeded in the line of the children of promise inherited the Person of Jesus Christ, as He was promised to them.
I am also unsure whether
An interesting phenomenon (certainly foreshadowing the advent of the "Church") in the Old Testament, is that it is always the younger of the two children who ends up inheriting the promises of God (not Ishmael, but Isaac; not Esau, but Jacob.)
I think Judah might have been considered an older brother, and he received God's promises. Also, Adam and Eve both got God's promises, I assume, even though Eve was the younger of God's two creations. However, you might be right as regards two-sibling families, as I can't think offhand of others.
Also, the gentiles came to Jehovah later than the Jews, yet the gentiles inherited the promise to a larger portion, so in that sense you may be right that this dual sibling phenomenon foreshadows the Church. But on the other hand, the Jews were also to inherit the promises. Further, you might mean that the Church was younger than the Tribe of Israel, but Orthodoxy doesn't completely disconnect the two either.
I'm alittle confused how this explains
why St.Paul says that those under the Old Covenant, are spiritual Hagar (labouring under bondage), where as the Church of the Apostles are the freemen of Sarah.
One explanation could be that you mean Hagar was associated with an older child, while Sarah is associated with a younger one. In that case, the view could be that the elders, pharisees, and scribes were like older brothers associated with Hagar, while the disciples, who were less educated fisherman, were like the younger brother.
I have some doubt about your interpretation:
The institution of "the Church", while historically younger than the Synagogue, is the corporate "child of promise", inheritor of the "seed of Abraham."
That is, you apparently counterpose the gentile, Christian church with the older, Jewish synagogue. But I disagree with this ethnic dichotomy. St James began the Letter of James by referring to Christian synagogues, and most of the first Christians were Jews. We don't see those Jewish Christians as separate.
On the other hand, you may refer to the Church, with both Jews and Gentiles, as younger than the Old Testament Jewish synagogue, which makes sense. And in connection with this, you may have in mind that the synagogue's leaders, the pharisees and scribes and sadducees, with their learning that meade them like elder brothers, rejected the early Christians who appeared simpler in their learning. In this rejection there was a separation of the two, and in this separation one was the older brother of the other.
In any case, while there does appear to be such foreshadowing from the similarity with the two instances of the siblings you mentioned, it doesn't necessarily specify that the true Church would be younger. After all, there were probably alot of small sects that could be considered younger brothers. Plus, I assume that the tradition of choosing kings was to choose the older brother. Plus, I assume Jesus Himself was an older brother in his personal family. So it appears to be suggestive, but it could rationally be a coincidence. From the mere specialness of the younger brother in the two examples, by itself, it seems hard to jump to the conclusion that the Messiah's followers would be like a younger brother to those who reject Him. After all, I don't clearly remember it saying that the younger brothers in those two instances- Isaac and Jacob- were rejected by the older brother.
And another problem with this view is that it sees those who reject Jesus as a legitimate, separate older brother, when in fact, St Paul writes hopefully that they will become Christian.
I agree with you when you write:
How emphatically can it be stated - neither Jew, nor Greek...
I'm always amazed at how so many avowed students of Scripture can overlook such a dominating theme in St.Paul's writings, yet claim their soteriology and the other peculiarities of their doctrine to be "Pauline" in origin.
By the dominating theme I assume you mean the idea that non-Jews are also descendants of Abraham. Yes, St Paul expresses this theme clearly in Galatians and Romans. The idea of neither Jew nor Greek is explicitly stated by St Paul in at least one of his letters.
I'm unsure about your words:
I think the problem is in a way created by both non-Jews and Jews themselves, in imagining that there is something racial about Judaism. This was created in part by non-Jews when they got so paranoid that even ethnic Jews who converted to Christianity were considered suspect (thus the idea they are somehow "Jews" in a sense beyond religious affiliation.)
1) Well, first of all, there is something ethnic about Judaism, since the word itself refers to the religion of the people of Judah. As you said: "Judaism itself always was something of a "tribal" religion, in which one's belonging was not only religious, but also ethnic... [H]owever, ...the Bible itself states that someone who does not "observe the Law" is cut off from the people.
" So we are talking about a religiously-defined ethnicity.
2) Now I think if you look at the Old Testament, it doesn't really portray the Jews as a separate race. Rather, it appears that the Jews belong to a larger group of people, the Hebrews, from whom the Israelites came. Also, in modern demographic terms, the Jews are one ethnicity in the Semitic group of peoples.
3) I can only think of 2 examples that resemble this paranoia:
(a) the Spanish Inquisition was paranoid that Jews who converted to Christianity weren't sincere in their Christianity, and that they really remained faithful to Judaism and were continuing Jewish practices. Naturally some ethnic Jews were suspect under this paranoia. But the grounds for suspicion was their former connection to the Jewish religious community, rather than their ethnicity itself. So this paranoia wasn't really proposing that there was something racial about Judaism.
(b) The Nazis were so paranoid about Jews that even ethnic Jews who became Christian were suspect. The thing with the Nazis is that they weren't really primarily concerned about Judaism as a religion when it came to their paranoia. The Nazis were concerned about their irrational crackpot views about race, that belonging to a race affected people's morality, made them better or worse as people. The Nazis didn't believe in Judaism, of course, but they probably didn't take it seriously either, as they were more into occultism as well as focusing on seeing everything in terms of crackpot racial ideas. So with the Nazis they weren't really being paranoid about Judaism as a religion, and they really didn't care either whether someone became Christian, as the Nazis weren't really thinking in religious terms either, except some occultism.
So for the paranoid crackpot Nazis, "even ethnic Jews who converted to Christianity were considered suspect"
because of the Nazis' racist belief that "they are somehow "Jews" in a sense beyond religious affiliation.)"
, and not the other way around.
In fact, "the idea they are somehow "Jews" in a sense beyond religious affiliation" doesn't match the idea that "there is something racial about Judaism", because it would mean that the race went beyond the bounds of the religion.
So your explanation doesn't show, from the two infamous cases about non-Jews taking such views, that they created the idea that there was something racial about Judaism.
I agree with your comment that
the negligence or underplaying of this [Biblical concept that "that someone who does not "observe the Law" is cut off from the people."] creates the "I'm a child of Abraham" pride, which is very misplaced pride, since even in the Old Testament status as "God's people" was not unconditional
However, I'm not sure that "This was a key part of both St.John the Baptist's message, and that of the Lord Jesus.
" I think that they had the message that if Israelites failed to do the right things that they would be cut off. But I'm not sure that they specifically stated that this would mean that they wouldn't be part of God's people anymore.
Also, Jesus' view toward observing the Law seems somewhat doubtful from a simple point of view, as the pharisees criticized Him for picking grain on the Sabbath, which was supposed to be a Day of Rest. Now perhaps the pharisees' interpretation of this principle was too strict. On one hand Jesus said that the law would completely remain until it was fulfilled. But the New Testament also had the idea that He fulfilled it at the Crucifixion. Furthermore, He mentioned some parts of what appeared to be Moses' law, like the idea of a tooth for a tooth, and then said to turn the other cheek. So I am not sure that John the Baptist and Jesus presented the idea "that someone who does not "observe the Law" is cut off from the people."
creates the "I'm a child of Abraham" pride. like you mentioned.
You are correct from the Christian point of view when you say
God is capable of making anyone "His"...and just the same, it is possible for someone who was "His", to cease to be such by infidelity. When the Lord Jesus came, the doors were opened wide to the world, to become inheritors of God on a new, more important basis - Christ's Precious Blood. Sadly, most ethnic Jews made themselves unfaithful, by choosing not to participate in this "New Covenant", which had been foretold by their own Prophets (and by the very giver of the Old Law himself, Moses.)
However, I think that probably at some point, in quantitative terms most Jews did become Christian. This occurred from intermarriage in Christian countries, as well as the spread of Christianity throughtout the Roman empire.
I am alittle confused whether:
"Judaizing" in it's various forms, is the contamination of the liberality of the Gospel with this unwarranted ethnic pride.
1) Wikipedia describes Judaizing as primarily the heresy in Christianity that following the Mosaic Law, like circumcision, was necessary for Christians' salvation. First, it isn't clear that this is a matter of ethnic pride, or rather misunderstanding about the application of the Old Testament.
2) You had earlier wrote that the ethnic pride you reject comes from neglecting the idea "that someone who does not "observe the Law" is cut off from the people."
. Yet here, you describe Judaizing, which means making the Law's observances necessary for Christians, as a contamination with such ethnic pride. This would mean that ethnic pride comes from neglecting the law's importance, but that forcing the Law on Christians is a contamination with the same ethnic pride.
Your apparent contradiction is consistent if it means failing to apply the Law strongly enough on the Jewish people and then forcing this Judaic Law on Christians. That is, it can be ethnic pride to fail to enforce Jewish Law on the Jewish people and then unnecessarily enforce it on gentile Christians.
But still, the Judaizers might just be applying the Law to gentile Christians because they have extreme respect for the Law and misunderstand its application in Christianity, rather than have ethnic pride about it. Likewise, the failure to use the Mosaic Law to define the Jewish people may come from a secular perspective that doesn't apply the Law to issues like ethnicity, rather than an ethno-supremacist one that values the Law alot, but values one's own ethnicity alot more.
I mostly sympathize with your statement:
Whether it comes in the form of "the Gospel is only for the Jews" as some early Judaizers felt, or in more mitigated forms (Jews being somehow separate from other believers, somehow better, or of differing obligations, etc.) which persist to our day, it's the same contaminant["unwarranted ethnic pride"]
(A)I don't clearly remember anyone proposing that the Gospel was only for Jews in early Christianity, which was when the early Judaizers were. The idea that the Gospel, ie. "Evangelie", was for Jews only would mean preaching it only to non-Jews. However, the Church approved St Paul's mission to the gentiles. Now there was a proposal in the Early Church that gentiles would have to become Jewish, ie. circumcized, to be Christian. This doesn't necessarily seem like ethnic pride, as it could be a misunderstanding of the requirements to be Christian.
However this isn't the same as saying only Jews could be evangelized, that is, have the gospel preached to them, which would be unwarranted ethnic pride.
(B) The idea that Jews are separate from other believers seems OK, if it just means that they are to follow some different observances like circumcision, as the Council of Jerusalem says. But it is a bad idea, possibly reflecting unwarranted ethnic pride, if the separation means that they avoid eachother, like the time some Jewish Christians avoided eating with gentiles, an avoidance to which St Paul objected in one of his letters.
(C) Naturally, the idea that Jewish Christians are somehow better than other Christians is unwarranted ethnic pride, as in Christianity they are all saved and part of Christ's body.
(D) The idea that Jews have differing obligations seems OK, as St Paul and the Council of Jerusalem approved the idea that those of the circumcison would stay circumcized and those uncircumcized would stay uncircumcized. Plus, the Council of Jerusalem, as I vaguely remember, had stricter food rules for Jewish Christians.
Now, if the different obligations were thought of in an absolute sense of Law like they were part of the Old Covenant and still under it, then maybe Christianity would disagree with the different obligations. It seems to me that Christianity has a different attitude toward the Old Covenant, and if this older attitude was continued regarding the stricter food rules, then it could be problematic. But still, the differing obligations, if mistaken, could just be a misunderstanding of the attitude toward the Old Testament, rather than something caused by ethnic pride.
(E) I highly doubt that the ideas that the gospel shouldn't be preached to the gentiles, and that Jewish Christians should live separate from gentile Christians hardly persists today.
Probably the idea that gentiles must become Jewish to become Christian persists but it is a very rare view. It could just be a misunderstanding of the Christian view of the Law's relation to gentiles.
The idea there should be separate customs or obligations for Jewish and gentile Christians exists, but it is an unusual view. In my view this view is OK, though, because the Council of Jerusalem apparently approved having some differences in customs.
The idea that Jewish Christians are better than gentile ones may come from the temptation of pride, and it may happen sometimes among the Messianics, just as, say, some Orthodox may think of themselves as better because their belief system is better. It may also sometimes happen among Jewish Christians, just as, say, Greek Christians may sometimes think pridefully that they are better than others.
I partly agree and partly disagree that because those ideas are contaminated with ethnic pride
"is precisely why the Church was so vigilant in forbidding the possibility of this error growing (since one of it's likely results would not simply have been keeping ethnic Jews separate from other believers - but also would have resulted in the idea of "double conversion"...a "gentile" Christian being circumcized so he to can be one of those "uber-Christians".)"
1) The Council of Jerusalem allowed gentiles to remain uncircumcized, because the Council said that gentile Christians would be saved even without circumcision, not because circumcizing them involved ethnic pride. This would neither separate Jews from gentiles, nor would it create a caste of "uber-Christians", since if they were all circumcized they would share this.
However, it would involve something like a double conversion, where the person first became believing Christian and then a believing Jewish Christian.
On the other hand, going through a catechumanate also is something of a double conversion, where the person first becomes a believer and then joins the Church. Now you could say that becoming a catechumanate and joining the Church are two separate steps, where one involves a conversion of the mind and the other involves spiritually uniting with others.
But likewise, it could be said that converting in the mind into Christianity and then becoming a Jewish Christian would be separate steps involving different processs too. And baptism, chrismation, etc. could also be seen as added steps and processes. And one view could be that becomig a Jewish Christian, ie being circumcized, isn't really a spiritual process, but just a customary step.
2) Likewise, the canon against Jewish Christians continuing Jewish customs, or a scholarly interpretation of this canon, said that the reason for the canon was because a significant number of Jews who became Christian didn't really believe in Christ, and that keeping them from continuing Jewish customs was to dissuade them from joining the Church without believing in it. So this prohibition didn't involve an attempt to stop ethnic pride.
Jewish Christians continuing Jewish customs would have separated them alittle bit from non-Jewish Christians, but necessarily to an big or bad degree in social terms. Traditionally, men and women sat on different sides of churches and women wore veils. So there was a clear separation of genders to some degree. But with the Jewish Christians, they would sit together and dress the same. They would only be different in some things, like male foreskin and some more food restrictions, and these aren't such big deals separating people in social terms. In everyday life, some people are circumcized and others aren't, some people are vegetarian, others aren't. Yet these factors don't play a big role in separating people socially.
Also, this could have brought about a caste of uber-Christians, since there would be a separation. The Jewish Christians might feel they were better because they not only followed Christian customs, but also Old Testament ones, making them doubly good or something.
But then again, this isn't necessarily so, as they could also have a feeling of Christian humility and consider the customs to be simply different ways of doing things, without feelings of superiority. For example, Greeks cross themselves alittle differently than Russians, but it doesn't appear to make Greeks think they are better, separating them more and thus making them separately closer to their Greek Christian past, in which Greeks became Christian centuries before the Russians.
My analysis about double conversion, and the reason why the Church decided gentile Christians wouldn't need to follow the unique Jewish customs is the same as in 1) above.
My impression is that St Paul also felt that gentiles shouldn't follow the Jewish customs, not just because he felt that not only were they unnecessary for gentiles, but because he felt that they would be a distraction from Christianity for them. At least, that would be a good reason for why he apparently discouraged gentiles from becoming circumcized. St Paul felt that his own Jewish religious background was nothing compared to Christianity.
3) Naturally the Church rejected the idea that Jewish Christians were better than gentile Christians because this involved unwarranted ethnic pride. I assume that the Church has occasionally spoken against this idea, and in that sense it has been vigilant. Of course, this attitude of superiority leads to separation of those who feel superior from those they feel are inferior. And it can lead to "double conversion"- albeit with my analysis of this term in 1), as well as gentile Chrisians becoming Jewish Christians to join the uber-Christians. The prohibitions from the canon(s) and tradition might hamper the gentile Christians from becoming Jewish Christians. But then gentiles' desire to become Jewish Christians might influence Christians to change the canon(s) and tradition, or influence believers to convert to Judaism before joining the Church. Still, I find these outcomes unlikely, as it doesn't appear that Jewish Christians are strong enough with so much ethnic pride.
I am somewhat confused by your words:
the Holy Fathers... not only rejected the dogmatic dimension of Judaizing, but also (from a very early time - probably in the time of the Holy Apostles themselves if the witness of the Apostolic Fathers means anything) began censoring even the sentimental/secondary attachment to "judaic" rituals or customs, even if they allegedly were not being performed in a sectarian/heretical manner (with the attitude they were essential to salvation, or were anything other than cultural relics.)
1. It's true that the Holy Fathers rejected Judaizing's dogmatic dimension, which is the idea that all Christians, including non-Jewish ones, must follow the Mosiac Law, like circumcision, for salvation.
2. Naturally this means the Holy Fathers rejected them being performed "with the attitude they were essential to salvation".
3. I am confused what you mean by "the time of the Holy Apostles themselves if the witness of the Apostolic Fathers means anything". Here you apparently distinguish the Holy Apostles from the Apostolic Fathers, since if they were the same, adding that, to paraphrase: "it happened in their time if their writings mean anything", would not make sense. Of course if their own writings meant something then it happened in their time, because their writings were written by them. But maybe this is what you mean.
4. St Ignatius in the late 1st century said that Christians shouldn't follow Judaic customs. But I am aware of an earlier reference than this, and I don't remember reading that the Fathers in the time of the Apostles themselves began censoring the attachment to Judaic customs. So I am doubtful about your words: "from a very early time - probably in the time of the Holy Apostles themselves if the witness of the Apostolic Fathers means anything)
5. Now it appears St Ignatius, who was a Holy Father did censor the attachment to Judaic customs, and naturally this would mean even if the attachment was sentimental/secondary, and they were not being performed in a sectarian/heretical manner, ie with the attitude they were other than cultural relics. I remember reading that St Chrysostom also censored such attachment, but no others come to mind offhand.
6. In any case, I am doubtful whether sentimental/secondary attachment to such customs performed with the attitude they were other than cultural relics is necessarily bad. The New Testament records St Paul performing circumcision on Timothy his disciple, and the Council of Jerusalem was apparently OK with Jewish Christians performing some unique Judaic customs that non-Jews didn't. So in these cases the customs apparently had at least some religious significance, like as a sign of continuation with the pre-Christian Jewish past.
I doubt that
The fact, is there is not a single Judaic feast, or ritual, which has not had it's emblematic significance fulfilled by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only this, but there is not a single such rite or feast which has not be superceeded by an infinitely clearer/superior feast or rite...
Offhand, I am not sure of a Christian holiday, fulfillment, that fulfills the meaning of, or correspondingly supersedes Purim, Sukkot, Hannukkah, and the Bar Mitzvah. Also, probably there are other Judaic feasts and rituals I am unaware of.
I think you are right in practical terms, as a ritual initiating someone into Christianity to list as a kind of supercession:
- the circumcision which is according to the flesh, replaced by the circumcision of the soul consumated in Holy Baptism
On the other hand, an Orthodox friend told me that they don't have this relation of one directly corresponding to and repalcing the other, since circumcision was a sign of belonging to God, but baptism was a physical process that involved a spiritual process- passing the holy spirit onto someone.
Still, it makes sense that circumcision was something according to the flesh and that Baptism was spiritual.
You are correct when you say:
- the endless MANY sacrifices of heffers and goats offered at the ONE Jerusalem Temple, superceeded by the ONE sacrifice of Golgotha, renewed at the MANY Orthodox Altars present wherever the faithful gather...
However, by putting MANY and ONE in capitals you suggest that the concepts have a special relation in their plurality and singularity. I do notice such a correspondence at first glance, and would like to know if some Orthodox scholar has made such a connection.
But then on closer inspection, this "Many-One : One-Many" pattern might not be there:
In the first instance, there were MANY sacrifices offered at ONE place and then presumably eaten MANY places, and in the second instance, there was ONE sacrifice that was offered on ONE place, golgotha.
Then this sacrifice is offered and eaten again in MANY places, as we say in the liturgy "thine own of thine own we offer unto thee".
So instead, we see see a pattern of: "Many-One-Many : One-One-Many". It could just be that Christ matched the experience of the termple ritual that had been performed MANY times previously.
You are correct here when you list:
- The Passover from physical slavery superceeded by the Passover from death and spiritual slavery
, although I assume in the Christian Paskha there is also supposed to be a passover from the physical slavery of death.
Also, I am confused and doubftul about your example:
- The Pentecost of the giving of the Law written on stone,
superceeded by the Pentecost of the descent of the Holy Spirit Who writes the Law on men's hearts
1. I don't remember the giving of the law at Sinai being described as a Pentecost.
2. There is a disimilarity, becuase the second Pentecost you mentioned has the concept of "the descent of the Holy Spirit", but the first one lacks such a concept about descent.
3. I don't clearly remember that the Holy Spirit wrote the Law on men's heart's at Pentecost. The idea also sounds alittle strange to me, because I think Christianity said it freed people from the Law and/or gave them a New Covenant, which sounds different than "the Law", which reminds of the Old Covenant, which had "the Law."
I doubt that
At best, Judaizing externally is redundent
, because circumcision was a physical sign of belonging to God, and I am unaware of another physical mark on the body in Christianity that does this. St Paul reasoned that this physical sign is unnecessary, as Abraham received his promise(s) even before Abraham was circumcized. Nevertheless, "at best", the circumcision isn't redundant.
Also, I am not sure what you mean by externally Judaizing. Perhaps you mean that simply performing Judaic practices without internalizing them as having a central, deeply spiritual inner meaning.
Sure, "At best, Judaizing externally is redundent and sentimental", because there can be a positive sentiment associated with circumcision of a connection to the Old Testament past.
And I agree that "Judaizing externally is... at worst, it is a back door for sectarianism and pride", because the Judaizers could form a separate sect with their separate customs and feel prideful about this, thinking that their ways are better than that of nearly all Christians.
I agree with your comment:
<<But this post doesn't seem to be about them. It seems to be about being smug in having found The Right Way and congratulating oneself about having done so.>>
To quote one of my younger cousins: "whatever..."
The statement "whatever" means that you don't care alot about what the person is saying. And that's OK, as I didn't see you as smug or self-congratulating, but rather just explaining why you disagreed with Christianity keeping Jewish religious customs commonly thought of as non-Christian. It's fine to just disagree about some religious ideas. Peace and Happiness to you.-Rako
It's funny that your profile name says :"Crates of araq for sale! *hic*"
The internet says Araq is a kind of liquor, with maybe about 50% alcohol. I have never tried it, but that sounds cool, like something exotic.
I agree with you when you write:
Arabs are more Semitic than today's Jews, yet only the ignorant would claim that we are all Arabs in the ethnic sense of the world (altogether we are the descendants of Arabs and Arabized Semites.....as well as Europeans in some cases owing to the episodes of history wherein they came to this region) despite the fact we look more Semitic.
(A) In other words, Arab peoples come from the Semitic group of ethnicities, while Jews have a mix of European and other non-Semitic ethnicity. Still, I find this an overgeneralization. A high portion of Mizrahi Jews have lived in the Middle East a long time, going back at least to the 1st century AD. And on the other hand, I assume that many peoples with an Arab self-identity actually have taken on the Arab culture and identity without actually being Arab by physical descent. Perhaps some Africans would qualify for such a category. And lacking physical Arab descent, some of them also lack Semitic descent, and consequently are not physically Semitic by descent. You reflect this idea when you write: "only the ignorant would claim that we are all Arabs in the ethnic sense of the world (we are ...as well as Europeans in some cases...)"
(B) You may mean that Arabs have more of a Semitic identity than today's Jews, since the Arabs are much more likely to speak a Semitic language. But still, even if the person doesn't speak a Semitic language, as long as they identify as Semitic, it seems somewhat improper to claim that one Semite is more Semitic than another. This would be like a white American claiming he/she is more American than a recent immigrant even if they both have citizenship. In fact, both of them would be Americans.
(C) Also as you say some Arabs are Arabized Semites. For example, prior to the Islamic conquest, many Palestinians spoke Aramaic, which was, I assume a Semitic language as it's somewhat similar in its roots to Hebrew and Arabic. Palestine is also a native Semitic area. But nearly all of those Palestinians since then went through Arabization, whereby they changed Aramaic for Arabic as their common language.
(D) Likewise, it's true that living in the Middle East for about 2000 years, Palestinians and Arabs look more Semitic than many Jews who have lived in Europe for centuries. On the other hand, there must be some Jews, particularly Mizrahi Jews, who look more Semitic than some Arabs, since as you said, some Arabs have European descent.
It makes sense when you say:
Linus, to my knowledge, up until now since its founding, the Ethiopian Church has always retained and preserved its Jewish customs. Obviously, there was nothing objectionable about this back then. There shouldn't be now, I would think.
That is, the Ethiopian Church split from/with the Chalcedonians after a few centuries of Christianity's start. So if it had Jewish customs, this suggests that there wasn't anything objectionable about them before the split. This places doubt about the comment by another poster that Ignatius spoke against Christians keeping Jewish customs. The explanation could be that Ignatius was talking about certain customs that differed from what the Ethiopians were doing. For example, it could be that Ignatius was against Jewish handwashing rituals, or against the Day of Atonement. The handwashing ritual would be objected to, as Jesus Himself didn't have His followers follow it, as the pharisees complained. Also, for Christianity, the Day of Atonement had been fulfilled with Christ's sacrifice.
One problem, however, with concluding that this means there shouldn't be anything objectionable about keeping Jewish customs, is that the Church itself has some changes. For example, the Calendar has been changed in some Orthodox Churches. Plus in many Orthodox Churches in America most of the women don't wear veils. So this means there has been a change in custom. Likewise, there could have been a change in custom experienced in Chalcedonian Churches regarding keeping Jewish customs. One of the canons, or its schoalrly interpetation, claimed that the reason for such a restriction was to dissuade Jews from joining Christianity if they didn't really believe in it. It was made in a time when there would have been social pressures to become Christian, and the Church would've had this as an OK reason for wishing to dissuade Jewish practices. That is not to say I particularly agree with the canon. But the point is that just because there wasn't anyting objectionable about it in the first few centuries of Christianity doesn't mean this is the same for such customs when put in the context of another era.
I disagree when you write:
I think we are past the time of development of new Rites. There can be no comparison between this (Rites developing over centuries out of cultures in geographic areas...The solid culture and historical progression of Egyptian civilization contributed to the birth of the Coptic Christian traditions when the region embraced Christianity) and a Novus Ordo-ish project to create a synthetic Hebrew rite out of whole cloth for converts who happen to have 'Jewish ethnicity' ..., are scattered across the globe, come from every conceivable ethnic and racial background (and hence don't share a common tradition [or history] as one geographically based society but come from starkly differing cultural milieus), and fail to form a strong unity... I think Joe Sobran's famous quote can apply to the religious sphere: "Anything called a 'project' is unconstitutional."
The whole endeavour to conjure up any sort of rite ex nihilo is the sort of comittee-creation extravaganza that can benefit no Church.
1. The western rite in the Antiochian Church appears as a new rite that revives the pre-schism Western Church rituals. Thus I highly doubt that "Any notions of rite creation of any kind, Hebrew or otherwise, is simply artificial, a 'project' that suits the modernist engineer and his thought paradigm very well". Plus, I doubt it suits the modernist engineer if the creation is a revival of a non-modern, ancient liturgy. However, I do think that creating a unique Hebrew rite that wasn't used by any Christian group before would be simply artificial.
2. The "Novus Ordo" refers to the more modern form of Latin mass. Naturally, a project to make a new, unique Hebrew liturgy would be much different than normal development of rites like you said, as it would have to be concocted, rather than copied from an exact Christian rite that had existed, as no such rites remain. There are, as you say, things close to a Jewish rite in Christianity, but they wouldn't be unique as a Jewish rite, since Christian gentiles already accept them.
3. Jewish converts being scattered, coming from every racial background, and coming from starkly different cultural milieus doesn't mean they don't share a common tradition or history as a geographically based society, since they may share this from the time before they were scattered, developed different racial backgrounds- like African Jews, and entered the different cultural milieus.
4. I disagree that "I think Joe Sobran's famous quote can apply to the religious sphere: "Anything called a 'project' is unconstitutional""
, because an OK "project" could be to introduce English language into 4th generation American churches. This could be called a project, if undertaken by Church institutions, and would be OK, just as one saint who served in Alaska recommended having an English-language liturgy.
You are correct when you say:
Rites developed over the course of centuries out of cultural beds within certain geographic areas (and traditional culture is eroding quickly in our times and our new world). The solid culture and historical progression of Egyptian civilization contributed to the birth of the Coptic Christian traditions when the region embraced Christianity... [A good deal of] converts who happen to have 'Jewish ethnicity' ...are not even immersed in their respective traditions, like most 20/21st century folk who have joined the "world community... are scattered across the globe, come from every conceivable ethnic and racial background... [and]come from starkly differing cultural milieus...
The Syrian Rites are the sort of Semitic Rites that can appeal to the Sephardic, Semitic Jew. And of course in the most general sense, Jewish tradition is present in every Rite by way of Temple traditions influencing the Liturgy.
, although I'm unsure how solid the Egyptian progression was, since Egyptian culture and history had times of big breakups before then, like invasions by Greeks and Romans.
The Syrian Rites I think have an Aramaic background, and Aramaic is a Semitic language. Plus, the Syriac Oriental Church uses the liturgy of St James, I believe, which seems closer to an early Christian liturgy. It appears that this liturgy was developed for Jerusalem too, as it mentions the Holy places in Zion. So you're right that it can appeal to a Sephardic, Semitic Jew.
I assume you're right that
The closest thing to a "Jewish Rite" is of course the organic and Jewish traditions of Ethiopia.
, as I heard that Ethiopian Orthodoxy has stronger cultural connections to pre-Christian Judaism. I am curious, and unsure, how the Eastern Orthodox Church views the Jewishness of the Ethiopian traditions, as the Eastern Orthodox Church was at one time united with Ethiopian Orthodoxy, and has also since then distanced itself more from Jewish customs.In IC XC,-Rakovsky
You are right when you say:
<<I find Messianic Judaism attractive because Christianity comes from OT Judaism, but some of what we find in Messianic Judaism might not even come from OT Judaism or Christianity.>>
That's because Chrisitanity comes from OT Christianity, and Judaism comes from NT Judaism (Pharisees, scribes, etc.)
You are right because by the simple term "Judaism" you mean Rabbinical Judaism since the era of the early Church. Messianic Judaism takes some things that developed in Rabbinical Judaism after Christianity began, like wearing yarmulkes, and thus wasn't part of either Christianity or Old Testament Judaism.
Now Christianity is a continuation of OT Judaism, so this means that in a way, OT Judaism is a form of pre-Christian Christianity in the OT, and thus you can refer to OT Judaism as OT Christianity.
One counterargument could be that some ideas in OT Judaism disagreed with Christianity. A rebuttal to this is that those ideas can or should be interpreted so that they agree with Christianity. Another rebuttal is that something in an earlier stage can disagree with something in a later stage, while they are two stages of a process. So for example, the US government under one set of politicians can have different policies that contradict the polices of a later set of politicaisn, even though its a continuation of the same government.
Your use of the word "Judaism" here
"For Christianity did not believe into Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God." St. Igantius, Epistle to the Magnesians X (c. 105).
I'm somewhat more worried on the bias Rabbinic Judaism=Judaism, and which includes the Talmud and Dead Sea Scrolls but excludes the NT.
contradicts your earlier use of the word Judaism here
That's because Chrisitanity comes from OT Christianity, and Judaism comes from NT Judaism (Pharisees, scribes, etc.)
. When you say that "Judaism comes from [the earlier] NT Judaism,[/quote] you apparently mean Judaism as it is understood in common speech, which is as Rabbinical Judaism.
Plus, Northern Pines is in effect agreeing with you that Rabbinical Judaism isn't the same as simply Judaism, because he refers to Rabbinical Judaism as different than pre-Christian Second Temple Judaism, and says that Rabbinical Judaism is less like pre-Christian Second Temple Judaism than Christianity is. When he says "Calling second Temple Judaism "NT Judaism" just doesn't sit well with me personally. It carries too much of a bias from a historical perspective",
he shows that he recognizes there is too much bias about confusing pre-Christian Judaism- which you appear to refer to simply as part of Judaism- with nonChristian NT Judaism, which is like your concern about confusing Judaism with Rabbinical Judaism.
So this seems like not much of a difference:Northern Pines' concern with confusing pre-Christian Second Temple Judaism with non-Christian NT-era Judaism,
and Your concern with confusing Judaism
- by which you apparently mean here correct pre-Christian Judaism, based on your quote about "Judaism believing into Christianity", to paraphrase- with Rabbinical Judaism,
which means non-Christian Pharisaic Judaism, which began as one branch of non-Christian NT-era Judaism.
The only difference then is that your concern is more limited to one group of nonChristian Judaism, which is not "more" in terms of scope. Thus, it doesn't seem to make alot of sense when you say you are more worried about the one thing than the other.
So you are right when you say:
But I think we are in agreement, beyond terminology.
Your analogy about Anglicans is OK, as it's like other analogies Northern Pines gave, ie Protestants tracing their origins back to the Middle Ages before their movement started:
As for analogies, I'd include the attempt of Anglicans to read back their origins beyond the Supremacy Act to beyond Synod of Whitby etc.
. The Calvinist ideas of TULIP and the main Lutheran attitudes of sola scriptura and caring alot less about apostolic succession weren't around in the 5th century, which in Northern Pines' analogy would be the time to which they would be tracing their origins. Likewise, I assume that Anglicanism as a form of Protestantism has some ideas that they didn't have in the Middle Ages, which I assume could partly or wholey match the ideas of Lutheranism mentioned above.
When you comment:
<<hey here in Ethiopia we still folow the old testment's lows so does this mean that we are not following CHRIST>>
Some would say no. The same type, however, will quote the OT on why women shouldn't commune at certain times and other such pet issues.
Maybe we should look to the Old Testament as an authority on some questions, like the Ten Commandments are pretty important, as in "Do not steal." In that case it seems like we could consider it a kind of authority, even if we don't treat its laws as absolute. Thus, if it says something relevant for the question of when women should commune, then it seems OK to quote them.
In that case, even in Ethiopia, following OT laws, like "Do not Steal" seems good. But then on the other hand, imposing laws on circumcision on gentile Christians seems unnecessary and runs against the traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church. So it seems good from a Christian perspective to follow some OT Laws, but not to have an absolute approach that one must follow the OT laws absolutely and all of them.
When you write: "Nothing wrong with Hebrews acting like Hebrews."
, I assume you mean it's OK for Ethiopians to follow some OT customs because their traditions and religious history are particularly connected to the Hebrews. However, I disagree with taking this maxim very seriously. After all, unlike Christians, the ancient OT Hebrews would probably treat those who didn't believe in Jehovah in a negative way, treating them as "unclean" and avoiding them.
It's funny and true when you say:
<<Iaint, can you please explain what Jesus meant when He said the following:
ὅτι ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν 'Ιουδαiων ἐστίν.
The salvation is from the Jews/Judeans.>>
Yes, Orthodox minds want to know.
This is a funny version of the saying "Inquiring minds want to know". And here you, I, and Theophilios are Orthodox and our minds want to know what Jesus meant when He said this, and how Saint I would explain this, because Saint I's view is that Jesus wasn't Judean, yet this statement clearly connects Salvation, which comes from Jesus, with the origin of Salvation from the Judeans.
It is a pleasure corresponding with you.Many Years to You!
<<One of the weirdest things I have seen any of them write is the claim that our Lord Jesus is the "incarnate Torah." [-Linus7]>>
How is that weird at all?
<<Weird means strange and "Incarnate Torah" is an unfamiliar term. The familiar term is "Word Made Flesh." Please see Nazarene and my earlier discussion about why these terms are similar. [-Rakovsky]
Quote from: rakovsky on June 18, 2010, 08:09:07 PM
and the Torah is the first part of the Old Testament.>>
"Torah" does not always have such a limited meaning in historical Jewish usage.
You are right that “"Torah" does not always have such a limited meaning in historical Jewish usage.” I think that about the time that the Old Testament stopped being written, there was a concept about an oral torah. That is, laws of God that were outside what was simply written in the Pentateuch part of the Old Testament, and indeed were outside of the Old Testament itself.
However, the Torah can refer to the written Torah by itself. I assume that the Karaites and Sadducees referred to the Torah as the OT written Torah, for example. Or if I were to say “It is written in the Torah”, then I think the connotation is that I was referring to something in the OT Torah, as opposed to say, something in the oral torah that was written in the Talmud.
Furthermore, Jesus was highly critical of parts of this oral torah. For example, the pharisees criticized Him for not following its handwashing ritual, and He also criticized some rules they created, like about paying tithes depending on how people swore in relation to some parts of the Temple. Such rabbinical rules would be considered part of the oral torah, as in the oral law. So for Christianity, the Torah would most strongly refer to the Old Testament’s Torah, rather than the pharisee-made laws.
And in common usage I think the term Torah does refer to the OT Torah. For example, the term “Torah scroll” refers to a writing of the OT Torah.
Thus in this common sense of the OT Torah and of the OT as God’s Word or part of it, one can say that the Torah is God’s Word or part of it too.
it was my understanding that in Hellenistic Judaism, Torah came to take on a meaning very similar to Logos itself.
I was not aware of this, but it makes sense that they did, as Christianity developed around that time and I think has the idea that the Old Testament, which includes the Torah, is God’s Word. Also, I think Christianity, and Judaism from the time you mention, may have the idea that God spoke the Law to Moses, and in that sense, the Law is God’s Word. So it sounds like you are probably right here.
When you wrote:
<<and the Torah is the first part of the Old Testament.>>
"Torah" does not always have such a limited meaning in historical Jewish usage.
It sounded like you had trouble with my explanation of how the Messianic Jews describe Jesus as the “Incarnate Torah”, because you disagreed with my use of the term Torah in my explanation.
So I asked:
What did you have trouble with when reading my and Nazarenes' earlier posts on the subject?
I don't think there was any mention of the likening of "Torah" and "Logos" in the Hellenistic period of Judaism a la Philo.
Well, even if there was such a likening in that period, I’m not sure it’s a problem with our explanation for the term Incarnate Torah.
Nazarene appears knowledgeable about the Messianic Jewish movement, and her Nazarene group may even be an Orthodox Christian –oriented part of it. Christianity has the idea that Christ was the “Word made Flesh”, and that He became “Incarnate” in this way. So the idea that He is the “Word Incarnate” is a basic one in Christianity.
In addition to this, I also mentioned that God’s instructions, or “Torah”, when spoken are also part of the Word. The Messianic Jewish movement, like Judaism, apparently emphasizes the Torah, as Nazarene portrayed Jesus and the Apostles as observing the Torah. So it seems like a decent explanation for this term that they refer to Jesus as the “Incarnate Torah” based on a very similar concept and terminology in Christianity.
Your mention about the likening of Torah and Logos in the Hellenistic period gives an even deeper background explanation for this term, although it’s conceivable to me that the Messianic Jewish movement, as a modern movement that apparently came out of Protestantism, did not think that far back in using this term.
OK, now I understand that you weren’t saying it was weird and that you were saying there was a likening of Torah and Logos in Philo’s time that is consistent with this Messianic Jewish terminology when you write:
<<What did you have trouble with when reading my and Nazarenes' earlier posts on the subject?>>
I don't think there was any mention of the likening of "Torah" and "Logos" in the Hellenistic period of Judaism a la Philo.
<<OK, so you are saying that it is weird too.>>
No, I'm pointing out that given more developed understandings of Torah that it is not weird to think of Jesus as the inhominate Torah, as it is not that different from saying that He is the inhominate Logos.
I was confused because I thought I was explaining the M.J. view as rational, and that you had a problem with this because you “don’t think there was any menton of the likening of "Torah" and "Logos" in the Hellenistic period of Judaism a la Philo”,
meaning that there wasn’t any mention a la Philo, that is, any mention by someone like Philo, of a likening of the concepts, so you concluded that such a concept didn’t exist in the Hellenistic period around when Christianity arose, and therefore “Incarnate Torah” wasn’t a valid term.
But instead you really meant that your problem wasn’t that we saw the M.J. terminology as valid, but that there wasn’t any mention by Nazarene and I of the likening a la Philo, that is, by Philo, of the two concepts.
That’s because your word “also” in “Also, it was my understanding that in Hellenistic Judaism, Torah came to take on a meaning very similar to Logos itself.”
shows that you were putting forth an added reason of why the term Incarnate Logos is a rational or valid term.
Remarkably, you term “also” means that you were putting forth an added term in addition to ours, which means that you actually were OK with our reasoning for this term, even though our reasoning didn’t mention Philo’s likening of Logos and Torah.
It makes sense when you say:
that given more developed understandings of Torah that it is not weird to think of Jesus as the inhominate Torah, as it is not that different from saying that He is the inhominate Logos.
In other words, given Philo’s more developed understanding of Torah, which likened Torah to Logos “it is not that different from saying that He is the inhominate Logos”. Still, I am not sure how Philo developed this understanding to confirm that this is the case, although you cited from an article about the Torah that "Philo, in his discussion of logos (word of God), identified the logos with the Torah." Take care, DeusV.E.
I sympathize with you when you write:
Of course, quoting canons without further explanation or advice from those in charge of interpreting and implementing the canons is somewhat useless and rather dangerous. For instance, I'm excommunicated because my doctor is Jewish? Come on, now.
In the case you gave, it's useless, because like you suggested, it's socially ridiculous and extremely unlikely that you would be excommunicated because your doctor is Jewish. It's dangerous because if it's repeated enough without explanation or advice, then it could influence Church affairs in a direction favorable to such ridiculousness, or alternatively, in the direction of a simple, ignorant view of the canons that doesn't understand them beyond what they say.
On the other hand, it could be useful for those who seek such a divisive, punitive effect. But even so, I'm sure that such a rule is not objectively useful, either for spreading Christianity or for progressing society.
Plus, it might be that the canon's authorities themselves had or have a misguided, medieval, anti-semitic way of thinking and reading their advice would be persuasive and persuade someone into their misguided way of thinking. In that case, including the authority's advice and explanation would be dangerous too. Nonetheless, I aumme that modern authorities on interpreting and implementing the canons would be naturally inclined against a simple absolute ban on using the services of a Jewish doctor, so it would probably be more helpful and beneficial to include their advice and explanation like you say.Take Care.