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Author Topic: Messianic Jews?  (Read 25352 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nazarene
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« Reply #135 on: June 28, 2010, 08:10:36 PM »


I've read this one before. As long as it's remembered that the Rabbi is discussing Yeshua as a man (not Yeshua as God, the Rabbis can't help us there, though so some statements in the Kabbalah can), then aside from a few details which contradict the Gospels (eg: that Yeshua was born in "Bethlehem of Galilee" not Bethlehem in Judea), it's quite an accurate description. Especially impressive is his comparison of Yeshua and Jeremiah.
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« Reply #136 on: June 28, 2010, 11:19:08 PM »

deusveritasest,

Don't quote the anti-Christ Talmudic rabbis and I won't say anything!

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I was simply citing a historical reality and the evidence of a teaching of Philo of Alexandria, which showed that ancient Hellenistic Judaism taught the equivocation of the Torah (meaning something other than the Pentateuch) and the Logos. I was not in any way advocating any theological opinions of Rabbinical Judaism. So what is the problem?
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« Reply #137 on: June 29, 2010, 04:22:35 AM »

Feanor & LBK,

Quote from: Feanor
"Saint Iaint, what are your views on the Holocaust? Do you think it happened? Do you think the number of murdered Jews, or the methods of their murder, or the extent of the genocide, were fabricated or exaggerated? I'm extremely interested on your views on that matter."


Quote from: LBK
"So am I."

Ha! Nice try. Maybe some other time...



Quote from: Theophilos78
"Iaint, can you please explain what Jesus meant when He said the following:

'The salvation is from the Jews/Judeans.'"

Sure... No problem. It's a simple mistranslation.

I'm not sure what 'version' of Scripture you're using... but most translations render John 4:22 as:

 "(...) for salvation is of the 'Jews.'"

The Greek word used here is "Ek" (#1537) which means "origin."  The correct translation of this word is “OUT OF” not “of.”

Look at the following texts.  Every other place in Bible when the word “Ek” is used, it is always translated “OUT OF” not “of.”

"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For OUT OF ('Ek' #1537) you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'" 
- Matthew 2:6


"And you, O Bethlehem, House of Ephratha, though you are fewest in number out of thousands of Judah, yet OUT OF ("Ek" #1537) you shall come forth the One to be ruler of Israel. His goings forth were from the beginning, even from everlasting." (OSB Septuagint) 
- Micah 5:1


"For it is manifest that OUT OF ("Ek" #1537) Judah has sprung our Lord...”
- Hebrews 7:14


It is therefore clear that the word “Ek” from the original Greek should be translated as “OUT OF.”

So really John 4:22 should read as follows:

 "(...) for salvation comes out of Judea."

Jesus of course was born in Bethlehem of Judea.



Marc1152,

The link you provided - 'Essay on Jesus the Jew' is a piece of garbage.

If there are any inquirers on here reading this - please don't imagine that any of this Pharisaic, Talmudic, rabbinical GARBAGE has anything to do with the Orthodox faith... None of this 'Jewish' junk has anything  to do with true Orthodox Christianity!

†IC XC†
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« Reply #138 on: June 29, 2010, 04:50:10 AM »

Marc1152,

The link you provided - 'Essay on Jesus the Jew' is a piece of garbage.
How so?

If there are any inquirers on here reading this - please don't imagine that any of this Pharisaic, Talmudic, rabbinical GARBAGE has anything to do with the Orthodox faith... None of this 'Jewish' junk has anything  to do with true Orthodox Christianity!
Says who?
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« Reply #139 on: June 29, 2010, 05:49:39 AM »


Quote from: Theophilos78
"Iaint, can you please explain what Jesus meant when He said the following:

'The salvation is from the Jews/Judeans.'"

Sure... No problem. It's a simple mistranslation.

I'm not sure what 'version' of Scripture you're using... but most translations render John 4:22 as:

 "(...) for salvation is of the 'Jews.'"

The Greek word used here is "Ek" (#1537) which means "origin."  The correct translation of this word is “OUT OF” not “of.”

Look at the following texts.  Every other place in Bible when the word “Ek” is used, it is always translated “OUT OF” not “of.”

"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For OUT OF ('Ek' #1537) you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'" 
- Matthew 2:6


"And you, O Bethlehem, House of Ephratha, though you are fewest in number out of thousands of Judah, yet OUT OF ("Ek" #1537) you shall come forth the One to be ruler of Israel. His goings forth were from the beginning, even from everlasting." (OSB Septuagint) 
- Micah 5:1


"For it is manifest that OUT OF ("Ek" #1537) Judah has sprung our Lord...”
- Hebrews 7:14


It is therefore clear that the word “Ek” from the original Greek should be translated as “OUT OF.”

So really John 4:22 should read as follows:

 "(...) for salvation comes out of Judea."

Jesus of course was born in Bethlehem of Judea.

†IC XC†
†NI KA†

The translation I gave read FROM the Jews. I see that this is in line with the translation you suggested: OUT OF.

However, this modification does not solve the problem. the specific prophecy referring to Judea in Matthew's Gospel has a different word than Jesus' statement in John 4. To compare from the original language:

καὶ σὺ Βηθλεέμ, γῆ ᾿Ιούδα,
οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν ᾿Ιούδα (Matthew 2:6)

ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων ἐστίν. (John 4:22)

Ιούδα and Ιουδαίων are obviously not identical.

The context is also important. Why did Jesus utter that sentence in response to a Samaritan woman who used plural personal pronouns while making a contrast between herself and Jesus? What was that distinction based upon?

Finally, the word Ιουδαίων in John 4:22 occurs in the verse below:

Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων... (John 20:19)

Do you think this is another case of mistranslation and it should read "for fear of the one from Judah" instead of "for fear of the JEWS"?

Peace,
Theophilos
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« Reply #140 on: June 29, 2010, 10:45:43 AM »

Quote from: NP
"So now you're implying that every Orthodox who doesn't hate Jews, who doesn't deny the 2000 year old teaching of the Church that Jesus is a Jew, through the line of David, sent as the Messiah of the Jews, is somehow not quite Orthodox? (ie: your quote (supposedly) former Protestants) implies that you don't really consider me as "truly" Orthodox. Well if in your mind, to be a "real" Orthodox Christian I must hate Jews, then I'm happy to let you down.)

And the ironic thing is that you yourself are not Orthodox! And yet you feel the desire to mandate and tell others that they aren't Orthodox enough for you? Ooookay!!!"

Were you - or were you not previously an Evangelical Protestant? You're still a Zionist by the sound of it!

Why are you putting words in my mouth? I don't hate anyone. I'm asserting that you've carried over a great deal of your Protestant nonsense - and much of it is not Orthodox.

Though I have yet to settle on where the true  Church might be - I know what I believe... I feel I'm certainly more Orthodox in what I believe than you are.

You sound like one of those Muslim fanatics like the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who even accuse their devout Muslim relatives who are not part of their terrorist group of being infidels, because in their minds they are not Muslim enough for them.

I reiterate - the 2,000 year old teaching of the Church is not that "Jesus is a 'Jew'"... Or "Messiah of the 'Jews'" because the word 'Jew' did not exist until at least the 15th century.

So you're saying that Jesus is not a Jew just because the Orthodox Church didn't use the English word "Jew"? Considering that the Orthodox Church didn't use the English language in first place, this is about as ridiculous as it gets.

Jesus was a Hebrew... An Israelite... A Judahite. He was the Lion of Judah - not of Judea. Judah was the tribe He was born into... Judea was a Roman province in Palestine.

Did you know that in modern Greek the Jews are called Ivrea, after the Hebrew word Ivrit both of which mean Hebrew(s)?

He was known as 'Jesus of Nazareth'. Nazareth was in Galilee - not in Judea.

FatherHLL has already pointed out the fallacy of this argument:

^^^The statement that Jesus was not a Judean is to refer to Him as a Galilean.  Of course, he was born and registered in Judea being of the lineage of David, so this point is nonsense.   Jesus was a Jew.   


I don't deny the validity of Apostolic Christian oral tradition... But I do deny the Babylonian oral tradition of the anti-Christ Pharisees. To affirm the Talmudic oral traditions in NOT Orthodox!

Many of the oral traditions that are recorded in the Talmud did indeed become Apostolic Christian traditions. The Apostles introduced very few new traditions, the majority of the traditions they handed down to the Church were either modified versions of those that were already in existence or they simply gave new interpretations of what those original traditions symbolize.

Quote
"No, but the whole argument that Pilate was an innocent "victim" of the Jewish leaders' political power, and that he had no choice in the matter is total crap! It's not historical. And I'm sorry to tell you, but Christianity, if it is true, is a historical faith. Our faith must be coherent and not contradict historical facts."

Say whatever you want... The fact is that Pilate washed his hands of the matter, said he found "no fault" in Christ and tried to release Him - while the Judeans demanded that He be crucified. You can put your faith in so-called 'historians'... I'll put my faith in the (true) Orthodox Church and the Scriptures.

Your approach to Holy Scripture in light of history is waaaayyyyy off! The Apostles did not specifically write to us the 21st century Christians. They didn't need to mention that Pilate was a sadistic brute because their immediate readership already knew this. Neither did they need to distinguish the Shammai Pharisees from the Hillel Pharisees because, again their original readership, almost all of whom were Jewish knew all about them because they visited Jerusalem every year for Pesach and Shavuot, had relatives in Israel and studied in Israel under these Pharisaical Rabbis. The 1st century Church knew exactly which Pharisees Jesus was always in opposition with and why, they were not surprised at all. Likewise they knew everything about the Sadducees, and they were not surprised at how they reacted to  Him, they knew that the Sadducees did not believe that a Messiah would come, so their rejection of Him was totally expected. We, the 21st century believers, on the other hand DO need to do historical research in order to understand what Our Master and His Apostles were talking about because we were not there.

Quote
"What do you mean 'during His time on earth'? Jesus is STILL a Jew. He is still the Incarnate Son of God."

Jesus is God... God is not a 'Jew'. 'Jews' are Pharisees... God is not a Pharisee. You need to stop reading the Talmud buddy!

The Essenes and Sadducees were Jews as well, and today the Kairates and Messinics are Jews too, even the Rabbinical Jews acknowledge this.

Please show me where Church fathers refer to Christ as a 'Judean'. The Bible is clear that Christ was of Nazareth in Galilee. The Bible in English (as I've detailed) translates Judahites as 'Jews' and also translates Judeans as 'Jews'. WHY?!?

Dude, "Judahite" is Anglicanized from the Hebrew word Yehudim, and "Judean" is Anglicanized from the Greek word Ioudea. Most of the popular English version of the Bible are translated from Hebrew and Greek.

And again see FatherHLL's quote.

Not all of the Judeans were Judahites and not all of the Judahites lived in Judea! Why is this so hard for everyone to grasp?

Jesus, Mary, etc. were certainly all Judahites (of the Israelite tribe of Judah)...

Anna the lady in who was present at Jesus' dedication was of the tribe of Asher, Paul mentions that he was of the tribe of Benjamin, and most of the Sadducees (and John the Baptist's parents) were of the tribe of Levi. But they all called themselves Yehudim!

Here Paul says he's an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin:

{Romans 11:1} I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

But here he says that he's a Jew:

{Acts 21:39} But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."

But all of the Judeans were not Judahites! Many of the Judeans (who are called 'Jews' in English Bibles) were not even Israelites at all! Many of the 'Jews' (Judeans) in the New Testament narrative were actually racially Edomites!

And your proof for this?

Certainly, the so-called 'Jews' of today are neither Judahites or Judeans! The only connection they have to the 'Jews' of the Bible is that they follow the religion of the Pharisees (which since Christ's time has been anti-Christ!)... The recipients to the promises made to Abraham are those who accept and obey Jesus the Christ in faith.

Lemme guess, they're really Khazars? Actually a lot of Jews today can trace their ancient tribal lineage.

A Pharisaic 'ritual bath' is not the same thing as baptism. Man - you are SO Judaized it's not even funny!


I would certainly call the service of Baptism in many churches especially the sacramental churches like the Orthodox Church a "ritual bath". The rituals differ but they are still rituals, it sure looks that way to me. BTW Mikvah was also and is still done for repentance in Judaism, it is alluded to in Ezekiel and the Psalms, so neither the Church or even John the Baptist invented it.

As much as you want to try to divorce Christianity from anything Jewish the fact is you cannot, where else were the Apostles to draw inspiration for their rituals from? The idolatrous pagans?

Quote

JESUS IS NOT (AND NEVER WAS) A PHARISEE!!


Quote
"Ok, but the burden of proof is on you!"

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
- Matthew 5:20

In light of what NorthernPines has already stated regarding how Jews criticized other Jews of the same sect, this doesn't prove anything one way or another.

Quote
"Now if you say "Jesus was God, he belonged to none of these"...okay, I can buy that."

That's what I say. And because 'Jew' today means 'Pharisee' - not 'Judean' or 'Judahite' as it did in the Bible... I also say Jesus is not a 'Jew' as the word is (erroneously) understood today.

"Jew" today does not mean "Pharisee" it means both an adherent to Judaism (no matter what sect) and an ethnic Hebrew or someone with at least some Hebrew blood connection.

Quote
"When and if you ever attend an Orthodox Liturgy, you'll be quite shocked as to just how Jewish everything actually is."

I've been thanks... Nothing was 'Jewish'! 'Jewish' is Pharisaic. Pharisaism is anti-Christ. The Orthodox Christian liturgy is not at all Pharisaic.

*chuckles*

I will allow that Orthodoxy is Israelitish... but the Israelites looked forward to the coming of the Christ - and the Hebrew Scriptures spoke of Christ. Any "religion" today which rejects Him is not of Israel, and the Zionist entity occupying Palestine should not be calling themselves 'Israel' because Israel they ARE NOT!!

Do you hold to some "British Israelism" theory?

Quote
"Jesus was a Jew, through the line of David, the seed of a Jewish Mother, and the Jewish Messiah sent to the Jews."

No sir... Jesus was a Judahite through the line of David, born of a Judahite mother, and the Messiah of the whole world, sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

See above.

Quote
"Some accepted Him, many rejected Him, but then according to St. Paul we shouldn't boast against the branches (the Jews) who were cut off so we could be grafted on to the tree. For we, the Gentiles are the wild olive branch, grafted in....but if we boast against the natural branch (ie: the Jews) we can just as easily be cut off"

I think maybe you should read that chapter again! You're talking about 'Jews' this & 'Jews' that... But Romans 11 NEVER mentions 'Jews' once!

Israel is not (and never has been) synonymous with 'Jew'.

According Paul it is, again see quotes above where he calls himself an Israelite and a Jew. What you will not find anywhere in the NT is the statement "New Israel" which you are advocating, as one forum member explained:

I don't like this idea of "replace". The Biblical metaphor is that of a tree which gets groomed by the husbandman (namely God). People leave the household of faith and others enter it at any time they want, God does not create a "new tree". This has happened in every chapter of the bible if you think about it: Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Reuben and Judah, the Samaritans and the Jews, the lost tribes who left their brethren versus the people that stayed, Judas versus the other Apostles, etc. I don't view any of these cases as God creating a "new" tree of faithful. Further, I don't really like this triumphalist attitude since scripture says a branch of the Church which does not bear fruit can be cut off and the old branches easily re-instated (Romans 11:21).

The idea of "replacement" is not to be found anywhere in the NT, neither is the phrase "New Israel". There is, always has been, and always will be only one tree of Faith. Some of the people who were originally part of this tree were cut off, others who were not have been grafted in. But these wild branches are and will always be wild branches they will never be natural branches, but that does not mean that they are of lessor value. The point is the tree itself has always been the same tree.

As for this:

Quote from: Northern Pines
"Considering the topic of the thread, it seems an appropriate "lesson" to get."

The topic is 'Messianic Jews'... Are you telling us that 'Messianics' are also Talmudic? Well - that explains a lot then!

Most Messianics use the Talmud for historical research but that's about it. The Talmud is above anything else a catalogue of Jewish writings and opinions of many different Rabbis spanning a few hundred years. Some of these writings are authentic, some are not. Some of these writings date to the 1st century, some do not. Some of these writings conflict with Meshiach's teachings, some do not. Most of these writings cannot be attribute to Jewish believers in Meshiach, but a few can (because they slipped through the editing process).

The Talmud is not the most important thing to us, but it's not completely useless either.

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« Reply #141 on: July 01, 2010, 02:56:24 AM »

Dear Theophilos78,

Thank-you for your calm, reasoned reply.

Quote
"The translation I gave read FROM the Jews. I see that this is in line with the translation you suggested: OUT OF.

However, this modification does not solve the problem. The specific prophecy referring to Judea in Matthew's Gospel has a different word than Jesus' statement in John 4. To compare from the original language:

(...) Ιοuδα and Iouδαιωv are obviously not identical."

Thank-you... that's what I'm getting at here. Just as 'Judah' and 'Judea' are two different words - with correspondingly different meanings, so also are 'Judahite' and 'Judean' two different words with different meanings. Judah was first one of the twelve tribes (the tribe out of which the Messiah was to come), then a place (the Southern kingdom of Judah). Judea was only a place (a Roman province in Christ's time).

At the time that the prophecy in the book of Micah was written... (Bethlehem in) Judah referred to the land portioned to the tribe of Judah among the 12 (13) tribes. At the time that Matthew was written , Bethlehem was in Judea (the Roman province).

Jesus (of the tribe of Judah) was born in Bethlehem in Judea - but Jesus was not a Judean. His family and all of the original apostles save Judas were Galileans.

"The specific prophecy in Matthew's Gospel"  does not refer to 'Judea'... it refers to 'Judah'.

Quote
"... (John 20:19)

Do you think this is another case of mistranslation and it should read 'for fear of the one from Judah' instead of 'for fear of the JEWS'?"

I think it should read as it means... "... for fear of the Judeans,"

Look at this verse:

"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him."
- John 7:1


That's from the NKJ... My old 1929 Bible says:

"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry,  because the Jews sought to kill Him."

But weren't there 'Jews' in Galilee? There were Israelites; Judahites in Galilee... But they would have been of course Galileans - NOT Judeans!

There's quite a big difference in the perceived connotations of "He would not walk in Jewry"  and "He would not walk in Judea"... isn't there?

So what if instead of reading, "... because the Jews sought to kill Him." ... the passage read (as it should) "... because the Judeans sought to kill Him." ?


†IC XC†
†NI KA†

Thanks for your reply, but I still fail to understand one point. If we make a comparison between John 4:22 and John 20:19, the supposed distinction between the words Judahite and Judean disappears:

ὅτι ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων ἐστίν.

καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων.

Both these verses have the same word: Ιουδαίων.

If you focus on John 20:19 and claim that the word Ιουδαίων means JUDEAN, you should conclude that the verse in John 4:22 reads "The salvation is from the Judeans". The Evangelist seems unaware of the distinction you are making between the English words Judahite and Judean since he used in both instances one single word in Greek.

Peace,
Theophilos
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« Reply #142 on: April 27, 2011, 08:32:03 AM »

This topic has been split with posts about the holocaust moved to

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35549.msg560637/topicseen.html#msg560637

Please let's keep on topic. Thanks, SC
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 08:34:40 AM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #143 on: April 27, 2011, 11:38:09 AM »

This topic has been split with posts about the holocaust moved to

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35549.msg560637/topicseen.html#msg560637

Please let's keep on topic. Thanks, SC


When I clicked on the new link, I got a MALWARE alert from my virus protection. Appropriate, don't you think?
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« Reply #144 on: April 27, 2011, 06:50:33 PM »

This topic has been split with posts about the holocaust moved to

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35549.msg560637/topicseen.html#msg560637

Please let's keep on topic. Thanks, SC


When I clicked on the new link, I got a MALWARE alert from my virus protection. Appropriate, don't you think?

It is either providential or because of a very good malware program.
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« Reply #145 on: April 27, 2011, 09:28:14 PM »

This topic has been split with posts about the holocaust moved to

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35549.msg560637/topicseen.html#msg560637

Please let's keep on topic. Thanks, SC


When I clicked on the new link, I got a MALWARE alert from my virus protection. Appropriate, don't you think?

It is either providential or because of a very good malware program.

I'm cool with it either way! Smiley
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« Reply #146 on: April 27, 2011, 10:42:10 PM »

This topic has been split with posts about the holocaust moved to

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35549.msg560637/topicseen.html#msg560637

Please let's keep on topic. Thanks, SC


When I clicked on the new link, I got a MALWARE alert from my virus protection. Appropriate, don't you think?

Yea, I got a malware alert as well when I went to look at the thread earlier. Now it seems to have gone away or it's just not alerting me anymore.
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« Reply #147 on: May 12, 2011, 11:09:30 AM »

Father Bernstein's Interview about His Book Surprised by Christ

Since we discussed Father Bernstein's book Surprised by Christ and his interview, and because he came to Orthodoxy from the Messianic Jewish movement, I am attaching my notes on his interview. I agree with what he said, except where I noted.

In particuler, I would like to draw attention to the discussion about Orthodoxy's emphasis on being saved as a state or process, versus evangelical Protestantism's emphasis on one moment of Salvation, in comparison with Judaism's focus on living a certain way. Fr. Bernstein finds Orthodoxy's emphasis consistent with Judaism's emphasis. But in my opinion, perhaps these are really three different ways of looking at similar things. Also, perhaps the Evangelical Protestant emphasis on a moment of Salvation is the same as in other branches of Protestantism. Below are my notes:

Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, and Protestantism: Moments, Process, and Moment of Receiving Blessings from the Atonement

The interviewer says some people might be wondering why Orthodoxy's understanding of a deifying process of salvation matters, and isn't it enough to accept Christ died for our sins. Fr. Bernstein answered that No it isn't. For orthodox the emphasis is upon Jesus dying for us to heal us, not on dying instead of us, but healing is a lifelong process and we begin with repentance and belief in Jesus, but it has to continue...

Fr. Bernstein explains that this acceptance is something we embrace through our lives and make real, and not a one time event, it's ongoing and involving a lifetime of struggle. He said he finds this consistent with his Jewish upbringing. This makes sense, because being part of the Jewish religion focuses alot on continuing rituals and practices rather than emphasizing a single moment, like circumcision, as the personal, single saving act in the person's religious experience.
However, I do see a difference between the attitudes of Orthodox Christianity and Judaism here. In OT Judaism, the cleansing, atoning act of sacrifice happened for the person at the moment of the sacrifice, and thus the person continually had to participate in sacrificial acts, each of which cleaned the person. In the kind of Protestant emphasis Fr. Bernstein is referring to, there is one sacrifice- Christ's, and there is an emphasis on the moment when the believer accepts this one sacrifice. So in both OT Judaism and the referred-to Protestantism, there is an emphasis on a single salvific/atoning moment or moments for the believer. Orthodox Christianity's emphasis on the other hand, can be seen as a continuing renewal. So while Judaism and Orthodox Christianity both focus on a period of the believer's religious experience and Protestantism focuses on a single moment of salvation when the Atonement's blessing is received, OT Judaism also focuses on single moments when it comes to receiving the blessings of ritual sacrifices, while Orthodox portrays the receipt of the blessings more as a continuous receipt of blessings from the Atonement.

He said Jews see salvation as a lifelong process of struggle, and not as an instant event. And I think that's true in a way. One explanation can be that Rabbinical Judaism no longer uses sacrifices and thus thinks less about moments of saving atonements and more about an ongoing religious experience. And it's true that Judaism emphasizes the continuous period of one's religious life, rather than just one moment in that religious life. But still, when it comes to receiving the blessings of atoning sacrifices, it appears that in OT Judaism those blessings were for limited time only, and thus each year a sacrifice was demanded for the sins of the preceding year. Yet in Orthodox Christianity, the sacrifice's blessing is continuous. Also, I am not sure Judaism would use the term "salvation" to refer to either the lifelong process of struggle or the yearly Temple sacrifice of atonement.


In summary:
Evangelical Protestantism: Its concept of Salvation focuses on the one moment when the person accepts Christianity and receives the blessing of Christ's one atoning sacrifice. They sometimes talk in terms of the moment that they were saved when they accepted Christ's sacrifice.
Counterargument: Perhaps their view of Salvation isn't really limited to just one moment, because they sometimes say things like "I am saved".

Orthodoxy: It describes Salvation as a process where the person becomes more righteous and more like God, which includes receiving the blessings and forgiveness from Christ's one sacrifice. It also teaches that at the time the person accepts Christ's one atoning sacrifice, the person has his/her sins forgiven and cleaned, and that they continue to have their sins forgiven and cleaned.

Judaism: It focuses on the person following God and following Judaism and its laws, the Torah. In Old Testament Judaism there were yearly sacrifices of atonement. Each sacrifice cleaned the people's sins at the moment of the sacrifice. There were also ideas about Israel's redemption, which were connected to its freedom from bondage by stronger nations like Egypt and Babylon.

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« Reply #148 on: May 12, 2011, 05:24:03 PM »

Father Bernstein's Interview about His Book Surprised by Christ
 
(...)

Orthodoxy: It describes Salvation as a process where the person becomes more righteous and more like God, which includes receiving the blessings and forgiveness from Christ's one sacrifice. It also teaches that at the time the person accepts Christ's one atoning sacrifice, the person has his/her sins forgiven and cleaned, and that they continue to have their sins forgiven and cleaned.

Judaism: It focuses on the person following God and following Judaism and its laws, the Torah. In Old Testament Judaism there were yearly sacrifices of atonement. Each sacrifice cleaned the people's sins at the moment of the sacrifice. There were also ideas about Israel's redemption, which were connected to its freedom from bondage by stronger nations like Egypt and Babylon.



I would like to challenge the bolded point above...

Where has he gotten this idea? It sounds as if he's defining Protestantism there... not Orthodoxy.

It is my understanding that what he's saying is accomplished through Baptism and Confession... not merely through intellectual acceptance of Christ.

What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist?

And this guy's a Presbyter?

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« Reply #149 on: May 12, 2011, 05:58:25 PM »

^I believe those are Rakovsky's notes on the book, not quotations from the book itself. 
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« Reply #150 on: May 12, 2011, 06:52:02 PM »


^I believe those are Rakovsky's notes on the book, not quotations from the book itself. 
 

Thanks for the reply FatherHLL,

Good call... I should have realized that. I listen to the interview in question quite a while ago and I didn't recall him saying anything like that (although I do seem to remember there were a couple of things he had said I disagreed with).

My mistake.



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« Reply #151 on: May 12, 2011, 07:31:02 PM »

What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist?
That's how you accept the sacrifice.
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« Reply #152 on: May 12, 2011, 07:55:45 PM »

Saint Iaint,

^I believe those are Rakovsky's notes on the book, not quotations from the book itself.  

Yes, these are my own ideas. If I wrote in a sentence something like "Fr. Bernstein says..." or "He says", then in that sentence I am writing what the person said.

Otherwise, like in the sentence "One explanation can be that Rabbinical Judaism...", I am writing my own ideas and explanations.
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« Reply #153 on: May 12, 2011, 08:01:08 PM »

OK, here I am color coding it. Whatever is in purple is the direct idea of Fr. Bernstein or the interviewer.

Father Bernstein's Interview about His Book Surprised by Christ

Since we discussed Father Bernstein's book Surprised by Christ and his interview, and because he came to Orthodoxy from the Messianic Jewish movement, I am attaching my notes on his interview. I agree with what he said, except where I noted.

In particuler, I would like to draw attention to the discussion about Orthodoxy's emphasis on being saved as a state or process, versus evangelical Protestantism's emphasis on one moment of Salvation, in comparison with Judaism's focus on living a certain way. Fr. Bernstein finds Orthodoxy's emphasis consistent with Judaism's emphasis. But in my opinion, perhaps these are really three different ways of looking at similar things. Also, perhaps the Evangelical Protestant emphasis on a moment of Salvation is the same as in other branches of Protestantism. Below are my notes:

Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, and Protestantism: Moments, Process, and Moment of Receiving Blessings from the Atonement

The interviewer says some people might be wondering why Orthodoxy's understanding of a deifying process of salvation matters, and isn't it enough to accept Christ died for our sins. Fr. Bernstein answered that No it isn't. For orthodox the emphasis is upon Jesus dying for us to heal us, not on dying instead of us, but healing is a lifelong process and we begin with repentance and belief in Jesus, but it has to continue...

Fr. Bernstein explains that this acceptance is something we embrace through our lives and make real, and not a one time event, it's ongoing and involving a lifetime of struggle. He said he finds this consistent with his Jewish upbringing. This makes sense, because being part of the Jewish religion focuses alot on continuing rituals and practices rather than emphasizing a single moment, like circumcision, as the personal, single saving act in the person's religious experience.

However, I do see a difference between the attitudes of Orthodox Christianity and Judaism here. In OT Judaism, the cleansing, atoning act of sacrifice happened for the person at the moment of the sacrifice, and thus the person continually had to participate in sacrificial acts, each of which cleaned the person. In the kind of Protestant emphasis Fr. Bernstein is referring to, there is one sacrifice- Christ's, and there is an emphasis on the moment when the believer accepts this one sacrifice. So in both OT Judaism and the referred-to Protestantism, there is an emphasis on a single salvific/atoning moment or moments for the believer. Orthodox Christianity's emphasis on the other hand, can be seen as a continuing renewal. So while Judaism and Orthodox Christianity both focus on a period of the believer's religious experience and Protestantism focuses on a single moment of salvation when the Atonement's blessing is received, OT Judaism also focuses on single moments when it comes to receiving the blessings of ritual sacrifices, while Orthodox portrays the receipt of the blessings more as a continuous receipt of blessings from the Atonement.

He said Jews see salvation as a lifelong process of struggle, and not as an instant event. And I think that's true in a way. One explanation can be that Rabbinical Judaism no longer uses sacrifices and thus thinks less about moments of saving atonements and more about an ongoing religious experience. And it's true that Judaism emphasizes the continuous period of one's religious life, rather than just one moment in that religious life. But still, when it comes to receiving the blessings of atoning sacrifices, it appears that in OT Judaism those blessings were for limited time only, and thus each year a sacrifice was demanded for the sins of the preceding year. Yet in Orthodox Christianity, the sacrifice's blessing is continuous. Also, I am not sure Judaism would use the term "salvation" to refer to either the lifelong process of struggle or the yearly Temple sacrifice of atonement.


In summary:
Evangelical Protestantism: Its concept of Salvation focuses on the one moment when the person accepts Christianity and receives the blessing of Christ's one atoning sacrifice. They sometimes talk in terms of the moment that they were saved when they accepted Christ's sacrifice.
Counterargument: Perhaps their view of Salvation isn't really limited to just one moment, because they sometimes say things like "I am saved".

Orthodoxy: It describes Salvation as a process where the person becomes more righteous and more like God, which includes receiving the blessings and forgiveness from Christ's one sacrifice. It also teaches that at the time the person accepts Christ's one atoning sacrifice, the person has his/her sins forgiven and cleaned, and that they continue to have their sins forgiven and cleaned.

Judaism: It focuses on the person following God and following Judaism and its laws, the Torah. In Old Testament Judaism there were yearly sacrifices of atonement. Each sacrifice cleaned the people's sins at the moment of the sacrifice. There were also ideas about Israel's redemption, which were connected to its freedom from bondage by stronger nations like Egypt and Babylon.

So most of this is actually my commentary on Fr. Bernstein's and the interview's ideas.
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« Reply #154 on: May 12, 2011, 08:29:50 PM »

Father Bernstein's Interview about His Book Surprised by Christ
 
(...)

Orthodoxy: It describes Salvation as a process where the person becomes more righteous and more like God, which includes receiving the blessings and forgiveness from Christ's one sacrifice. It also teaches that at the time the person accepts Christ's one atoning sacrifice, the person has his/her sins forgiven and cleaned, and that they continue to have their sins forgiven and cleaned.

Judaism: It focuses on the person following God and following Judaism and its laws, the Torah. In Old Testament Judaism there were yearly sacrifices of atonement. Each sacrifice cleaned the people's sins at the moment of the sacrifice. There were also ideas about Israel's redemption, which were connected to its freedom from bondage by stronger nations like Egypt and Babylon.



I would like to challenge the bolded point above...

Where has he gotten this idea? It sounds as if he's defining Protestantism there... not Orthodoxy.

It is my understanding that what he's saying is accomplished through Baptism and Confession... not merely through intellectual acceptance of Christ.

What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist?


Saint I,

Part of my point is that Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and Judaism all see the benefits from the sacrifice come at a certain moment. So it isn't necessarily true that they are all different in this regard, with Protestantism focusing on a moment and Orthodoxy Judaism focusing on a process instead.

With Protestantism it's true, especially with the evangelicals, that they talk about the one moment the person was saved by accepting Christ. But perhaps they actually see this as an ongoing state afterwards as they talk about BEING SAVED.

With Orthodoxy there's less focus on the one moment, but I think- and this is my own commentary- that Orthodoxy also allows for the idea that a person's salvation starts at a certain moment, and then the salvation from Christ's Atonement continues, as I said: "It also teaches that at the time the person accepts Christ's one atoning sacrifice, the person has his/her sins forgiven and cleaned, and that they continue to have their sins forgiven and cleaned"

So Orthodoxy might actually accept that at the moment of intellectual acceptance, the process of salvation begins. As the Bible says: "Whoever believes on" Christ will be saved.
There were some saints in our church who were martyred as catechumens. Thus, in their case, the rites you mentioned, like even confession, isn't necessary alone in determining salvation.


Furthermore, there are three ways to get around your question:
Quote
It is my understanding that what he's saying is accomplished through Baptism and Confession... not merely through intellectual acceptance of Christ.
What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist?

One way is saying like Nicholas Myra answered that, Yes these are ways to accomplish the salvation. Then one would add that these things, not just intellectual acceptance, are ways to accomplish salvation, but that the process of salvation still begins with that one moment when the intellectual acceptance occurred, like when people told Jesus they believed and He said their sins were forgiven.

A second way to get around your question is to say No, those things don't actually accomplish the forgiveness/cleaning, they merely confirm it.
Remember, in the part that you put in bold I only was talking about the cleaning and forgivness part of salvation, rather than all aspects that Orthodoxy associates with Salvation. Orthodoxy associates theosis, and becoming righteous with Salvation too, for example.

Now of the things you mentioned, Baptism and Chrismation deal with the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist is communion itself.
Now it's true that we talk about the Eucharist as healing and associate it with freeing from sins, but I am not sure how far the Eucharist goes in cleaning the sins, because I have heard confession compared to cleaning one's hands before going to a meal. This suggested to me that we try to be cleaned spiritually before communing with the Eucharist.

What about Confession? Well I've also heard it said in Orthodoxy that the Confession is rather a confirmation of an earlier forgiveness and that the forgiveness actually occurs when the person recognizes his/her sins, repents about it, and maybe that this includes the person asking God's forgiveness even before they go to Confession. Yes I have heard something like this. And it makes some sense too, because in confession for example, you are actually supposed to be confessing your sins to God, and He forgives you. So this can happen outside Confession too, where you confess to God and He forgives you.

I admit this sounds somewhat Protestant in reasoning, but I heard it in an Orthodox context- I forget where, and this doesn't mean that Confession is unimportant or meaningless, as the Bible describes the Christians confessing to eachother.

So maybe a second way is to say: No, those rituals don't actually accomplish the forgiveness/cleaning, they merely confirm it.

A third way to get around your question might be to say, yes the cleaning begins at the moment of the ritual, like, say, Confession instead of intellectual acceptance. But even in that case there is a moment at which the cleaning occurs. And perhaps this cleaning continues throughout the religious experience.

Health and Happiness to you.
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« Reply #155 on: May 14, 2011, 08:43:55 PM »

What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist?
That's how you accept the sacrifice.

Yes, thanks... but I meant that these things are (as far as we are concerned) absolutely required in the context of our conversation here and to our ongoing salvation.



Hi Rakovsky,

Thanks again for the replies...

I must apologize... I was only trying to be funny w/ the Gary Coleman pic. I hope it didn't bother you... a poor attempt at humor.

I thought you were saying that sins are forgiven by believing. I say sins are forgiven by Baptism and then continually through confession.

I'm not saying God cannot forgive whom He will forgive... but I am saying that as far as we are concerned and according to the Orthodox Church forgiveness comes first through Baptism and then through confession.

Belief does not make one a Christian or confer forgiveness.

‘So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.“‘
- John 20:21-23


Our Creed says specifically:

"We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins."

When one is received into the Church who has been previously Baptized in the correct form, they are required to make a complete confession of all sins from one's  "youth up". Then, following their renunciation of their formerly held beliefs and recital of the Creed the Prayer of Absolution is spoken.

Only then can they be considered to have their sins forgiven through the power of the Church to bind and to loose. Only then can they be Chrismated.

Thanks again for the all of the effort you put in to your replies.

All the best to you as well,

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« Reply #156 on: May 18, 2011, 02:12:21 PM »

The article Jesus the Jew by Rabbi Reiss

Since Marc1152 and Nazarene recommended Rabbi Reiss's article "Jesus the Jew", I am attaching my review of the article.

In this post, I would like to address the four issues from my review that I find the most thought-provoking:

(1) Whether Jesus' response about the greatest commandments was unique or typical

The author is correct when he says:
Quote
When Jesus was questioned by a Pharisee as to which commandment he viewed as the most basic he responded "the first is `Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Deut. 6:4-5). (The first verse, the doxology is known to Jews as the ‘Shmai’). The second is this `love your neighbor as yourself' (Lev. 19:18)." (Mark 12:28-34, Matt. 22:34-40, Luke 10:25-28). These replies of Jesus were a typical Pharisee proclamation. Rabbi Akiva the major second century sage called love your neighbor as ‘the major principle of the Torah (JT Nedarim 9:4).
One implication of this paragraph is that Jesus' basic teachings are less unique than they sound to a non-Jew unfamiliar with the typical rabbinical ideas of what are the most basic commadnments. The implication is that rather than coming forth with unique ideas, He was just saying the kinds of things other rabbis would say.
However, just because the replies were typical doesn't mean that they were typically used by rabbis as a response to what were the two most important commandments. The First of the Ten Commandments is that the Israelites shouldn't have any other Gods, and the second is not to make idols. The third is not to take God's name in vain and the Fourth is to Remember the Sabbath. So it seems possible that other rabbis could have answered this question differently, perhaps saying that the greatest commandments were to follow God alone and to keep the Sabbath.
Rabbi Akiva might have found love your neighbor to be the major principle. But that doesn't mean all the Rabbis did. Offhand, it's at least rational that one could respond that "The major principle" is love of God, love of God's laws, love of righteousness, etc., rather than love one's neighbor.

(2) Whether St James was saying to avoid eating with gentiles because they weren't following kosher, were pagans, or because they were Christians who simply happened to be gentiles.

I sympathize with the author here: <<"It is clear that Jesus like his brother James never ate non-kosher food (Gal. 2:12-13)">>, and it's a simple assumption that he is right about this topic.
But Gal. 2:12-13, which the author cites, doesn't clearly say that Jesus and James never ate non-kosher food, or cleary deal with the topic of kosher food.
That passage in Galatians says: "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."
This merely shows that James taught not to eat with gentiles. It isn't clear why from the passage by itself. Maybe it was because they weren't following kosher rules, but that isn't clear, because my impression is that sometimes religious Jews eat things made by gentiles like bread I guess even if the gentiles don't try to follow kosher rules. I mean it seems unlikely that they would choose to starve rather than eat bread or fish or some vegetables prepared by gentiles. They seem like such simple things, that it seems too hard to make an absolute ban simply because gentiles don't knowingly try to make things in a kosher way.
So another possible explanation for this verse is that James simply wanted to avoid such close association with gentiles as eating their meals with them.
Another possibility, offhand from reading this, was that James and the others were merely objecting to eating with gentiles who were pagan in particular.

(3) Whether it was OK under Jewish law to pick and crush grain on the Sabbath as Jesus did

Although I am surprised to learn it, I trust Rabbi Reiss that:
Quote
"Issues such as healing on the Sabbath and picking or crushing from the field, issues greatly debated in the Gospel of Matthew (as well as other Gospels), were within the acceptable range of interpretations found in the many sides of Judaism in the first century... There is nothing in Jesus' position regarding the Sabbath suggesting abrogating the law."
It's alittle strange for me to hear this and I retain some doubt, because it seems that these involve physical effort, and so would be prohibited as working on the Sabbath. Healing apparently involves phsyical effort, because when the menstruating lady touched Jesus to be healed, the Bible says He felt power go out of Him. Likewise, crushing grain involves physical effort, and thus these can be considered some form of work, that is, physical exertion.
Today, I think Orthodox Jews, who descend from the pharisees and from the School of Hillel which the author says took over the pharisees after the Temple's destruction, put alot of emphasis on avoiding work on the Sabbath. Plus, the author hasn't added explanations showing why or how crushing grain on the Sabbath could be OK.
Further, since some pharisees rejected his act of crushing grain, and the Shammaites who were the main school in phariseeism had a very conservative attitude toward rules of ritual, it's possible that the controlling school in phariseeism felt He was breaking a rule. The author's idea was that Jesus' actions were within the acceptable range of interpretations, but this may be from the author's perspective of what was acceptable. Perhaps from the Shammaites' perspective, this was not an acceptable position.
Now, it makes sense one could object that the Hillelites were a big school. However, the author earlier mentioned "Hillel’s view that the Rabbi’s had the right and obligation to interpret the Torah and the majority ruled." This suggests that since the Shammaites were the majority, that the Shammaites' positions ruled. It could be that the Hillelites were free to posit new ideas, but in practical terms their position meant that they would have to accept the Shammaites' view when it came to practices, such as picking grain on the Sabbath.
Another response could be that some other Judaists besides the Hillelites could have dissented from the Shammaites' view. But in that case, whether one considers the dissenters' view acceptable in Judaism depends on the premise of what one considers to be Judaism. If one's view of Judaism is rigid, then one could say the dissenters weren't following the rules. And if one's view of Judaism is so broad and liberal, one could say early Christianity was still within it, since after all, it still had the Old Testament and included pharisees.

(4) Whether Rabbi Reiss is implying Jesus could have been the Messiah and should be regarded like a whole hearted and worthy King of the House of David

The author is right that:
Quote
<<"Hillel’s disciple Johanan ben Zakai left the messianist's to their fate and removed himself and his students from Jerusalem and began a movement that would eventually become Rabbinic Judaism. After Rabbi Akiva’s mistaken belief in the Messiahship of Bar Kokhba (132-135 CE) failed Hillel’s view completely succeeded. Since shortly after the Bar Kokhba failure pushing for a messianic state was strictly forbidden by the Talmud (BT Ketubah 111a). Maimonides tells us about failed messiahs. ‘If he does not meet with full success or is slain, it is obvious that he is not the final Messiah promised in the Torah. He is to be regarded like all the other wholehearted and worthy Kings of the House of David who died’ (Mishna Torah, Judges, 11:4).>>
I am confused about why the author added the last sentence in this passsage, about Maimonaides' words. The first part of the paragraph discusses history and the failure of Messianism. But in the quotation, Maimonides isn't describing specific failed Messiahs or saying that they existed.
Rather, Maimonides is saying two things: (1)the Messiah must either be fully successful or be killed, (2) if he is a failed Messiah, then he is to be regarded like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.
How should the reader apply this quotation of Maimonides to the essay's topic and the paragraph's topic?
Well, regarding the failed Messiah mentioned in the paragraph, since Bar Kokhba was killed, Maimonides' quote means that he could have been the Messiah. And regarding Jesus, it means that Jesus could have been the Messiah too, because He was killed.
Further, the quote means that if Rabbinical Judaism is right and Kokhba and Jesus are both failed Messiahs, then they should each be treated like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.
Since in the next, concluding sentence of the essay the author considers himself a coreligionist of Jesus, it sounds like the point of this quotation from Maimonides is to show that Jesus fit within an important possible qualification for the Messiah- being killed- and that if Jesus is a failed Messiah, then He should still be treated like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.
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« Reply #157 on: May 18, 2011, 09:08:34 PM »

The article Jesus the Jew by Rabbi Reiss

Since Marc1152 and Nazarene recommended Rabbi Reiss's article "Jesus the Jew", I am attaching my review of the article.

In this post, I would like to address the four issues from my review that I find the most thought-provoking:

(1) Whether Jesus' response about the greatest commandments was unique or typical

The author is correct when he says:
Quote
When Jesus was questioned by a Pharisee as to which commandment he viewed as the most basic he responded "the first is `Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Deut. 6:4-5). (The first verse, the doxology is known to Jews as the ‘Shmai’). The second is this `love your neighbor as yourself' (Lev. 19:18)." (Mark 12:28-34, Matt. 22:34-40, Luke 10:25-28). These replies of Jesus were a typical Pharisee proclamation. Rabbi Akiva the major second century sage called love your neighbor as ‘the major principle of the Torah (JT Nedarim 9:4).
One implication of this paragraph is that Jesus' basic teachings are less unique than they sound to a non-Jew unfamiliar with the typical rabbinical ideas of what are the most basic commadnments. The implication is that rather than coming forth with unique ideas, He was just saying the kinds of things other rabbis would say.
However, just because the replies were typical doesn't mean that they were typically used by rabbis as a response to what were the two most important commandments. The First of the Ten Commandments is that the Israelites shouldn't have any other Gods, and the second is not to make idols. The third is not to take God's name in vain and the Fourth is to Remember the Sabbath. So it seems possible that other rabbis could have answered this question differently, perhaps saying that the greatest commandments were to follow God alone and to keep the Sabbath.
Rabbi Akiva might have found love your neighbor to be the major principle. But that doesn't mean all the Rabbis did. Offhand, it's at least rational that one could respond that "The major principle" is love of God, love of God's laws, love of righteousness, etc., rather than love one's neighbor.

(2) Whether St James was saying to avoid eating with gentiles because they weren't following kosher, were pagans, or because they were Christians who simply happened to be gentiles.

I sympathize with the author here: <<"It is clear that Jesus like his brother James never ate non-kosher food (Gal. 2:12-13)">>, and it's a simple assumption that he is right about this topic.
But Gal. 2:12-13, which the author cites, doesn't clearly say that Jesus and James never ate non-kosher food, or cleary deal with the topic of kosher food.
That passage in Galatians says: "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."
This merely shows that James taught not to eat with gentiles. It isn't clear why from the passage by itself. Maybe it was because they weren't following kosher rules, but that isn't clear, because my impression is that sometimes religious Jews eat things made by gentiles like bread I guess even if the gentiles don't try to follow kosher rules. I mean it seems unlikely that they would choose to starve rather than eat bread or fish or some vegetables prepared by gentiles. They seem like such simple things, that it seems too hard to make an absolute ban simply because gentiles don't knowingly try to make things in a kosher way.
So another possible explanation for this verse is that James simply wanted to avoid such close association with gentiles as eating their meals with them.
Another possibility, offhand from reading this, was that James and the others were merely objecting to eating with gentiles who were pagan in particular.

(3) Whether it was OK under Jewish law to pick and crush grain on the Sabbath as Jesus did

Although I am surprised to learn it, I trust Rabbi Reiss that:
Quote
"Issues such as healing on the Sabbath and picking or crushing from the field, issues greatly debated in the Gospel of Matthew (as well as other Gospels), were within the acceptable range of interpretations found in the many sides of Judaism in the first century... There is nothing in Jesus' position regarding the Sabbath suggesting abrogating the law."
It's alittle strange for me to hear this and I retain some doubt, because it seems that these involve physical effort, and so would be prohibited as working on the Sabbath. Healing apparently involves phsyical effort, because when the menstruating lady touched Jesus to be healed, the Bible says He felt power go out of Him. Likewise, crushing grain involves physical effort, and thus these can be considered some form of work, that is, physical exertion.
Today, I think Orthodox Jews, who descend from the pharisees and from the School of Hillel which the author says took over the pharisees after the Temple's destruction, put alot of emphasis on avoiding work on the Sabbath. Plus, the author hasn't added explanations showing why or how crushing grain on the Sabbath could be OK.
Further, since some pharisees rejected his act of crushing grain, and the Shammaites who were the main school in phariseeism had a very conservative attitude toward rules of ritual, it's possible that the controlling school in phariseeism felt He was breaking a rule. The author's idea was that Jesus' actions were within the acceptable range of interpretations, but this may be from the author's perspective of what was acceptable. Perhaps from the Shammaites' perspective, this was not an acceptable position.
Now, it makes sense one could object that the Hillelites were a big school. However, the author earlier mentioned "Hillel’s view that the Rabbi’s had the right and obligation to interpret the Torah and the majority ruled." This suggests that since the Shammaites were the majority, that the Shammaites' positions ruled. It could be that the Hillelites were free to posit new ideas, but in practical terms their position meant that they would have to accept the Shammaites' view when it came to practices, such as picking grain on the Sabbath.
Another response could be that some other Judaists besides the Hillelites could have dissented from the Shammaites' view. But in that case, whether one considers the dissenters' view acceptable in Judaism depends on the premise of what one considers to be Judaism. If one's view of Judaism is rigid, then one could say the dissenters weren't following the rules. And if one's view of Judaism is so broad and liberal, one could say early Christianity was still within it, since after all, it still had the Old Testament and included pharisees.

(4) Whether Rabbi Reiss is implying Jesus could have been the Messiah and should be regarded like a whole hearted and worthy King of the House of David

The author is right that:
Quote
<<"Hillel’s disciple Johanan ben Zakai left the messianist's to their fate and removed himself and his students from Jerusalem and began a movement that would eventually become Rabbinic Judaism. After Rabbi Akiva’s mistaken belief in the Messiahship of Bar Kokhba (132-135 CE) failed Hillel’s view completely succeeded. Since shortly after the Bar Kokhba failure pushing for a messianic state was strictly forbidden by the Talmud (BT Ketubah 111a). Maimonides tells us about failed messiahs. ‘If he does not meet with full success or is slain, it is obvious that he is not the final Messiah promised in the Torah. He is to be regarded like all the other wholehearted and worthy Kings of the House of David who died’ (Mishna Torah, Judges, 11:4).>>
I am confused about why the author added the last sentence in this passsage, about Maimonaides' words. The first part of the paragraph discusses history and the failure of Messianism. But in the quotation, Maimonides isn't describing specific failed Messiahs or saying that they existed.
Rather, Maimonides is saying two things: (1)the Messiah must either be fully successful or be killed, (2) if he is a failed Messiah, then he is to be regarded like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.
How should the reader apply this quotation of Maimonides to the essay's topic and the paragraph's topic?
Well, regarding the failed Messiah mentioned in the paragraph, since Bar Kokhba was killed, Maimonides' quote means that he could have been the Messiah. And regarding Jesus, it means that Jesus could have been the Messiah too, because He was killed.
Further, the quote means that if Rabbinical Judaism is right and Kokhba and Jesus are both failed Messiahs, then they should each be treated like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.
Since in the next, concluding sentence of the essay the author considers himself a coreligionist of Jesus, it sounds like the point of this quotation from Maimonides is to show that Jesus fit within an important possible qualification for the Messiah- being killed- and that if Jesus is a failed Messiah, then He should still be treated like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.

Hi again Rakovsky,

A few things...

Quote
The second is this `love your neighbor as yourself' (Lev. 19:18)." (Mark 12:28-34, Matt. 22:34-40, Luke 10:25-28). These replies of Jesus were a typical Pharisee proclamation. Rabbi Akiva the major second century sage called love your neighbor as ‘the major principle of the Torah (JT Nedarim 9:4).

How can anyone prove that Christ's answers "were a typical Pharisee proclamation"?

If anything, I think that the quote from the second century lends more credence to the notion that the rabbi took from the existing teachings of Christ.

Now if you had a quote from the 2nd century before Christ...

Quote
I sympathize with the author here: <<"It is clear that Jesus like his brother James never ate non-kosher food (Gal. 2:12-13)">>

Kosher isn't in the Bible.

Kosher is defined by the oral laws as set in the Mishnah of the Talmud.

Jesus actually told the Pharisees:

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"-- then he need not honor his father or mother.'

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "
- Matthew 15:1-9


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Also see:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
- Colossians 2:13-23


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

And:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
- Titus 1:13


Quote
Further, the quote means that if Rabbinical Judaism is right and Kokhba and Jesus are both failed Messiahs, then they should each be treated like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.
Since in the next, concluding sentence of the essay the author considers himself a coreligionist of Jesus, it sounds like the point of this quotation from Maimonides is to show that Jesus fit within an important possible qualification for the Messiah- being killed- and that if Jesus is a failed Messiah, then He should still be treated like a wholehearted and worthy King of the House of David.

Yeah maybe... except the Talmud is quite explicit and very clear that the 'rabbis' considered Jesus a magician Who led Israel astray, that Jesus practiced sorcery w/ His "membrum" and by cutting Himself, that He set up a brick as an idol and worshiped it, that Mary was a harlot, that Jesus' father was actually a Roman soldier, and that He is now in Hell boiling in excrement.

So I guess all that overrules the rest.

†IC XC†
†NI KA†


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Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute...

Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
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« Reply #158 on: May 20, 2011, 11:30:25 PM »

I would like to comment on Nazarene's article, posted earlier in the thread. My review was several pages long, so I am posting it as an attachment to this post. However, I would like to particularly point out two thought-provoking topics from the article.



Nazarene's Article "What You Never Knew About the Pharisees"
 


Whether early Christians continued to follow strict, conservative Shammaite pharisaic oral teachings, particularly those against visiting and eating with gentiles.

The problem with continuing these oral teachings is that they sound like the kind of strict oral teachings Jesus disagreed with, like the rule against picking grain on the Sabbath.

I trust the author and it makes sense when he/she writes:
Quote
around 10 AD, Shammai passed 18 edicts specifically meant to force separation between Jews and Gentiles. The specifics of all these edicts have been lost, but among them was a prohibition of entering the house of a Gentile lest a Jew thereby become defiled, and even eating with or purchasing food from a Gentile was forbidden.

Because of Shammai’s influence, these edicts became laws of Israel. Thus, when you read, for instance, of Peter being criticized for entering the house of a Gentile and eating with him, this criticism traces itself to the edicts passed by this school, which were apparently being followed by the Christian Jews in the earliest days of the church.
Now the case of Peter being criticized for eating makes sense in light of this edict. But the connection between the two raises a problem, because those commentators who talk about the schools of Shammai and Hillel around Jesus' era portray Jesus as closer to Hillel, who was liberal on such questions. Further, the New Testament records Jesus healing gentiles, and portrays Him as critical of pharisaic traditions, and breaking the Shammaite rules, for example by picking grain on and healing on the Sabbath. So it's surprising to see Peter being criticized for eating in the gentile's house based on a rule by Shammai.
Now one explanation could be that James and those that criticized Peter weren't as liberal as Jesus, but that's strange because they would've been His followers, and they were a tight-knit group.

I am not sure about the statement that Shammai's rules were "apparently being followed by the Christian Jews in the earliest days of the church." The case with Peter being criticized, wherein the criticism sounds like it matches Shammai's edict, suggests that this particular edict was followed by the church.
But first of all it isn't clear how strongly or wholly the Church followed this edict because St Peter's first action was not to follow it, and St Paul said that by giving in to the criticism, St Peter was "clearly in the wrong."
Second, it's possible the Church followed this edict but not others, as Jesus didn't follow all the Shammaites' rules, since for example He didn't have His disciples do the handwashing ritual. And that wasn't even just a Shammaite rule, it was a general pharisaic rule.



Whether Judaism had Calvinistic ideas of predestination regarding people's salvation
And Whether Christianity taught faith-only salvation in contrast to Pharisaic ideas that obeying the commandments were a foundation for salvation.


I am unsure if the author is right in describing Christianity's idea of Salvation here:
Quote
"In Jewish thought there were three classes of people: The unrighteous (who were predestined for hell), the sinners (the average people who needed to come into full compliance with the commandments), and the righteous (or saints), who followed the commandments. Of these groups, only the righteous had their names written in the Book of Life. When Jesus warns that someone who calls his brother “raka” is in danger of hellfire, He is referring to someone, who, in a Calvinistic manner, labels a fellow Jew as predestined to be one of the rashim--the Unrighteous who are bound for hell and have no hope of repentance.

Beyond that, this train of thought was itself flawed in that it missed the fact that all are ultimately sinners, and that the only true tzzadikim--“righteous ones”--are those who are justified by faith in Messiah apart from obeying the commandments.

But this does help us understand the philosophical viewpoint of the religious leaders at the time, and how that those who would be accepted by God would have to divorce themselves from the thought that obedience to the commandments was the direct foundation of how one gained eternal life.
I read elsewhere that in Judaism there were 3 classes based on salvation, and that the term "rashim" refers to the unrighteous. And OK, it makes sense that only the righteous had their names in the Book of Life.

But I have some doubt that it means the rashim were predestined for hell "in a Calvinistic manner", because I was not aware that Judaism had the idea of Calvinist predestination. I thought that such predestination was thought out or thought up by Calvin during the Reformation, because, after all, it's referred to as "Calvinistic". Traditional Christianity, for example, lacks predestination. The practical result of the Calvinist idea about predestination is that the person practically has no hope for repentance, because it was predestined that the person wouldn't repent, so to speak. Now Calvinism can respond that sure, the person can voluntarily choose to repent. But according to Calvinism, where God has only elected some people and those He elected have irresistible grace, the practical result is that those He hasn't elected don't have the chance to repent. I allow that maybe I don't understand Calvinism's idea of predestination correctly, but this is how it seems to me.

Now maybe actually some of the nonelect can repent based on John the Baptist's words or the prophets' call to repent, but this isn't really enough as they would lapse again into sin, or wouldn't take the added step of accepting Christ, which is needed for salvation. And this creates another problem for saying that the idea of the unrighteous is like Calvinism, because in this supposed Judaic idea of predestination, acceptance of Jesus Christ isn't a requirement. So in this Judaic predestination concept, it seems strange to think that the unrighteous person has no hope of repentance, because this predestination concept would violate the idea of free will even stronger by saying that the person couldn't even hope to choose to repent. That is, with Calvinism, the lack of free will exists in the unelect person's inability to accept Christ, but with this supposed Judaic predestination, the person wouldn't even be able to repent.

The website Bible.cc 's entry on Matthew 5:22 cites Jesus as saying "And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council.", which is what the author is referring to in this passage.

It's true from the Christian view that Judaism's view of the three classes "was itself flawed in that it missed the fact that all [besides Christ] are ultimately sinners". However, it isn't clear to me that from a Christian view, "that the only true tzzadikim--“righteous ones”--are those who are justified by faith in Messiah apart from obeying the commandments".
(1)There are the Old Testament righteous, who did not know of Jesus the human person, in the Old Testament, but it can be said from a Christian point of view that Christ preached to them in Hades during His descent into it.
Plus, Paul in Romans talks about gentiles being judged by their conscience, so maybe those who didn't hear about Christianity or the Israelite religion could still be saved, which means that they were righteous. In Orthodoxy we say that we know not how God will judge.
(2) It isn't clear to me that in traditional Christianity, that it is "apart from obeying the commandments" that Christians are justified by faith in Christ. The commandments have important ideas like loving God and loving one's neighbor. In Orthodoxy we have the idea that being saved also means becoming like God, having communion with Christ. Naturally, if someone in communion with Him, it seems that following Christ and following God's commandments are part of that.
Faith in Christ makes one righteous, but it isn't the only part of being righteous, as a righteous person would do things that are right, like God's commandments.

So I am unsure that understanding these three classses is helpful for understanding "that those who would be accepted by God would have to divorce themselves from the thought that obedience to the commandments was the direct foundation of how one gained eternal life" If the author is correct that obedience to the commandments was the direct foundation, then he/she is right that this understanding of classes based on obedience to commandments helps show us that the pharisees would have to divorce themselves from the idea that obedience to the commandments was the direct foundation for salvation, since the pharisees connected the classification those who were/were not saved based on this idea of obedience to commandments.

However, it isn't clear to me that in Christianity obedience to God's commandments isn't at least part of the direct foundation of gaining eternal life. That is, it seems to me that following what Christ says is part of a foundation of gaining eternal life too. For example, Christ calls us to repent. Well, repenting and following Christ is also part of a foundation for us to be in communion with Him, because if we just have faith, but think we are saved but never repent, then it seems like we wouldn't really be saved. And if we never do what He says, like praying or going to Church or loving others, but think we are saved anyway, then the salvation wouldnt seem very real either. So loving God, which even the OT commandments say to do, repenting, following Christ, etc. also seem like part of a direct foundation for salvation and eternal life. So I am not sure that obeying God's commandments are not the direct foundation, although it makes sense that they alone wouldn't be, and that one must have faith too.

Still, it sounds right that following alot of rabbinical oral teachings like the handwashing ritual wouldn't be much of a basis for salvation, because it doesn't seem like a particularly moralistic rule. On the other hand, if there were rabbinical teachings saying to do righteous things, be righteous, love God, or have faith in God, then it seems like there could be rabbinical teachings that could be part of a foundation for salvation, just as they might be in Christianity. And it seems like there are such good teachings.
The upshot is that oral teachings per se wouldn't be salvific, but some of them could be a foundation for salvation.

I feel like this discussion by the author is a version of or repetition of  Luther's idea that salvation is communion with Christ, and the tool or means by which this communion occurs is faith, and that works are only indirectly involved. I am not sure this is reconcilable with Orthodoxy, or whether this is a semantic argument about salvation.
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« Reply #159 on: May 21, 2011, 02:37:46 PM »

The Shammaite school was dominant during Jesus's lifetime. There was also a smaller school, the Hillel School, in existence. Jesus seemed to be repeating the idea's of Rabbi Hillel, ie healing on the Sabbath, mixing with Gentiles and having a focus on the Golden Rule.  

Go on to any large American College Campus and you will likely find a "Hillel House" where Jewish Students can get a Kosher meal and fellowship. Same guy.
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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« Reply #160 on: May 23, 2011, 01:43:38 AM »

Nigula Qian Zishi,

Thanks for citing the canons, which were relevant to the discussion about Messianic Jews like you said. You cited:
Quote
CANON LXV of the 85 CANONS:

If any Clergyman, or Layman, evter a synogogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.

CANON LXX of the 85 CANONS:
If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all who is on the list of clergymen, fasts together with the Jews, or celebrates a holiday together with them, or accepts from them holiday gifts or favors, such as unleavened wafers, or anything of the like, let him be deposed from office. If a layman do likewise, however, let him be excommunicated.

CANON XI of the 102 CANONS:
Let no one be enrolled in the sacerdotal list, or any layman, eat the unleavened wafers manufactured by the Jews, or in any way become familliar with the Jews or call them in case of sickness, or take any medicines from them, or even bathe with them in public bathing beaches or bathhouses. If anyone should attempt to do this, in case he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; or in case he is a layman, let him be excommunicated. http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,1326.0.html
I think that "the 85 Canons" may refer to the Canons of the Holy Apostles. It appears that these canons refer to nonChristian religious Jews when they say "Jews", because it wouldn't make sense for them to refer to all Jews, as most of the Apostles  were Jews.

I'm unsure if these canons are still in effect, since Fr. George suggested on the thread about Patriarch Irineos lighting a candle at a synagogue that if a canon is disregarded for long enough, it becomes invalid, and it seems like these canons aren't often discussed or thought about in the Church today. Further I note that there was the case with the Iconoclast controversy, that the canon, approved by a previous Ecumenical Council, that banned ikons was rejected by a later Ecumenical Council. Also, I note that Rome didn't adopt all the Canons of the Holy Apostles, so it isn't clear to me whether these canons you mentioned, some of which seem to be from the Canons of the Holy Apostles, would be considered approved by an Ecumenical Council.

Regarding CANON LXV, I am doubftul about whether this canon is good and right, because the apostles themselves attended synagogues, where I assume they prayed, as they prayed in the Temple.

Regarding Canon LXX, This is confusing and could be a bad rule. For example, if they are just fasting at the same time or having a service at the same time, it seems this would be incredibly impractical. Christians traditionally fast leading up to Passover.

Perhaps a group of Jews could choose to fast in a matching time period, since, for example, I think Jewish Passover and Orthodox Paskha coincided in 2010. In that case, the Orthodox would have to call off their fast to avoid fasting at the same time as the Jews, and calling off such an important fast should, violate the Canons, or at least Church tradition.

The same criticism could be made if the Canon also is viewed as banning the celebration of a feast the same time as a group of Jews, since by the coincidence of calendars Jews could be celebrating a Saturday Passover the same day as, say, the Orthodox "Sabbath of Lights" service of Holy Week in Jerusalem.

This would make more sense if this ban refers to deliberately and jointly coordinating fasting and festivities with the official Judaic community, or trying to participate in their fasts and festivals. But still, this seems like a problematic rule, because, for example, Jesus taught in the synagogue and was in the Temple during Hanukkah. Plus, the early Christians frequented non-Christian synagogues. It's foreseeable that such close relations could have involved mutual fasting, like if the Judaic synagogue they visited announced and observed the fasting. So this seems like a bad rule because it could prohibit the kind of acts the apostles took in the Judaic community and which appear to be portrayed in the New Testament in a positive way.

Further, the absolute prohibition about taking holiday gifts or favors like unleavened bread from followers of Judaism sounds excessive, as St Paul said it was even OK to eat food sacrificed to pagan Gods, so long as the consumer didn't give his/her own eating act a pagan religious meaning.

I am confused what Canon XI means when it refers to the unleavened bread when it says: "Let no one be enrolled in the sacerdotal list, or any layman, eat the unleavened wafers manufactured by the Jews,"

This could make sense if it was referring to the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which happens during Passover. The objection to this would be that the Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover celebration, so continuing to celebrate it with the unleavened bread would contradict the idea that this festival has been fulfilled with the Eucharist.

And I would disagree with making this requirement absolute for all circumstances, because for example, even the New Testament said it could be OK for Christians to eat food offered for idols, so long as the Christians didn't accept the pagan ideas about the idols and merely ate it as food.

It seems strange for this to be a ban on eating Jewish-style unleavened bread, because Roman Catholics and Armenians for many centuries have used unleavened bread in the Eucharist based on the style used in Jewish Passover meals. Not to mention that I somewhat remember reading elsewhere that the Liturgy of St James or the Syriac Oriental Orthodox used unleavened bread at one point.

Plus, Canon XI's prohibition against "in any way becom[ing] familliar with the Jews or call[ing] them in case of sickness, or tak[ing] any medicines from them, or even bath[ing] with them in public bathing beaches or bathhouses" appears to run contrary to the New Testament, because Christ set us an example when He ate with nonChristian pharisees and sinners, told us to love even our enemies, and commanded us to visit the sick. Christ didn't refuse the sponge offered to Him on the cross and gave us the story of the Good Samaritan, so it seems His example and teaching are to accept aid even from people of heretical religions, which in the case of the Samaritan was the Samaritan religion. Likewise, He bathed in the same waters of the Jordan where unbaptized people had been bathing.

Yes I agree that they are interesting, because the canons play a significant role in Orthodox thought, and here it appears they touch strongly on the topic of Judaic and Christian relations. So I am thinking about mentioning them on my blog rakovskii.livejournal.com , where I wrote about early Christianity's relations with the Jewish community, and I'm thinking about how to explain the canons' in regards to those relations.

Peace



Linus7,

I agree with your view of the canons cited:
Quote
One thing I think we can glean from the canons Nik presented is that certainly Christians are not to live under the Mosaic Law or to keep Jewish festivals or holidays.
The canons cited clearly say to avoid keeping Jewish festivals or holidays like you said.
I find the term "Jewish festival" to be unclear though. The Sabbath was a holy day observed by the Jews and also respected by Jesus, I presume. When the pharisees chided Jesus about picking grain then, His response wasn't that the Sabbath wasn't to be observed, but that it was possible to do at least some work on the sabbath. It's true that observance of the Sabbath as it was performed on Saturday then became an observance for Sunday. But nonetheless, the principle of observing a or the Sabbath remains.

Also, the New Testament notes that Jesus walked in the Temple on Hanukkah. Hanukkah was a pre-Christian feast observed by religious Jews. So it isn't clear whether this canon refers to all holidays and feasts observed by Jews or just non-Christian Jewish holidays and feasts.

But it appears to me most likely that the canon refers to all holidays and feasts observed by Jews, and that the canon's author would take the view that we don't actually observe the Saturday Sabbath, since we moved its observance to Sunday, and that we don't celebrate Hannukkah either. In that case, it would mean that Christians don't live under the Mosaic law either, because the Mosaic law says to keep the Sabbath.

You ask:
Quote
How can anyone read Galatians and imagine that the followers of Christ are still under the Law?
The way they might do this would be to claim that Paul didn't correctly represent the views of Christ's followers. There was a pharisaic group that proposed before the Council of Jerusalem that Christians should be circumcized, whether or not they were Jewish. So the person in your question could take the view that the pharisaic proposal was right, and not only that, but in addition Christians would still be under the law. In my opinion, nonetheless, this goes against the view from Jesus Christ that the law had been fulfilled. I think that St Paul made a good analysis too. Such a person in your question would take the view that Christ hadn't relieved His followers of the burden or responsibility of following the Law, because the person would ignore or wouldn't notice that Christ had relieved this Christians of being under it- assuming that He actually did.

You write:
Quote
Quote
I do not completely agree with that. The overall historical approach of the Church is to say that Jews do not have to become Gentiles and Gentiles do not have to become Jews as a pre-condition to joining the Church. Jews can keep doing what they do but as a matter of culture and not ritual.
For one thing the Jerusalem Apostles did that themselves. The Jerusalem Church, and especially James, was very big on the maintenance of Jewish custom. Re-read the discussions between them and Paul in Acts from this perspective.
I don't agree. In Ephesians 2 St. Paul says Christ has made of the two (Jews and Gentiles) one in His Church. There is one Olive Tree, one Fold, and one Shepherd.
I don't have the references handy, but I recall a number of times when the Fathers have said that it is wrong for Christians to retain Jewish customs. One thinks especially of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the closing decades of the first century.
I have nothing against Jews. My wife's grandmother, Rachel, was a Jew who converted to Holy Orthodoxy. But she didn't start her own special "Messianic" sect; she became an Orthodox Christian.
There may be many Jews who have some of Jacob's DNA, but then again, there are probably some of us Christians who also carry it and don't realize it. After all, there were plenty of Jews in Europe who converted and married Christians. It is interesting to speculate on the origins of many Palestinian Christians. They may have a greater claim to natural descent from Jacob than most of today's Jews.
At least one canon says that to become a Christian, a Jew must cease keeping the Saturday Sabbath. And another canon says Christians can't keep Jewish holidays. So this places alot of doubt on the comment that in the Church's overall historical approach, " Jews can keep doing what they do". Ephesians 2 describes Jews and gentiles being united in His Church. Likewise, the New Testament describes this unity as there being one olive tree, one Fold, and One Shepherd, who are Christ. The Fold in particular is the Churhc which is Christ's body.

I recall hearing on the thread about the "Church's Teaching on the Jews" that St Chrysostom opposed Christians observing Jewish feasts, like the Canons say. I assume that Ignatius made a similar statement since you write: One thinks especially of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the closing decades of the first century. So on one hand we have such important Church fathers going against retaining customs. But then on the other hand, the Council of Jerusalem and Paul's letters both say for Jewish Christians to maintain their circumcision. So it could be that the Church changed its view, or that Ignatius was writing merely to a gentile Christian audience. Also, it's hard to reliable discuss the merits of their commentaries when we don't have them here- I don't have the references handy either.

Congratulations on your wife's grandmother becoming Orthodox. I find such big leaps of conversion interesting. The people have often thought things from different angles, thought things "outside the box" so to speak.

I agree when you say:
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Jacob's DNA... there are probably some of us Christians who also carry it and don't realize it. After all, there were plenty of Jews in Europe who converted and married Christians. It is interesting to speculate on the origins of many Palestinian Christians.
Naturally, the Palestinian Christians were native people in the Holy Land who became Christian, nearly all before the medieval Arab invasion. Thus, their main ethnic base is not Arab. In pre-Islamic times, besides Jews, the Holy Land also had a minority of Canaanites, Philistines, Samaritans, Greeks, Romans, and Syrians. But the main population was Jewish, Judean, or both. I remember reading that in the 5th-6th centuries, most of the Holy Land became Christian. So it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Palestinian Christians are to a large extent, if not mostly, Jews.
DNA research shows that Palestinian Christians are closely related to Jews in ethnicity.
"They may have a greater claim to natural descent from Jacob than most of today's Jews", because unlike most Jews today, the Palestinian Christians have been living in the Middle East for almost the last 2000 years.

You are right that
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Ultimately, natural descent from Jacob is not what's important.
St Paul writes that adoption for God is as legitimate as physical birth. Still, natural descent can still be meaningful, as awareness of it can motivate some people to more of a connection with their religious heritage from the Old Testament, which points to Christ. Also, St Paul wrote about Jews becoming Christian in connection with the idea that God made a promise to their forefathers, and in connection with the idea of "all Israel" being saved. So while salvation doesn't depend on physical descent, physical descent might still have at least some significance, like if it helps people think of themselves more strongly as part of God's people, like part of a continuity going back to the people in Old Testament times. It can be like saying that if someone's parents are very religious, this might help them to be religious too. For St Paul at least, it seems that the idea that God made a promise to the ancestors of the Jews of his time was significant for those Jews.

Thank you for sharing the quotes from Ignatius:
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"If we are still living in the practice of Judaism, it is an admission that we have failed to receive the gift of grace (St. Ignatius, Letter to the Magnesians, 8 ).

"To profess Jesus Christ while continuing to follow Jewish customs is an absurdity. The Christian faith does not look to Judaism, but Judaism looks to Christianity, in which every other race and tongue that confesses a belief in God has now been comprehended (St. Ignatius, Letter to the Magnesians, 10).
Here, the reference to "Judaism" seems somewhat vague. A very broad reading of the term here appear problematic. After all, saying "Amen" at the end of prayers, having a Sabbatical "Day of Rest", reading the Old Testament, gathering in religious buildings, having priests, and avoiding blood foods as one Canon says, all appear to be practices of Judaism and Jewish customs in the broad sense of those terms.
On the other hand, a more narrow meaning of "Judaism" makes sense, as in phariseeism. Christ for example criticizes the practices of the pharisees.
Further, St Ignatius was a non-Jew, so even if he accepted Jewish Christians as being "of the circumcision", he would still oppose "us" practicing Judaism and Jewish customs. I assume that the "Magnesians" he writes to are also non-Jews.
If non-Jews have received grace as non-Jews, then this suggests that they were OK as non-Jews, and it makes sense that they wouldn't need to "live in the practice of Judaism", as he writes: If we are still living in the practice of Judaism, it is an admission that we have failed to receive the gift of grace. In fact one interpretation could be that even Jewish Christians wouldn't need to live in Judaic practices either, as they had been spiritually freed from the Law. In that case though, simply following some Judaic practices as a custom doesn't necessarily seem to be an admission that they haven't been freed from it as a law. For example, if the speed limit is raised to 55 and I keep driving 50, it doesn't necessarily mean I don't recognize the change in the law.

Still, when St Ignatius writes "To profess Jesus Christ while continuing to follow Jewish customs is an absurdity", it sounds like he is setting forth a broad principle, not just referring to the behavior of non-Jewish Christians.

One possibility could be that St Ignatius was setting forth one view among several in the early Church, just as some Christians had disagreed before the Council fo Jerusalem about whether gentiles required circumcision if they became Christian.
Another possibility is that the Church in fact had decided not to follow many unique Jewish customs, and that for example, circumcized Jewish Christians in the Church wouldn't circumcize their Christian children.

When St Ignatius says
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The Christian faith does not look to Judaism, but Judaism looks to Christianity,
, it's a bit confusing. As to the question, in what way is it looking, I think he means Judaism expects, points to, hopes for Christianity. Judaism in this sense is the religion of the Jewish people in pre-Christian times. So naturally, in this sense, Christianity does not "look to" Judaism, that is, it doesn't look ahead to it, expecting, pointing, hoping for it.
The statement is alittle confusing, because Christianity does looks at, ie. consider, what the prophets said in pre-Christian Judaism, but it doesn't look to them in the same sense that the prophets looked forward to and hoped for Christianity.

Also, St Ignatius' dichotomy between Judaism and Christianity exists in that they are two distinct ideas. But it seems that there is overlap too. From a Christian point of view, one may say that Christianity is the correct religion for the people of Judah, that is, it's correct Judaism.

With this in mind, I have some doubt that "To profess Jesus Christ while continuing to follow Jewish customs is an absurdity". It's at least somewhat absurd to follow some customs, like Yom Kippur, if that which they prefigured has been fulfilled. On the other hand, if there is a custom of fasting among the Jews, since Jesus taught His disciples to fast sometimes, this seems OK. Also, resting on a Saturday Sabbath doesn't seem particularly absurd. I think the New Testamemt doesn't specify that we shouldn't rest on Saturday. And it doesn't seem like this custom has been fulfilled in Christianity in such a way that it's absurd to rest then. I understand that Christianity respects Sunday like it was a day of rest, but resting for two days doesn't seem bad.  Also, from a religious point of view, circumcision doesn't appear inherently absurd for all Christians. Circumcision was a physical sign of belonging to God, and we can say that we are now more spiritually-oriented. But still, Jesus also rose in the flesh. So at most, circumcision appears unnecessary for salvation. But it doesn't appear completely absurd. An idea that circumcision was needed for salvation seems absurd, though from a Christian viewpoint.

Finally, it's confusing what St Ignatius means when he writes that in "Christianity... every other race and tongue that confesses a belief in God has now been comprehended." Maybe it means that Christians who had the Holy Spirit at Pentecost understood every other race and tongue. It's possible to say that people from every, or almost every, race and tongue have comprehended belief in God. But this quote says the opposite- that someone has understood every race and tongue in Christianity. It seems most likely to me though that St Ignatius is referring to the idea that every race and tongue has people who have become Christian, and thus he concludes that in the Church those races and tongues are understood in the sense that people of those races and tongues are in the Church and understand them.

These two quotes from St Ignatius seem pretty on point about early Christianity's relation to Judaism, so I am considering mentioning it on my blig rakovskii.livejournal.com

I agree with you when you write:
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I think it depends on what one means by "customs." Obviously the Christian liturgy is dependent upon the tradition of Jewish synagogue worship, so, in a sense, the Church has preserved "Jewish customs."

It appears to me that you are right that the Church preserved Jewish customs in the sense that our liturgy is dependent on the tradition of Jewish synagogue worship. And synagogue worship seems like a kind of custom. Now, one might try to differentiate between customs and worship, but I find this to be a false dichotomy. After all, Jewish customs like the pharisees' handwashing ritual includes a prayer that talks nicely to God, and thus may be considered a kind of worship.

So if the canons and fathers say don't do any Jewish customs, and then of course say to do a liturgy that matches Jewish worship then they contradicted themselves apparently. If in light of this contradiction the terminology about Jewish customs, in the context of their prohibition for Christians, means non-Christian Jewish rituals, then it becomes at least more manageable. The conclusion would be that whatever Jewish rituals Christians weren't following at the time the Father or Canon made the prohibition would be prohibited. But since a minority of Christians might have been following some Jewish customs that other Christians weren't, then it becomes harder to figure out.

You could say "No custom X isn't the kind of Jewish custom referred to here, because alot of us do it too." And then if it turned out that alot of jewish Christians were following certain customs, then those customs wouldn't be covered by the prohibition. So you make a good point showing that it's confusing. It's hard to know for sure unless the custom is specifically named as prohibited.

You make a good explanation when you say:
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But in the MJs we are talking about a movement that believes it is necessary for all believers to adhere to the Mosaic Law, including the Saturday Sabbath... Customs are fine, as long as they are not elevated to some sort of indispensable religious status. I mean, I like bratwurst cooked in beer and served with spicy mustard, and I think everyone should. I also enjoy Blutwurst (blood sausage).
The Council of Jerusalem took the view that for salvation it wasn't necessary for gentile Christians to follow all the Mosaic law, like circumcision. Regarding the Saturday Sabbath, it appears that Jesus might not have had such a strong attitude of necessity and compulsion, since he picked grain on the Sabbath. That is, Christianity might have a different attitude about the Law than Rabbinical Judaism, which says that following the Law is necessary to be a correct, religious Jew.

Your words "Customs are fine, as long as they are not elevated to some sort of indispensable religious status" suggest such a difference in Christianity to the Law. I am not sure Christianity would say that the Law is just a custom, as the Ten Commandments seem like pretty important moral rules. But on the other hand, the rule against eating blood foods seems to be a custom. Phariseeism gives the Law a sort of indispensable status, and Christianity apparently disagrees with this, as for example Jesus spoke against the rule saying to take a tooth for a tooth, and he went against it with the saying to turn the other cheek. Christianity doesn't consider the rules against eating certain animals indispensable either, as St Peter's vision that it was OK to eat all kinds of animals' meat shows.
Now what about baptism and communion? They aren't seen as indispensable either, as someone can be a good Christian, but never have a chance for either, although such cases are very rare.
Still, Rabbinical Judaism might not consider all the Law as indispensable for all believers either, as I tink there was a strain in Rabbinical Judaism saying it would be OK for gentiles to just follow the Noahide Laws, which were simpler than the Mosaic Law.

You discuss here food habits that could be customs:
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I mean, I like bratwurst cooked in beer and served with spicy mustard, and I think everyone should. I also enjoy Blutwurst (blood sausage).
The Blood Sausage is actually forbidden by an Orthodox canon, and the Council of Jerusalem banned them too. Likewise, fasting from meat during Lent is a custom about eating. However, it isn't considered indispensable to Salvation. The Church simply encourages people to try to follow the fasts as a good religious custom. Likewise the Canon against eating blood foods might not have been levied in severity, but rather as a custom that Christians were strongly encouraged to follow.

You made a good analogy to ethnic differences in order to explain better the Jewish part of the early Church:
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Frankly, I am not big on ethnic stuff being mixed with the Christian faith. It gets in the way and tends to exclude rather than include.
I don't see the need for people to have special ethnic enclaves or clubs within the Church.
I look at the Jewish issue this way: choose: be a Jew or be a Christian.
Within one's own family or social club the preservation of ethnic customs is a fine thing. But I don't think one should tie them to one's religion and thus imply a superior sanctity for them.
I know I will probably get jumped on by people who will tell me the Orthodox Church is a key component of their ethnic identity. Great. But Norse mythology was a key component of my ancestors' ethnic identity. Thank God they chose truth and the salvation of their souls over ethnicity!
I am OK with ethnic stuff being mixed with Christianity. I think it's nice that Russian Churches have their art style and Greek ones have theirs. Sometimes the styles mix too. It makes it more attractive than simply being a monotone. Also, some Churches have certain saints in their Church who aren't saints in other jurisdictions. It seems not so bad.
Ethnic stuff can get in the way, like if 4th generation Greek and Russian churches only have services only in Greek and Slavonic and don't understand most of the service, then the ethnic stuff is getting in the way of understanding the service. After all, the reason the service was translated into slavonic in the first place was so Slavs could understand it. It would certainly exclude people who don't know Greek and a Slavic language, respectively.
On the other hand, if it is simply an ethnic art style used in the 1st-4th centuries AD, then it doesn't necessarily seem like it gets in the way or excludes. Rather it can help give more insight into the culture of early Christianity and include people more because of their shared connection to early Christianity.

The need for people to have special ethnic enclaves or clubs comes from the immigrant experience. Immigrants work most effectively together with those whose language and ways they understand. Another need simply arises from the fact that different jurisdictions are in different areas with different ethnicities that have their own ways. So having some local ethnic qualities is a reflection of the connection to the people, and deepens it. On the other hand, it isn't intrinsically necessary to religion to have ethnic enclaves or clubs, as you say. One must be able to join a Church in another jurisdiction without a significant problem, based on the fact that he/she belonged to another Orthodox jurisdiction. People should feel and act spiritually joined across jurisdictions, and across ethnic enclaves and clubs. This can be expressed in common qualities shared across jurisdictions. It isn't necessary in my view that we all keep the same calendar, but nor is it necessary that we don't. If it was enforced across jurisdictions, then some people would be unhappy about what seems like an ultimately unimportant issue, and it could create unnecessary strife. Similar things can be said about the use of language in Church.

When you write:
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I look at the Jewish issue this way: choose: be a Jew or be a Christian.
, I agree in that in Christianity there isn't supposed to be Jew or Greek separately. Plus, Jew has a religious meaning. So I agree with you that the person must choose whether they want to most clearly identify as a religious Jew following pre-Christian rituals or as a Christian, where they are united with non-Jews. In terms of religion, I disagree with the view of some Greeks that they are Greek first and Orthodox second, and in the same way I would disagree if Jewish christians took a matching view. Just as Russian Orthodoxy is not a separate religion from Greek Orthodoxy, if one is a Jewish Christian, they shouldn't consider themselves to have a separate religion from other Christians.

On the other hand, I disagree with you about such a choice. Just as a person can be an American and a Christian, they can be an ethnic Jew and a Christian. Just as a Russian person can like liturgical Slavonic and be Orthodox, I assume someone can be ethnically Jewish, like the Hebrew language in a liturgy, and be Orthodox Christian.

Greeks had their own pre-Christian ethnic religion once too. It was pagan. And now Greek Orthodox have some unique customs, like maybe certain prayers. Also, they put their hands on their hearts after crossing themselves. So I disagree with saying to Jews that they must reject all their unique religious ways and ethnic identity, and then saying to Greeks that they can keep theirs.

I agree with you when you say:
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Within one's own family or social club the preservation of ethnic customs is a fine thing. But I don't think one should tie them to one's religion and thus imply a superior sanctity for them.
Naturally, if we are all one and all saved, then we shouldn't look at one as having superior sanctity based on ethnicity. Jesus criticized such a feeling of superiority, saying that if God wanted to, He could make sons of Abraham from some stones. Further, I think it's OK if ethnic customs, like pysanky connect people more to their religion. Families themselves are units that connect people to religion if the family is religious. And if an ethnicity mostly belongs to a certain religion, then it creates more self-identification with the religion, and an environment more connected to it.

It's funny when you say:
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I know I will probably get jumped on by people who will tell me the Orthodox Church is a key component of their ethnic identity. Great.
Yes, the Orthodox religion is a big part of some people's culture. For example, spasibo (thanks, in Russian) comes from Spasi (save) and Bo (from the Russian word "Bog", meaning God). I am not sure they will jump on you though, since most people are at least able to distinguish the concepts of religion and culture, even if they overlap. For me, my identity is American, and I think Orthodoxy isn't much of American culture. Even in the American movie "The Deer Hunter", and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", the Orthodox culture looks alittle unsual for America. Probably American culture is secular and Protestant, with alittle Roman Catholic.
Anyway, it's not really "great" to jump on people for presenting their views on this.

You gave a good example showing it's better to put desire for religious truth and salvation over ethnic identity:
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But Norse mythology was a key component of my ancestors' ethnic identity. Thank God they chose truth and the salvation of their souls over ethnicity!
Still, it doesn't mean that religion shouldn't be associated with ethnic identity at all. One could say that once Christianity became associated with Roman cultural identity, the spread of Roman culture in Europe spread Christianity. The fact that you identify a certain religious view with your family, for example, doens't mean that the religious view is incorrect.

I agree with you when you write:
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They insist on using a sort of pidgin Hebrew for religious terms, calling Jesus Yeshua (or Yashua, depending on who is doing the talking), using Mashiach for Christ, and referring to the OT as the Tanakh, for example.
I realize those terms may be highly correct, but we don't speak Hebrew; we speak English. If carried to extremes one would properly write Jesus' Hebrew name in Latin characters as auhseY, since Hebrew is written from right to left.
Besides, Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew.
Except that I'm not sure those terms are highly correct, since: It isn't clear that the Old Testament is the same as the Tanakh. The TaNaKh is an abbreviation refers to the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. But in Orthodoxy, we say that some books of the Old Testament apocrypha are of secondary authority. And those books aren't in the Tanakh. So it isn't clear to me whether the Old Testament is the same as the Tanakh, or has some more books than it.
Also, while Jesus and the disciples spoke Aramaic, of them at least Jesus must have been able to read Hebrew, so that He could read the scriptures in the synagogue of Nazareth.

I have the same impression you do when you write:
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I have the impression that Messianic Judaism is a heresy that has been spawned by Dispensationalism, which asserts a radical distinction between Israel and the Church and insists that the OT promises to national Israel are yet to be fulfilled.
I disagree with such a radical distinction, because St Paul describes how adoption was as legitimate in the Old Testament as biological birth, and that by becoming Christian Christ adopts us. Thus, Israel and the Church overlap or are the same. And in turn this means that OT promises to the national Israel of the OT have been fulfilled, although it appears that some people belonging to Israel who have ancestors who received such promises have not yet had the promises fulfilled for them. St Paul explains in Galatians and/or Romans that the promises of blessings won't be undone, and so he expects the Jewish people to become Christian.

I agree when you say:
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I do not see anything at all wrong with calling oneself a Jewish Christian or a Christian of Jewish descent. I also do not see anything at all wrong with a certain feeling of pride (not the overweening pride that is one of the "7 Deadly Sins") in the fact that God chose your ancestors to bless the world and that God the Son chose, of all the peoples in the world, to become a Jew.
If I was a Jew, I would certainly be delighted about all that!
Except that pride here seems out of place. Christianity teaches us humility. St Paul felt that his ethnic Jewishness was nothing compared to being Christian. My ancestors were Christian for many centuries I assume. But this doesn't necessarily feel me with special pride, as it was their own religious decision, just as it's mine to be Christian.
Naturally, it's nice and something to be happy about if God chose one's ancestors "to bless the world and that God the Son chose, of all the peoples in the world, to become a Jew". I suppose I might feel somewhat happy about all that, but then I might also feel a certain sense of responsibility, as well as feel upset that the religious leaders had Jesus executed.

And yes it's true, that
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Heck, we owe you guys a lot!  [Grin]

I agree with you when you write about Seraphim Reeve's post:
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<<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.>>
I don't see Seraphim's post that way at all. I thought it was pretty thoughtful
However, I doubt it's "very accurate", as I was confused by alot of it. Plus, Wikipedia said that Judaizing means the Christian heresy that following the Mosaic Law, like circumcision, was necessary for salvation. But apparently Seraphim considers non-Jewish Christians simply following Jewish customs that are commonly thought of as non-Christian to be Judaizing.

You wrote:
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One of the weirdest things I have seen any of them[Messianic Jews] write is the claim that our Lord Jesus is the "incarnate Torah."
It seems to me this idea is probably partly motivated by the emphasis on the Torah in Judaism. Christianity has the idea that Jesus is God's Word that became incarnate, and that the Bible is God's Word too. The Torah is in the beginning of the Bible, so it makes sense that thus He could be called the incarnate Torah. Still, this seems like a strong emphasis for just one part of the Bible. Perhaps there's a better explanation.

Take care.




Aklie Semaet,

In terms of what Christianity should allow, I sympathize with you when you write:
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One thing I think we can glean from the canons Nik presented is that certainly Christians are not to live under the Mosaic Law or to keep Jewish festivals or holidays.

I do not completely agree with that. The overall historical approach of the Church is to say that Jews do not have to become Gentiles and Gentiles do not have to become Jews as a pre-condition to joining the Church. Jews can keep doing what they do but as a matter of culture and not ritual.
For one thing the Jerusalem Apostles did that themselves. The Jerusalem Church, and especially James, was very big on the maintenance of Jewish custom. Re-read the discussions between them and Paul in Acts from this perspective.
The Church of Jerusalem set forth a policy that Jewish Christians would continue circumcision. Circumcision was prescribed by the Mosaic Law, so it appears that according to this decision they were still to follow it. On the other hand, the word "under" may suggest that they were to serve the Mosaic Law. But in fact this law had been fulfilled, so perhaps the relation to the Law changed during Christianity to such an extent that the Christians were no longer "under" it. The idea that "Jews can keep doing what they do but as a matter of culture and not ritual" appears to mean that they are no longer "under" the Mosaic Law in a strict way, although they could be under it simply in a little, weaker, cultural or customary way.

Your words here appear to reflect the decision of the Council of Jerusalem, where by "Jew" one has in mind "those of the circumcision": "The overall historical approach of the Church is to say that Jews do not have to become Gentiles and Gentiles do not have to become Jews as a pre-condition to joining the Church."

You are correct when you say:
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For one thing the Jerusalem Apostles did that themselves. The Jerusalem Church, and especially James, was very big on the maintenance of Jewish custom. Re-read the discussions between them and Paul in Acts from this perspective.
Except that offhand I cannot clearly remember what or where St Paul discussed with St James. I have a vague memory that maybe St James and St Paul discussed and decided that only those who were already circumcised- and I presume their descendants- would be "of the circumcision."

Nonetheless, insofar as Linus described the approach of the canons, it appears he is probably right. That is, one canon cited specifically disallows observing Jewish holidays. Since the Mosaic Law prescribed some holidays like the Day of Atonement, which was observed by religious Jews in the century leading up to Christianity's beginning, it appears that this canon would prevent Christians from living under the Mosaic Law, at least partly.

You commented:
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I recall a number of times when the Fathers have said that it is wrong for Christians to retain Jewish customs. [-Linus]
It is interesting to note that after the Jerusalem Synod Paul himself circumcised Timothy a mixed Jewish and Greek disciple.
“Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew his father was a Greek.” (Acts 16:3).
Nevertheless some Pharisees falsely accused Paul of still teaching otherwise. So when he returned to Jerusalem the Council made an interesting decision, which I believe settles the whole matter:
“But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying they ought not to circumcise their children nor walk according to the customs.”
1. When you say the pharisees accused Paul of teaching "otherwise", you meant "otherwise" than what? You must have meant teaching other than that Christians must follow Jewish customs, because that's what you said they were accusing him of in the quote from Acts 21 that you immediately pointed to after saying "otherwise".
2. Now before you said "otherwise", where did you present the idea that Christians must follow Jewish customs? Immediately before this you mentioned Paul circumcizing Timothy. So you are presenting this as an example of saying that Christians must follow Jewish customs. But it could have just been than St Paul did this out of habit or respect for religion, rather than the idea that he "must" do it.
3. I highly doubt that the Council of Jerusalem's decision settles the whole matter about Christians following Jewish customs, because later councils sometimes overule earlier ones, like how one Council banned ikons and a later one said they were allowed. Plus, in one Ecumenical Council at least the Greek Church passed a canon saying Jews who become Christian mustn't follow Jewish customs.
4. I becomes apparent from the quote you gave that St Paul was accused of teaching Jews among gentiles not to follow the customs nor circumcize their children, and the story with Timothy strongly suggsts that this accusation was false, because Timothy was half-Greek.

I trust that you made an accurate recitation of the passage when you write:
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The council then told Paul to demonstrate that the accusations were false by demonstrating that he is a faithful Jew that does “walk orderly and keep the law.” He was told to undergo a purification ritual of seven days and an offering in the Jewish temple and Paul agreed and underwent it, only to be interrupted when a crowd of Pharisees recognized him and started to beat him (Acts 21:22-40).

I agree with you when you write:
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So contrary to being wrong the Apostles themselves maintained Jewish custom, it became wrong when some of them tried to impose this practice on Gentiles coming to the Church as some kind of a pre-condition. And it is that practice which the Jerusalem Synod rejected. As far as the Church fathers are concerned, their comments must be balanced with the exact historical circumstances and contexts in which they made them.
That the Apostles maintained a certain custom strongly suggests that it was correct. On the other hand, it makes sense the Church found it incorrect to continue some Jewish customs like the sacrificial Day of Atonement, since Christ was the Atonement. Also, while the Apostles gathered in synagogues, it could be incorrect to continue to do so now that we have alot of churches. Still, I'm not sure it's necessarily bad to visit a synagogue sometimes, since the apostles did this. Also, while the Fathers' comments must be balanced with the historical circumstances and context, it appears that St Ignatius was setting forth a broad principle that was intended to go beyond the early Christian context, when he wrote that keeping Jewish customs was an admission that Christianity wasn't real. His reasoning went beyond his limited historical context and took his principle from the idea that Judaism looks to Christianity and that it isn't the other way around. I have my doubts about St Ignatius' reasoning, because some customs like saying "Amen" in prayer have continued in Christianity. But the point is that sometimes their statements against following Jewish customs were meant by them to go beyond their limited historical circumstance and context. and weremeant instead to be broad principles related to the definition of Christianity.

I am doubtful about your words that:
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And St. Peter made it abundantly clear that the mantle of Jacob’s seed has been passed on spiritually to the Church.... The biological significance of Abraham’s seed became insignificant after Jesus was born.
Because:
1. I don't remember St Peter saying this about the mantle, and a Google search for peter mantle jacob seed didn't bring up anything.
2. St Paul wrote in Galatians and/or Romans that gentile Christians were adopted into Christianity as Abraham's seed. St Paul writes that adoption was as valid as biological descent. So this suggests that biological signficance was at least still significant, although it wasn't the only thing of significance.

I remember reading in the New testament the idea that: "We, as the Body of Christ, are... [a] Priesthood." I don't clearly remember it saying that we are a "Royal" Priesthood, and I don't remember it explicitly saying we are "the Holy Nation", although St Paul explained in Galatians and/or Romans that Jewish and gentile Christians joined Israel the nation when Jews and gentiles became Christian.

You are right that:
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... many Palestinian Christians. They may have a greater claim to natural descent from Jacob than most of today's Jews.
Yes of course they do, and as surprising as it sounds that is not a controversial perspective in professional circles the way it is in political circles... Traditional aspects of modern Palestinian culture are referred to for throwing light on ancient customs in the Holy Land.
"Many" Palestinian Christians is a vague enough term that it must be true. It could be true that most of today's Jews have a greater claim to such descent than "some" Palestinian Christians, but I am unsure. On one hand, Christians in 2nd century Palestine might come from sources other than Jews, as there were many gentiles living in 2nd century Palestine. On the other hand, the Jewish community was rather closed through the centuries and highly valued its biological descent. Nonetheless, Palestinian Christians stayed in Palestine which had been controlled by Judea a few centuries earlier, while the Jews traveled through Europe, west Asia, and north Africa, and over the centuries there has been significant intermarriage by the Jewish community in those places.
When discussed in a professional setting where this claim is shown more clearly than in a political circle that demands seeing one group as having more physical descent, the topic must be less controversial.
Traditional aspects of modern Palestinian culture certainly throw light on ancient customs, like when it comes to collecting water or herding sheep as these ways would be natural for the land. Also, Palestinian family relations may be more similar to ancient Jewish ones, because Jews in Europe may have adapted more to European ways. Plus, even non-Jewish Palestinians might have naturally shared cultural traits with ancient Jews, since they lived in the same areas.

I did not know that
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Anthropologists use indigenous Palestinians, and not Israeli immigrants, as reference populations for research. Palestinian x-rays and available skeletons are used to compare with ancient Israelite skeletons found in excavations.
It would be interesting to know more about this. It isn't clear from your words why they are using the Palestinian skeletons to compare with Israelite ones. Maybe they are doing this to see whether the skeletons are really from the ancient Israelites or from a different ethnicity than the Israelites, since the Palestinian Christians are closer to the Israelites than to other skeletons from that time, like the Egyptians or Persians. This would go along with your idea that the anthropologists are using Palestinians as references in their research.

I trust that you read this someplace, and would be interested to know where. A 5 page google search for palestinian skeletons israelites "x-ray" OR xray didn't reveal anything.

I am doubtful about your comment
Quote
Arguing truth doesn’t seem to get anywhere with that crowd [hardliners such as Israeli settlers and Jewish supremacists] except perhaps to hear a lecture of how their great grandpa was deported to a concentration camp in Germany and how that, by some twist in logic, somehow justifies them taking someone else’s land thousands of miles away from a people who had nothing to do with the atrocities in Europe.
But if have the stomach for those type of debates go for it, but don’t complain about developing an ulcer, and please don’t try to cure it with ArakaiGǪ [Grin]
Well, it can help them sometimes think more about equality and human rights. There was a protest in Israel a few months ago where a pro-settler right wing group and a progressive group marched together for human rights.
The argument you refer to is the idea that the Holocaust caused enormous suffering for Jews, that they have a naturally endangered minority, that they must have a country of their own to protect them, and that this country must be in their homeland because it is connected to their ethnicity by history.
It's actually a separate, distinct argument that says they are justified in taking others' land, though. They say that the Palestinians voluntarily abandoned it, or that the Palestinians are simply Arabs who arrived 1000 years after their ancestors left it, so the Palestinians have a weaker claim.
Countarguments are that putting the world's Jewish population in one small location may actually be more dangerous for them; that DNA evidence shows many Palestinians have lived there as long as Jews, because they are descended from Jews living there; that some Palestinians and some Jews both voluntarily and forcibly left Palestine/Zion. One can find examples of expulsions of and discrimination against Arabs and Muslims in European history and culture. The Holocaust was a genocide directed to a big extent against the Jewish people, who have been discriminated against alot in Europe, although nearly all Palestinians had nothing to do with the atrocities in Europe.

I only have some stomach for these kinds of debates, and reserve the right to complain about developing an ulcer Smiley . Also I don't know what Arakai-------- is. It looks like the term hasn't come across correctly in the formatting.

Health and Happiness to you




Tribe,

It's nice and interesting writing to you, as you wrote:
Quote
I am a person of Jewish descent, born of a Jewish mother and a Jewish father. I accepted Christ as Messiah several years ago

I think that the Orthodox Church is attractive, in part because it is a Church native to the Holy Land, and descended from the first Jewish Christians. I also find it impressive when people think outside the box about religion, so to speak. I agree with you when you say:
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I also disagree with any school of thought which seeks to separate Christians of Jewish descent from the rest of the body of Christ.
I think it's important and beautiful for Jews and non-Jews to share in their experience of religion and spirituality.

You ask:
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I am a Christian of Jewish descent. What else can I possibly call myself? (and don't take the easy way out and say "American," I am a veteran and proud of my country and know that I am an American)
Congratulations.  Smiley
Regarding what to call oneself, I think you did a good job saying it right there. I wouldn't worry too much about labels. "White Anglo Saxon Protestant" is probably the most socially-respectable label in America, but it also sounds alittle arrogant.
I think it's fine to say you're American, and a Christian, and your background is Jewish. I'm American, I'm an Orthodox Christian, and my backrgound is Irish, German, English, and maybe other things... maybe even Jewish. It's OK.

I understand when you say:
Quote
Forgive my rambling, but I wrestle very seriously with these questions and their implications. My allegiance is to Christ and the body of believers I will be joining. But I must respect that my wife is not Christian, though even with her parents staying with us this weekend I attended Divine Liturgy at a local Greek Orthodox church.
Sure, alot of people wrestle with their ethnic background. I think that my grandfather's father was an orphan, so I'm not sure about his ethnicity. So I can see people thinking seriously when have unusual or uncertain backgrounds.
In terms of religion, it's most important what you want, not what other people force on you. No one can say you have to think some way because of your DNA. You show yourself to be your own man.

Sure it makes sense when you say: "I must respect that my wife is not Christian, though even with her parents staying with us this weekend I attended Divine Liturgy at a local Greek Orthodox church". It's good that you try to have respectful relations. May you have many years of happiness together. God Bless you.

You explained:
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"Wouldn't you be a Jewish Christian, ie a person of Jewish descent who is of the Christian faith?"
Probably, but for two things:
1.) To say something like that has sometimes had the effect of making other Christians feel that I am thinking myself "special" for being of Jewish descent...
and/or...
2.) Saying something like that makes many Christians assume that I am a Messianic Jew or a Judaiser, etc.
Yet another problem comes from my fellow Jews who feel that I am denying my Jewishness if I don't say that I am Jewish.
It's a minefield I dance in... :p
Well, don't worry about many Christians thinking you are a Messianic Jew, Judaizer, etc. The term Judaizer refers to someone with the idea that it's necessary for salvation that Christians follow the Mosaic customs like circumcision. It just depends on the context. If someone asks you your ethnic background then you can say your ancestors were Jewish, and if they ask your religious background you can say you were raised Jewish and that you became Christian. It's cool.
And don't worry about someone thinking you're arrogant, like you're more special because of your background. If they take it that way, it's their problem. Just like saying that someone is German Catholic in background shouldn't mean anything like that, saying someone is Jewish Christian shouldn't either.
Yes, if someone asks you your background, saying that you are a "Jewish Christian" can sound confusing, like maybe it's a special sect, just as calling yourself an "American Christian" can suggest that maybe you think of your religion in super-patriotic terms. But then you just add that you are Christian of Jewish descent then it becomes clear that Christian is your faith and Jewish is your ethnicity, with no confusion or anything, just like you can tell someone that you are American and you're Christian, with no problem.
And alternately, if you don't really care about your ethnicity, and no one asks, then you don't gotta say it :p It's not really a minefield unless you make it one. That's like some other things in life.

Likewise, I can't speak for your fellow Jews about not saying you're Jewish, but like I said, I think you should just be who you want to be, so to speak. Unless someone asks or it's helpful to the conversation, I don't think it's necessary for me or other folks to point out people's ethnicity.

You made a very good point when you said:
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Believe me, when my Dad was aksing me how I could believe in Christ and stuill be a Jew, I asked him how Freud (as elf-described "godless Jew") could be considered Jewish, or Marx, or even my Dad himself, or any other atheist Jews could still be considered Jewish if I could not be.
That is, if being Christian is such a big religious disconnection from the Jewish people that one cannot be called a Jew, then it stands to reason that atheism, which completely rejects all notions of God and religion should be an even stronger disconnection than Christianity, which believes in God the Father of Israel and highly values the Jewish books of the Old Testament. So since it's OK for atheists of Jewish background to be called Jews, it should be OK for Christians of Jewish background to be called Jews.

If one takes the view that the term Jew is religious, then Atheism would be considered even further from Christianity, which at least could be considered from a secular perspective to be a Jewish sect, as it is related to pre-Christian Judaism.

One explanation could be that Jewish religious people consider Christianity so opposed to their religion that Christians can't be considered Jews. But even if Christianity is a heresy, the Jewish Old Testament hardly considers theistic and pagan heresy as separating oneself from the people more than rejection of God altogether.

I suppose that if one accepts common views of Jewish religious people to be "the Jewish religion", and doesn't require such views to follow the Old Testament views or logic about what is more of a heresy, then one can accept that Jewish Christians aren't Jews and atheists are.
And if one defines Jews based on who most of the Jewish community identifies itself with, then this idea makes sense. But still, I disagree with this, because it's like saying that if my views are distasteful enough to most Americans that I am "un-American". That's not how America defines itself. They can take my background away from me just because they disagree with my political views. Even if someone emigrates from Scotland they are still Scottish.
So I think this viewpoint that Christians can't be Jews but atheists can is senseless and discriminatory.

All the Best!




Mexican,

Hello! It is nice writing to you about the Messianic Jews, because it reminds me of how the early Christians were Jews.

I am alittle confused by who are the two "theys" you refer to when you say:
Quote
Some would say that the Church of Jerusalem (the one of Peter) was the true one because it allowed the Jews to preserve the Law, while the one of Paul was the "false" one and a mixture of Pagan beliefs. (This is typical Adventist-like theology)
They are discouraged to join them because of all the lies the Protestants have said about Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,1326.0.html
Perhaps you mean Messianic Jews are discouraged by the Messianic movement to join the "Church of Jerusalem (the one of Peter)" and that of Paul.

If the movement is separating the Church of Peter from that of Paul, it appears that this is on the basis that Paul mentions in at least one of his letters, maybe Galatians, that St Peter went to preach to the circumcized and that St Paul went to preach to the uncircumcized. A big problem with portraying the supposedly separate Church of Peter as different in that the Church of Peter preserved the Judaic Law is that the Bible mentions St Peter having a vision where God told him that it was OK to eat all kinds of animals prohibited by the Law. So while there was some difference in observance between the circumcized and uncircumcised, the portrayal that the supposedly separate Church of Peter differed in that it kept the Law is simplistic. Here, by keeping the law, the Messianics presumably have in mind that Peter kept it like the pharisees, but here with the food example, it turns out this wasn't the case. The food example is an important one and one possibility is that after the vision, Peter differed from Rabbinical Judaism in the same way that Paul did.

One counterargument is that Peter found an exception here. But then the counterargument is just a matter of opining that Peter's big exception(s) were good and Paul's unique exceptions weren't. And since Peter's big exception is a big exception to keeping the law, it appears that simply saying one kept the Law and the other didn't is too simplistic.

Cojelo Suave!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 02:00:55 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #161 on: May 23, 2011, 02:06:35 AM »

Nazarene,

It's nice writing with you as you are open about your faith and try to connect to the ways of the first Jewish Christians.

You wrote:
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<<One of the weirdest things I have seen any of them write is the claim that our Lord Jesus is the "incarnate Torah.">>
I can explain this. The key is understanding the meaning of the Hebrew word torah, it means instruction/ordinance/statute. The understanding of Yeshua as "Torah Incarnate" is rooted in Him saying: "I am the way, the truth and the life". Since Yeshua is the embodiment of YHWH, He is therefore the embodiment of all YHWH's instructions (torah).
To clarify:
The Torah also means law.
Yeshua did say "I am the way, the truth and the life".
However, this logic sounds incorrect: "Since Yeshua is the embodiment of YHWH, He is therefore the embodiment of all YHWH's instructions (torah)", since because a person is different than his/her instructions, the embodiment of the person should be different from the embodiment of his/her instructions.

Instead, it seems better to reason that since Yeshua is the embodiment of the way and truth, and YHWH's instructions are the way and true, then Yeshua embodies those instructions too.
Now this seems possibly misleading, as it doesn't specify which instructions Yeshua embodied. Perhaps there are two ways of living: an Old Testament way and a way in the New Covenant. The "torah" at first glance connotes the Old Testament Torah. So perhaps this was not the way that Yeshua embodied. For example, he disagreed with the Old Testament instructions about an eye for an eye, which I think was part of the Old Testament Torah. Jesus said to turn the other cheek instead, and I think He would more clearly be the embodiment of this second instruction, about turning the other cheek.
Now at the same time we have the fact that Christianity sees Jesus as fulfilling the Old Testament Torah. So maybe it is OK after all to say that in a way He embodied the Old Testament Torah.

I wrote:
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<<Christ is the Logos[God's Word] incarnate, and God's instructions, when "spoken", are part of His word.>>
The implication is that therefore, God's instructions are part of Christ, as Christ is God's Word, which includes His instructions.

You commented:
Bravo rakovsky, you got it. Smiley
Thanks Smiley

You commented:
Quote
<<hey here in Ethiopia we still folow the old testment's lows so does this mean that we are not following CHRIST>>
Well if you're not following Christ then neither were the Apostles as they themselves kept the Torah.
In other words, if following the Old Testament law means that one isn’t following Christ, then the Apostles weren’t following Him either because they followed the OT Law.

Well, I am not sure He, and they, completely followed all of the OT Law, because He gave them teachings in the Sermon on the Mount that apparently ran counter to the law. I somewhat remember Him saying that the OT Law said to hate one’s enemies, but that He taught to love one’s enemies. Now a countargument could be that perhaps He was actually following the Law, but that He was giving it a better interpretation of it, or that in some other way He wasn’t actually contradicting it. I find this confusing, I admit.

One answer to the question is that one can follow some OT laws, like Do not Steal, and still follow Christ, because Christ Himself didn’t steal. But one might follow some OT law, like hating one’s enemies, and since Christ taught to the contrary, one wouldn’t be following Christ in doing so. So it apparently depends on the OT laws that one is following, and how they are following that OT law.

You wrote:
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His[Fr. Bernstein’s] book has been recommended to me before and I'll get it when I'm able to (I don't live in the US which means I'll have to import it). Will listen to the interview when I have a moment to spare.

Yes it is a good book, and I expect it would be interesting for you because he writes a lot about relations and similarities between Judaism and Christianity, as well as his development from Judaism to the Messianic Jewish movement and Orthodoxy. He also talks about the early Christians called “Nazarenes”. It seems that these schools and the similarities and relations between them are interesting for you J If you succeeded in hearing the interview, I would like to hear your views, because I think it’s something you would like. But if not, I can understand that you felt too busy for this. I myself sometimes feel too busy for religious things that I feel are unnecessary for me. But maybe they really are.

You explained:
Quote
<<What is meant by "...kept the Torah"?  Thank you.   >>
They kept the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath, the Feasts and a Kosher diet. Paul also once took the Nazarite vow and circumcised Timothy.

You must be right in a way. The apostles did the things you mentioned. The Nazarite vow appears to be part of the Torah, because it is described in Numbers 6:1-21. I don’t clearly remember St Paul taking the Nazarite vow, so I have some doubt about it. But he took some Christians to take the vow, and circumcised Timothy like you said.

Now I have some doubt about your ideas here. In particular, it seems like maybe the apostles observed the Sabbath on Sunday after the Resurrection, and ceased following it on Saturday. Maybe you consider this transfer as still observing the Sabbath. Likewise, probably after the Resurrection they ceased observing the Feast of the Day of Atonement because they felt Christ fulfilled it. Now maybe you see our Paskha and Eucharist as keeping the Day of Atonement, but I can easily see you as feeling that they stopped keeping this holiday, since they are observed in different ways and at different times.

So if you define keeping the Torah as, in part, keeping all the 10 Commandments like the Sabbath, and keeping the feasts, then it seems like perhaps they were no longer keeping the Torah. In that case, it seems incorrect for someone to keep the Torah in the way you describe with the Sabbath and Feasts, in order to follow Christ based on the apostles’ observance of it, because they themselves probably stopped following it. But still, maybe you see our Sunday rest and Eucharist or Paskha as a continuation of the Sabbath and Feasts we stopped repeating from the Torah.

You wrote:
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<<Also, it was my understanding that in Hellenistic Judaism, Torah came to take on a meaning very similar to Logos itself.>>
Funny you should mention that, I once came across one Messianic Bible translation that reads in John 1: "In the beginning was the Torah...", meant in the way I explained it of course.
Well, first of all I think this is a bad translation. I think that the Gospel of John was written in Greek. So if our best sources and copies of the gospel say “Logos”, or “Word”, then the right way to translate it would be to translate it as “Word”.

Now perhaps the Messianic translator felt that originally the Gospel said “Torah”, or that here St John meant the concept of Torah. But in that case, it would be better to just translate “Logos” as “Word” and then include a footnote explaining the translator’s interpretation. Because if he/she just translates it as Torah with no footnote, then he/she is just translating his/her own interpretation, rather than translating the words in the document that he/she has. It would be more justifiable if there were direct claims in ancient sources that here St John’s gospel said “Torah”, but absent such claims it’s a bad translation to just put “Torah” in place of “Logos”.

Here’s how you explained it earlier:
Quote
The key is understanding the meaning of the Hebrew word torah, it means instruction/ordinance/statute. The understanding of Yeshua as "Torah Incarnate" is rooted in Him saying: "I am the way, the truth and the life". Since Yeshua is the embodiment of YHWH, He is therefore the embodiment of all YHWH's instructions (torah).
In other words, in the Messianic translation of John 1, the idea of Torah being in the beginning means that God’s laws were in the beginning and that they were Christ. OK, it makes sense that the Messianic translation means this, because this Gospel passage means that Jesus was the Word in the beginning, and this Messianic translation is simply replacing the word “Word” with the word “Torah”, in my opinion.

I agree with you when you say:
But I'm not sure rational debate and discussion is where this thread is going to end up. Too bad too, because this is really an important and enlightening topic.
As long as we IGNORE THE TROLL it can. I for one am delighted when Christians research the "Hebrew Roots" of their faith, and am more than willing to listen to what you have to share on the subject. Smiley

I agree with you when you say: <<"You know what NorthernPines, keep going, sure I doubt you'll able to get him to see the light, but rest of us here will benefit from your knowledge.">>
However, I think Northern Pines may be able to get him to see the light to some extent. Even when people don't agree with eachother, they may convince eachother of some things even if they don't admit it.

You commented:
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<< Essay on Jesus the Jew: http://www.moshereiss.org/christianity/03_hillel/03_hillel.htm>>
I've read this one before. As long as it's remembered that the Rabbi is discussing Yeshua as a man (not Yeshua as God, the Rabbis can't help us there, though so some statements in the Kabbalah can), then aside from a few details which contradict the Gospels (eg: that Yeshua was born in "Bethlehem of Galilee" not Bethlehem in Judea), it's quite an accurate description. Especially impressive is his comparison of Yeshua and Jeremiah.
It sounds like a rather common article since, by coincidence, both you and Marc read it.
You're right that the Rabbi is discussing Yeshua as a man, as the Rabbi, since he says he is writing about the "historical Jesus" and not the Jesus of "Christian faith", since Rabbinial Judaism reject the idea Jesus was Christ, one of their main reasons for doing so was the claim in Christianity He was God. And indeed he doesn't address the topic of Jesus divinity in the article.
Now the Rabbis can help us to understand better about Jesus as God, even when they write counterarguments, because in thinking of our rebuttals to those counterarguments we can arrive at a deeper understanding of Jessus' divinity. Or perhaps in their counterarguments they may address ideas that we haven't thought of, like if they say why in historical terms Jesus might have thought this, even if they disagree with Him about it.
You may be right that some statements in the Kabbalah can help understand Jesus as God, because it has the idea that God is a composite, and the Kabbalah purports to have been handed down orally from the 1st or 2nd centuries AD, although I am unsure if its ideas, or how many of them, have been handed down that far.
Your right that there are a few detail(s) in it that contradict the gospels, like the claim Jesus was born in Nazareth or Galilean Bethlehem, while the gospels specify He was born in Judean Bethlehem, as it explains that the ruler in Judea was slaughtering infants, and that's why the holy family had to escape to Egypt.
However, I am not sure that it is "details" in the plural that contradicts the gospels. The detail about Jesus' birthplace was the only factual detail I found that clearly contradicted the gospels.
Plus, I am not sure the article was "quite an accurate description". While I agreed with a big majority of the article, there were a significant number of parts I have alot of doubt about. For example, I doubt his view that debates between Jesus and the pharisees didn't lead to His death, since the New Testament reports that the pharisees were offended at His words, which were a strong rejection of them, and it also reports that the pharisees planned to kill Him. Now the debates may not have been the only or primary factor, but it still is a factor, because it set them strongly against Him. I mean, if He hadn't debated them, maybe they could've written Him off as a crazy person, like they tried even when they debated Him, and then put Him in prison or exile or something. Or they might still have killed Him for other reasons, but the debates might've been strong enough for them to label Him a blasphemer and kill Him, which they sought to do after He cried out in the Temple about living water coming from Himself, which seems less threatening than the debates do.
However, his comparison of Yeshua and Jeremiah is impressive, like you say, as it matches their words and themes about the Temple.

Thank you also for posting your thought-provoking article "What You Never Knew About the Pharisees", which I commented on earlier in the thread.

I disagree with you when you write about Saint I:
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You sound like one of those Muslim fanatics like the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who even accuse their devout Muslim relatives who are not part of their terrorist group of being infidels, because in their minds they are not Muslim enough for them.
At least in the case of the Muslims you mentioned the fanatics belong to a self-identitfying Muslim organization, while Saint I doesn't even belong to an Orthodox one.

I partly agree and partly disagree when you say to S.I.:
Quote
<<I reiterate - the 2,000 year old teaching of the Church is not that
"Jesus is a 'Jew'"... Or "Messiah of the 'Jews'" because the word 'Jew' did not exist until at least the 15th century.>>
So you're saying that Jesus is not a Jew just because the Orthodox Church didn't use the English word "Jew"
Considering that the Orthodox Church didn't use the English language in first place, this is about as ridiculous as it gets
My understanding is that the term "Jew" didn't exist 2000 years ago, or when the Church began. Rather the words used, including in Greek, were simply Judean and Judahite. So it could be said that because the term "Jew", which means either, the concept of a term with both meanins didn't develop until later, the Orthodox Church doesn't have a 2000 year teaching that uses this particular term with its dual meanings.
So the argument isn't ridiculous based on the fact the Church didn't use English, as the argument wasn't just that the English-language term wasn't used, but that the concept of such a term didn't exist and therefore the term with such a dual concept didn't exist.
Nonetheless, it is still a ridiculous claim, because we can use words for things that existed in ancient times, even if those terms weren't around then. For example, we can say that Roman punishments violated "human rights" even though people didn't use this term then, or perhaps even think of this. Rather, this is a modern description for some or all bad Roman punishments.
And in any case, while this isn't a 2000 year old tradition of the Church, it has probably been used often in Orthodox translations in English since the term was developed.

You asked Saint I:
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"<<Jesus was a Hebrew...>>
Did you know that in modern Greek the Jews are called Ivrea, after the Hebrew word Ivrit both of which mean Hebrew(s)?"
I doubt he knows it, because he doesn't know Greek, and I didn't know this fact, because I don't know Greek either. Perhaps you are suggesting S.I. should see Jesus was a Jew because the term for Jews comes from the word "Hebrews". However, your conclusion isn't necessarily the case.
I'm sure that the term Ivrea can mean either Jews or the larger group of ancient Hebrews, so the two aren't the same because the Jews were only one part of the ancient, larger  group of Hebrews.  I'm sure about this because in Russian, "Yevreyi", a similar-sounding word, can mean Hebrews or Jews. And S.I. in English specifically mentioned "Hebrews" here, which in English means only the larger group of Hebrews.

You commented:
Quote
<<"He was known as 'Jesus of Nazareth'. Nazareth was in Galilee - not in Judea.
FatherHLL has already pointed out the fallacy of this argument:
Quote from: FatherHLL on June 26, 2010, 11:16:59 PM
^^^The statement that Jesus was not a Judean is to refer to Him as a Galilean. Of course, he was born and registered in Judea being of the lineage of David, so this point is nonsense. Jesus was a Jew."
I am not sure FatherHLL correctly pointed out the argument's fallaciousness. Just because someone was born someplace might not make them of that background. For example, if you were born in Kansas while traveling between the east and west coasts of the US, and lived the rest of your life in California, it seems alittle strange to call you someone from Kansas, or a Kansian or Kansasian- whatever it's called. But then again, as it would be in your passport that you were born in Kansas, maybe it would be correct to call you a Kansas person, or "from Kansas".
Another reason why the argument by S.I. is fallacious might be that even though Jesus was usually referred to as from Nazareth, his family background could be Judean people, as the pre-Roman Kingdom of Judea included Galilee where Nazareth was.

I think you are right that: "Many of the oral traditions that are recorded in the Talmud did indeed become Apostolic Christian traditions." For example, the Talmud records traditions about circumcision, the Sabbath, and about how Jesus and His followers were persecuted. These records were records of things that existed before the Talmud was written, and there were apostolic traditions about these things, like about ideas on circumcision, moving Sabbath observance to Sunday, and about persecution of Christians.
Now I am not sure that one can say "many" of the traditions recorded became Apostolic ones, because the Talmud was written in the 5th century AD and dealth with Rabbinical Judaism. It's to be expected that Rabbinical Judaism made alot of new rules and traditions after the times of the Apostles and before the Talmud was written, because there were several centuries in between the two times.. So perhaps a big majority of things recorded in the Talmud didn't become Apostolic traditions.

I doubt that "The Apostles introduced very few new traditions, the majority of the traditions they handed down to the Church were either modified versions of those that were already in existence or they simply gave new interpretations of what those original traditions symbolize.". Certainly, the Pentecost, the closer association with gentiles, Peter's vision allowing eating alot of previously banned meat foods, were important new traditions from the apostolic times. And since important new traditions were made, it makes sense that there were alot more less important ones, like how to design Christian churches or Christian synagogues, etc. And actually those would be important too. Plus, there would be traditions about building communities outside the Holy Land and Paul's journeys.
None of those would be "either modified versions of those that were already in existence or they simply gave new interpretations of what those original traditions symbolize", because these I listed would've been new traditions.

I am not sure about your words about the apostolic writers:
Quote
Neither did they need to distinguish the Shammai Pharisees from the Hillel Pharisees because, again their original readership, almost all of whom were Jewish knew all about them because they visited Jerusalem every year for Pesach and Shavuot, had relatives in Israel and studied in Israel under these Pharisaical Rabbis. The 1st century Church knew exactly which Pharisees Jesus was always in opposition with and why, they were not surprised at all...
I think that maybe the apostolic writers did not feel that it was important to distinguish among the pharisees, because it's possible some pharisees had mixed views between the schools or were independent, and thus some of the pharisees mentioned might not have fit into either school. Plus, maybe the writers didn't want to alienate the Shammaites more by pointing them out as especially bad, because some Shammaites did become Christian, while the School of Hillel as a whole rejected Him.
And because of this mix of Christian Shammaites and Christian Hillelites, as well as rejections by both schools, your statement: "The 1st century Church knew exactly which Pharisees Jesus was always in opposition with and why, they were not surprised at all..." can be correct, and the pharisees mentioned can be both Hillelites and Shammaites as groups of both always opposed Christianity, and for some of the same reasons, like rejection of His Godship. Now since claiming to be uniquely divine is a big claim, presumably the Jewish readers to a large extent were not surprised at all, like you say, to read about this rejection. On the other hand, it's logical that some of the Jewish readers might still have been surprised, if they thought Jesus was so obviously Christ, like with His miracles, that they expected the pharisees of both schools to accept Him.

And maybe it wasn't a goal of the writers to distinguish the pharisees because they didn't consider the division between the school important to emphasize in their preaching. To give an example, rabbinical opponents of Christianity might not choose to differentiate among Christians as Jewish Christians vs gentile ones, because the opponents' target is Christianity itself. Thus, perhaps the writers didn't wish to particularly portray the School of Hillel's teachings as OK, because there was still a disagreement between them about Christianity.
And at the same time, I doubt that the writers' original readership was almost all Jews. The gospels were written in 70-100 AD, and by that time there were alot of gentile Christians. Plus, scholars consider Luke a gentile, and scholars propose that Acts was written by the gospel of Luke's author.
Also, the Jewish readers would've known about the two schools- Shammaites and Hillelites- for the reasns you mentioned, like the yearly pilgrimages for Passover and Shavuot, and had relatives in the Holy Land. But they might not be sure which pharisees were being referred to in a given passage, because as I mentioned, it's possible some pharisees had mixed views between the schools or were independent." And plus when passages talk about rejection of Jesus, those who are being referred to could be from either school, as almost all of both schools rejected Him, as the author of the article you posted practically said.
However, it's possible that some Jewish readers had disconnected from their relatives or lived abroad in diaspora communities long enough that they no longer had direct, close relatives in the Holy Land. There were apparently old diaspora communities in Egypt at that time, for example, as one scholarly idea is that one of the Maccabean books came form there, and as Philo was called "Philo of Alexandria". And those living abroad in the communities abroad might not have studied in the Holy Land under the pharisees like you mentioned, as there were pharisees and academics like Philo living abroad too.
And finally it's possible that some might not have made the annual pilgrimages sometimes because they were so far away in the ancient world.

I am not sure that: "We, the 21st century believers, on the other hand DO need to do historical research in order to understand what Our Master and His Apostles were talking about because we were not there". The gospels were written for a wide audience, and an audience of simple people like those Jesus ministered too. And the gospels also had the gentiles in mind, because Jesus commanded the apostles to preach to the gentiles. And plus, at Pentecost there was the miracle where the apostles could speak many languages, and this matched the call to preach to the nations. So it makes sense that the gospels were written in a way simple people could understand from many cultures. So in many cases we shoudl be able to understand what Christ and the apostles were talking about simply in reading the gospels. In fact, we may be able to understand all the verses to some extent.
On the other hand, it makes sense we would need to do historical research, since we weren't there, to understand more fully what they meant. For example, doing other historical research beyond just reading the Bible about the pharisees can give more understanding of the kinds of things Jesus and the apostles were saying when they evaluated the pharisees, as we can compare that evalutation with the one we get from such historical research.

I agree when you say "Likewise they knew everything about the Sadducees, and they were not surprised at how they reacted to Him, they knew that the Sadducees did not believe that a Messiah would come, so their rejection of Him was totally expected." Except that the readers might not have known "everything" about the Sadducees, like exactly how many of them had doubts about Sadduceeism and how strong those doubts were.

But like you said, the Jewish readers "they knew that the Sadducees did not believe that a Messiah would come,"  and they would've known alot about the Sadducees because the Sadducees controlled the Temple, the focus of the Jewish religion then. And because of the Sadducees' rejection in belief in a Messiah concept, for the Jewish readers, "their rejection of Him was totally expected" and those readers must not have been "surprised at how they reacted to Him."

I am confused about your words here:
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<<Not all of the Judeans were Judahites and not all of the Judahites lived in Judea!>>
Anna the lady in who was present at Jesus' dedication was of the tribe of Asher, Paul mentions that he was of the tribe of Benjamin, and most of the Sadducees (and John the Baptist's parents) were of the tribe of Levi. But they all called themselves Yehudim!
Here Paul says he's an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin:
{Romans 11:1} I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
But here he says that he's a Jew:
{Acts 21:39} But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."
In the verses you cited abotu St Paul, St Paul calls himself from the tribe of Benjamin, and specifies in Acts 21:39 that he was a Judean or "Ioudaios", as in: "μεν ειμι ιουδαιος", Acts 21:39. The word for Judahite in Greek is separate, and as I vaguely remember from another thread on this forum, is something like "Ioudaiokos".
So what you are saying about Paul is consistent with Saint Iaint's idea that not all Judeans were Judahites.

Now Luke's gospel says about Anna "There was also present, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher". And it makes sense that since Levi was the priestly line, that most of the Sadducees and John the Baptist's parents were from Levi. However, I am not sure that they all called themselves "Yehudim", which means those from Judah. I don't clearly remember this from scripture. But still, this makes sense, because Judah was the kingdom that was restored after the Babylonian captivity, while the other Kingdom, the northern one, was wiped out. So those adherents of pre-Christian Judaism like those you mentioned would've had their lineages traced through people who belonged to the Kingdom of Judah and thus could be called Judahites.

You asked:
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<<Many of the 'Jews' (Judeans) in the New Testament narrative were actually racially Edomites!>>
And your proof for this?
I don't think he has good proof for this. Sometimes the NT refers to Idumeans, but it refers to them as if they were a separate group Jesus was talking to. Sometimes the NT says he was talking to groups of Jews, and other times it talks about him speaking to Edomites, but it never says these terms meant the same thing. So the logical assumption is that these were two different groups.

I mostly agree with you when you say:
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<<A Pharisaic 'ritual bath' is not the same thing as baptism. Man - you are SO Judaized it's not even funny!>>
I would certainly call the service of Baptism in many churches especially the sacramental churches like the Orthodox Church a "ritual bath". The rituals differ but they are still rituals, it sure looks that way to me.
Baptism in the Orthodox Church is obviously a "ritual bath". In Orthodoxy, it is a ritual wherein someone is bathed. Such religious activities with strong religious significance, like Baptism, are of course considered rituals, like you say.
However, the phrase "especially the sacramental churches" appears misleading. Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Catholicism and the ones that most think about Sacraments, besides the Orthodox church. Yet all of those churches use sprinkling or pouring, rather than a bath. Some or all evangelical churches, which don't use terms like sacraments as much- i think they call them something like ordinances or orders- use bathing for baptism.
It makes sens that the rituals differ like you say. One difference is that Christian Baptism traditionally is performed with a Trinitarian invocation.
If you say that the rituals are different, then you are practically agreeing with Saint I that "a Pharisaic 'ritual bath' is not the same thing as baptism".

Also, I mostly agree with you here: "BTW Mikvah was also and is still done for repentance in Judaism, it is alluded to in Ezekiel and the Psalms, so neither the Church or even John the Baptist invented it." A brief check on the internet showed articles saying that the Mikvah was done in tandem with repentance, suggesting that they happened at similar times, although they were separate. But I doubt whether the Mikvah itself was done "for" repentance, since the Mikvah sounds comparable to Baptism, as they appear like somewhat similar rituals. Baptism isn't done in order "for" the person to repent, but the repentance is a change of heart that is supposed to happen either before or together with the Baptism.
Something that sounds like Mikvah is mentioned in Ezekiel 36:25: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols."
However, I doubt whether the Psalms describe Mikvah. The clearest example of Mikvah I found from a brief internet search yielded: Psalm 26:6 "I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD".
This particular Psalm is talking about washing hands, and the verse from Ezekiel talks about sprinkling water, so I doubt whether either were describing Mikvah, because my impression was that Mikvah was a body bath, rather than a mere handwashing or sprinkling. If it was either of those two things, then Baptism, which was a full bath in early Christianity, differs even more from a Mikvah.
Since the two OT verses mentioned here don't clearly refer to Mikvah, and since Mikvah and Baptism were both done in connection with repentance, these verses and the fact that Mikvah is done in connection with repentance don't show whether or not the Church or John the Baptist invented the Mikvah, because those facts don't establish which was created chronologically first, nor do they show that the two rituals were significantly different.
But I'm sure Jesus or John the Baptist didn't invent the Mikvah, because I read in another historical work about Jesus that the Mikvah already existed in Judaism by their time.

I disagree with your words to Saint Iaint: "As much as you want to try to divorce Christianity from anything Jewish the fact is you cannot". It's possible to divorce Christianity from those Jews who rejected Christianity, as St Paul described them in Romans as branches that had been cut off. This sounds like the idea of divorcing the two.

You asked: "where else [besides anything Jewish] were the Apostles to draw inspiration for their rituals from? The idolatrous pagans?"
Well, they could have drawn inspiration for their rituals from things that were common across cultures, like the Roman empire's system of travel. The Roman empire had alot of roads and travel across the Mediterranean, and this made it possible to spread the word. Now perhaps the travel system didn't inspire spreading the word, but merely facilitated it.
Now Cornelius, who was a Roman soldier became Christian, and I somewhat remember that St Peter had a vision in connection with Cornelius' conversion that it was OK to eat animal foods that were prohibited by Judaic rules. In that case, it seems possible to say that the facts that idolatrous pagans frequently ate these foods, and the fact that Cornelius became Christian, and the hope that gentiles would become Christian combined to inspire the Apostles to allow eating these foods.
Now one can say that eating foods and missionizing weren't really rituals either.
However, the celebration of Pentecost was a religious event partly inspired by the idolatrous pagans in that a primary purpose of the event was to enable preaching to them in the languages spoken at Pentecost. One can propose that commemoration of Pentecost didn't begin until after the Apostles' time. But it is to be expected that since it was such an important religious event that there was some mention of it occasionally in rituals, like prayer services held about 50 days after Passover or Paskha.

You commented:
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<<"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."- Matthew 5:20>>
In light of what NorthernPines has already stated regarding how Jews criticized other Jews of the same sect, this doesn't prove anything one way or another.
Well, it does prove that Jesus considered the Kingdom of Heaven to be a serious and somewhat difficult goal, as He viewed it as requiring someone to be more righteous than the main Judaic religious sect in Judaism and the copiers of the Tanakh, both of whose doctrines at least believed in and claimed to want to be righteous.

Now, Northern Pines' good point was that, as the prophets criticized Israel and yet belonged to it, Jesus could also be a pharisee and criticize them. So you are right here, it seems to me.
It sounds grammatically strange to think of Jesus telling people who are pharisees that their righteousness must exceed that of the pharisees. For example, it sounds OK for a Christian to say that Christians don't do a good enough job following Jesus. But it sounds strange grammatically for the Christian to say that people who are Christians must be better than the Christians. This apparent contradiction in Matthew makes sense when one realizes that He is addressing the multitudes, rather than the pharisees or even just His followers.

You laughed:
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<<I've been [to an Orthodox service] thanks... Nothing was 'Jewish'! 'Jewish' is Pharisaic. Pharisaism is anti-Christ. The Orthodox Christian liturgy is not at all Pharisaic.>>
*chuckles*
I guess how funny it is to you depends on the mood you're in. It's like he is having a strong emotional overreaction trying to reason away the fact the Orthodox service has important Jewish aspects. Just to mention two- there is a seven branch candle, like a menorah, near the altar, and the service's outline matches the outline of a synagogue service, with opening prayers, a benediction, etc. I can see someone finding this funny, but maybe it can be seen as sad too.

You commented:
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<<Israel is not (and never has been) synonymous with 'Jew'.>>
According Paul it is, again see quotes above where he calls himself an Israelite and a Jew.

You are obviously referring to the time you wrote earlier:
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Here Paul says he's an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin:
{Romans 11:1} I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
But here he says that he's a Jew:
{Acts 21:39} But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."
However, these two verses, where Paul writes that he is an Israelite and a Jew, don't mean the two are synonymous, only that one cane be both. Further, the two terms aren't synonyms, that is, words that mean almost the same thing. The Jews, named after the tribe and Kingdom of Judah, were only one part, albeit the largest part, of the tribe of Israel, that is, of the Israelites. Saying that being a Jew is synonymous with being an Israelite is kind of like saying that being a Russian is synomous with being a Soviet person, in that the Russians were only the largest group of the Soviets. It's true that in common English, the terms "Russians" and "Soviets" were sometimes used interchangeably like synonyms, but their meaning really wasn't synonymous.

You commented:
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What you will not find anywhere in the NT is the statement "New Israel" which you are advocating, as one forum member explained:
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Quote from: Rafa999 on March 25, 2010, 06:16:38 PM
I don't like this idea of "replace". The Biblical metaphor is that of a tree which gets groomed by the husbandman (namely God). People leave the household of faith and others enter it at any time they want, God does not create a "new tree". This has happened in every chapter of the bible if you think about it: Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Reuben and Judah, the Samaritans and the Jews, the lost tribes who left their brethren versus the people that stayed, Judas versus the other Apostles, etc. I don't view any of these cases as God creating a "new" tree of faithful. Further, I don't really like this triumphalist attitude since scripture says a branch of the Church which does not bear fruit can be cut off and the old branches easily re-instated (Romans 11:21).
(1)The term "New Israel" is nowhere in the New Testament, so your statement is correct above. But I doubt whether a concept like "New Israel" is nowhere in th New Testament. Jesus had 12 apostles, and His key Sermon on the Mount, where he gave key Christian concepts was similar to Moses and the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. And this suggests that He was restoring Israel or acting in a way corresponding to some key elements of the OT Israel.
Furthermore, the concept of a New Israel can make sense as a transformation or restoration of the OT Israel, so that one need not consider it to be a replacement of the OT Israel. For example, I think the Bible speaks of the earth being transformed in a good way, and of a new earth. This can be like the phrase "I feel like a new man" or "I feel like a newborn", or "it's as good as new", or the term "renovation", that is, to make new again.
Thus, in a way, the OT Israel and New Israel can be the same thing and overlap, and they can be different from eachother too.
It's like how Orthodoxy refers to people who become baptized as "made new again," or that their baptism is dying to the world and becoming a new self. Or the Evangelical idea of being "born again." Since these concepts of being born again, and thus becoming "new" again, are applied to Christians, it makes sense that in a way, when Israel became Christian, it became a New Israel.

(2)So I feel that the idea of the New Israel replacing the old one can be confusing or misleading because it suggests that the two are completely separate entities, when that is only true in a sense. When someone becomes born again in Christianity, Christianity views it that he/she becomes separate in a renovated way, from his/her former self. But still, in terms of the person's body and the person having the same person's soul, it's of course the same person.
And it isn't true that the OT is completely gone, because there is overlap. For example, Paul in one of his letters in theb Bible writes that the Law is good for moral instruction in Christianity.

(3) Rafa999 accurately repeats ideas from Romans 11 when Rafa writes: "The Biblical metaphor is that of a tree which gets groomed by the husbandman (namely God). People leave the household of faith and others enter it at any time they want, God does not create a "new tree"."

(4) I am somewhat doubtful when Raga says: "This has happened in every chapter of the bible if you think about it: Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Reuben and Judah, the Samaritans and the Jews, the lost tribes who left their brethren versus the people that stayed, Judas versus the other Apostles, etc".It may be that there are chapters of the Bible recording some figures joining and others entering the household of God "any time they want", but there are some chapters that don't. For example, Job was tested by God, but through his testing and in the entire Book of Job he remained loyal to God. In fact, I don't clearly remember anyone joining or leaving God's household in the Book of Job.
Also, there is a chapter in the Old Testament, I forget which, that describes occupiers of the Holy Land as bringing people into the Holy Land who then accept the Torah and basics of the Israelite religion. I also remember hearing an academic commentary proposing that that these people who were introduced into the Israelite religion were the Samaritans. However, this commentary's claim could be wrong, as I don't remember the OT verse in the commentary referring to these people introduced into the Israelite religion as "Samaritans." And if the claim is wrong, then I doubt whether any chapter in the Bible specifically describes the Samaritans joining or leaving God's household.
However, it sounds familiar to me that the others in the Bible whom Rafa lists are described as joining or leaving faith in God, so I somewhat trust Rafa on this.
And another problem with his words here is that Romans 11 wouldn't consider the Jews, Jacob, or Isaac as joining the tree of God's faithful, because it refers to the Jews and Israelites as natural branches. That is, the Jews grew naturally from the household of God's faithful, rather than joining it from another tree, which would in that case possibly mean from another community with another religion.
And I agree with him about those on his list when he says: " I don't view any of these cases as God creating a "new" tree of faithful." Rather, when it comes to joining or leaving God's household, that is, the religious community of believers in Him, it makes more sense to think in terms of joining or separating from the tree of faithful, since the community is the same, in the sense of one community of believers in the same God.
Now one might think in terms of several trees, if those communities are separated by language, location, etc. But nonetheless, Romans 11 only talks about joining one tree, although it does refer to leaving two trees- the tree of believers and the "wild" tree that the believers who joined the tree of beleivers came from.
(5) When Rafa says "I don't really like this triumphalist attitude since scripture says a branch of the Church which does not bear fruit can be cut off and the old branches easily re-instated (Romans 11:21)", it doesn't sound like he is referring to the idea of "replacement" as the objectioned-to-attitude. Rather, if one clicks on Rafa's quote to go to where he posted it, one sees that he was responding to Alveus' words about dispensationalism: "Fie upon the heresy".
In any case, dispensationalism isn't quite the same as a mere rejection of the ideas about New Israel and about "replacement theology". Rather, dispensationalism has other ideas, like ideas about something called "dispensations", and was a set of doctrines developed in 19th century Protestantism. The topic was discussed alot on another thread, and dispensationalism is a rather confusing idea.
Rafa is saying that he considers strong declarations of dislike against dispensationalism that describe it as a heresy to be the kind of boastful attitude Romans 11:21 warns against. However, the dispensationalist ideas, and the idea that Jews separate from the Church are still Israel and gentiles aren't goes against Paul's ideas basic to Christianity on this topic, and so traditional Christianity naturally strongly dislikes these ideas that go against Paul's and considers them to be heretical. Paul's idea in Galatians is that adoption is as valid as natural birth, and that Christians become adopted by Christ and part of Abraham's line when they become baptised. This means that Paul considers gentile Christians to be part of Israel.
Simply having such a strong dislike of these heresies isn't the same as having the kind of boastful attitude Paul warns against, because Paul is talking about boasting against the natural branches, the Jews. However, the traditional Christian view here isn't one of boasting, but simply noting what Paul himself said, that some Jews are part of the community of faithful and that others aren't, but that Paul hopes those others will be part of it again.
The boasting Paul talks about here would be something like claiming with an attitude of dislike that gentile Christians are superior to non-Christian Jews based on differences in faith. But Alveus wasn't portraying Jews with an attitude of dislike for Jews, but rather simply rejecting the theory of dispensationalism.
Paul's reasoning for his warning gentiles against boasting is that they themselves could be cut off from the tree.
However, Paul in Romans 11:21 neither says that the reason the gentile branches could be cut off is because they failed to produce fruit, and not does he say the gentiles should avoid boasting because the Jews who were formerly separated could be reinstated. Rather, Paul merely says in this verse: "[Be not highminded...] For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee."

As I said, you are right that the phrase "New Israel" is not found in the New Testament. However, there is a somewhat similar idea in Revelations 2:1-2:
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven"


So one can propose that just as Revelations has an idea about a new earth and a new Jerusalem, there can be an implicit concept of a new Israel, as Jerusalem is the chief city of the Tribe of Israel.

Likewise, there is also an idea of replacement. Besides the above verses, Matthew 9:16-17 says:
"No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."

So here Jesus is talking about new things and new ways in a spiritual sense. He said this following His response to a question from John's disiples: "Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?" (Jesus' immeidate answer was that the bridegroom was still with them, before talking about doing old things and new things)
So one interpretation of this passage can be that John's disciples and the pharisees are part of old things or are doing things in old ways.

Matthew's gospel records Jesus saying that the wine in the Last Supper was the blood of the "New Testament".

And Paul writes in Hebrews 8: "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...
...In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away"

So apparently the New Testament emphasizes principles about replacement, particularly replacing the old with the new, like replacing the old covenant with the new one. But it isn't clear the New Testament is really saying that when it comes to Israel that the Old Israel is a completely separate entity than the New one, and that the New one simply replaces the Old.

You are right i summarizing Romans 11's words about the metpahorical olive tree of the Church when you say:
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There is, always has been, and always will be only one tree of Faith. Some of the people who were originally part of this tree were cut off, others who were not have been grafted in. But these wild branches are and will always be wild branches they will never be natural branches, but that does not mean that they are of lessor value. The point is the tree itself has always been the same tree.
However, St Paul doesn't say that gentiles who became Christian "will always be wild branches", he merely refers to them as wild branches from a wild olive tree. Now it makes sense that they would remain wild branches since he called them that, and since they were grafted in, it seems pretty strange to think of them as at some point becoming branches that weren't grafted in. But then again, Paul in Galatians says adoption is considered to be as valid as natural birth. Plus, in a way, God "adopted" the people of Israel as His own, when Abraham accepted Him and/or vice verse. And yet St Paul in Romans refers to Jews as natural branches. So perhaps at some point the gentiles could be considered natural branches too, like in Revelations where the new earth and "new Jerusalem" are described as appearing. That is, perhas there could be some transformation of the tree or the branches whereby the wild branches are considered natural ones.
In the image of Romans 11, Paul only proposes one tree of Faith, and it's the only one alluded to in his passage. The wild branches aren't of lesser value, as Paul wrote in his letters in the Bible that in Christianity, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, but all are one in Jesus Christ".

I am interested in your comment here: "Most of these writings [in the Talmud] cannot be attribute to Jewish believers in Meshiach, but a few can (because they slipped through the editing process)." That is, it sounds like you are proposing that there were some writers of the passages in the Talmud who were Christians. Rabbinical Judaism wouldn't have used their writing in the Talmud because it considered them to be heretics and naturally would have excommunciated them if they were open and recognized. However, the New Testament mentions Nicodemus as a secret Christian and leading member of the Jewish community. It is therefore to be expected that there were other secret Christians. So it sounds like you are proposing that there were secret Christians who wrote passages in the Talmud that slipped through the restriction on writings by heretics in the Talmud, since those Christian writers were secret.

However, I am not sure about your opinion here.
On one hand, it makes sense that some Talmud writers could have been secret Christians. The Talmud's passage about Nakdimon- apparently the Nicodemus in John's gospel who was a secret Christian- that talks about the miracle where God filled 12 wells of water for Nakdimon sounds something like a secret Christian passage. The image of 12 wells is similar to the 12 apostles, and the passage seems cryptic, because the passage claims to be about how Nakdimon got his name Nakdimon, but the name actually means "innocent of blood", and there isn't anything in the story clearly about anyone being "innocent of blood".
One the other hand, a brief internet search for the terms "secret christians" writers talmud didn't turn up anything significant except one Christian site that goes against your claim. The website has a list of questions and the website's answers. The one on topic says:
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ARE YOU CLAIMING THAT BECAUSE SOME OF THE SAGES SEEM TO PRESENT VIEWS WHICH AGREE WITH CHRISTIAN INTERPETATIONS, THAT THEY WERE ACTUALLY SECRET CHRISTIANS?

No, merely that certain interpretations were so obvious that they couldn't be missed; or else that they were the traditional interpretations, and as such, were used by both the rabbinic Jews and the followers of Yeshua. Only later were these interpretations pushed out of sight by the rabbis, because they were 'embarrassed' that they existed.
So one conclusion could be that you and others may be reading Talmud passages that seem particularly Christian and your conclusion from this is that they must have been secret Christian writers. However, this website would apparently suggest that those passages only seem like Christian passages to you because their views are different from what Rabbinical Judaism teaches now, and that the reason for the discrepancy between what it teaches now and what the Talmud teaches is that Rabbinical Judaism moved its views in a direction farther away from Christianity after those passages were written.

Very Many Bright Days to You.




Jonathan,

I partly agree with your analysis here:
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They take the idea that the Church was grafted in and the Jews that reject Christ are not true Jews as saying that God broke His promise to the Jews. They think that to honour that promise, God must still see Israel as Israel, and the Church must be something separate, made up by men. They can't see that the Church is Israel.
1. I think they do accept the idea that gentile Christians were grafted in as the right idea. At least some of them feel this way, as I have seen an analysis, in my view mistaken, that if the gentile Christians are grafted into Israel, it means they aren't actually part of it. It's a wrong view, because St Paul noted in his writing in connection with this topic, that adoption was as legitimate as biological birth.
2. It appears you are suggesting that " Jews that reject Christ are not true Jews". I highly doubt this view, because on the contrary, it seems that even if Israelites worshipped the Golden Calf, they were still Israelites, albeit ones in heresy. St Paul wrote that not all Israel is Israel, and then he later writes in connection with nonChristian Jews and gentiles becoming Christian that "all Israel will be saved." This implies a certain contradiction, and it isn't clear that one can speak of fake Jews vs. true ones based on whether they accept Israel's Messiah. Jesus repsonded to some Jews who focused on their ethnicity, by saying that God could make sons of Abraham even from rocks. But Jesus did not deny that those He was criticizing were Jews.
3. It makes sense that for God to honor His promise to Israel, "They think that to honour that promise, God must still see Israel as Israel". One might say that God might have good cause not to honor the promise. But nonetheless, to honor His promise it must be to the ones He made it to.
4. I am not sure that they reason that "to honour that promise, ...the Church must be something separate, made up by men." It seems like they could understand the plain logic that the Church could be at least partly joined to Israel even for God to honor His promise to Israel, as the New Testament says that Christians could receive blessings promised to Israel.
Naturally, the Church must be made up by men.
5. It's true that for the particular group of evangelicals you are referring to, "They can't see that the Church is Israel."

I agree with you when you say:
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I find it frusterating that they claim that they've always existed, and where always there as the gentile Church deviated and persecuted them from Apostolic times until today.
Now it may be true that there were always a few Christians of Jewish origin someplace in the world who maintained a religious orientation vaguely matching that of the Messianic Jews. But still, this seems like a misleading claim, as it suggests there is some kind of historical, social continuity, when in fact the modern M.J. movement apparently was created in the last 100-200 years based on some non-Orthodox people's own decisions. Also, it isn't clear whether the "gentile Church" persecuted them and if so how much. The Spanish Inquisition targeted Christians who performed unique Jewish customs, but its concept was to target Jews who pretended to be Christian, rather than Messianic Jews.

You asked Tribe:
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As for "what I am", I'm a Canadian nationally, various European by decent, and Coptic Orthodox Christian in religion.
Wouldn't the same apply to you? Wouldn't you be a Jewish Christian, ie a person of Jewish descent who is of the Christian faith? (Although, like me, it'd probably take a moment's explanation after you were to say Jewish Christian Smiley
Sure, the same concept would apply to Tribe, with him being American nationally, Jewish by descent, and Christian in religion. In shorter terms, like you said, he would "be a Jewish Christian, ie a person of Jewish descent who is of the Christian faith." It would probably take a "moment's explanation after [he was] to say Jewish Christian Smiley The reason is that Jewish has a religious meaning and an ethnic one, so saying that he is Jewish Christian can be confusing, and so it would likely take a short explanation to specify that he was Jewish in terms of ethnicity and not in the sense of Rabbinical Judaism or the Messianic Jewish movement. But ultimately it's a matter of clarification, because the term Jewish Christian is correct too.

Be Good and Take Care.
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rakovsky
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« Reply #162 on: May 23, 2011, 02:16:32 AM »

Seraphim Reeves,

I have alittle doubt about your words:
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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
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The Scriptures themselves state that... God could turn stones into biological descendents of Abraham.
But I doubt that this means
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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:
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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
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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
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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:
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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
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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."
, because:
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
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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
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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:
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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:
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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:
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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
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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
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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:
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"Judaizing" in it's various forms, is the contamination of the liberality of the Gospel with this unwarranted ethnic pride.
, because:
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:
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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"]
, because:
(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
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"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".)"
, because:
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:
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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
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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:
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- 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:
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- 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:
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- 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:
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- 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
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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:
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<<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




Samer,

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:
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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:
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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:
Quote
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:
Quote
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
Quote
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



Ialmisry,

You are right when you say:
Quote
<<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
Quote
"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
Quote
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:
Quote
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:
Quote
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:
Quote
<<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:
Quote
<<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!




deusveritasest,

You commented:
Quote
<<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.

You commented:
Quote
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:
Quote
<<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:
Quote
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:
Quote
<<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:
Quote
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.





Mor Ephrem,

I sympathize with you when you write:
Quote
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. Smiley
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 02:33:17 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #163 on: May 23, 2011, 02:37:58 AM »

Northern Pines,

You commented:
That's because Chrisitanity comes from OT Christianity, and Judaism comes from NT Judaism (Pharisees, scribes, etc.)
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism both came from 2nd Temple Judaism? 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. It would be like a devout Lutheran saying "Lutheranism comes pre-Reformation Lutheranism of the Eastern Church of the 5th century!" When in fact there was no Lutheran Church at the time. (Calvinists do the same thing with St. Augustine implying the early Church were in fact all Presbyterians)
(A)I think "Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism both came from 2nd Temple Judaism" like you proposed. However, it's reconcilable with Ialmisry's idea that there was such a thing as OT Christianity, ie an OT continuation of Christianity, and that Rabbinical Judaism since the time of the early Church comes from the Rabbinical Judaism of NT times, which is phariseeism, the scribes, etc.
(B)I agree with you when you say "Calling second Temple Judaism "NT Judaism" just doesn't sit well with me personally... I of course don't disagree with the point you're making at all, just the phrases "NT Judaism"... I'm quibbling over. Smiley", because Second Temple Judaism is a broad term that includes OT religion, which isn't the same concept as a NT religion like NT Judaism. Also, Ialmisry didn't say Second Temple Judaism was NT Judaism, he said Judaism came from NT-era Judaism. Smiley
(C) I sympathize with your statement:
Quote
It carries too much of a bias from a historical perspective. It would be like a devout Lutheran saying "Lutheranism comes pre-Reformation Lutheranism of the Eastern Church of the 5th century!" When in fact there was no Lutheran Church at the time.
But it is confusing what you mean by Second Temple Judaism as earlier than NT-era Judaism, because NT-era Judaism existed during the Second Temple. I assume you mean Second Temple Judaism of some period preceding the NT era.
Maybe you feel it would carry too much bias to say that the non-Christian Judaism of the 1st century AD was a continuation of earlier Second Temple Judaism from the 4th-2nd century BC when the latest canonical OT book was written. Well, it appears that there might have been some differences, but also a continuation. It seems really hard to say. It's foreseeable that some big changes happened in the centuries after the latest canonical OT book was written, like during the Maccabean period and Hasmonean rule, not to mention the foreign invasions in those intervening years.
On the other hand, 1st century AD non-Christian Judaism was, I assume, alot like official 1st century BC Judaism, because it immediately preceded it.
For your analogy to a Lutheran claim to a Lutheran origin in 5th century Christianity to be correct, there would have to be a break between NT-era Judaism and the period of Second Temple Judaism you refer to. And I think there was such a break, because the Sadducees controlled the Temple in the NT era, and their beliefs, like disbelieving the afterlife, run counter to the OT.
On the other hand, I do think that Lutheranism may come from the 5th century AD pre-Reformation Lutheranism of the Eastern Church, since this 5th century Lutheranism may be taken to mean ideas and practices that match Lutheranism. There probably were ideas in 5th century Eastern Christianity that Lutheranism saw and accepted, like reduced subservience to the Pope, less emphasis on a physical change in the Eucharist, or allowing married clergy. In Western Christianity, such ideas were defining for Lutheranism, and they may have had their origin in ideas taken from the Eastern Church in the Middle Ages.
(D)I assume you are at least partly right when you say:
Quote
Calvinists do the same thing with St. Augustine implying the early Church were in fact all Presbyterians
However, I think at some level the Calvinists must also recognize that this interpetation of history is incorrect, as at least a significant part of Calvin's main ideas of TULIP were new ideas. I highly doubt that St Augustine had the idea of irrestible grace. I'm not sure Calvin had the idea of once saved always saved, but alot of Calvinists do. St Augustine played a big role in Western Christianity, and I think if he had the idea of irresistible grace it would've spread alot beyond St Augustine in discussion.
(E) I am not sure how you are quibbling over the term "Old Testament Christianity". I presume you don't mean Christianity didn't come from the Old Testament or wasn't a continuation of it, as you say Christianity is a "more direct and loyal descendant of" Second Temple Judaism. But maybe you mean that they are still distinct concepts and periods, so it's improper to say OT Christianity, like it's improper to pre-Lutheran Lutheranism. Still, the problem in the case of "OT Christianity" would just be that the term is confusing, not that Christianity didn't have prefigurements, forerunners, or matching elements in the Second Temple Judaism of the Old Testament.

Regarding your statement:
Quote
It's a bias which I don't think is at all necessary considering the weight of evidence of 2nd Temple Judaism falls heavily in favor of Christianity being a more direct and loyal descendant of, than Rabbinic Judaism is. (though both are descendants, the similarities and theology between Christianity and the 2nd Temple period as you know, are striking)
1. You appear to be confused about Ialmisry's words. He wasn't showing a bias that non-Christian NT-era Judaism comes more directly from OT Judaism than Christianity does, although he would feel similarly about such a bias, because as his term "OT Christianity" shows, he feels Christianity is a more direct descendant. Rather he was saying that modern Judaism, with which the Messianic Judaism movement is associated, came from NT-era non-Christian Judaism.
2. I am not sure if Christianity is a more direct descendant of OT Judaism than NT-era non-Christian Judaism is. On one hand, Christianity has a closer theology in that it has the idea of a resurrected Messiah, and unlike the Sadducees who controlled the Temple in NT times, Christianity accepts the idea of the general resurrection and the books outside the Pentateuch. Plus, Christianity seems to give significant authority to the OT apocrypha that developed during the pre-Christian Second Temple period, whereas NT Judaism from the late 1st century Council of Jamnia rejected them as noncanonical. There is striking similarities in theology between Christianity and the pre-Christian Judaism of the Second Temple, like the importance of ideas like the Davidic Messiah and the Temple sacrifice, as well as the need for Israel to repent and have a better relationship with God.
On the other hand, I assume that the mainstream and official Jewish religious community had some cohesiveness or significant continuity from the pre-Christian era to the Christian era. I am not sure how much Jesus' teachings differed from pre-Christian Second Temple Judaism, since he seemed to change or put a different spin on OT teachings like a "tooth for a tooth". But then again, maybe in the pre-Christian era there was already some different spin put on some of these teachings.
Also, the theology about the divine Holy Spirit could be different from the Judaism of the pre-Christian Second Temple period, as non-Christian NT era Judaism lacks such an idea. But then this claim would be a-priori to already accept the idea that non-Christian NT Judaism was closer to Second Temple Judaism. It isn't clear how clear the idea of the Holy Spirit is laid out in the OT. It does talk about God's spirit, and I think the word for God in the schema prayer, saying that God is One, actually uses the plural word "Elohim" for God.

Thanks for your reminder:

Just a reminder to everyone this is the Religious Topics Forum, and not a Politics Forum. Can we try and stay away from Middle Eastern politics and keep things in the realm of the topic at hand.

Sure, I'll "try and stay away from Middle Eastern politics and keep things in the realm of the topic at hand... see if we can drop the Political talk." Yes, "sometimes the line between" Middle Eastern Politics and Religion can be fine like you say.

Thank you for moving the tangent onto my thread and advising people to post there instead:
Quote
Ok, for starters the tangent about Middle Eastern Politics has been split off and merged with rakovsky's new thread/poll which can be found here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28376.0.html Go there, and talk about Israeli politics, or one of the other threads which are currently discussing similar topics.
I agree that the tangent topic of bulldozing Palestinian homes is more relevant to government policies, which are politics and belong in thread(s) in the Politics section, than to the topic of Messianic Jews.

Thanks for posting:
Quote
I am keeping this thread open for the moment, because I believe it's an important topic and the discussion may be beneficial to a great many people now and in the future. However one more infraction of the Forum Rules where someone tosses in Middle Eastern politics, specifically after my warning to NOT interject Middle Eastern politics and the thread will be locked, and whoever the person is who brings up Middle Eastern politics will be given a public warning.

I feel I'm being pretty lenient on this issue, so I hope no one decides to see how far they can push my leniency.

Thanks for understanding . . . .
Sure I understand where you are coming from. Yes I think the topic of Messianic Jews is important because they are Christians whoa re oriented toward Judaism and the Jewish aspects of Christianity, and Christianity came out of the Jewish religion, and Christianity may be a school of Judaism from a secular viewpoint. So there is a lot of overlap that can give insight into Christianity from such a discussion. I don’t see any discussions about Middle Eastern politics after you wrote about this. J
Sure I think you were pretty lenient to just give this general warning rather than give warnings to specific individuals like myself who discussed it on the thread.

You asked Saint Iaint:
Quote
<<They [Karaites] still don't accept Christ - but at least they're not vehemently anti-Christ like the vast majority of 'Jews' are!>>
You do realize Jesus was a Jew, right?
Saint Iaint isn't indicating in his sentence that he doesn't think Jesus was Jewish, only that he thinks "the vast majority of 'Jews' are". It isn't clear why he puts the term "Jews" in quotation marks. It's as if he's emphasizing that they are called Jews, as if they aren't really Jews in some way. However, the gospels clearly describe even Jews who are against Christianity as Jews.
In any case, by saying the vast majority of Jews are against Christianity, he allows for the possibility that others, like, say, Jesus, are Christian.
I believe Jesus was a Jew because he was a Galilean, and I believe they descended from the Kingdom of Judah.

I find your words in bold somewhat contradictory:
Quote
<<Thus - the Karaites are the closest thing to O.T. Hebrew Israelites.>>
Not really! However assuming you are on to "something", I must ask which O.T. Israelites? From which era of Israelite history? If you're talking direct descendants throughout human history, then you are WAY off. The Karaites are the closest thing to the Sadducees, NOT Old Testament Israelites. And exactly what does that even mean? O.T. Israelites? Are you talking pre-Babylonian Exile Jews? If that's the case, then the people who are the closest to the pre-Babylonian Israelites in theology and practice are most likely the Samaritans. (they don't accept Christ either BTW) This is speaking from a purely historical POV. From a Christian POV, we would of course say, Orthodox Christianity is the closest, but that's another discussion entirely.
If one has a Christian POV and from that view would say Orthodoxy is the closest, then when one speaks from a purely historical POV, one would say Orthodoxy is the closest. It doesn't make sense to say "this is what I believe, but historically speaking I am wrong".
Perhaps you mean that Orthodoxy is (A) a continuation of OT spirituality and a correct fulfillment of its prophecies and its, but (B) doesn't have the same mindset, customs, and even to a large extent DNA, that people had in the OT, and so it's farther from the OT Israelites. Your view could be that the Christian POV finds (A) to be more important than (B) in being close to the OT Israelites. But maybe the Christian POV is right even from a historical standpoint.

First of all, Christianity preserved alot of ideas about the Temple sacrifices and orders, which were central to the OT Israelites. Non-Christian Judaism, on the other hand, since the loss of the Temple seems to have moved its focus away from the Temple customs and priestly orders.

Second, imagine that Americans wanted and elected a President who changed alot of things about American politics and society. But a smaller group of Americans rejected the President and kept the old ways. In that case, it is hard to say that one group is really closer to the time before the President. The cause for the difference is that in the time before the President, the people had some decisive aspirations, but the other group rejected these aspirations.
It's kind of  like discussing whether the Old Believer Orthodox or Greek Old Calendarists are closer to the Orthodox before their schisms occurred. Assuming they are wrong in their decision to reject the Church's changes, it's hard to say who is closer. They might be keeping the same practices as before, but in terms of succession of leadership and community the Church now is closer.

Finally, the Samaritans might not be so close to the pre-Babylonian-Exile Jews. I heard somewhere the claim that they are descended from Assyrian immigrants who accepted the Torah, but not some other parts of Judaism. Further, they themselves trace their history to Israel's lost Northern Tribes it seems to me. They don't consider themselves Jews in descent. So unlike the Samaritans, the pre-Bablyonian-Exile Jews included the Jewish community and the Old Testament books that came after King David's reign. Christianity on the other hand, at least keeps the Old Testament books and traces its history to the Jewish religion, while Samaritans don't consider themselves religious Jews. This is partly why Jesus said to the Samaritan woman "Salvation is of the Jews."

Regarding your words here, I have some doubt that Jesus was a pharisee:
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You do realize that Jesus was more than likely a Pharisee, right? No wait, you probably do NOT realize that! Well, he likely was. For further serious, scholarly reading on the subject, see the books titled, In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity by Oskar Skarsuane, and Jesus and Judaism by EP Sanders. Both can be gotten at Amazon.com, and probably through your local library. These two are the top minds in the field of Christian origins. If you want an ultra-conservative-traditional Christian view, take a look at NT Wright's book The Resurrection of the Son of God, again available at Amazon.com, or your local library. He also has an unofficial website, www.ntwrightpage.com, that contains all his lectures and papers... And that Jesus basically considered himself a Pharisee.
I doubt Jesus was a pharisee because He said things like "beware the leaven of the Pharisees" and talked about the Pharisees very critically. I admit that it's possible for a pharisee to do this- criticize strongly one's own community while remaining part of it. But still, this suggests that He wasn't one.
It seems possible to me that while He shared ideas with the pharisees, accepted some of their traditions, and even to some degree accepted their authority to interpret scripture, He may not have belonged to the pharisees' sect. At that time there were various religious sects. Broadly speaking there were different broad religious categories, like Saducees and Pharisees, and Jesus would've been closer to or within the pharisaic range of ideas and customs. But the pharisees were a religious order with a set number of members. There were like a few thousand of them I think. So Jesus could have accepted some of their ideas without necessarily being inside their order I think.
Jesus had close association with John the Baptist, who was a hermit and appeared outside the official circles of Judaism. So it makes sense that Jesus might also have been a dissident and at some point therefore outside the order of the Pharisees. It's true that Jesus taught in a synagogue, but maybe it wasn't necessary for someone to belong to the pharisaic order to do this. And He could have belonged to the pharisaic order but then left it at some point.
St Paul clearly describes himself as part of the Pharisaic order, but the New Testament doesn't clearly describe John the Baptist or Jesus as part of it Himself.
So I think Jesus was within the pharisees' range of religious ideas or close to them, but I'm not sure He was actually a member of the Pharisaic order, especially during His ministry, and I doubt Jesus actually considered Himself a pharisee. The gospels don't clearly say that He did, and this would be an important thing to mention.

Thank you for recommending the 3 books and website.
Skarsaune shows in his book that he is fitting Jesus into Phariseeism in this broad sense, not necessarily that Jesus was officially made and remained a member of the Pharisaic order: "If one thinks of Pharisaic Judaism as a kind of mainstream, normative Judaism... one will also be inclined to include Jesus within this Judaism and make him a Pharisee" (p. 139)
Here are a few more quotes from Skarsaune:
"Although not really a Pharisee himself, he was closest to the Pharisees..."[p. 140, citation of David Flusser, "Jesus," 1998, p. 90]
" that in the pre-70 situation none of the competing religious elites within Judaism could effectively claim a monopoly in terms of defining Judaism, then a wide spectrum of positions and opinions was open to any first century Jew...There were more role models for a man like Jesus than those of the scribe and the Pharisee".(p. 140)

Skarsaune takes the view on pages 153-154 that St Stephen's martyrdom and alot of the persecution began when and because  the Christians, particular St Stephen, spread their word to "a new adversary," the Hellenistic Jews in particular. However, I am highly doubtful about this, since the Hellenistic Jews were mixed with non-Hellenistic ones, and they had alot of contact I assume even before this event. It seems unlikely to me that suddenly St Stephen preached to them and then nearly all the Jewish population turned against them or something. It makes sense that the Hellenistic Jews might be more zealous than others as the author explains, but I doubt that they would be alone in their zealousness, as there was also persecution by the authorities, and I doubt that Christianity only made significant contact with them with St Stephen's speech, as Jesus' ministry and the apostles' ministry had alsready gone on for several years previously.
We even see an instance in the gospels when a crowd tried to kill Jesus by throwing Him off a cliff. So the instance with St Stephen isn't just like the widespread persecution suddenly began because of meeting Hellenists, as Skarsaunas portrays it.

Skarsaune describes the author of a block in "Clementine Recognitions 1" as a "pious, law-obedient Jew, who accepts circumcision and the eternal validity of the Torah, except for one element in it: that portion which is concerned with sacrifices." However, it isn't clear whether the author thinks that this writer wrote all of Clementines. (p. 156)

Another thing I disagree with or highly doubt in Skarsaune's writing is that he says that in the time of St Jerome in the 4th century: "there was no longer any willingnes in the Gentile church to accept such [Jewish] Christians [following circumcision and Sabbath]; the spirit of brotherly recognition, as seen in Justin was gone." The problem with this is that St Jerome himself learned Hebrew from Jewish Christians whom he called "Nazarenes", and he spoke of them with approval. Also, the author says that Jerome and Eusebius took offense at them keeping the sabbath and circumcision. I think Epiphanius did, as he mentioned it in his work on heresies, but as I vaguely remember, St Jerome simply mentioned in passing that they did these things, without clearly denouncing such practices by them.

I read the Table of Contents for Sanders' book, but don't feel I have the time to read through it or Wright's book and website in connection with this question, and I think Skarsaune's book is good and enough on the topic. Sanders' book also seems to deal more with explaining Christian concepts, like Jesus' sayings and ideas about Restoring Israel. I'm sure they're good books, but they're long too. A brief look at 20 of the pages on Jesus and the pharisees in Sander's book suggests that Sanders doesn't describe Jesus as officialy a member of the Pharisees' sect, but that they have alot in common. Wright's book appears to focus on the concept of Resurrection, rather than Jesus' place in official religious society.

I assume you are right when you say:
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You'll see that he also agrees that Jesus was VERY Jewish...
Jesus was descended from David, taught in a synagogue, had disciples like rabbis did, had alot of ideas focused on the Temple sacrifice and Old Testament, and said "salvation is of the Jews." So early Christianity was more Jewish as it was any other religion.

When you say
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that early Christianity was as Jewish as anything else
I am not sure you meant that (A) early Christianity was as Jewish as it was anything else, or that (B) early Christianity was as Jewish as anything else was Jewish.
Certainly (A) is true, as Christianity tried to be Jewish, as opposed to, say, pagan or Samaritan. I am not sure about (B) though. The Christians were somewhat inclusive towards non-Jews and Samaritans. For example, the soldier Cornelius had the Holy Spirit and St Paul had missions to the gentiles. It's true that there was an instance St Paul mentions where some Christians, like St Peter I think, avoided eating with gentiles, but St Paul criticized them for this. Then there was the time St Peter had his vision apparently disregarding some kosher rules. And then there was the time Jesus drove out the animal-sellers from the outer court of the gentiles. Now one might say that people most loyal to Judaism or morality would be inclusive toward non-Jews. But at the same time the point is that these actions were directed toward including non-Jews in the Christian community, making the Christian community itself less Jewish by definition.

You commented:
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If you do not accept these people because of their "fancy book learnin'" well, just go to the New Testament itself.
Jesus accepted an after life.
Jesus accepted the belief in Angels.
Jesus accepted the Resurrection of the dead.
Jesus believed in demons.
Jesus accepted the ORAL traditions, which you call "the anti-Christ"? How can I say that? because with the exception of angels, none of those things I just listed can be found ANYWHERE in the the written Torah, the Tanakh. That is why the Sadduccees were so opposed to such beliefs. They were the first "Sola Scriptura" believers one might say. And yet Jesus accepted all these "oral" teachings as coming directly from Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Sadduccees did NOT accept these things, but the Pharisees DID. In fact they were the popularizing movement of such doctrines as the Resurrection of the dead. Now of course as Christians we believe those things to be in fact true teachings. But then that creates a BIG problem for someone like yourself. If there is in fact an after life, and a Resurrection of the dead, it is an historical and Biblical fact that it was the Pharisees who were the ones teaching these truths at the time of Jesus.
(1) I trust these authors more because of their fancy book learning. However, in the chapters I read by Skarsaune about Jesus' place in the Jewish religious community, Skarsaune seemed to place Jesus broadly within the pharisaic movement, rather than saying that Jesus was an official member of the pharisaic order. Further, I highly doubt that the other two authors said much more than this- a brief word search of the word "pharisees" in the book by Sanders didn't say that Jesus was a pharisee, but rather that he was alot closer to the pharisees than to the Saducees.
(2) I vaguely remember that Saint I. was referring to the Talmud in particular as "anti-Christ". And the Talmud in fact is against Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ. The tractate called "Sanhedrin" calls Him a "Mesith" or enticer and said he was apostate. Insofar as the Oral traditions are against Christ, they are simply "anti-Christ".
Futher, Jesus accepted some oral teachings but not others. Like He once said that one doesn't fast in the presence of a bridegroom, which is an oral teaching. And as you pointed out, he accepted the idea that demons existed. But on the other hand, He and His disciples didn't follow the oral teaching of the handwashing rituals.
(3) I think that the ideas of an afterlife and the general resurrection can b found in Isaiah 26, which is part of the Tanakh. It's confusing when you say they aren't "in the the written Torah, the Tanakh", because the Torah is only part of the Tanakh. You're right that angels are in the Torah, as they are mentioned in regards to the story of Lot. I doubt that the general resurrection is described in the Torah, but it apparently suggests the idea of an afterlife, like when it says that Abraham, on dying, went to his ancestors. I don't clearly remember the Torah or even Tanankh mentioning demons, besides the Devil, so it seems to me you're right that they lack mention of demons.
(4)Now the Saducees like you said opposed the beliefs because they thought they weren't in the Torah- I think that they didn't accept the rest of the Old Testament. But that doesn't mean concepts like an afterlife didn't exist in the Torah, since the Saducees could've had an incorrect understanding of the Torah. After all, if they didn't follow the rest of the Old Testament, then they were missing out on alot of ancient Israelite religious thought, and their approach may have been lacking therefore even regard the Torah.
It sounds like you're right that "They were the first "Sola Scriptura" believers one might say", accept what they accepted as scripture was strongly limited to only the first 5 books of Scripture, I think.
(5) I doubt that "Jesus accepted all these "oral" teachings as coming directly from Moses on Mt. Sinai." I can't think of any place Jesus said that these specific teachings came to Moses on Mt Sinai. Jesus accepted those ideas, and Pharisaism taught that the oral tradition began on Mt Sinai with Moses, but that doesn't mean Jesus Himself thought these particular ideas came to Moses on Mt Sinai, as opposed to, say, being a later revelation by the prophets.
For example, it seems He could've believed that the general resurrection was something revealed by later prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel, as opposed to, say, Moses, and that the afterlife was in the Torah, regardless of whether it was also in the oral tradition.
(6) You are right that: "The Sadduccees did NOT accept these things, but the Pharisees DID. In fact they were the popularizing movement of such doctrines as the Resurrection of the dead. Now of course as Christians we believe those things to be in fact true teachings." Except that I'm not sure whether the Sadduccees accepted the idea of angels, as they're mentioned in the Torah. Also, it seems likely to me that ideas about the Resurrection of the dead went back to at least Isaiah's time, if not earlier, so such ideas were probably popularized even before the Pharisees began as a sect, which I think occurred about 2 centuries before Christ's time. But the pharisees also popularized them, or at least maintained them among the populace.
(7) Finally, I am not sure that it causes a problem for Saint I, as you say: "But then that creates a BIG problem for someone like yourself. If there is in fact an after life, and a Resurrection of the dead, it is an historical and Biblical fact that it was the Pharisees who were the ones teaching these truths at the time of Jesus." Saint I. might just feel that some ideas of the pharisees were bad, but that not all ideas were. Naturally those ideas that the pharisees held consistent with the Old Testament, like resurrection of the dead, and an afterlife, Saint I would be OK with, and he could respond that such ideas weren't unique to the pharisees.
Whether or not "there is in fact an after life, and a Resurrection of the dead, it is an historical and Biblical fact that it was the Pharisees who were the ones teaching these" ideas "at the time of Jesus". But they probably weren't the only ones as the Essenes were another sect with apocalyptic ideas.

I agree when you write:
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It's also true that some of Jesus followers were in fact Pharisees, and that Jesus was invited into the homes of Pharisees... We also know Jesus was neither a Zealot, or an Essene... Of course, the Essene's believed in an oral teaching too.
I hadn't heard that Essenes believed in an oral teaching, but trust your judgment. Oral teachings outside the Bible are important for religions. There are probably some oral teachings even the Sadducees followed too, like how to officiate at the Temple. The Sadduccees probably didn't give these nearly as much weight as the written Torah, but they still used oral teachings about things. Furthermore, the pharisees were a large religious group, so it's foreseeable that some basics in their sect, like having oral teachings, would be followed by other sects like the Essenes.

I am not sure that pharisees inviting Jesus into their houses is "Something which would NEVER had been done if Jesus had been a Sadducee...  there is certainly Essene influence in his teachings." The pharisees and Saducees were both involved in running the Temple, and if they could work in that capacity, it makes sense that they could invite at least some of eachother to eachother's homes. However, given the enkity between the two groups I agree it would be unlikely. Jesus on the other hand shared alot of the basic ideas of phariseeism, like the ideas of the general resurrection, like you said. And as He was still a new figure, it's foreseeable that He would be invited to dine at some of their homes.
Also, I am not sure there is Essene influence in Jesus' teaching. I understand that the Essenes and Jesus were both religious dissidents with apocalyptic leanings. But I don't really know that much about the Essenes. And the New Testament doesn't clearly mention them. So it is hard for me to judge whether your statement is true.

I agree with you when you write:
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What ever one thinks or believes about Jesus' teachings, a couple of things are certain;
One, he was NOT a Sadducee,
Two he accepted an oral teaching (after all he refers to the Pharisees sitting in the seat of Moses...now, tell me where there is ANY reference in the written Old Testament to a "seat of Moses"? You won't find it. It was an ORAL teaching!
Three, this oral teaching was supposed to be debated and argued in Midrashic fashion until the teachers reached a correct interpretation the Tanakh.
Four, Jesus believed "most" of the Pharisees had misinterpreted The Law and become to rigid, and bound to the wrong issues.
I think Jesus did accept an oral teaching to an extent, like when He mentioned the teaching against fasting in a bridegroom's presence. But His view of this oral teaching might not have been as strong as that of the pharisees', as He complained that their oral commandments were making the laws of God of no effect.
I am not aware of any reference in the Old Testament to a seat of Moses. So I believe you that I wouldn't find it there, and that it was an oral teaching. Specifically, the teaching was that in synagogues there was a seat of Moses where Rabbis would sit and expund the Law of Moses.
Further, the Rabbinical approach to oral teachings was to debate and argue them until they came to a conclusion. Now objectively speaking, they may not have realized the correct conclusion, and having come unanimously to an incorrect one, they might have penalized some dissenters, because I remember from a Karaite lecture about phariseeism that Marc 1152 posted that there is an oral teaching that rabbis must try to conform to the majority when it comes to matters of oral teaching.
Finally, when Jesus criticised the pharisees about making bad rules or practices, He criticized them as if He was criticizing the pharisees collectively, not just "most" of them. Also, I am not sure if His criticism was that they were too rigid or just wrong. He once complained that the rabbis were applying too many rules or applying them too rigidly for converts. In so doing, it makes sense that He saw them as bound to the wrong issues, that is, too bound to enforcing rules of custom rather than bound to bringing the convert closer to the religion.

I sympathize with your explanation here:
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This of course doesn't make all Jews to follow somehow evil, anymore than all Orthodox Christians are evil because some crazy monks in the 5th century tore a pagan philosopher to shreds inside a Church. (yes that really happened)
Of course Saint I's portrayal of Pharisees doesn't make all Jews somehow evil, for the same reason the incident with the monks doesn't make all Orthodox evil- in both cases many Jews and Orthodox can disagree with the Pharisees and monks respectively.
Now maybe the pharisaic teachings applies more strongly to religious Jews than the incident with the monks applies to Orthodox, since the pharisaic teachings are put forth as a model, whereas the incident with the monks was maybe not for the purpose of setting a precedent for others to follow. On the other hand you could say that killing someone is far worse than just setting forth some bad teachings, and that monks' actions add to the ways of the comunity, so it influences others in a bad direction. Plus, someone can be Jewish without being in the pharisees' organization, but one can't be Orthodox without belonging to the same organization as the monks. But basically neither bad description applies to everyone in the group, like you say.

I have some doubt about your words here:
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<<For the 'Jews' of today, the Talmud supercedes the Tanakh (the written law) and makes the commandments of God of no effect - as our Lord Jesus says in the Scripture.>>
No, not at all. Where do you get such ideas that the Talmud supercedes the Scriptures? Nonsense. The Talmud is simply commentary, exegesis, argument, debate etc. It attempts to interpret the written Torah in light of the ever changing human condition, and in light of the deepening of human knowledge. Jews no longer stone adulterers (nor do we). Why? Because the Talmud teaches them not to. The Talmud is for all intents and purposes Judaism's version of the Church fathers, the Councils and in particular the Canons of the Church. Just like Judaism, Christianity needs a method for interpreting the Scriptures, otherwise everyone can make the Bible say anything they want it to say. That's what the Talmud does for Judaism, just as the Church fathers, the councils and canons do for Orthodoxy.
Marc1152 posted a talk by Karaite scholar Nehemiah Gordon on another thread, "Jesus and the pharisees" (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29935.msg551280.html#msg551280).
The talk is biased as it's a Karaite talk. But the speaker was persuasive. He presented the Pharisaic/Rabbinical Judaic position as teaching that one must submit to the Rabbinical interpretation even over the obvious meaning of the scriptures' plain meaning.
Gordon pointed to a midrash that gave a story about Rabbi ben Eliezar. In the story, the rabbis said that God in heaven doesn't have authority to interpret scripture, because they teach that the authority to interpret scripture is on earth. Then Gordon tells a story from the Talmud where rabbi Natan met Elijah in the woods, and asked what it meant that God couldn't interpret scriptures, and in the story God laughed that his sons defeated Him. It seems like an admission that the rabbis are making themselves stronger than God in the sense of more authoritative. Gordon explains that one of the principles of phariseeism is that the rabbis have absolute authority to interpret scripture, and cited an oral teaching that even if they say your right hand is your left hand you must accept this. Like I said, I am not sure that Gordon is right, but he sounds persuasive based on his citations.
Now Phariseesm might say that the oral teachings don't actually supersede the written torah, they just are the absolute authority on it. But the practical effect, from Gordon's explanation, is that the oral teachings have more authority than the scriptures themselves, because whenever the scriptures' plain meaning clearly contradicts the rabbinical interpretation, Phariseeism demands that you still follow the rabbinical oral teaching. Gordon also gave some examples of where apparently the two contradict eachother.
I am not sure where Saint I got hte idea that for modern religious Jews the Talmud supercedes the Tanakh, but perhaps his reasoning was similar to mine above. More likely I assume is that he heard Jesus saying that the oral teachings of the pharisees were making the commandments of God inneffectual, thus making those oral teachings superior to the commandments of God. Now alot of the oral teachings are laid out in the Talmud, and the written commandments of God are most directly laid out in the Tanakh, so he could've concluded that this means the Rabbinical system puts the Talmud above the Tanakh. Also, by the way the written Torah I think is only one part of the Tanakh, but anyway the same thing cane be said for the written Torah as for the Tanakh in my comments on your passage here.
It's true that "The Talmud is simply commentary, exegesis, argument, debate etc.", but this doesn't mean it doesn't necessarily supersede the Tanakh or written Torah. If Gordon is right and the Rabbinical system puts the conclusions of these rabbinical debates etc above the plain meaning of the Tanakh, then in practical terms the Rabbinical system has the Talmud supersede the Tanakh.

You are of course right that: It[the Talmud] attempts to interpret the written Torah in light of the ever changing human condition, and in light of the deepening of human knowledge. Jews no longer stone adulterers (nor do we). Why? Because the Talmud teaches them not to., although the fact that the Talmud teaches Jews not to stone adulterers isn't the reason we don't, because Christ, a central figure of Christianity, taught us not to stone adulterers long before the Talmud was written.
Further, the ever changing human condition and knowledge are of course lights in which the Talmud attempts to interpret the Torah. If a rabbi thinks of a new interpretation, then one can say that this new interpretation is itself part of changing human knowledge. And even if the rabbi is wrong, then one can still say that in using this mistaken opinion, the Talmud is still "attempting" at least to use changing knowledge, unless of course the rabbi knows he is wrong and includes it in the Talmud anyway, which seems unlikely.
Anyway, I doubt that the fact that the Talmud says not to stone adulterers is the only reason Jews don't do this today. After all, Karaites who reject the oral teachings don't do this and it would be illegal to do so in alot of countries.

Furthermore, it could be that Rabbinical Judaism doesn't allow stoning adulterers because it considers its authority of interpretation to supersede the plain meaning and context of the Tanakh. The result in this case is a good one: no stoning adulterers. But perhaps the logic is bad that rabbinical authority to interpret supersedes the real interpretation of the Tanakh.
Christianity on the other hand maybe takes a different route to come to the same conclusion of no stoning adulterers. Christianity has Jesus the Messiah, who is God, set forth a New Covenant, which works by mercy and a higher morality. Perhaps in Christianity there is also something like a new teaching superseding the Tanakh. But in this case it isn't just earthly rabbis' authority, but the authority of the Messiah and God Himself.

Thus I doubt that
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The Talmud is for all intents and purposes Judaism's version of the Church fathers, the Councils and in particular the Canons of the Church.
You may be right about Church Councils, because they are considered "infallible" in the Orthodox Church, once the Councils are confirmed by the Church. Still, it isn't clear to me what would happen if the Church Councils disagreed with scripture. Perhaps the answer is that scripture would win out, because in case of a disagreement the Council wouldn't be confirmed. Or perhaps we would say that we follow the spirit and approach of the New Covenant and thus interpret the scripture in a way that goes against its plain meaning, like when Jesus disagreed with the scripture that said to hate one's enemies.
Also, I don't think think Christianity considers the Church fathers or Canons to be the absolute authority no matter what, unless they are confirmed in an Ecumenical Council. Now Martin Luther made a big deal with how he disagreed with the Church's teachings being the "final authority", but it isn't clear to me anyway that the Church did consider its non-Council teachings to be final authority no matter what.
Further, the rabbis are an earthly authority, although they consider that God gave them their authority. But the Church considers itself to be united with God. So if the Church makes an interpretation apparently contradicting God's Word in the Old Testament, this at least makes more sense from the standpoimt of authority than the rabbis contradicting it.
But I think the biggest difference is that I doubt that the Church considers the Church fathers and Canons to be "absolute authority", like calling the right hand the left hand, the way that the Rabbinical system considers the oral teachings to be. It's true that Orthodoxy considers Ecumenical Councils infallible, but they are much rarer than oral rabbinical teachings are. Plus my impression is that alot of theologians think the Councils need the confirmation of the whole Church, which includes laypeople, to be infallible.

I agree with you that
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Just like Judaism, Christianity needs a method for interpreting the Scriptures, otherwise everyone can make the Bible say anything they want it to say. That's what the Talmud does for Judaism, just as the Church fathers, the councils and canons do for Orthodoxy.
Except that instead of methods, we are speaking of tools. Methods are more like debate, praying, looking at context, inspiration. Rather, by Judaism's Talmud and Christianity's Church fathers etc you are speaking of tools of organized authority that act as agreed-on, central tools to interpret the scriptures.
Now Christianity doesn't necessarily need such authority figures, as one can in fact make the Bible say what they want and still be udner the broad category of some form of Christianity. That way you get can heresies, but the outcomes will probably stay within a certain range that one can call some version of Christianity.
But in any case Judaism's Talmus and Christianity's Church fathers etc do act as forces that create more unity and guidance within the religion. So they are tools for the religions to interpret scriptures in a unified way that keeps the religion together. Now perhaps there are some drawbacks if these tools are treated as absolute but in any case they have the function of serving as tools for the religion.

I think you are confused about Saint I's words here:
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<<Orthodox Christians should not be studying Talmud as if it's a good thing.>>
First, how is one to know whether something is good or bad if one does not take the time to actually READ it for themselves? Simply because someone else told you so? Do you take EVERYTHING in life, and base all your views on the basis of someone else's "authority"? If so, how do you decide who's authority to follow? Are you not the least bit curious to know if what someone tells you is in fact true? Or do you just go by whoever hates Jews, and assume "well they hate Jews, they must be right!"?
Secondly, St. Jerome studied not only the Hebrew Scriptures, but he studied with Rabbis and their writings. (what would become the Talmud) Is he not an authority you should follow? Is he not in fact an Orthodox saint? Who are you to tell great saints like Jerome were wrong to study Jewish writings? BTW he wasn't the only saint to do so, many did.
What are exactly afraid of by studying the Talmud? Forget the Talmud. Just start with 2nd Temple Judaism, which is what those books I recommended do. If want to see just how Jewish Orthodoxy is, just start reading, learning and studying from different points of view. Jesus was a Jew. Probably a Pharisee, and he, and all the Apostles believed in an Oral Law. These are facts of history, and Biblical facts. If and when you ever get to the point of not fearing Jews, and not fearing Judaism, the New Testament will begin to open up to you in so many new ways. Things that Jesus said that just never made sense before, will all of sudden make perfect sense in light of seeing Jesus as a Jew. Arguments made by St. Paul, or St. John which seem a bit weird, will all of sudden become clear in light of the methods of intra-Jewish debate in late antiquity. But by fearing all this knowledge, IMO you are closing the Scriptures to yourself. You are locking them away out of some fear that some group is telling you what to do, controlling the news . . . when what you really should fear is that what is really controlling you and telling you what to think, is this fear. As long as your eyes are closed to this deeper meaning, there are just some parts of the Bible that just will never make sense to you. Or will only make sense a little bit. But once discovering the Jewish understanding of Torah, Word and Logos, the idea of Jesus ministry becomes so much deeper. It's your choice to not go that deep. But some of us do. Hopefully you will too someday.
It seems to me that he is saying <<Orthodox Christians should not be studying Talmud as if it's [the Talmud's] a good thing>> In other words he thinks Orthodox shouldn't study the Talmud as if the Talmud is good. Now I partly agree with him because some passages in it oppose Christianity, which isn't good from a Christian perspectuve. But other passages in it, like descriptions of Hannukah seem good, so I partly disagree with him.
However, your response seems to focus instead on whether it is good to study the Talmud at all. I agree with your logic, I just don't think it's addressing Saint I's specific claim.
I think the answer to your question "First, how is one to know whether something is good or bad if one does not take the time to actually READ it for themselves?" is as you propose: "Simply because someone else told you so" or if that someone tells the person about the literature and he/she decides on that basis whether it's good or not. For example, an author could tell you about his/her book and you could make a decision about how good the book is based on this description.
You ask: "Do you take EVERYTHING in life, and base all your views on the basis of someone else's "authority"?" I can't answer for Saint Iaint about how he feels about any of your questions about his opinions below. As for myself: Sometimes I take things based on my own experience and logic.
You ask "If so, how do you decide who's authority to follow?" In that case I would look at whose logic is the most internally consist and how well their statements match other people's ideas.
You ask: "Are you not the least bit curious to know if what someone tells you is in fact true?" For me, this depends on the topic they are telling me about. If they say that yesterday the weather was good in another city, then I might only care about this insofar as it reflects on the person's honesty. Unless it was relevant for some other reason, I probably wouldn't care about whether on some random hypothetical day the weather was good in another city I didn't care about.
You asked: "Or do you just go by whoever hates Jews, and assume "well they hate Jews, they must be right!"?" For me, if the person hates Jews, this lowers their veracity alot in my mind when it comes to things related to Jews. I would see that they have a negative bias against an entire ethnicity, and it would add distrust to things they told me about them. Now for unrealted things like the weather it wouldn't be a factor on whether I would believe the person or not about unrelated things.

I trust you are correct when you say: "Secondly, St. Jerome studied not only the Hebrew Scriptures, but he studied with Rabbis[']... writings. (what would become the Talmud)... BTW he wasn't the only saint to do so, many did. " St Jerome studied several translations of the Bible I think. And he learned Hebrew from Jewish Christians in the Holy land where he lived for many years I think. So it makes sense that he would study them. Plus it makes sense that other saints would study them too, as phariseeism and nonChristian Judaism had a significant relationship to the beginning of Christianity. So studying them would give more context to understanding Christianity. Plus, the rabbinical writings talk about pre-Christian Judaism, so they may give additional insight into it.
On the other hand I doubt he and other saints studied with rabbis because I think there was an attitude or teaching in nonChristian Judaism that one should avoid association with Christians. Such customary avoidance would more likely be followed by rabbis than laymen.
You asked: "Is he not an authority you should follow? Is he not in fact an Orthodox saint? Who are you to tell great saints like Jerome were wrong to study Jewish writings?" Sure he is an authority in Orthodoxy as an Orthodox saint, and thus an authority to follow. Plus he was a major theologian so it seems worth following him on such theological questions. Saint I. can tell the great saints this as a matter of his personal opinion. However, he would have alot less authority in scholarship or Orthodox religious studies as St Jerome. Still, people are entitled to their beliefs.

You wrote:
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What are exactly afraid of by studying the Talmud? Forget the Talmud.
I am not sure what Saint I. is afraid of by studying the Talmud. Maybe some part of him is afraid he will become more sympathetic to it, because he dislikes its views so much. Or maybe he is afraid he will be partly persuaded by its views. Similar things could be said about the works of other non-Christian belief systems like atheism, but I think it's ok to study them if one does so in an open way and tries to think of coutnerarguments. At least two Orthodox priests have told me to only read what the Church teaches when it comes to religion.

I agree with your advice here: "Just start with 2nd Temple Judaism, which is what those books I recommended do." Since Christianity developed during that period, and part of the Old Testament was written then, this is a good period to research if one wants to better understand the connections and relations between Christianity and Judaism, which he is discussing here.
I also agree: "If [you] want to see just how Jewish Orthodoxy is, just start reading, learning and studying from different points of view. Jesus was a Jew." However, I think it's OK to just look at one broad view on the subject, reading Orthodox writers who discuss this topic from a tolerant point of view that acknowledges these relations. Another view, an intolerant one, might not show how Jewish Orthodoxy is.

I only partly agree with your words here: "[Jesus was] Probably a Pharisee, and he, and all the Apostles believed in an Oral Law. These are facts of history, and Biblical facts." He was probably within the broad scope of the pharisaic concepts and movement. But I think He didn't submit to their decisions and rulings, although Phariseeism teaches that one must submit to the Rabbinnical rulings. I also doubt that He was an official member of the sect of the pharisees, as opposed to being His own person, like St John the Baptist appeared to be. So in a broad ideological sense it seems likely He was within their broad concepts like an afterlife, and having oral traditions. But not fully, because as I remember He either complained that they were teachings the precepts of men as if they were Commandments of God, or that with their precepts they were make God's commandments inneffectual.
The same is true for the Apostles: Perhaps some of them accepted the idea that there were oral teachings, like that one shouldn't fast in the presence of a bridgegroom, as Jesus cited. But they might not have believed in it to the extent they considered it as strongly as wthe written torah, since they didn't follow the handwashing ritual that comes from oral torah.

I sympathize with you that:
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If and when you ever get to the point of not fearing Jews, and not fearing Judaism, the New Testament will begin to open up to you in so many new ways. Things that Jesus said that just never made sense before, will all of sudden make perfect sense in light of seeing Jesus as a Jew. Arguments made by St. Paul, or St. John which seem a bit weird, will all of sudden become clear in light of the methods of intra-Jewish debate in late antiquity. But by fearing all this knowledge, IMO you are closing the Scriptures to yourself.
 So when Jesus especially criticized the pharisees, it could be seen as a kind of warning and well-meaning criticism because He cared about them more and felt closer to them than the Sadduccees. If Saint I stops fearing religious Jews and Judaism, he can see more Jesus' closer relation to the pharisees and the nature of the New Testament criticisms of them as positive will open up more. Still, maybe it won't open up in new ways even if he changes his mind, if he doesn't read more along this theme. Also, I am not sure that for him, " Things that Jesus said that just never made sense before, will all of sudden make perfect sense" because of his changed attitude, and "As long as your eyes are closed to this deeper meaning, there are just some parts of the Bible that just will never make sense to you. Or will only make sense a little bit."  Those things that didn't make sense to him he could have simply heard explained in a sermon or looked up in a commentary, after which they would have made sense. On the other hand, if he does read along this theme, he may find some things that he didn't pay attention to before, and therefore didn't understand.  

I am not sure about your words about St Paul here: "Arguments made by St. Paul, or St. John which seem a bit weird, will all of sudden become clear in light of the methods of intra-Jewish debate in late antiquity", because I am not sure what St Paul said that was weird and becomes clear in light of intra-Jewish debate. Well, it sounds weird when he talks about the effects of sacrifices, since we don't have sacrifices today, and this topic makes more sense in the context of intra-Jewish debate at that time, because there would have been discussions and debates relating to the Temple sacrifices because they were a central part of the religion. But this fact doesn't seem like the kind of thing such a close-minded person wouldn't know about. St Paul was often writing to non-Jewish audiences, which makes expertise on those debates less important for understanding St Paul.
But I agree when it comes to St John, because the idea of Jesus being the Logos sounds alittle weird to me. But then Deus had mentioned that there were debates in the Jewish community around that time about the Logos. I somewhat remember reading that there was a Judaic belief around that time that the Logos or Torah existed before the world was made. So this idea of St John becomes clearer in light of that debate. I assume if one understood the debate, then the idea would become more familiar and thus clear. It's like how studying weird-sounding Greek philosophical ideas can make those ideas clear.
So you are right when you say:
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But by fearing all this knowledge, IMO you are closing the Scriptures to yourself.
There is information about the connections between Christianity, Judaism, and the scriptures, and by fearfully wishing to avoid aknowledging this connection, one would close the information off from oneself.

I am not sure which fear motivates him to do this, but I doubt that it's because of "some fear that some group is telling you what to do, controlling the news". That is, I doubt it's the supposed "commanding", "news-controlling" supposed aspects of the group that closes him off, but rather it's opposition to Christianity, which is related to the connections between the religions he would be studying. After all, Christians play a commanding role in society and partly control the news, and he is apparently ok with reading about Christianity's non-oppositional connections with itself. Smiley To give a better example, someone can have a paranoia about lakes and bees, but still drink water and eat honey. But like I said, I cannot really speak for his motives.

I like what you said, and agree with you here: "what you really should fear is that what is really controlling you and telling you what to think, is this fear." If your fear is preventing you from learning more about a topic you are interested in, then it's controlling you and telling you what to think, that is, it's telling you to think that there is little connection between the religions when there is. And this fear is scary because it closes your mind to insights about your religion.

You are right when you say:
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But once discovering the Jewish understanding of Torah, Word and Logos, the idea of Jesus ministry becomes so much deeper. It's your choice to not go that deep. But some of us do. Hopefully you will too someday
This understanding gives a deeper background to understanding Jesus' ministry because they are important concepts about His ministry in Christianity. And it's background knowledge because it would reflect the pre-Christian Jewish understanding of these concepts.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 02:40:39 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #164 on: May 23, 2011, 02:42:13 AM »

Northern Pines,

You are confusing me with surprising new ideas here! Smiley   :
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you'll also find that in her work [Margaret Barker's work], this underlying remembrance among the regular populace still accepted an oral teaching and was not quite as monotheistic as later histories tried to imply (verified by recent archaeological digs) and that the reason "monotheisitic" Jews so readily accepted an idea of Jesus being "the Son of God" was because a psuedo Trinitarian theology already existed, but was suppressed by the Deutoronomist historians who put redacted and edited the 5 books of Moses. She also has several books out about how Orthodox Christian Liturgy is a direct descendant, through living memory (ie: oral tradition/torah) of not the 2nd Temple, but Solomon's Temple. Or in other words, she doesn't support your thesis at all that Jesus was a psuedo Protestant, rejecting oral tradition. But you might find the whole Pharisaic vs Solomon's Temple memory being reconstituted in Christian worship interesting.
So she is saying that ideas like Trinitarianism were handed down orally among the population to such an extent that Jews "readily accepted" the idea of a Son of God being part of a trinity. I realize that in this theory, the trinitarian ideas were supposedly suppressed by the Deuteronomists. But still, I think if this idea had been handed down there would be more record of it from Jesus' time. I mean, even the Christian Bible doesn't explicitly lay out trinitarianism, it has to be put together from ideas about the Holy Spirit, Christ's incarnation as the Word, etc. For me, it's an unfamiliar theory and sounds doubtful. I don't remember hearing about such a theory before or in writings about Judaism from the early Christian period or earlier. At best, the Kabbalistic system, written in medieval times, has an idea about God's plurality, and claims that its system was handed down.
I understand that the ancient Jews weren't all monostheist, and archeology confirms they sometimes put ideas about Baal and a goddess with a name like "Ashkelon" alongside the one almighty God, Jehovah. But that isn't necessary the same as Trinitarianism, which is more like God's Spirit and Word.
Further, saying that the Deuteronomists redacted and edited the 5 books of Moses, changing and suppressing ideas in it, sounds like an unOrthodox view, because Orthodoxy accepts the 5 Books of Moses in the form handed down to us in forms like the Septuagint as canonical. Further, I think the Samaritans accept the 5 books of Moses too, and their split with Judaism goes back maybe to about 500 BC or even far earlier. This theory is proposing a very radical rewriting of the Bible then. It's such extreme editing that you would hope or expect that they would need a good basis for such editing, rather than simply that they think some ideas are better so they change history to match them.

I am also not sure about her idea here: "She also has several books out about how Orthodox Christian Liturgy is a direct descendant, through living memory (ie: oral tradition/torah) of not the 2nd Temple, but Solomon's Temple". It makes sense that some oral traditions about Solomon's Temple could influence Christian ideas, because Solomon's Temple, with the Ark of the Covenant, although lost, was important in Christian thought. For example, Orthodox Christians sometimes compares the Ark of the Covenant to Christ's mother.And on another note: the Ark of the Covenant had the Law inside, and blood from the sacrifice was put on top of the Ark's lid. Comparisons between Christ's sacrifice and the OT sacrifices, and ideas about Law and Atonement are important in Christianity. So oral traditions about Solomon's Temple would be relevant. Still, the 600 years from Solomon's Temple's destruction until Christ's time is a very long time for oral teachings to be passed down, so I have some doubt if that really happened.

I am not sure that:
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she doesn't support your thesis at all that Jesus was a psuedo Protestant, rejecting oral tradition. But you might find the whole Pharisaic vs Solomon's Temple memory being reconstituted in Christian worship interesting
I think Saint I's thesis is that Jesus was like the Karaites and Protestants in rejecting the strong religious authority of oral tradition.
However, Protestants still look at traditions handed down and give them some value. For example, they would value stories about early martyrs in Christianity, even if they don't give those stories a kind of religious authority. I think that the difference between Protestants and Orthodox here is one of degree. The Protestants would say that just because a saint wrote something, well, that's just his view, but the Protestants can sometimes take that view into account. And anyway they kind of have their own saints, like Calvin and Luther, who appear to them as authority figures. They can disagree with Luther and still be Protestant, but we can disagree with saints and still be Orthodox. So it seems that this is just a difference in degree of reverence. Plus, the Protestants take St Augustine's idea of original sin's inheritance, even if they reject that they should have strong loyalty to his ideas as a saint.
Now it's possible that Jesus and early Christianity could have rejected the strong religious authority of religious oral teachings about Solomon's Temple while still accepting those teachings, just as Protestants reject ideas about St Augustine's own authority while accepting his ideas about original sin.
So the fact that Baker sees Jesus and early Christianity as taking ideas from oral teachings doesn't mean that she "doesn't support... at all" the thesis that Jesus was Protestant-like n this regard.
I am not sure how far the Karaites go in rejecting oral traditions- maybe they also accept some of those teachings as valid, but not based on inherent religious authority in them.
My problem with her ideas about "the whole Pharisaic vs Solomon's Temple memory being reconstituted" is that it seems alittle unreliable, because it is basing itself on oral traditions supposedly passed down over 600 years without ever being written. I mean, the reliability of ideas passed down to today orally from c. 1411 seems pretty unreliable. Still, I think it's an interesting topic.

You wrote:
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<<Jesus was in accord with basic Pharisaical teachings. His philosophical outlook on the poor and loving God and loving neighbor were not the first time these things had been taught by Jews. He was also of the strain within Judaism that was rather free of the Temple in that one could worship in the home or where just a few gathered. This approach to worship was why the Pharisees were able to survive the expulsion and go elsewhere.>>
I had forgotten about that.
These things are pretty much common sense. Jesus and the pharisees shared together general Judaic concepts like belief in the Tanakh and the General Resurrection. The philosophical outlook mentioned is basic to Proverbs and/or other places in the Old Testament I think. There are alot of instances of people praying in the Old Testament outside the Temple and of course the Pharisees also were in the synagogues, not just restricted to the Temple.

I was not aware that: "The idea that the home is as much of a temple as the actual temple was, and that ALL are in some sense "priests, a holy nation" is a Pharisaic teaching." I trust your judgment because these are simple, clear, specific statements, but am not certain, because it sounds strange to me. The actual temple had the Shekinah, or presence of God. It was a tabernacle or dwelling place for God. So it seems like the actual Temple would be the strongest Temple, or um "Temple-istic" so to speak.
Now Christianity has special ideas that the Holy Spirit of God lives within us and we are united with God, so in Christianity it makes sense that the home would be as much a dwelling place as the actual Temple.
Now perhaps by "as much of a temple" you mean it was as much as a place of worship. Well, such a teaching is foreseeable because if people were able to worship God before they had the Ark and the Temple, then naturally they could worship Him without them. A Temple is a place to gather and worship God, so if some people live in the Temple then it's also a home and if they treat the home as a Temple it can be one too. So such a teaching is at least rational.
The second part of your quote works because the Old Testament talks about God making the Israelites "priests, a holy nation."
Except that you may be confused about the idea that ALL are in some sense "priests, a holy nation," in that I doubt that the pharisees considered gentiles who didn't believe in Jehovah "priests, a holy nation". Perhaps you meant to say all believers, or you meant that this is true about everyone, as for example everyone is God's creation.

I agree with you that:
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Now our friend Saint Iant will undoubtedly say "no it's a teaching from God"...and yes, I would agree. But it was the Pharisees who expounded that teaching to the general populace for 250 years before Christ, and during Christ's lifetime. But I'm not sure rational debate and discussion is where this thread is going to end up. Too bad too, because this is really an important and enlightening topic.
Except Saint I. might not realize these teachings are based in the OT and so might not call them a teaching from God. Further, the pharisees might have taught that back to c. 250 BC, but the Old Testament passages talking about "priests, a holy nation" probably go back even farther. And the idea of worshipping God strongly without the Temple can go back even farther, to before the Temple was made.
You are right that the conversation didn't end up in rational debate and discussion, because it ended up in a discussion about Holocaust denial. Sad But still, it could go better now that the significant portions on that topic were removed.
Sure the topic of Jesus' relation to the pharisees is an important and enlightening topic as the New Testament talks significnatly about this.

Your post was good and long, with alot of information, so it could have been a candidate for post of the month, although it's too late for me to vote.

I disagree with you:
I nominate Northern Pines' post for 'Longest Winded, Most Thoroughly Judaized Pseudo-Intellectual' post of the year!
Cute!  Grin
But then again, I think you were being sarcastic. Smiley

I parlty agree with you when you say:
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The truth is that through their "exegesis and interpretations of the written law" they have made the commandments of God of no effect.
For someone who doesn't like Protestants, you sure use a LOT of Protestant arguments to support your POV.
His point of view is that the oral teachings of the rabbis are invalid. To back this up he points to Jesus' statement that, to paraphrase, through their "exegesis and interpretations of the written law" they have made the commandments of God of no effect. Here Jesus is clearlly criticizing the oral teachings. Orthodoxy also rejects oral teachings, and of course agrees with Christ's criticism when He Himself rejects them.
At the same time, Saint I is partly making a Protestant-sounding argument, I think, because I also expect that Protestants reject the authority Orthodox Church traditions based on this quote by Christ.
In fact, Christ is either disagreeing with only certain teachings or disagreeing with the amount of authority given to oral teachings. Orthodoxy however would also disagree with those oral teachings, and I assume would not teach that its theologians have some "absolute" rabbinical-style authority to contradict the New Testament scripture.
That is, Saint I is using the passage to reject the validity of the whole range of rabbinical oral teaching, Protestants use the passage to reject the validity of rabbinical and Church tradition, but Christ and the Orthodox Church either take it to just reject some oral teachings, or the amount of authority given them. I am not sure I am right about this though. Plus, Saint I and the Protestants must actually allow that some traditions happen to be valid and/or have some authority based on how the teachings developed, so this may be more of a difference in emphasis.

You wrote: "I'm not even going to respond to you proof texting of Scripture." That's OK, but I didn't think it was too hard to get around or comment on.

I sympathize with your words:
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For one thing, you did exactly what everyone who feels like they are losing a debate do; rather than respond in dialogue to my points and attempt to refute them through rational means, discussion, conversation and saying "I see you're point, but I think you are wrong because of so and so reason" you simply resorted to flooding the debate with "proof texts", non sequiturs, in a last ditch effort to prove to yourself that you have the truth and that God has called you to be a bearer of that truth. William Lane Craig (a famous Protestant apologists) uses the exact same trick in his debates when he feels like he's losing. (which I admit, is rare because he is a good debater)
Rather than sentence-by sentence or point by point rebut your ideas, Saint I pointed to scriptures that sounded like they support his view. I disagree that everyone does this kind of thing when they're losing, because some people just use ad-hominems instead. There was some dialogue and rational means and discussion and conversation. But no, he didn't see your point Smiley . He used the proof texts, but they were somewhat OK ones, and not completely non-sequiturs as they did somehwhat to things you said. For example, you mentioned about Jesus possibly being a pharisee and he responded showing Jesus criticizing the pharisees, which tends to suggest He wasn't one.
You had good ideas and information, but it wasn't overwhelming so I doubt his response was "in a last ditch effort to prove to yourself that you have the truth and that God has called you to be a bearer of that truth." Also, I am not sure if his intense negative focus on the Jewish people and Rabbinical Judaism counts in his mind as some divine calling to be a bearer of some truth about it. Even thinking about such a concept makes me sick. Really.
Rather, you are making a big assumption about his psychology. I am not sure he was losing in my mind because I could think of some counterarguments to your words, but he certainly wasn't winning.

You are correct when you say:
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It was the Sadducees who were in charge of the Temple. According to the New Testament it was the high priest who handed over Jesus to the Romans, and in fact the priests are the ones who in fact bought off Judas Iscariot. As for the Pharisees, they were actually split on the issue of Jesus, some like Joseph of Arimathea and Nikodemus (as well as some unnamed Pharisees) were either followers of Jesus, or really respected him.
Except that according to the New Testament, Jesus was tried by Herod too. So it might have been, according to the New Testament, that the high priests handed Jesus to Herod who then in turn handed Him to the Romans. But since Pilate and the priests get the most attention you might have missed this in saying that the high priests handed Him to the Romans. Furthermore, it's true that the pharisees were split, but the impression I get from the gospels is that they were mostly against Him, because it talks about "the pharisees" being against them, as if a big enough portion were against Him that the gospels could say that the pharisees collectively were against Him.
Also, I trust you that it was the priests who bought off Judas. I remember it was the religious authorities, but don't clearly remember that it was the priests in particular, as opposed to the Sanhedrin or some Sadducees and Pharisees that bought him off, may the Lord have mercy on him. Sad

In connection with this, you ask Saint I:
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"<<Regardless, the high priests were appointed at the behest of the Edomite Herodians, and they could easily be (and were) deposed if they were disobedient.>>
it was Rome that deposed and installed new high priests at will, not the Herods. And even if it was the Herodians, who cares? How does that have any bearing on the discussion at hand?"
My best guess is that Saint I was trying to say that ultimately blame lays with the "Edomite Herodians" because the Sadducees were appointed by them. He has this weird idea that many religious Jews aren't real ethnic Jews but Edomites, so this is probably his way of blaming religious Jews despite the fact that the Sadducees were the ones foremost in Jesus' trial. But anyway that doesn't really work because the New Testament portrays the initiative against Jesus as coming from Jesus' religious opponents.

I partly disagree with you here:
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But of course you're changing the subject so often that I suppose none of this even matters at this point.
You had said that the Sadducees didn't follow the oral law like the pharisees did, and were directly responsible for Jesus' Crucifixion. He tried to get around this by saying that the Sadducees were appointed by Edomite Herodianss. So he is changing the subject like you say, because instead of discussing the Sadducees' direct responsibility, he talks about the Edomites' indirect responsibility. Now this might be relevant if the Edomite Herodianss were pharisees, but my impression is that they weren't, since after all they appointed Sadducees.
My disagreement is because I think what you said about the Sadducees' role and the split among the pharisees matters to the discussion of the saducees' and pharisees' relation to Jesus.

I am not sure "What kind of a-historical nonsense is that? (Jesus was a Judahite - but Jesus was not a Judean.)" Well, Jesus was a Judahite in the sense of being descended from the tribe of Judah I think. But He grew up in the province of Galilee rather than Judea, so this may be why Saint I is saying He wasn't a Judean. Now Jesus was supposedly born in Bethlehem, which would make his homeland/birthplace Judea, and I suppose that Galilee was part of the BC Hasmonean Kingdom of Judea, so maybe He really was a Judean and Saint I is ignoring or unaware of it.

You asked:
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<<Please see the thread I started entitled "'Jews' = Judahites, 'Jews' = Judeans, 'Jews' = Edomites" HERE... >>
Why would I take YOUR lone word as authority on this subject OVER the multiply attested witnesses of 2000 years of historians and archeaologists, not to mention modern sciencr and....lest we forget the 2000 year old Orthodox Christian understanding that Jesus was a Jew! Who are you to overrule Christ's Church on such an issue?
You would take his lone word over the others if you thought he had some kind of special knowledge about this. I mean, I highly doubt he does because these are pretty simple concepts laid out in the Bible. But you were able to find Baker's theory convincing "at times" that the Bible was redacted by deuteronomists to erase popular traditions about pseudo-Trinitarianism. So apparently you are open to such rarely-held ideas that go against so many academic sources. It's good to keep an open mind as Jesus Himself was so unusual. But that doesn't mean everything that's extreme is correct. You know...
When you ask "Who are you to overrule Christ's Church on such an issue?" You are asking about his authority. The issue of Jesus' ethnicity, and the ethnicity of the Jewish people is followed in a pretty conventional way by the Orthodox Church. The Church could be wrong on this question, by taking a purely religious point of view and saying that if a Jew becomes Christian then he/she is no longer a Jew but a Christian. An individual who can take a secular ethnic oriented view, like Saint I, could respond that a person doesn't lose their ethnic identity by becoming Christian.
But in any case I doubt that the Orthodox Church takes the view that there is no such thing as ethnicity, so I doubt Saint I is going to overrule the Church on this basic question.
No, since you are Orthodox Christian you're not " supposed to take your word over the witness of the very Church that Jesus founded? "
I think he is serious, but I assume he has some doubts about his ideas because the New Testament clearly describes many Jews as following the pharisees and Sadducees, refers to the people of Judah as Jews, and describes the territories of Judah and Judea as roughly contiguous.

I highly doubt your view here:
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<<Yes Samaritans and Karaites are very close... My main point was - the true faithful Israelites did not follow the Talmudic oral laws because they did not exist. The oral laws are an invention; a fabrication attributed to Moses which annul God's true commandments. >>
Then why on earth did Jesus accept oral teachings and traditions such as, oh...let's see, baptism! Yes, baptism is NOT a Christian invention, nor is it an invention of John the Baptist. It was a Jewish invention, or "innovation" that was co-opted by John, and later Christianity itself.
I remember reading that while Mikvah baths existed in pre-Christian Judaism, the washings were to be repeated. With John the Baptist, his baptism was an innovation by him in that there was only one baptism. Acts mentions "the baptism of John" as if it was something unique. Christianity did accept the Baptism of John like you say.

You are right that Jesus did accept oral teachings and traditions, like when he repeated the rabbinical idea that one mustn't fast in the presence of a bridegroom. Further, the true faithful Israelites may have followed some Talmudic oral laws, because it seems possible to me that some of them may go back very far, to the time of the ancient Israelites. The Talmudic rules cover alot of aspects like how to celebrate Passover, so it seems possible that some of those traditions may go back to the pre-Davidic Israelite Passover.

If the oral laws were an invention that annul God's true commandments, Jesus could have accepted some if it was only collectively thatthe oral laws annulled God's true commandments. If some oral laws, when taken individually, were OK, then it makes sense that Jesus could have accepted those ones that were individually OK.

You ask: "And I must ask something in regards to your hostility to "oral" teachings . . . why on earth are you, a person who claims to want to be Orthodox opposed to oral teachings, when in fact Orthodoxy is based in large part on oral teachings? None of this makes any sense." One possibility is that he is OK with Orthodox oral teachings, but not Judaic ones because Christianity's strong criticisms of rabbinical laws, and his own possibly prejudicial hostility to Rabbinical Judaism, leads him in this direction. That is, it could be because Christianity doesn't reject the existence of oral teachings within Christianity, but it strongly criticizes some, if not many, rabbinical rules.
Another possibility is that  he actually is opposed to oral teachings in Orthodoxy too, even though he wants to be Orthodox.

You asked Saint Iaint:
<<"You do realize that Jesus was more than likely a Pharisee, right?">>
<<HA HA HA HA!! NONSENSE!!
Virtually all of Matthew 23 is a blistering condemnation of the scribes and the Pharisees!>>
So that's your reply?[/i] Yes that was his reply, although he added a few verses to it
to laugh? And then "proof text" the Bible? Yep. LOL
Where is the rational dialogue? The discussion? Well, saying that Jesus wasn't a pharisee because he criticised them is at least a minimal rational dialogue and discussion.
Where is your historical and scholarly evidence that Jesus was in fact one of the other known sects of 2nd Temple Judaism? Well, there was a pre-Christian sect of Nazarites, and there was a prophecy "He shall be called a Nazarene." The early Christians were called Nazarenes, so it seems likely on the face of it that they belonged to the sect of Nazorites, and Christian "Nazarenes" was another word for this or were a similar group.
Further, I doubt it's necessarily the case that Jesus belonged to some group. St John the Baptist seems like an independent figure outside the mainstream groups, and Jesus could have been one too.

You are correct when you say "Again, this just shows just how absolute you're lack of knowledge of 2nd Temple Judaism actually is. Yes, Jesus "condemned" the Pharisees... [In Judaism,] You most strongly oppose those whom are the closest to you in beliefs. " However, Saint I's knowledge isn't absolutely lacking. He probably knows the basic things, like that they had a Temple, that there were Sadducees running it, that there were pharisees, etc. Plus, you may also most strongly oppose your opponents who are strongest against you in material terms. I'm sure the Zealots most strongly opposed the Romans, even though they were very different ideologically. And the prophets had strong attacking words not just for Israel but for Babylon.

I trust you that:
Quote
within the Talmud, how the Rabbis seemingly violently oppose one another at times, and yet can all remain devout Jews and get along in the end
Offhand I can't clearly think of any examples of this. But since there were alot of debates between rabbis in it, I can foresee that sometimes it would seem violent.

Still, I doubt your view when you write to Saint I:
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Of course if you knew the slightest bit about Judaism of his time, you would clearly see this is how Jews of the SAME sect actually debated one another... That's just how the Rabbis debated. For someone who claims to know all about the Talmud, I'm surprised you have not noticed this before within the Talmud, how the Rabbis seemingly violently oppose one another at times, and yet can all remain devout Jews and get along in the end.
Jesus' strong words, like brood of vipers and spawn of Satan ( or something like that) seem pretty strong even for being in the same sect. The disciples mentioned that the pharisees were offended by His words. John's gospel says that after He cried out about living water being in Him, the pharisees started planning to kill Him. So I highly doubt his debates and criticisms were just part of the normal way of inner-sect debate as you characterize it.
I'm not surprised that Saint I. hadn't noticed this debating style in the Talmud, because while he claims to know alot about it, he takes so much offense at hearing lessons about it that I assume he hasn't read much of it, and therefore hasn't noticed this. Second, I doubt whether the "acceptable" debates in the Talmud rose to the level that Jesus had with the pharisees, because he used extremely strong words like "spawn of Satan", and his pharisaic enemies participated in killing him.

The description of "how the Rabbis seemingly violently oppose one another at times, and yet can all remain devout Jews and get along in the end" seems like it would be a mischaracterization if used to describe their relations with Jesus, because they didn't all get along in the end, so to speak. :/

You are right when you say:
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The same thing can be seen with the Old Testament Prophets who often used far harsher language than Jesus ever did, but in the end, they were all Jews, and that is what bound them together
The conclusion is that just as the prophets and the Jewish subjects of some of their harsh criticisms were both Jews, Jesus could have been a pharisee like those He criticized.

I agree with you when you say to Saint Iaint:
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If you're actually interested in the idea of Jesus being a Pharisee, which I doubt, (or at least closer to them than any of the other Jewish sects of His time) I'll once again recommend those books.
Of course I doubt you're interested because of this abject fear you have of anything Jewish.
Except that my quick review of the books suggested they were portraying Him as close to the pharisees, rather than necessarily an official member of their sect. For me, it's interesting to think of Jesus as a rabbi and pharisee. The gospels sometimes record Him being called teacher. But this doesn't mean He was a pharisaic rabbi.

You are correct from the Christian standpoint that:
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First, Jesus is the 100% God-Man. Yes He is God. He is also 100% human, with a human soul, human mind, human will. His Divinity does not invalidate His humanity in ANY way. Jesus had to learn to speak, and read just like another other 1st century Palestinian Jew.

You made a good point when you said:
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Second, that is your answer? The Pharisees "got a few things right" via the oral teaching? Wait a minute. I thought the oral teaching was ALL bad? Now some of it is right and some of it is wrong? Do you not see the contradiction?
Yep that was his apparently contradictory answer, as he had apparently suggested the oral teaching was ALL bad, against which you argued with him, before he said that they got some things right in their oral teaching.

I doubt your view here:
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<<Look at the verses I've quoted above... does it look like Jesus was speaking to His 'fellow' Pharisees? HA!>>
Actually, yes it does! Again, if you knew anything of intra-Jewish debate, Midrash and theological argument, you would see this quite easily.
I know at least very basic things about it: that they propose and argue contrasting and opposite viewpoints, use allegories, debate about God, sometimes talk with authoritarian attitudes.
However, the tenor of the debate seems extreme even considering that debates were common. This doesn't seem to be the kind of thing Maimonides would say to Rashi in their disagreements over Isaiah 53.
Particularly strong is John 8:
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You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."
The Rabbinical view was that Rabbinical commandments are the commandments of God. Marc1152's lecture by Nehemiah Gordon pointed out that there is a rabbinical handwashing prayer that says God commanded them to do this ritual. And Gordon explained that they came to this conclusion because the rabbis made this commandment and thought that their commandment's were God's. This sounds like the criticism in the OT of religious figures teaching men's commandments as if they were God's. In any case, Jesus' words that the pharisees weren't of God goes against the rabbinical idea that their rabbinical commandments were from God.
It is hard to see how Jesus could make a much stronger statement than that the pharisees he was debating were Satan's spawn.

Now perhaps you find in Jesus' strong words a closeness and desire to warn the pharisees. But with gentiles He was also close, even touching them sometimes in violation of Judaic prohibitions. So the fact that Jesus acted closely in His relations doesn't necessarily mean that He was one of them. Rather, it could be a reflection of His close character, which bonded with people. Likewise, His frequent contact with the pharisees could attest to the fact that they both naturally had contact with eachother as they both were preaching outside the Temple and in various regions, while the other sect, the Saducees, spent more time inside the Temple and in association with it

So Jesus' strong debate can make it look like He was speaking to His "fellow" pharisees, but it could also look like He is speaking to those with whom He has close relations and/or contact without actually belonging to their group.

You are correct when you say to Saint Iaint:
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But Jesus did not deny that such a concept of "Moses' seat" actually existed. He actually validated the doctrine of Moses' seat, (which was an oral tradition)...the negative was that He said do as those who sit in the seat say, not as they do. But Jesus never said "Moses' seat is an oral tradition, it's a false doctrine"...nope. He accepted it as a valid belief, even thought it cannot be found in ANY Old Testament writing.
However, it's confusing to me what Jesus means when He says to do as they say, because elsehwere He says not to do things that they say to do, like the handwashing ritual. One possibility is that He means to do what they say as long as they are there in Moses' seat and acting within its scope, and that when they make bad rulings that the rulings would be outside its scope and one wouldn't follow them. But I am not sure what He meant by this.

I am somewhat confused here, from your words to Saint Iaint:
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You can quote all the proof texts from the Bible you want to show how "angry" Jesus was with this group or that group, but it doesn't matter. Because you are not Jesus. And have no authority to take that attitude upon yourself.
On one hand, Christianity directs us to emulate Jesus' example, and here He spoke very harshly to the pharisees, so one implication could be that we should also act this way. But St Paul tells us to avoid arrogance toward non-Christian Jews, and to me St Paul and the apostles showed a positive attitude toward them, like when they were preaching. And St Paul said to follow Jesus example during Christ's trial, when He reviled not in return. So I practically agree with you, and believe we must act graciously toward people of other faiths, but just am alittle confused as you see.

I agree when you write:
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In the end, no matter what you think about Jews, Romans, Herodians, or any other group, Jesus while being nailed to the cross cried out, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!" If Jesus forgave them, and asked the Father to forgive them, then who are you to not do the same?
Maybe he is not spiritually strong enough to do the same.

I agree with your analysis here:
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<<I've spoken to plenty of Orthodox who were not (supposedly) former Protestants... They didn't sound anything like some of you guys! As soon as I find one that isn't Judaized beyond recognition - I'll let you know.>>
So now you're implying that every Orthodox who doesn't hate Jews, who doesn't deny the 2000 year old teaching of the Church that Jesus is a Jew, through the line of David, sent as the Messiah of the Jews, is somehow not quite Orthodox? (ie: your quote (supposedly) former Protestants) implies that you don't really consider me as "truly" Orthodox.
Except that it isn't clear that Saint I simply "hates Jews." Apparently he has an obsessive dislike of nonChristian Jews though, which I admit sounds similar. :/
Yes, you're right about what he's implying, since the propositions about Jews you mentioned is what he is debating against you, and you are disagreeing with his obsessive dislike and he is saying in this way you aren't like the Orthodox he talked to who weren't former Protestants. He thinks he has the correct religious position here from an Orthodox POV, making you less Orthodox in his mind. It's all ridiculous, don't worry about it. As you say:
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And the ironic thing is that you yourself are not Orthodox! And yet you feel the desire to mandate and tell others that they aren't Orthodox enough for you? Ooookay!!!

And you're right when you say:
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<<"What "Protestant arguments"? Quoting from Scripture is not "Protestant argument"!>>
The Protestant arguments, which you seem quite familiar with BTW, that deny the validity of Oral Tradition. Those Protestant arguments."
He is making a Protestant argument, because he is supporting the Karaites in their rejection of the validity of oral tradition. Protestants also reject its validity, while Orthodox give it authority, although I doubt Orthodox knowingly allow raising the authority of its interpetation above that of the New Testament's clear meaning. There is an oral tradition in Phariseeism, however, that even if the Rabbinical teachigns call your right hand your left, you must accept such a teaching.

I think you are right from the Christian point of view when you say:
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<<During His time on earth, Jesus of Nazareth was a Galilean - NOT a Judean.>>
What do you mean "during His time on earth"? Jesus is STILL a Jew. He is still the Incarnate Son of God. He didn't stop being human after the Resurrection, he's just a Resurrected human.
It isn't clear why Saint I said "during His time on earth": maybe he said this with the view that Jesus was only a [Jewish] Galilean while on earth, or maybe he just says this to focus more clearly on the way He was a Galilean. Jesus wasn't Galilean or a Jew I think before the Incanrnation, but was while on earth, by being in Galilee and of physical Jewish descent and religion. So this phrase might just be rounding out the sentence more.
Also, it sounds like He would still be a Jew after the Resurrection, since He preserved His humanity, and His humanity was conceived as a Jew. As you say: He didn't stop being human after the Resurrection, and He showed His continued humanity by things like eating fish afterwards with the disciples.

I think you're right that "all the fathers of the Church use the word Judean to refer to Jesus." On the other hand, "All" is an extreme statement to make. It seems possible that some of them could've discussed Christ without specifically mentioning He was Judean. But it still seems unlikely that they would omit it because it was an important part of His identity, as His statement about salvation being from the Judeans suggests.

It's confusing when you say:
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<<Jesus was a Judahite ('Jew')... But He was not a Judean ('Jew').>>
You're inventing distinctions whole cloth, to suit your own personal dogmas. (none of which have ANYTHING to do with Orthodox Christianity, the Creed, the Councils, or the cycle of services) Distinctions that no historian would consider legitimate. All our Liturgical texts refer to Jesus as a Jew (or Judean if you insist)...
The distinctions between Judahites and Judeans of course exists as they are two separate words with two distinct meanings. And they are important concepts in Orthodox thinking about Christ, and related to the Creed, Councils, and service cycles. The term "Jew" can be used for either, which is also confusing. In any case, such a distinction doesn't exist with Christ, as He was both Judean and from Judah.

So you are correct that: "Mary was a Jew, Joseph was a Jew...John the Baptist was a Jew. His father, Zacharias was a Temple Priest for crying out loud. And John was the cousin of Jesus. So right there, by blood, Jesus was certainly a Jew." But just using the term Jew doesn't show whether they were from Judah or Judean or both, since the term can mean either. And Saint I is focusing on distinguishing the two terms regarding Jesus. If in the Bible it clearly uses Greek words that say they were Judean, unlike English which uses the term Jew for both, then I assume you are right about S.I. when you say: "you'll gloss over this evidence I'm sure, because it doesn't fit into the box you've built around the Bible", since he is strong in his opinion that Jesus wasn't Judean, and doesn't seem to explore your suggestions considerably. However, some of them weren't from the province of Judea, and I don't clearly remember it specifying that they were Judeans, so it may sound silly to you I'm sorry, but I have some doubt that the Bible refers to all of them as "Judeans". Now it does refer to John the Baptist and his father as Judeans, as it says: "“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth" (Luke 1) Still, Jesus' words that salvation is of the Judeans suggests that His family was Judean also.

I doubt your view here:
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<<"Yes, baptism is NOT a Christian invention, nor is it an invention of John the Baptist. It was a Jewish invention, or "innovation" that was co-opted by John, and later Christianity itself."
Where do you get that idea from?>>
It's that field of study, which you don't seem to care for much, called history, not to mention archaeology also proves this as well.
I remember reading about John's baptism in a historical-religious book, and it said that John's baptism was unique compared to other baths in pre-Christian Judaism, in that he had one baptism instead of repeated baptisms. So you may be confusing John's baptism with those of the repetitive mikvah baths. I believe that the Mikvah baths have been mentioned in historical writings and in archeology, and as to the latter, I remember reading that some Mikvah baths have been found.

I disagree with you when you say:  
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<<JESUS IS NOT (AND NEVER WAS) A PHARISEE!!>>
...Show me your evidence that Jesus was closer to the other 3 sects, and you might have a case... The problem you have of course then is if Jesus was NOT at least very close in tradition to one of these Jewish sects, that means Jesus would have been proclaiming a NEW teaching whole cloth (or a long lost teaching that no Jew could have possibly known about in the 1st century)...so no one at the time could be considered responsible for not recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, since he in fact was teaching stuff no one had ever heard before. ...you have to then bring up some new evidence that shows that Jesus was actually a Sadducee, Zealot, or Essene. This is how history works. Do you have such evidence that has been overlooked by Biblical scholars for the last 200 years? You'll make a fortune and rewrite Christian history if you do.

(A)I disagree that one must show Jesus was closer to the other three sects to have a case, since as you later said there was the possibility He didn't belong to any of the sects. Maybe you aren't saying that one must show this, but that it just creates a case. That's certainly true, but even if he was, it doesn't mean the case is proved, as he could've been some kind of dissident who belonged to the pharisees but was closer in ideology to other groups. For example there are Protestants who actually agree with Orthodoxy but haven't converted to Orthodoxy.
(B) He could have been just somewhat close to one sect in tradition, yet still close enough that His teaching wasn't a "NEW teaching whole cloth". You see, if my clothing is close to yours, but not a perfect match, then maybe I took parts of your sewing cloth and thus it was not a "NEW whole cloth" or made from another "long lost piece of cloth". The point is that just because His teaching wasn't very close in tradition to another sect, it doesn't mean that it was a whole new teaching or a long lost one.
Further, He could have had a unique teaching that the sects lacked, but wasn't new but rather taken from an older teaching that had been discarded or rejected, and thus was still something Jews could have known about in the 1st century AD. In your example, this would be a case of taking discarded clothes and making new clothes from it. This is a possibility, as Jesus spoke of Himself as the stone the builders had rejected. The prophets were also rejected, and Jesus was in the prophetic tradition of criticizing Israel and telling them to repent.
(C) So it isn't necessarily true that if He was teaching things that weren't very close to other sects that they would be things no one had heard before.
Now even if they were wholly new things people hadn't heard of, if what He was saying and doing was clearly Messianic enough, then in psychological terms, it's possible some one "at the time could be considered responsible for not recognizing Jesus as the Messiah." For example, if people hadn't heard of certain ways of looking at scriptural prophecies about the Messiah and Jesus clearly showed what they were and that they applied to Him, it seems possible someone could be considered responsible for failing to recognize this.
And on the other hand, if He was saying things they had heard before, but He wasn't saying it clearly enough to some people and acting it out for them, maybe they still couldn't be considered responsible for their failure to recognize Him. For example, He healed some people and taught about loving others. These were teachings related to Messianic prophecies people had heard before, but if that's all those people saw or heard, them it seems doubtful whether that would be enough to establish Him as the Messiah. For example, there were also Shamanic healers today, and I assume that at least because of the spread of Christian ideas some of them have picked up the idea of loving others- as humans they might have teachings about loving others anyway. But that doesn't make them Messianic.
(D) Saint I doesn't have to bring up new evidence Jesus belonged to one of the other 3 biggest sects. To make his case, he could merely go through and show Jesus disagreed with basic pharisaic ideas enough. Saint I showed that He disagreed with some of their oral teachings, and submission to the oral teachings was a big part of Phariseeism. Now that's not the only part of Phariseeism, but the point is that Saint I. started in the direction of making a case Jesus wasn't one. For example, to show that I'm not a Republican, I don't have to show I belong to another political party, since I could be independent. To show I'm not a Republican, I might just show I disagree with basic Republican ideas.
Assuming that it was necessary to prove this, one wouldn't need new evidence, because maybe he/she could just look at things in another way. For example, if someone found that Jesus said something that showed he wasn't a pharisee, but people were aware of this saying of His for a long time without consciously linking it to a rejection of Phariseeism, then it would just be a matter of looking in another way at things already known. Now I admit this is unlikely because the topic of Jesus' sayings has been so strongly scrutinised over the centuries, but it's rationally possible to try to prove this without new evidence but just by scrutinising things in new ways.
History doesn't work this way either. To show that a person who lived 250 years ago didn't belong to a certain religion (like Protestantism) I wouldn't have to show their ideas were aligned with another religion (like Roman Catholicism), because there were some people, particularly among the intellectuals, who had dissident religious ideas like Unitarianism.
Anyway, I doubt he does have new information overlooked by Biblical scholars for the last 200 years.

You are correct when you say:
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"Ok, but the burden of proof is on you! There were 4 distinct sects of Judaism at the time of Christ. Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots and Essenes. ...Now if you say "Jesus was God, he belonged to none of these"...okay, I can buy that. ...Either way, you have your job cut out for you. You cannot just say "Jesus was not a Pharisee... You'll make a fortune and rewrite Christian history if you do [have new evidence Jesus belongd to another sect] And even if Jesus was not a Pharisee per se, He was far closer to the Pharisees then He was with any of the other Jewish sects of the time. This is a fact of history, but I know, facts have a habit of getting in the way of good stories"
You are correct. Saint I is making an affirmative proposal, albeit about something negative, that Jesus is not a pharisee. I think the common view is that Jesus wasn't one, since He criticized them so harshly in collective terms. But nonetheless, since Saint I is making a proposal of which he is trying to persuade you, the burden of proving it is on him, and he needs to say more than just asserting that Jesus wasn't one. You're right that there were 4 distinct sects at that time, although there could have been more, in my opinion. Perhaps the followers of John the Baptist could be considered a separate sect. But then again, if he was acting as an independent figure, then maybe his followers were too loose to say he had his own sect. Still, he did have his own "one baptism" ritual.
Like you say, one possibility is that Jesus could be His own independent figure taking His authority from God, whom Christianity teaches He was. The New Testament records people remarking that Jesus was special in that He talk from His own authority, as opposed to other rabbis'.
Saint I has his work cut out for him, because the NT doesn't say explicitly that Jesus was or wasn't a pharisee, so to show one or the other would take some work. That's partly because He was close to the most basic ideas they had, like the General Resurrection. Still, He also very strongly criticized their oral teachings collectively, which can be taken either to mean that He rejected some of their oral teachings or their system of teachings, which was important in Phariseeism.
New evidence Jesus belonged to another sect would bring fortune because new Biblical evidence, as in apparently physical or written evidence like the Qumran scrolls brings alot of money in the antiquities market. By evidence I assume you mean new physical evidence, as opposed to what could be called "evidence" from new ways of looking at things already found. With such new evidence that Jesus belonged to another of the 3 biggest sects, one would rewrite Christian history. For example, it would be a big change in Christian thought to think of Jesus as one of the other 3, like the Essenes who seemed like a strange fringe group, or the Zealots who were full of a desire for violent resistance against Rome that Christian teachings about respect for Roman authority tended against.
It does appear Jesus was closer to the Pharisees than to the other three sects you mentioned, He wasn't devoted to fighting Rome so He wasn't a Zealot. He believed in Resurrection, so He wasn't a Sadducee. And the New Testament doesn't even explicitly mention the Essenes.
But if one considers Nazorites and followers of John the Baptist to be sects, then it seems like maybe He was closer to those two groups. St Paul for example brought his disciple(s) to the Temple for Nazorite vows.
You may have found writing a college report that facts can get in the way of a good story. For example, imagine doing a report on some local pollution. You might find that in some ways the pollution was not as harmful as you expected, in which case such facts might get in the way of a good story of how bad the pollution is. Or maybe you could make a story about how clean a local business is, and then pollution facts get in the way.

You are right when you say:
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In fact we know it existed through excavations of ancient synagogues, where there is a "chair" or a "throne" where the head Rabbi would sit, as the leader of the congregation. Interestingly enough, this is exactly where Orthodoxy gets the concept of a "Bishop's throne". When and if you ever attend an Orthodox Liturgy, you'll be quite shocked as to just how Jewish everything actually is. And how closely our Churches are patterned after ancient synagogues and the Temple. In fact our whole Liturgy is basically a merging of the synagogue service and the Temple Sacrificial service . . . co-opted and fully realized within the reality of the presence of Christ. Sorry, but if you're looking for an anti-Jewish faith, Orthodoxy just ain't it.
I also read that this is where Orthodoxy gets the concept of the bishop's throne, and this makes sense because they are both important seats placed in houses of gathered worship. Now Saint I. might not be shocked about how Jewish everything is in the service, because he might not be aware of it. Orthodoxy certainly isnt anti-Jewish when it comes to pre-Christian Judaism, but it appears anti-Jewish in the sense of the term referring to Judaism that rejects Christianity. That is, today the term "Jewish" in the religious sense often refers to Rabbinical Judaism, which rejects Christianity, so of course Orthodoxy is against it in this sense. But I think it's misleading to say Orthodoxy is anti-Jewish, because it does teach to avoid arrogance against non-Christian Jews, and it considers itself a continuation of Jewish religion in the pre-Christian era.

I practically agree with you here, but your logic is wrong I think:
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<<What makes you think the concept of Moses' seat was an oral tradition before Christ's time?>>
Uh, because Jesus talks about it!?! Jesus makes a reference to it, quite explicitly, and everyone apparently knew exactly what He was referring to. So the concept MUST have existed prior to Jesus using the phrase. ...Besides Jesus talks about it, it must have been a concept known to people. Why else would He mention it?
Just because Jesus talks about something, even explicitly, doesn't mean it existed before His time, it only means that someone aware of it in His time. So for example it's logically possible that the tradition of Moses seat could have started during Jesus' lifetime and Jesus referred to such a tradition then. Apparently everyone knew exactly what He was referring to, because He used it to begin His sermon which was about clear rules. So apparently this was also a concept that was clear to people, and existed before he used the phrase. Now just because it existed before He used the phrase doesn't mean it existed before His time, as it logically could've been developed during His time but before He used the phrase.
In purely logical terms He could have thought of a new concept, like some of His expressions, like about the mustard seed's growth could've been His own concept. And He could've mentioned the concept even if people didn't know about it because He just liked to use poetic expressions. So He could've used it to show that Moses has a place of authority, and to show He recognized that the pharisees filled this place. Now I agree with you that apparently He is  talking about something that already existed, but I am just saying that the alternative is logically possible, that He first mentioned it.
Also, it's logically possible they didn't know about it, since Jesus did talk poetically at times. Just as the pharisees weren't literally a physical "brood of vipers", it's logically possible that sitting in Moses' seat was also an expression, like saying that the Pope sits in Peter's seat. Now I think in Catholicism there really is a Peter's seat in Rome. But it's also possible to think of this as a metaphor for the kind of authority Catholicism teaches that the Pope has.
Now assuming that the prominent seats found in at least two archeological finds of synagogues are such Moses' seats, it's still logically possible that those were a physical development of the common expression, and that the physical development happened after Jesus used the phrase, since those finds were from the 2nd-4th centuries AD. But I think it's unlikely, and that it's most likely this was a continuation of a much earlier tradition. After all, just as there is an expression of Peter's seat, it reflects the existence of an actual "Peter's Seat" in Rome.

You wrote:
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<<I'm saying - if it's in the Talmud now... It's because the rabbis plagarized it! The Talmud was penned long after Christ's time!! >>
So were the Gospels, (written long after the time of Jesus) does that disprove them?
Saint I is saying that the Talmud was written after Jesus' time when He mentioned it so it must have plagiarized Him. Now obviously this is bad logic, because it could also have been recording an earlier concept.
But your response is that well, the Gospel was written long after Jesus. Saint I could then say, yes, that's why the Gospel is plagiarizing Him, as in, copying Jesus' ideas as it purports.
More exactly though, you are saying: The gospels were written long after Jesus spoke, so does that mean they are wrong, if the Talmud's being written long after Jesus spoke means it's wrong. Well, first of all, the gospels were written within I think 10-80 years after Jesus, so that isn't nearly as long a time as for the Talmud, which was written in about the 5th century AD.
While the length of time reduces their veracity, it doesn't mean they are necessarily wrong, as they could be recording traditions that were passed down over many years, which is what they purport to be doing. Plus, assuming that it got lost in time who used the term Moses' chair, there could be a coincidence where the gospels or Talmud correctly guessed that it was Jesus or the rabbis, respectively, who used this term.
Also, the gospels don't say that Jesus was the first person to use the term, so the accounts about it don't have to be contradictory.

You wrote:
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<<Show me that it was part of an oral tradition before Jesus' time. You can't.>>
BEFORE Jesus time? Are you serious? To ask such a question really does show that you know absolutely nothing about the ancient world, or 2nd Temple Judaism.
Yes I think he is serious that he wants info about it from before Jesus' time. I doesn't show he knows absolutely nothing about the ancient world or 2nd Temple Judaism, because he might know they had a Temple and some things, but he might not understand that oral traditions were things that were supposed to be kept over long periods of time, making it unlikely that such an oral tradition about synagogue design just showed up at that one moment.

You're right when you say:
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Besides I don't need to show this one point. So in this case I concede that you're right. I cannot "prove" with concrete archaeological evidence that the doctrine existed before Jesus...
You don't need to prove this point, because you only need to show it was an oral tradition and that He approved of it. Actually you might not even need to prove that, because the quote itself by Jesus is one whose apparent function is to say that Jesus approves of oral traditions, because Jesus is saying to do what the pharisees say based on their relation to Moses' chair, which, if not a phsyical chair, represents a basis for Mosaic interpretation.
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« Reply #165 on: May 23, 2011, 02:45:12 AM »

Northern Pines,

You are right when you say:
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of course I cannot prove that there even was a Jesus of Nazareth . . . but of course that's not how history is done. History is about probabilities, what most likely happened, and which explanation(s) are most probable. Sometimes we dig up concrete evidence. Sometimes we don't. In this case I plead my ignorance on the subject. I don't know if there is concrete evidence of it BEFORE Jesus....however using the historical method, considering that Jesus mentions such a doctrine, leads me to believe that the most likely explanation is that He was refering to a belief widely known at the time.
But as far as Moses's seat goes, I need not prove anything anyways. Jesus accepted many other teachings that were not part of the then Canonical Hebrew Scriptures. I've mentioned some previously. But of course you just said, "well Jesus was God of course He got that stuff right!" But that takes the debate out of the real world of history entirely and into the realm of personal subjective experience or belief. Which is what this whole "debate" comes down to in the end. You are not looking for evidence, dialogue or rational debate. You are looking to "convert" people to your point of view. Which is fine. You can try...but do not ask or expect anyone on here to knowingly go against 2000 year old Church teaching that Jesus was a Jew, through the line of David, the seed of a Jewish Mother, and the Jewish Messiah sent to the Jews. Some accepted Him, many rejected Him, but then according to St. Paul we shouldn't boast against the branches (the Jews) who were cut off so we could be grafted on to the tree. For we, the Gentiles are the wild olive branch, grafted in....but if we boast against the natural branch (ie: the Jews) we can just as easily be cut off, and they can be grafted back onto the tree, in our place. I think St. Paul's advice is something we should all take to heart.
We need to worry about our own Salvation, and not be so concerned with... demoniz[ing] other human beings just to make ourselves feel like we're part of a special "in group" that those "others" are not a part of. Because we never know if and when God might choose to cut us off and replace us with those "others" we dislike so much.
But Saint Iant, you can believe what you like. You seem to have the truth wrapped up in a neat little package that you use to throw names out against other people. Maybe someday you can unwrap that truth, and share it to build people up, instead of tearing people down just to make yourself feel like you have a purpose in life.
...But I will be keeping an eye on it[the thread] never the less. Smiley

Except that: (1) Jesus' existence can be proved base don the gospels and Josephus, but I think at this time it can't be proved 100%.
(2) The only other thing I remember you mentioning not in the Tanakh was the belief in the existence of demons. The Tanakh, like in the Books of Ezekiel and Daniel, describes the General Resurrection, an afterlife, and angels.
(3) Saint I is probably looking for evidence, dialogue and rational debate, but probably mostly the ones favoring him. Smiley Also, he is probably looking to some degree for contrary dialogue and rational debate, or he wouldn't be repeatedly posting here where this is what happens.
(4) Also, as I remember it, St Paul wasn't saying that the ease with which we can be cut off is dependant on whether we boast against the natural branches (ie the Jews). Rather, he writes that we could be cut off, while they could be grafted in, so we shouldn't boast against them.

Thanks for writing. Your posts are intelligent and thoughtful as Rosehip said. Smiley

You commented: <<"We need to... not be so concerned with convincing other people we have chosen the right path or the right Church... I likely will not reply to this thread again because I feel our "dialogue" has been exhausted.">> Well I doubt the first part, because in Christianity we are taught to spread our faith, which practically means convincing others we chose the right path or right Church. You did later reply to this thread again, with another significant post. Smiley

You are mostly correct when you say:
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<<"The LORD could have been a part of another grouping of Jews at the time which is now lost to us.>>
Indeed He could have. ANYTHING is possible, but historical study and historians "do history" by what is most probably. Not by "what was possible".
With that said, I do agree with you in some ways. And of course that's why I posted a link to to Margaret Barker's website, because that is in fact what she argues quite convincingly I might add. (see the link I posted previously)
That is, her view is that early Christianity was a continuation of a school of thought in Judaism that was devoted to an Old Testament Trinitarianism that had become lost due to suppression by a group you referred to as the Deuteronomists. She proposes that this Trinitarianism was retained in the collective memory. That doesn't necessarily mean there was an organized group based around this Trinitarianism before Christ began His ministry, but it does suggest there was another group of views besides the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes.
You are right that Alveus is correct as "could have been" is an open, broad statement. From a certain philosophical perspective, I think it could be said that "anything is possible".
Actually historians don't just go by what is most probable- sometimes they say they are not sure about things and go by the possibilities, proposing what various possibilities are.
And I agree with him in a way, because, as I said earlier, it could be that Jesus belonged to a Nazorite grouping. The Nazorites aren't completely lost to us in the sense that we don't know they existed, but they are lost to us in the sense that we don't have alot of information on them from the pre-Christian period. If they are considered simply an early version of the Christians who were called "Nazarenes," then in a way they still exist- as us.

It's confusing when you write:
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<<In fact I personally hold to HER hypothesis for a number of reasons. For starters, her thesis explains in the simplest terms why in fact 1st century Jews so readily accepted Jesus as Messiah, when in fact He hadn't conquered Rome, and why they in fact so easily thought Him to be Divine. See her book 'The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God' where she quite extensively shows how and why supposedly absolutist monotheistic Jews, so easily saw Jesus as Divine. (ie: they weren't absolute monotheists to put it simply, though that simplistic way of seeing it is not the best way of putting it)
It's confusing because you had earlier suggested He was a pharisee, and yet here you are suggesting He belonged to another group that had pre-Christian semi-Trinitarian ideas. The pharisees lacked and would've opposed the view that the Old Testament had been redacted against such supposed hidden Trinitarian references.
OK, her thesis about semi-Trinitarianism explains why the Jews then so easily thought He was divine, since semi-Trinitarianism allows for other divine beings besides God. But I don't see how this thesis explains that they "so readily accepted Jesus as Messiah, when in fact he hadn't conquered Rome", because the issue of His divinity seems quite separate from the issue of the expectation that He would conquer Rome.
I did read her introduction and it sounds OK. The biggest idea she apparently makes is that OT ideas about angels were associated with what you are describing as semi-Trinitarianism. Offhand I have some doubt about her view because it's unusual, and I'm sorry I feel I don't have time to read it at the moment, as it's quite extensive like you say; but I made a note of it though.
Her idea about semi-Trinitarianism and ideas about angels as divine beings naturally would show "how and why supposedly absolutist monotheistic Jews, so easily saw Jesus as Divine. (ie: they weren't absolute monotheists to put it simply...)"
Saying that they weren't absolute monotheists is a "simplistic way of seeing it [that] is not the best way of putting it", because they might be considered as absolute Monotheists with a belief in one absolutely united God, even though they had ideas about divine beings like angels that came from God, or a semit-Trinitarian idea that God included more than one part, like His Spirit.

I trust you when you say:
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Your points are also validated by the Dead Sea Scrolls which are FULL of allusions and writings that don't fit into any of the 4 major sects of 2nd Temple Judaism.
The scrolls had a range of writings, from those of the OT to gnostic writings. So I can foresee that those writings found there included gnostic ideas that were unique and not part of the 4 sects.

Your logic is problematic:
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However I don't believe my arguments bring in "more" problems than solutions, because first I wasn't trying to post "solutions" to anything.
That makes it more likely that you brought in less solutions than problems, as you weren't trying to bring in solutions at all.

You're right when you say: "My intention all along was to challenge certain assertions, and to show that the burden of proof lay on Saint Iant to show that Jesus was not only not a Pharisee, but that Jesus was "something else." he says in big bold letters Jesus was not a Pharisee,
"
Clearly that was your intention- to challenge his assertion made in bold letters that Jesus was never a pharisee. And like you said, the burden of proof lay on him to show Jesus wasn't one, as Saint I was the one making an assertion/claim. However, the burden isn't on Saint I to show Jesus was something else, since Jesus could've been His own independent figure like Saint I asserted.

You are also right here: "[Saint I] gives NO historical evidence as to why he feels this to be the case. Other than of course proof texting the Bible which shows Jesus blasting "the scribes and Pharisees" in harsh language. of course using that logic, one could say the Old testament prophets were not even Israelites, because they do the same thing. of course this is all nonsense, in the same way it would be nonsense to say Saint Maximus wasn't Orthodox because he blasted the Orthodox Patriarchs. Smiley[/quote]
It appears he was relying on proof-texting the Bible, that is, quoting alot of passages from it directly where Jesus blasts the scribes and pharisees. And like you said, by that reasoning, one could say Saint Maximus and the prophets weren't Orthodox and Israelties, respectively, because they also strongly criticized others in their own broad group they considered wrong.
However, this wasn't the only proof-texting issue Saint I raised. He also raised the issue of Jesus criticizing not just the pharisees, but the oral teachings. In my mind, the langauge of this criticism, ie the reference to "your tradition", can be taken to mean Jesus was rejecting the system of authority of the oral teachings, that is, He rejected the authority ascribed to them, or He rejected them collectively. On the other hand, I can also see this meaning He just rejected some or alot of those teachings, and He was just referring to the bad teachings that He rejected.

I doubt your view here:
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The biggest problem is that Saint Iant is not very accepting of historical sources outside the new Testament. So in that light we are simply stuck with grouping Jews as either Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots because that's all the NT talks about. He does seem to accept the Essenes, so I threw them in, even though there is no explicit reference to them in the NT. (though they are possibly alluded to).
I think he would accept some other historical sources like church fathers. We aren't stuck with grouping Jews as one of those three groups, because there could be some independent figures or idolators/pagans, like how some Jews apostasized in the OT. It seems Saint I accepts the Essenes, as he hasn't objected to them and they are a commonly recognized group. And It's true the Essene's aren't in the NT.
I doubt that his acceptance of the Essens was why you "threw them in", since I don't clearly remember him bringing them up, which suggests maybe you threw them in before he mentioned them. Plus, you mentioned Baker's book even though he doesn't say he accepts it. It just seems that you simply asserted there are 4 groups and placed the burden on him to say which one Jesus fit into.


I agree with you qhen you say:
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<<You're right to critique Saint Iaint's assumptions, but I also find it problematic to jump right on board with the currently popular assertion that the LORD was verifiably a Pharisee.>>
Actually that's not the "popular" assertion at all. The idea that Jesus was a Pharisee is highly contested among scholars and historians... I don't know of any of [ the leading Jesus historians] who claim with any absolute authority that this is a verifiable fact.
I apologize for giving the impression I was claiming this as a verifiable fact. (I didn't think I was giving that impression actually but I guess I was)
Yes I doubt it's a popular assumption, since the New Testament depicts Jesus as in opposition to the pharisees collectively, as in "Jesus vs the Pharisees". It portrays Him as a strong, independent figure. So at least based on first appearances, it's to be expected that it wouldn't be a popular view, and would be contested. I don't know any of them saying with absolute authority it's a verifiable fact, either. But then again, I haven't done really deep research into this question.
You were claiming pretty strongly that Jesus was a pharisee, and pointed to 3 historians to show this, giving the impression it was verifiable, although not necessarily directly or explcitly verifiable. Rather that we could verify from historians' analyses that this was the case.

I partly doubt your view that:
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"it's true that the leading Jesus historians around today lean in that direction [that Jesus was a pharisee]...
it is more probable than the other options available...
I certainly wasn't trying to speak for the leading scholars in the field...
Well it's hardly "new", as it has been around for many decades.
"
Well, I read alot of a modern Catholic writer's book "Jesus: A Marginal Jew", and this didn't seem to be the author's view. I'm hardly an expert, but I have read a signficant amount and range of materials too, and it's a new idea for me to think that Jesus was a pharisee, which means a member of the pharisaic sect. Plus, a brief look at the two more liberal of the 3 sources you cited suggests to me the authors view Jesus as close to the pharisees, without proposing He was one.
So it seems possible that his is a new idea you mentioned. But then again, it's been almost 2000 years since Jesus debated the pharisees, so it seems pretty likely that at least some historians thought up an idea wherein Jesus was a pharisee.
I also doubt it's more probable that He was a member of the pharisees than the other options, because the option that He was an independent figure like John the Baptist seems likely to me, as He was closely associated with John and carried on John's ritual of Baptism.
It did sound like you were trying to speak for at least some of the leading scholars, as you cited them to back up your work.

I am not sure about this:
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Even EP Sanders, who basically is the leading proponent of this theory, clearly states in his book 'Jesus and Judaism' that he is only suggesting that by what we know at the present time, that Jesus was likely a Pharisee, or at least associated himself with them more than He did the other Jewish movements of the time. His mind is not been made up, and I'm sorry I implied/spoke for scholars who have not made up their mind on the issue. This is why, I of course posted references to scholarly works, websites etc for people to read themselves, and decide whether they agree or disagree.
I only looked through Sander's book briefly for information about Jesus and the pharisees. But what I saw seemed to be Sanders saying that Jesus was close to them, rather than saying that He was one of their order. Now maybe there was another part of the book that the Google Book preview blocked wherein Sanders thought that Jesus was either likely one or associated more with them than with other Jewish movements. The latter view was my impression of what Sanders was proposing, based on what I read. If Sanders was saying that either one was possible then of course it means his mind wasn't made up. You posted the references for people to read and decide on their own ideas, but I think you were also citing the references to back up your own ideas, and for the purpose that if Saint I or someone read them, they would be persuaded to a view similar to your own. That's hardly bad- people all the time cite references to persuade others. Hopefully after reading various views, one gets a better idea of the truth.

You're right when you say:
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As far as the Church's tradition goes, "Pharisee" has come to mean something in an allegorical or spiritual sense. And I have no problem using the word in that way. I in fact have done so, and believe there are many "Pharisees" within Christian Church. But we're not talking about the allegorical meaning of the term, we're talking about a specific historical Jewish movement in the 1st century... I DO believe the Church has things to tell us about that historical aspect as well. I never meant to imply it did not.
The term "pharisee" has taken on certain connotations as a metaphor, thus in an allegorical sense. This can be a spiritual description. Saying someone is a pharisee has such a connotation of an authority figure who focuses strongly on rules and conservative authority, while lacking strong positive spiritual depth.
I have alittle problem using the word this way, because St Paul and some other pharisees were early Christians. But I think it can be used linguistically to give certain connotations, just like the term "heathen" can be used metaphorically to describe someone or something primitive or uncivilized.
I agree with your view about pharisees in the church. It seems likely to me that in church leadership positions there are sometimes those who apply their authority in a callous fashion, based on their legalistic or systemic position for doing so.
And like you say, we're focusing not on whether Jesus had metaphorically or stereotypical "pharisaic" traits, but on whether Jesus qualified as a member of the pharisaic sect in the 1st century.
Sure, the Church has things to tell us about "Phariseeism" in a historical sense, since the Church has recorded alot about the pharisees. No, you didn't imply or mean to imply that the Church didn't have things to say about it, as you even discussed Saint I's proof texting as if the Biblical quotes themselves were valid.

<<"In similar light, sometimes people refer to JW's as "Arians" but that's really not accurate, unless one is just using the term "Arian" in a generic allegorical sense.">>
When people refer to JWs as Arians, that suggests to me that they mean that their doctrines about Jesus' divinity match. In that case, referring to them as Arians sounds OK to me, in a way similar to how it's possible to refer to America's political system as a Greek-republican system, even though while the concepts are separate and America based its system directly ont eh ideas of Enlightenment philosophers and British parliamentarianism.
On the other hand, I don't know so much about the JWs to tell if their system really is analogous to Arianism in their doctrines. If not, then you're right and the term Arian would just be accurately applied if it was used as an analogy.

I am confused about your last sentence here though:
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"I DO believe the Church has things to tell us about that historical aspect as well. I never meant to imply it did not. But when one is debating someone who refuses to even dialogue, one is limited to the number of nuances and side debates one can use."
That is, you said earlier you felt limited to the NT because Saint I accepts that. Presumably he would accept other traditional Church writings on the topic too.
In that case, you would not be limited away from the NT and things the Church had to say about the historical aspect, you wouldn't be implying the Church didn't have things to tell us, and thus you wouldn't be saying "but", when you say: "the Church has things to tell us... But when one is debating..."
Also, he is dialoguing to some extent, in that he does at least respond to your ideas and provide replies.

I trust your judgment here:
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History, is in a way a lot like science....historians love nothing more than to DISPROVE a popular hypothesis. And just because I posted books that support the idea Jesus was a Pharisee (or something pretty close) doesn't mean there are not other ideas out there. Again that's why I posted Barker's website, but there are others as well. Plus the idea that Jesus was a Pharisee is actually not all that popular among Jesus scholars, as Sander's work highly contradicts much of the work done in the field for the last 40 years. It especially flies in the face of the Jesus Seminar's work. The problem is, Sander's is basically considered one of the top Jesus scholars in the world, and his work is so well done, that he's hard to just write off as a crack pot.
Sure, history is like science where people try different methods and hypotheses to figure out a material condition, that being in the casse of history what happened. SOme historians love nothing more than to disprove a popular hypothesis, but there are others that simply like to gather information on an interesting popular one, like, say, the Battle of Gettysburg. Of course your posting some books supporting the idea Jesus was a pharisee or close to it wouldn't mean there are not other ideas out there, like in other books.
Baker's book suggesting ideas of semi-Trinitarianism among the general populace is another idea than the one that He was a pharisee, but the two ideas aren't necessarily contradictory. That is, if the ideas were common among the populace and the pharisees were the biggest group, then some pharisees could have had these ideas, even if official Phariseeism would disagree with them. That is, He could have had ideas that the official pharisee system disagreed with. And that's possible, as we know some pharisees like, say, Hillel, had ideas with which the controlling or leading group in phariseeism disagreed strongly.
I trust you that Sander's work highly contradicts much of the work done in the field for the last 40 years, as the "Jesus the Jew" article by Ranni Reiss suggests. Reiss cited Sanders as saying that Edward Schweizer, which an Amazon.com page calls a premier Biblical scholar, was wrong that  the debates between Jesus and the pharisees led to his execution. Schweizer's position sounds partly right in my mind, as there was a time Jesus preached things or healed someone and a crowd wanted to throw Him over a cliff. The debates offended the pharisees, the New Testament sayd. And then with these debates about His Messiahship, together with His driving out the moneylenders and healing the sick in the Temple it's foreseeable that the pharisees who rejected Him approved of or partly caused His crucifixion.
I am not sure how Sanders flied in the face of the Seminar's work, but they also had some uncommon ideas, I think, and based their conclusions on a voting system wherein the Seminar's members voted on what they thought was right. So it makes sense that they voted for a popular image of Jesus that would've gone against Sander's idea He was a pharisee.
His book looked pretty well researched and rational, so I  agree he's hard to just write off as a crackpot. But even if he was proposing Jesus was a pharisee it doesn't mean he was probably right, because smart people can make conjectures that are wrong. There are smart people that disagree over Lincoln's assassination and the JFK one, for example.
I am not sure Sanders is one of the top Biblical scholars in the world, because there are so many very good ones. I think there were alot of German ones, and there was the Jesus Seminar. Names of very good ones Schweizer, Fr. John Meier, and Wright. Then some Church historians like Eusebius can be considered Biblical scholars. So with so many very good Biblical scholar's I am doubtful that Sanders is one of the top ones. I mean, his book was long and looked well-researched, but it wasn't a three or four volume set like Father Meier's was.

But I partly disagree with you here: "And unlike our friend Saint Iant, he [Sanders] uses evidence and the historical method to back up his theory."
Sanders naturally is using evidence by citing ancient records, and using the historical method, by considering various ideas, but Saint I. is using evidence too- the quotes from his proof-texting.
The historical method simply refers to ways historians research history. And naturally proof testing, which Saint I did, is at least one way to do this.

I trust you when you say:
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Lawrence Schiffman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Schiffman is one of the leading figures in study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and I don't believe he sees Jesus as a Pharisee. (though it's been awhile since I've read/listened to his work) JD Crossan, and Marcus Borg do not either. Even NT Wright, who definitely sees Jesus as a "Jewish Jesus" doesn't really outright claim Jesus was a Pharisee, but takes the middle road on the issue. However he does believe Jesus accepted Pharisaical doctrines.
It's OK that you haven't read/listened to Schiffman's work in a while: I agree that Crossan, Borg, Wright, or Schiffman the prominent Dead Sea Scroll scholar, probably don't consider Jesus a Pharisee, as the New Testament doesn't specify He was, He had ideas different from them, and it criticizes the pharisees collectively, which is not to say that He absolutely wasn't one.
Sure I can see Wright seeing Jesus as a Jewish Jesus, which after all He was, being from the tribe of Judah and basing beliefs on the Old Testament. So it makes sense that Wright was taking the middle road, believing Jesus accepted Pharisaical doctrines but not saying He was an official member of them. It makes sense Jesus accepted Pharisaical doctrines, because as you pointed out they shared basic beliefs in the general resurrection and the existence of angels and demons.

I disagree when you say:
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So you're right in that it's unfair to say "so and so" was a Pharisee.
Sometimes it's unfair to say this, if your belief isn't strongly based and it turns out you're wrong.

I trust you when you say:
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"In the end, most Jews of the 2nd Temple period didn't fit into ANY of these sects... The major movements in Judaism at the time were sort of like political parties, and while many people might have identified closely with one or the other, they weren't "joining" any one group. Most peasant Jews were pretty eclectic about their beliefs, and in fact believed all sorts of things, as is obvious from the New Testament itself. There is a great Jewish scholar who has some great lectures online about the eclectic views of 1st century Jews, but his name has slipped my mind. (He was born a Jew, converted to Evangelical Christianity, then returned to Judaism....he is a member of a Synagogue in one of the Carolinas...if anyone knows who I'm refering to please post a link to his website)
Naturally, most of them don't fit into any of the 4 sects you mentioned in terms of membership, as the biggest, the pharisees, had a membership of only a few thousand. So it sounds right about the sects being more like political parties where most people identified more with one group or another but weren't joining the groups. This allegiance makes sense as the religious Jews went to synagogues and the synagogues were led by members of the groups, particularly the pharisees, the largest group.
Sure most Jewish peasants, like many Jews in general were eclectic in beliefs, as many had ideas about angels,demons, healing sicknesses, and accepted John's Baptism, while many others didn't have John's Baptism. Some had strong political views about independence and Messianic expectations, while other Jews like Hillel lacked Messianic and rebellious focuses, and it's foreseeable his ideas existed among the peasantry to some extent, as his school own out over Shammai's after the Temple's destruction.
Some peasants must have had beliefs about the stars as miraculous, as the shepherds and wise men were involved in stargazing, so to speak, although it's possible there was just a really big star and people noticed it without much interest in stars per se.
The pharisees accepted pharisaic oral teachings and the Tanakh, but the Sadducees only accepted the written torah, although in my mind maybe some of them accepted some oral teachings. Alot of this range of beliefs I am mentioning here can obviously be found in the New Testament like you say: ideas about rebellion and pacifism, etc.
When you say most Jews are eclectic, it sound slike you mean they pick and choose, so to speak, rather than accepting everything a given sect said. Well, that makes sense because there were so many oral commandments, and there were also competing schools of rabbinical thought. Plus, some ideas, like about the "Moses seat" aren't in the Bible, which means that there would've been more uncertainty for peasants living then about what are all the available beliefs and which are the correct ones.
True, it's hypothetically possible that most peasants only accepted phariseeism's ideas, with some occasional changes, but still, those occasional changes can reflect eclecticism.
Naturally, I trust what you are saying about the Jewish scholar, as these are obvious views about the Jewish people at that time, and basic facts you are saying about him, but unfrotunately I don't know whom you mean.

I am not sure
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Most Jews were[eclectic]
Historians don't just latch onto "edgy" and "new" ideas for the fun of it. Most new ideas, particularly among Biblical scholars are actually maligned.
It seems possible to me that most Jews were aligned with the pharisees and thus accepted Phariseeism's basic ideas. It makes sense that they were eclectic, just as, say, there were superstitions among Russian peasants in pre-Revolutionary Russia.
Some historians may find new and edgy ideas fun, or, say, refreshing, even though "Most new ideas, particularly among Biblical scholars are actually maligned" As part of human pscyhology, some people take fringe ideas to be fun, even if they expect them to be maligned.

And I'm not sure I agree about the topic of the second part of your sentence, although it is a true statement about your own beliefs: "The whole point of my posts was to give Saint Iant a "new" view of Jesus he hadn't seen before. One that is not just "possible" but at least moderately probable."
I doubt whether it's moderately probably Jesus was a pharisee, but this depends on what moderately probable means. It seems like a real possibility, as opposed to a far out one, but I still think it's unlikely, because He came across as His own person, while phariseeism has the rabbis cite authority of other rabbis. Also, He seemed most aligned with John the Baptist who also came across as an independent figure.
Now you considered Jesus being a pharisee as moderately probably possible and you saw it was apparently a new idea for him, as his view is strongly against the pharisees, and because after all, it's an unusual idea. So your desire to share this with Saint Iaint meant that the whole point of your post was to share what you considered to be a moderate possibility, and a new idea for him. Now the point wasn't just to share some random, moderately probable new idea, but to share this particular one.

I agree when you say:
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Anyways I still believe the main point I was getting is correct: Jesus accepted Pharisaic doctrines, this makes Him closer to Pharisaical thought than it does to the thought of the Sadducees for sure. We know Jesus was not a Zealot because he didn't attempt a violent revolution. And we know he was not a member of the Essenes/Dead Sea sect because He visited and worshipped in the Temple. He of course could have been eclectic.
I already conceded He may not have been a Pharisee at all in a previous post, but He was still closer to the Pharisees than to these other 3 sects. You rightly point out that Jesus may have been something else, and I tend to agree with that, with some reservations. Again I find Barker's work pretty convincing, and far more "edgy" than this idea. And yet very few have latched on to her views.
in the end I'm personally agnostic about whether Jesus was actually a Pharisee or just one by association.
He could have been something else . . . and there are plenty of convincing views as to what that might have been in other scholar's work. Which means Jesus was probably eclectic, though I still believe He at least sympathized with Pharisaical beliefs and teaching. Sometimes "fads" are wrong, but sometimes "fads" turn out to be absolutely correct.
Except that your main point was that Jesus was a pharisee, not that He just accepted some Pharisaic ideas. Now maybe you meant that Jesus was a pharisee just in the broad sense of being aligned with their movement broadly, and that sounds right, although I suppose that might not be true, as His ideas about baptism and disagreement with some oral teachings might have been strong enough that He wasn't one.
Jesus' acceptance of Pharisaic ideas like the General Resurrection for sure makes Him closer to Pharisaic thought than to that of the Sadducees.
I agree with your logic that Jesus wasn't a Zealot because He didn't attempt a violent revolution. I mean it seems likely a small possibility, because He told His apostles to arm themselves with swords so they would be prophetically "numbered among the criminals". And I think one of His apostles was called a Zealot. The term "Simon the Zealot" sounds vaguely familiar to me in this connection. But a big difference between Him and the zealots was His strong belief in what He termed peacemaking, and another was His words to Pilate that His wasn't an eartly kingdom.
Also, it makes sense that since Jesus visited the Temple He wasn't one of the Essenes, as they isolfated themselves from it. Now I don't clearly remember Jesus that worshipped in the Temple, but I remember that He had an experience where He cried out that living water would flow from Him. So I expect that He worshipped there.
So as you say: "More probable that Jesus being a Sadducee, Zealot or Essene/Dead Sea sect that's for sure."
Yes, in a previous post you said He might not have been a pharisee, but jsut close to them.
I think He was eclectic, since He observed John's rite of Baptism, while unlike John, Jesus drank alcohol. I think Jesus was "something else" than the pharisees, as in an independent figure. Also, John the Baptist appeared like an independent figure who disagreed with the pharisees and Jesus was part of John's movement, which apparently was "something else" too.
Your view that He was probably something else is based on Baker's view, as you say. I am not sure about her idea and whether it means He was something else than the pharisees, because I am not sure (A)if Judaism really was dedicated to semi-Trinitarianism which was later suppressed and edited out of the Bible, as Christian tradition doesn't describe such a strong change in pre-Christian thought, and (B) if such semi-Trinitarian ideas would be possible within phariseeism, that is, I am not sure how wide a range of views phariseeism allowed on this topic. If her thesis is right, then it's foreseeable that since these Trinitarian ideas would've been so common among the populace, some pharisees would've had them too.
I agree that this idea that there was a suppression of semi-Trinitarian ideas and censorship of them out of the Bible sounds more edgy than Jesus simply being a pharisee, since Christianity treats the Bible, roughly as we have it now, as handed down in a roughly accurate form. Plus, this theory proposes a big suppression of theological ideas that Christian and non-Christian Judaic traditions don't describe happening. Also, it sounds like an unusual idea to me, so you're right that few have latched on to this thesis.
I doubt that I am agnostic about Jesus being a pharisee. My opinion is that He wasn't, but I don't know for sure, and "a-gnostic" in my mind means that something is unknowable. And I think it might be knowable, from, say, good enough exegesis or time travel..
Like you say, in other scholars' work there are plenty of convincing views of other things He could've been. Namely, alot of scholars' works portray Him as an independent figure, as the New Testament does too, arguing and teaching "on His own authority". The fact that He was His own figure doesn't necessarily mean He was eclectic, as someone could simply read the Torah and create his/her own ideas without taking them from other sources. But still, an independent person is unlikely to intentionally restrict his/her views to one source, since after all, that would make him/her dependent on that source and thus not so independent after all. Thus, the person is more likely to be eclectic, taking ideas from more than one source.
Of course He sympathized with pharisaic beliefs and teaching, like when He mentioned the oral teaching that one mustn't fast in the presence of a bridegroom.
Of course, sometimes fads are wrong. I heard the Da Vinci Code book, which was very popular historical fiction, had alot of, well, fiction in its history.
Other times fads can be absolutely right, like the scientific discovery that bacteria and molecules exist.

I sympathize with your view that "I suppose only time will tell, but in the mean time the fun part of it all is to dig and study and be open to new possibilities. At least it is for me."
Sure, the Bible is an interesting topic, so it's fun to dig up and study new possibilities about it. That goes for me too Smiley
It isn't true that "only time will tell"- I assume some things about Jesus will be discovered in time as over long periods there will be alot more and deeper research as well as archeology, but the research and archeology are other things besides time, so it's not just time that tells. Smiley

Yes, the view Heorhij mentioned about Jesus being Ukrainian was pretty funny, and as you say: "That actually in my mind proves my point that in history "anything is possible" but history is not done by what is possible, but by what is probable." It sounds like what you mean is that these ideas that Jesus was Ukrainian have at least some basis in history, like the strong word similarities regarding "Galilee", yet good historical research and assertions are based on what's probable, and very few if any good historical works consider Jesus Ukrainian because the probability of the Ukrainian link to this is so weak. Just as we feel we cannot go on such a weak assumption that Jesus was Ukrainian, we cannot just go on an assumption merely because it's possible.

As you say: " And Jesus being Ukranian is highly improbable, though ANYTHING is possible. Smiley " I am not sure "ANYTHING is possible". But MAYBE it is, which in turn sounds like it means ANYTHING is POSSIBLE Smiley hehe.

I agree with you here: "I think the point Alveus was getting at was my posts were coming across as too dogmatic, and I didn't intend that." It felt at first that you were laying it on strongly that Jesus was a pharisee, which Alveus objected to, and then as you subsequently showed, you didn't feel this so strongly as if you were absolutely certain about it like a rule or something. Now I find this duality in your thinking confusing, but I myself write contradictorily sometimes. So no problem. Smiley

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« Reply #166 on: May 23, 2011, 02:48:37 AM »

Saint Iaint,

You commented:
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Come to Orthodox Christianity.net and get your Talmudic lesson from deusveritasest!
The majority of those who call themselves 'Jews' today are essentially Pharisees. Christ warns us in the N.T. to beware the leaven of the Pharisees! The Talmud is that leaven!!
   
(1) Here it sounds like you are speaking flippantly about Deus posting information about the Talmud on OC.net. But I think it’s OK for Deus to post about it here, because OC.net has all kinds of discussions and information about religion. The Messianic Jewish movement came out of modern Judaism and sympathizes with it, so it’s OK to post information about the Talmud in connection to discussions about it.
(2) I am not sure that most of those today who consider themselves Jews are essentially pharisees. First of all, a significant portion of those who consider themelves Jews belong to other religions. For example in the US there is significant intermarriage. Plus, a lot of Jews, and possibly most of those in the former Warsaw Pact countries are nonreligious. Finally, the Reform Jews’ ideology disregards so many of the Rabbinical rules, and following Rabbinical rules is part of Phariseeism, that they may be considered different than Phariseeism. There are a lot of Reform Jews. Perhaps tough you can say they are an extremely liberal variation of Phariseeism. But at some point, enough reforms amount to a break with something.
(3) You are right when you say: Christ warns us in the N.T. to beware the leaven of the Pharisees! The Talmud is that leaven!!
When I do a google search for leaven of the pharisees, which as you say Jesus warned us against, the second website that comes up looks like it’s from a mainstream or mainstream evangelical website. It says:
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We recently completed a series entitled, "Struggles in Israel." In that series I shared quotes from the Talmudic writings. In this study we will draw but little from the Talmud. It should be understood that when the Lord speaks of the leaven of the Pharisees, this is what He is referring to - that "the traditions of the fathers" evolved into the vast library of Talmudic teachings
More exactly, the traditions of the “fathers” here should be better called the traditions of the Rabbinical elders around Jesus’ time.

Jesus’ criticism was that people should beware of what the pharisees were saying to expand on, or interpret and sermonize on the Old Testament and Judaism.

I am not sure that “for the Jews of today”, by whom you mean the followers of modern Rabbinical Judaism, “the Talmud supercedes the Tanakh (the written law) and makes the commandments of God of no effect - as our Lord Jesus says in the Scripture.”
Now in some situations that must be true. For example, Jesus gave the example of how the rabbis might convert someone and then put so many strict requirements on the new convert that it discourages people from converting, thus making the commandment about converting “of no effect”, that is, ineffective. And for example I heard that a lot of people in Israel today don’t follow the Sabbath, saying that there are too many strict rules about how to keep it.

But on the other hand, this might not be purely true in all cases. I mean the Old Testament Tanakh says not to steal, and I assume that the Talmud hasn’t affected this teaching so that everyone in Rabbinical Judaism never cares in any situation to follow the rule against stealing. The rule against stealing seems pretty clear and important, and it’s a strong moral rule to, so even if there were some rabbinical teachings that allow stealing- and I’m not saying there are- then it seems like these teachings wouldn’t be enough to make the rule against it of no effect at all.

Another counterargument that Rabbinical Judaism might make might be that sometimes the OT rules are consistent with the Talmudic rules on the subject, and as such the Talmud doesn’t necessarily “supersede” the OT rule, but rather repeats and follows it.

I am not sure that::
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Orthodox Christians should not be studying Talmud as if it's a good thing
Naturally, there are some parts they shouldn't be studying as if the views in those parts are good. For example, there are passages hostile to or condemnatory of Christianity.
On the other hand, it seems like a good source for information on pre-Christian Judaism. For example, it describes Hanukkah and the elements of a Passover meal. Hanukkah and the Passover meal are portrayed positively in the New Testament, so that which describes those elements appears to be good. Perhaps some elements of Judaism like the Passover meal had changed between Jesus' time and when the Talmud was written a few centuries later, so the information might not be accurate. But still, it is one of the earliest most detailed sources of information on Judaism around the time Christianity began.

You quoted:
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'Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"-- then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me
with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "
When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do
You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"
But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."'
- Matthew 15:1-14
Your point was that "The truth is that through their "exegesis and interpretations of the written law" they have made the commandments of God of no effect." However, it isn't clear that here Jesus was specifically criticizing their intepretations of the law, as perhaps they were adding ideas onto the law, rather than simply interpreting it. For example, when they say that there are exceptions to the rule of honoring one's parents it isn't clear that they are interpreting that specific commandment of the Old Testament, or if they are just adding an excpetion to the rule.
Also, even if they were making traditions that made God's commandments of no effect, it isn't clear from this that Jesus was saying every rule they made in turn made God's commandments of no effect. So perhaps he found them to be blind and making bad rules, but this doesn't mean He considered every oral teaching they had to be bad. For example, Northern Pines mentioned that pharisees encouraged having a good attitude to the poor, and Jesus would naturally have been OK with such encouragement.

The same can be said about the next passage you quoted:
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'Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
"For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"--' (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." '
- Mark 7:1-13

You commented:
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<<"You do realize Jesus was a Jew, right?">>
Well that's a whole 'nother can of worms right there! Suffice to say for now - that I realize that's what you all think... because you've been Judaized beyond all recognition.
Jesus was a Judahite - but Jesus was not a Judean. Please see the thread I started entitled "'Jews' = Judahites, 'Jews' = Judeans, 'Jews' = Edomites" HERE... I'll start another new thread for that discussion!
Sure, Jesus' Jewishness is another big topic besides the pharisees. Sure we think Jesus was Jewish, but I'm not sure it's because we've been "Judaized". Christianity is a continuation of the pre-Christian Jewish religion, and we are Christians, and this can be why we see Jesus as coming from the Jewish religion, as we ourselves embrace it as the background for our faith. Perhaps someone antagonistic to Christianity would say it's just something pagan. But being loyal to our faith we see it as coming from pre-Christian Judaism.
Now one meaning of the term "Judaized" refers to a heresy of making Christianity into Judaism by requiring non-Jewish Christians to follow unique Judaic practices like circumcision and kosher rules, and considering that such practices are needed for their salvation. I don't think that's us. Perhaps some people on the forum really are "Judaizers," but some of us aren't.

I disagree when you say: "My main point being - anyone who follows the anti-Christ Talmudic/'oral laws' is most definitely NOT an Israelite in the eyes of God. Most 'Christians' are sadly deceived when it comes to the truth of these matters." St Paul in his letters wrote about how blindness in part has happened to Israel, because some Jews didn't recognize Jesus as the Messiah. This means St Paul considers those Jews as still part of Israel at least in a way. Further, at that time the pharisees, who were the biggest sect then, followed oral teachings, as did presumably many if not most religious Jews, since the New Testament commonly discusses such rules. So those who follow the rabbinical oral teachings are apparently still Israelites in St Paul's eyes, even though those individuals reject Christianity like some later oral laws said to do. In fact, considering that most of the rabbis rejected Christianity when it began, there was practically a rabbinical oral law then against Christianity.

I somewhat disagree with you when you exclaim:
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<<do realize that Jesus was more than likely a Pharisee, right?">>
HA HA HA HA!! NONSENSE!!
Well, the question is alittle funny, because Jesus was so critical of the pharisees as you point out. But still, it isn't such very strong nonsense as you say, because: if one divides the Jewish religious community into broad sects: the pharisees who believed in the Tanakh and the general resurrection, sadducees who believed in only the Torah and not in the afterlife, and Essenes who seem like a strange heretical fringe group, then Jesus broadly fits inside the range of the pharisees.
Now I am unsure about this because someone can be an independent dissident without belonging to a religious sect like the pharisees. For example, if one divides Western Christianity into Protestants and Roman Catholics, then it's hard to say where to put the Western Rite Orthodox and Quakers. I expect alot of Quakers would consider themselves Protestant, but others wouldn't.
The point is that it isn't very strong "NONSENSE!!" to say Jesus was a pharisee, because it can be meant in such a broad sense. And plus, He was discussing with the teachers in the Temple when He was little, so apparently He had some learning from and association with religious teachers.

You commented:
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Virtually all of Matthew 23 is a blistering condemnation of the scribes and the Pharisees! A sample:
"Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation."
Matthew 23:33-36
John 8 is also notable... How anyone could read it and think that Christ was a Pharisee is beyond me.
'Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."
- John 8:42:47
...Look at the verses I've quoted above... does it look like Jesus was speaking to His 'fellow' Pharisees? HA!
You cited these verses to show that Jesus was not a pharisee. However, He doesn't specify that He is speaking of all pharisees. Rather, these passages simply address "you" and speak of "them". The language of these passages allow for the possibility that He is specifically addressing bad pharisees. We know that some pharisees became Christians in the early Church. St Paul is even described as a pharisee in one of his letters (maybe Galatians) while he was Christian.
Another possibility is that he is addressing the pharisees collectively, even though he would be a pharisee. This can be like Israelite prophets who wrote very harshly about Israel. It's possible to think of very bad things in our country, like the mass genocide of Native Americans, and how the poverty, which exists among great American wealth, compels poor people to crime and then they are treated badly in prison based on a vengeful societal mindset. Some radicals who think alot about this could harshly criticize America like the prophets criticized Israel. Now the radicals may be labeled "unAmerican" like the prophets were rejected in their time. But the point is that Someone can still belong to a group and be very harshly critical of it. I think Jesus' harsh criticisms seem more fitting in the context of the radical dissident prophetic model.
Now some prophets like Isaiah were also very critical of Israel's enemies like Babylon. So just because someone is critical doesn't mean they belong to or don't belong to the group they criticize.

I think your criticism is correct when you say:
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<<"Jesus accepted an after life.
Jesus accepted the belief in Angels.
Jesus accepted the Resurrection of the dead.
Jesus believed in demons.">>
Jesus is God! Of course He knew the truth of those matters! And just because the Pharisees got a few things right doesn't mean that Jesus was one of them! The Taoists and the Greeks also got some things right too... does that mean Jesus is a Greek Taoist Pharisee? HA!
Christianity teaches that He was God, so He would be able to figure this out even if He didn't learn it from the pharisees. Still, one idea I heard is that since Jesus was fully human, He still had to learn things. And since the pharisees were the sectteaching these things, it's natural that He would have learned it from them. Now just because He learned it from them doesn't mean He actually was one of them.
As you correctly pointed out with the Greeks and Taoists, just because Jesus had similar ideas, like about doing good or self-reflection, doesn't mean He was one of them. It means they can all be put in the broad category of self-reflective, do-good philosophies, though. Likewise, Jesus' similarities with phariseeism means they can be put within a broad group of Judaism at that time. I think your "Ha" shows you recognize that your response is right, and it's silly to think that similarities in beliefs shows that they belonged to the same group. Still, I disagree with a big "HA" because similarities in beliefs can also be a reflection of belonging to the same group ;p

I am not sure how correct you are when you say:
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<<"Jesus accepted the ORAL traditions, which you call "the anti-Christ"?">>
Jesus DENOUNCED the oral traditions!
"Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"... "Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites!"... "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."... "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men"... "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition."... " making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down."
Jesus did denounce the pharisees' oral traditions in strong terms for making God's commandments of no effect. However, this doesn't mean He disagreed with all oral traditions.
For example, in the US we have a constitution and statutes, and we have judges' court decisions that act as precedents and practically like laws. I can list bad statutes and decisions and say that "the statutes of the legislature and the decisions of the judges" violate the Constitution and make the Constitution "of no effect.". For example, I could propose that the PATRIOT Act curbs our liberties guaranteed in the Constitution. However, this doesn't necessarily mean I think that all statutes and decisions are bad, or that we shouldn't have a system where judges' decisions act as precedents.

It appears that Christianity was OK with having some oral traditions. Jesus mentioned that one shouldn't fast in the presence of a bridegroom. He mentioned this tradition to explain why people shouldn't avoid eating when around Him, who was a bridegrrom for Israel. Perhaps this oral traditions has fallen out of use in Christianity, and maybe this is because the Church has more lenient rules for non-Jews since the Council of Jerusalem. To give another example, St Paul commended one Church in one of his letters for passing down Christian traditions.
It's unlikely that early Christianity regarded the system of rabbinical oral tradition with the same austere respect that phariseeism did. In the Rabbinical system, one must follow the rabbis' oral traditions, and even must conform to the majority decisions when the person believes those decisions are wrong. But Jesus however very clearly disagreed with rabbinical traditions, like in the examples you gave.

You are right here:
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<<"(Jesus) refers to the Pharisees sitting in the seat of Moses...now, tell me where there is ANY reference in the written Old Testament to a "seat of Moses"? You won't find it. It was an ORAL teaching!">>
Yes!
But I disagree that "Jesus refers to the Pharisees sitting in Moses' seat... IN A NEGATIVE CONTEXT!"
Matthew 23 records that Jesus said:
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Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do;
but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
In other words, Jesus gives a positive attitude toward the pharisees sitting in Moses' seat, because He says that is the reason you should follow them.
But he distinguishes this from his negative attitude toward the pharisees' works, which you shouldn't follow.
It sounds like the phrase "follow the good things I say, not the bad things I do".
So Jesus mentions the pharisees sitting in Moses' seat in a positive context, and the pharisees' works in a negative context.
So Jesus is actually upholding the idea of Moses' seat, which was an oral teaching. In our churches, we have bishops' seats which are apparently modeled after the Moses' seat.
At the same time, most of Matthew 23 is devoted to a negative portrayal of the pharisees.
One conclusion from this is that Jesus agreed with oral teachings that were good and based rightly on Moses' ideas, but He disagreed with oral teachings based on the pharisees' self-serving, bad decisions.

You are right when you say:
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And the Talmud was written long after Christ's time on earth! Just because it's in the Talmud now - doesn't mean it was found in the oral 'traditions of men' in the New Testament era! The Talmud mentions Jesus also...

You asked:
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The Talmud mentions Jesus also... does that mean that the oral 'tradition of the elders' also spoke of Jesus?
It apparently means that the tradition of the elders in the time of the Talmud, and possibly around Jesus' time also spoke of Him. The leaders of Judaism's religious community rejected Him, and the Talmud's oral tradition records such a tradition, so it's foreseeable that this oral tradition about Jesus comes from His time, as opposed to being made up significantly later than Jesus' time in response to Christianity, although that's rationally possible too.

I disagree that:
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Since Christ came before the Talmud... we should assume that the writers of the Talmud plagarized Christ's teachings - not the other way around!
Since Christ came before the Talmud, the Talmud could have picked up some of his ideas and plagiarized them, but chronologically speaking Christ could have taken ideas from the oral teachings that led to the Talmud before it was written, or were later copied down in it.
I dislike calling this plagiarism. I don't think anyone here said Christ "plagiarized" His ideas. Now He might have repeated some oral teachings, like not to fast in front of a bridgegroom, but this doesn't seem like plagiarizing, just like it wouldn't if I repeated a common saying like "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Now maybe some moral teachings Jesus gave His disciples He had heard elsewhere, but I doubt that's really plagiarism. I mean, imagine if you had an ethics or logical-reasoning class in college and the teacher gave you some concepts like the Socratic method. If the teacher didn't explain that Socrates was the first philosopher to give this method, it still doesn't really seem like plagiarism, because he is teaching a class, not saying that everything he does or teaches is his own unique idea. When you took biology in elementary school, I highly doubt the books had citations for each sentence.
And on the other hand, Jesus sometimes did cite sources for His ideas, llike when He mentioned the prophet Isaiah as the source of a prophecy.
Loving your neighbor is a central Christian teaching, and Jesus took this from the Old Testament. So maybe He did do what some modern people call plagiarizing. But this would be too strict a definition of plagiarism for Christian tradition and for my tastes. To the contrary, icon painters often intended to copy others' work and to be anonymous themselves.
But His idea of loving one's enemy seems very radical, and doesn't seem like something coming from nonChristian Rabbinical Judaism. So this may be a unique idea. I believe that the Lord's prayer and the Sermon on the Mount are unique, as are alot of His defining teachings.

I am not sure I agree with you when you say: "As for the rest of your post - it's simply condescending, implying that you know something of which I am ignorant... when in fact - the exact opposite seems to be true!"
It sounds alittle condescending when he says: "Who are you to tell great saints like Jerome were wrong to study Jewish writings?" But then again we do usually have an attitude of respect before the saints, whereby they are people the Church holds us for us to emulate. On the other hand, when he says "in my opinion", he isn't condescending, because he is acknowledging that his words are his own thoughts, as opposed to teachings for you to follow or something else condescending: "But by fearing all this knowledge, IMO you are closing the Scriptures to yourself."
It does appear he is implying he knows something of which you are ignorant when he writes: "But once discovering the Jewish understanding of Torah, Word and Logos, the idea of Jesus ministry becomes so much deeper." I myself don't understand well the ideas in pre-Christian Judaism connecting Torah, Word, and Logos. The relationship between them in pre-Christian Judaism seems like a rarely understood topic, so maybe you are ignorant about it, like I am. But his reply doesn't have to be seen as bad, as it seems like he is encouraging you about something he finds positive.

You commented: <<BTW, exactly what Church are you a member of?">> "I've spoken to plenty of Orthodox who were not (supposedly) former Protestants... They didn't sound anything like some of you guys! As soon as I find one that isn't Judaized beyond recognition - I'll let you know."
It's confusing what you mean by "Judaized". In Christianity, the term "Judaizing" as a heresy means the idea that some unique Judaic rituals are necessary for salvation, including for that of gentiles. I think few Churches teach this. If on the other hand you mean the idea that Christianity has a relationship with pre-Christian Judaism and carried some things from it, then I think only some fringe Churches, if any, will disagree, since we have the Old Testament as part of our Bible.

You commented: "Quoting from Scripture is not "Protestant argument"!" This can be true sometimes, since, one sign of evangelical-style argument is strong thesis-statements next to quotes Bible verses, like verse X,Y,Z with few intervening explanations. Example: "Be scared of Fire and Brimstone! Verse X" "You better listen to the Bible, cuz the Bible says so, Verse Y" etc.

You're right when you say:
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Well, it's pretty simple really. A 'Judahite' was a member of the tribe of Judah (which Jesus was)...
, because Hebrews 7:14 says: "For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah"

I am not sure about your definition here: "A 'Judean' was someone who lived in Judea (which Jesus wasn't.)..." For example, if an Egyptian moved to Judea and lived there for a decade I doubt he would be considered a Judean. St Jerome lived in Palestine for many years, but he wasn't a Palestinian. So birthplace and heritage are important. Jesus' heritage was also as a Galilean and He grew up in Galilee, but He was born in Bethlehem in Judea. So it isn't clear to me that He wasn't Judean like you say: "During His time on earth, Jesus of Nazareth was a Galilean - NOT a Judean." I'm not sure that there is a dichotomy that one must be one or the other. In America we have "Russian Americans"- people who were born in Russia and moved to America. So perhaps Jesus was in a way a Galilean, and in a way a Judean too. Plus, there was a Hasmonean Kingdom of Judea in the BC era that was roughly contiguous with Judah, so I assume the Galileans were also Judean in that sense.

You are correct when you say: "2,000 years ago the English word 'Jew' did not exist. Jesus was a Judahite ('Jew')..." and that the word "Jew" can also mean Judean.

You asked: <<"Yes, baptism is NOT a Christian invention, nor is it an invention of John the Baptist. It was a Jewish invention, or "innovation" that was co-opted by John, and later Christianity itself.">>
"Where do you get that idea from?"
I am not sure where he got that idea from, but it could be from the fact that there was a pre-Christian Judaic ritual of Mikvah baths that was supposed to clean the bather. These baths had to be repeated because they didn't keep the person clean from further uncleanliness. The uncleanliness here I think referred to the kind of religious uncleanliness that one would supposedly get from touching lepers.

I partly agree and disagree with you here:
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There's a big difference between following the traditions of Christ's Apostles (guided by the Holy Spirit)... And following the 'traditions of men' instituted by the anti-Christ synagogue of Satan found in the Talmud!
(1) The term synagogue of Satan can come from a Christian POV as the term is used by a Church father or in Revelations, and means in the sense that Jesus referred to the pharisees as spawn of Satan. I assume that this means Satan has caused their orientation of rejecting Christ.
But I find these terms misleading when we are setting forth clear definitions, as opposed to using such poetic language as Revelations do. By definition, Rabbinical synagogues do not admire Satan in their worship, and they see Satan as an opponent. Their worship is directed toward God the Father.  They don't pray to Satan, etc. in their synagogues.
(2) In some cases there's a big difference between following Apostolic traditions that are guided by the Holy Spirit and Rabbinical traditions, like Apostolic traditions promoting Christianity and Rabbinical traditions in the Talmud against Christianity. But in other cases there are similarities or some are the same. For example, Christianity and the Talmud both have oral teachings encouraging giving to the poor.

Your "Come on!!" is only partly merited, because Northern Pines could have seen that there is a difference in substance, but at the same time he was pointing out the similarity in approaches: both the Rabbinica system and Christianity have oral teachings. Yet it appeared you were criticizing the idea of the pharisees having oral teachings per se, as you supported the Karaites in their rejection of the oral teachings. The Karaites don't just say that some oral teachings are bad. Rather, they reject the concept of having a system of oral teachings. But in Orthodoxy it's OK to have oral teachings, and we even accord ours a certain level of authority.

I doubt whether "JESUS IS NOT (AND NEVER WAS) A PHARISEE!!" He fit broadly within the scope of their most basic teachings, He accepted the Old Testament and mentioned things in the Septuagint, while the Sadducees rejected them. The New Testament records alot of debates and attacks by Him on the pharisees, but nothing on the Essenes who were another significant group then, so it sounds like He was much more connected to the pharisees than the Essenes or Sadducees, whom He also debated less often than the pharisees. Some pharisees or Saducees or Scribes addressed him as teacher, which in Aramaic and Hebrew mean rabbouni or rabbi. Further, he spoke in the synagogue and learned or debated in the Temple with elders when He was a child. Presumably He learned about religion and scriptures from some religious teacher or teachers, and in Galilee they would've had more contact with Pharisees as Sadducees were connected more directly to the Temple. So it seems possible He is or was at some point a pharisee. Now "is" a pharisee seems less likely, because I am not sure if someone is still a pharisee after he/she dies. It's like the question of whether Lincoln is still a president. Maybe he is, because I'm not sure we would call him an "ex-president" as he died in office.

You asked: "What makes you think the concept of Moses' seat was an oral tradition before Christ's time?" I assume that it didn't just start in Christ's time, because the synagogues had organized themselves before His time, and the Moses seat was a prominent feature of the synagogue. Further, it makes sense that the rabbis would have a place from which they read the Torah, Moses' Law, and one name for this, if there was a seat for the reader, could reasonably be a "Moses seat" The New Testament doesn't specify if was developed before Christ's time, and with my limited knowledge about it, it's possible it was developed in His time. In that case it would be a rabbinical tradition developed in Christ's time. But Northern Pines didn't say here that it was developed before Jesus' time, just that it was an oral tradition Jesus referred to.

I disagree with your proposal here: "I'm saying - if it's in the Talmud now... It's because the rabbis plagarized it! The Talmud was penned long after Christ's time!!" Just because the Talmud was written after Christ doesn't mean it was plagiarized from Him. It could have been copied from a rabbinical tradition that existed in Christ's time and was passed down. It seems unlikely that Talmud would take traditions directly from Christianity, like a tradition about a prominent religious item in synagogues, because it considered Christianity heretical.

You requested: "Show me that it was part of an oral tradition before Jesus' time. You can't."
Here is a seat from a 2nd century AD synagogue Archeologists consider this a Moses' seat. Now if a synagogue had this in the 2nd century AD, while they also had rejected Christianity as a smaller heretical sect, I doubt they would take the item from Jesus' words in the 1st century. It seems possible that if I researched it enough there could be more evidence proving it better, but I doubt that too. With my limited knowledge the best I can do to show it is to point out that the synagogues had already been organized many years before Jesus' time, and so it seems likely that a prominent feature like a Moses' chair would have developed before then too.

You commented:
Quote
And I can forgive the 'Jews' of today - while also reproving and exposing their evil deeds, their anti-Christ blasphemies and their lies.
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.'   - Ephesians 5:6-17 "
(A) Sure, when Rabbinical Judaism has what you call "evil deeds, their anti-Christ blasphemies and their lies", like the persecution of early Christians, it is OK to expose those things, just as it's proper to expose the RC Church's Spanish Inquisition. But "reprove" sounds like maybe too harsh of a word, because it sounds alittle authoritarian and St Paul said to avoid arrogance against nonChristian Jews. I think that we, as a religious majority in America should be sensitive too, because they are a small religious minority.
(B) St Paul's words here ("For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.") are consistent with his words to avoid arrogance against non Christian Jews. St Paul's reasoning, I think in Romans, was that since we ourselves were once separate from faith in Jehovah, we shouldn't be arrogant against Jews who don't believe in Christ, because we can lose our faith while they can become Christians even stronger than us because they already had faith in Jehovah in pre-Christian times.

I highly doubt your view when you say:
Quote
<<"Iaint, can you please explain what Jesus meant when He said the following:
'The salvation is from the Jews/Judeans.'">>
Sure... No problem. It's a simple mistranslation.
I'm not sure what 'version' of Scripture you're using... but most translations render John 4:22 as:
"(...) for salvation is of the 'Jews.'"
(1) The verse we are talking about here says in Greek:  "n σωτηρiα ἐκ τῶν ᾿Ιουδαiων ἐστίν." (John 4:22)
Not that here the Greek word for Judean says "Ioudaion". Greek has a separate word for someone from the tribe of Judah, ie a "Judahite", which is as I vaguely remember is something like "Ioudaikos". This was posted elsewhere on the forum.
(2) The website http://bible.cc/john/4-22.htm has a long list of translations for this verse. 11 translations given say "from the Jews", while only 5 say "of the Jews".
(3) You said you aren't sure which version of scriputre he is using. A brief search for his words yielded no results, so I assume he is translating the words directly himself from his own knowledge of Greek.

I also am doubtful about your words here:
Quote
The Greek word used here is "Ek" (#1537) which means "origin." The correct translation of this word is “OUT OF” not “of.”
Look at the following texts. Every other place in Bible when the word “Ek” is used, it is always translated “OUT OF” not “of.”
"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For OUT OF ('Ek' #1537) you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'"
- Matthew 2:6
"And you, O Bethlehem, House of Ephratha, though you are fewest in number out of thousands of Judah, yet OUT OF ("Ek" #1537) you shall come forth the One to be ruler of Israel. His goings forth were from the beginning, even from everlasting." (OSB Septuagint)
- Micah 5:1
"For it is manifest that OUT OF ("Ek" #1537) Judah has sprung our Lord...”
- Hebrews 7:14
It is therefore clear that the word “Ek” from the original Greek should be translated as “OUT OF.”
So really John 4:22 should read as follows:
"(...) for salvation comes out of Judea."
(1) You say that the Greek word shows origin. Well, "of" and "from" mean origin too.
(2) Assuming it does say "out of", I doubt that necessarily means "out of" a location. I don't know Greek grammar, but in Russian, one says "out of" a people, like "vishli iz naroda" ("came from the people").
(3) You cited alot of verses to show that the Bible uses "ek" to mean out of. But your citations don't help, because while those uses of the word "ek" refer to places, that doesn't mean it can't refer to a people, like "out of" does in Russian.
(4) Those citations also don't necessarilysupport your opinion, because, for example, none of the translations in Bible.cc say that Hebrews 7:14 says "out of" for the Greek word "ek".
Micah 5:2, which you cited as Micah 5:1 does say "out of", as in "out of you", and "you" here can refer collectively to a people, as in the tribe of Judah.  In fact, these 2 citations you give say out of Judah, and this can mean the tribe of Judah, which is a people.
Maathew 2:6 says "out of thee", referring to Bethlehem. So here it can refer to Bethlehem as a collective individual. So this verse in John isn't necessarily referring to "out of" a place, although the three verses you cited to support your view could be.

As you say: "Jesus of course was born in Bethlehem of Judea."
However, this doesn't mean He wasn't a Judean. Being born in a place can make you qualify as someone of that place, like logically speaking a person from the tribe of Judah could be born in Judea, making him/her a Judean, just as an American born in New Jersey could be considered a New Jerseyan, even if he/she gre up in New York. It would say "New Jersey" on the person's passort for place of birth, although since the person mostly lived in New York when growing up, he/she probably would most often be said to be from New York, in common speech.
Plus, the person could be from a family whose heritage was Judean, as the Hasmonean kingdom of Judea stretched across Galilee in pre-Roman times, so the Kingdom of Judea would have been in Jesus' family background.

See this map of the Hasmonean Kingdom from 140 years before Jesus' birth:
[imghttp://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQFl8Y9nTnuBY1pNmNX1VKnQ4i6G3rHAXwFGoh137hZde4Ea9I0[/img]

I disagree with your words to Marc:
Quote
The link you provided - 'Essay on Jesus the Jew' is a piece of garbage.
If there are any inquirers on here reading this - please don't imagine that any of this Pharisaic, Talmudic, rabbinical GARBAGE has anything to do with the Orthodox faith... None of this 'Jewish' junk has anything to do with true Orthodox Christianity!
Most of the article appeared factually true from the New Testament, and relied alot on the New Testament, which is the central, canonical writing in Orthodox Christianity.
The author may have a rabbinical view and accept the Talmud, but at least most of what he wrote was true, and not necessarily anti-Christian. I wrote about this in my review of the article earlier in the thread.

In Reply #154 I responded to your challenge to my words that Orthodoxy "teaches that at the time the person accepts Christ's one atoning sacrifice, the person has his/her sins forgiven and cleaned, and that they continue to have their sins forgiven and cleaned."
I got this idea from Christianity's reasoning that when someone accepts Christ's sacrifice, the person has/her sins forgiven and cleaned. Also, it is my understanding of this that the acceptance comes through baptism, or at a point prior to baptism. In the latter case, baptism would be a confirmation of this acceptance. I vaguely remember hearing the second alternative explained to me by someone who was Orthodox.
Yes, this sounds somewhat like Protestantism, but I think maybe Orthodoxy shares this idea with Protestantism, as there are basic concepts shared between Protestantism and Orthodoxy.

You commented: "It is my understanding that what he's saying is accomplished through Baptism and Confession... not merely through intellectual acceptance of Christ." I am not sure whether it is supposed to be accomplished through all three, or only the first two. However, I know it can just be accomplished through intellectual acceptance, like in the case of the catechumen saints I mentioned.

Yes, Fr. Bernstein is a "presbyter", which is term for an Orthodox priest. And yes, FatherHLL made a good call, noting that these were my notes about the book, although it would still be better to say they were my notes on the interview that was on the book Smiley Yes I think you should've realized that, because I wrote "Below are my notes..." hehe

But it's OK. You could've been easily confused about the section too, because I simply said "In summary..." and then laid out a comparison of three religious strains, without attributing the views on those strains to myself to Fr. Bernstein.

That's nice you heard the interview. I thought it was nice, and insightful about Orthodoxy, and interesting to see Fr. bernstein's views because he came from Judaism. There were some things he said I was unsure about, as I noted, but there wasn't anything he said I clearly disagreed with.

I highly doubt your view here:
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<<What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist?>>
<<That's how you accept the sacrifice.>>
Yes, thanks... but I meant that these things are (as far as we are concerned) absolutely required in the context of our conversation here and to our ongoing salvation.
The case of the catechumens who became saints without undergoing those rites shows that the rites aren't absolutely required for one to have his/her sins cleaned- which was the context of our conversation- and to receive salvation. And if this principle operates for the catechumens, then it operates for us too, because there was a time when we hadn't yet undergone those rites either.
Now the Church does require Christians to undergo those rites, but that doesn't mean that they are absolutely required for salvation or to have one's sins cleaned by Christ's sacrifice, which was the context of the conversation. And one example showing it's not absolutely required for those things is the case of the catechumens I mentioned.

Sure, I reply as I find it an interesting topic. the Gary Coleman pic was fine. Sometimes my humor is weak like that too.

I don't think I was clearly saying sins are forgiven only by believing, but I do think that can be the case. I don't think I was saying that, because I only said that sins are forgiven by accepting the sacrifice, and as Nicholas pointed out, the rites you mentioned could be ways of doing that.

You said: "I say sins are forgiven by Baptism and then continually through confession." Well, one possibility in my mind is that with Baptism, the cleansing part of baptism is only a confirmation or sign of the cleansing that happened earlier at the person's repentance and acceptance of faith. But then again, maybe you are right. And I think you are right about the tradition Christian view that sins are continually forgiven through confession too. Although in a similar way, I also heard from someone who was Orthodox that confession with a priest is a reflection of the repentance that occurred earlier.

Kind Regards.
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« Reply #167 on: May 23, 2011, 02:56:45 AM »

Marc1152,

You had mentioned about the Hillel House. When I first went to a small undergraduate school for college, I was very curious about religion, well, as I still am. I liked visiting the Hillel club on our campus, although they didn't have their own house. The students were nice, and they were rather liberal in their ideas. It was fun getting a taste of different religious ideas, and making friends with people of other religions and learning about them.

Your signature line is curious and funny.:
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\"Why were so many Civil War battles fought in National Parks? \"
It is curious partly because of the backslashes. There doesn't seem to be any reason for them.
Also, there's the obvious answer: this is a silly question, because they weren't fought in National Parks at the time they were fought, the locations only became National Parks later, in commemoration of the battles. But this sounds so obvious, and this forum is alot about philosophy.
So then there could be a deeper meaning like about how we think that time and causation travels towards the future, but that might not be the case. It could be that actually the places became National Parks and this somehow influenced events in another time to put the battle there. But that sounds silly too. Smiley


You are right that: "Jews are the ones that first taught that there would be a Messiah and he would be the Anointed of God, The Christ. That belief has never changed and they look forward to the coming of Christ. They disagree that Jesus is that Messiah based on Scriptural Analysis" Except that alot of Jews are nonreligious and don't have this Messianic belief anymore, while some Jews are Christians, and believe that Jesus is the Messiah based on scriptural analysis.

I am not sure that "he did not meet many of the signs we are to look for to determine if The Christ has actually come". It's true that Christianity considers some things, like a final judgment, as occurring on His Second Coming, and so some prophecies haven't been met. But on the other hand, I am not sure that those prophecies that were unfulfilled at the first coming were signs that we are supposed to look for to determine if The Christ has come. I don't remember the prophecies saying that we are supposed to look for certain signs and use the signs to see if He has come. Except that in Daniel 9 the angel says to "understand" and then makes a prophecy that a Messiah figure would come about the 1st century BC to 1st century AD. So the Old Testament has prophecies about what is supposed to happen, but they doesn't always say that someone must fulfill all of them before we accept the person as the Messiah. Imagine if the Messiah came and started fulfilling a few of them, but then while He was in the process of fulfilling them people rejected Him because He hadn't yet fulfilled all of them. Well, that sounds like a stupid basis for rejection.

For example, imagine that I told you a friend was coming to meet you and he is wearing a white hat and will buy you lunch. Imagine if a person with a white hat showed up and told you to come to lunch with him. It wouldn't make sense for you to refuse to go with him on the basis that he had not yet bought you lunch. Just because I had made a prediction doesn't mean that the predictions were meant as criteria for determining whether this was the person. The criteria to look for were simply that the person would be in a white hat. Now if he buys you lunch, well that's a confirmation are you can use it to determine if that was the person once you've had lunch, but it's also the goal of the prediction in the first place.

You commented:
Quote
The first thing the Rabbi did was to thank Christians for spreading their common faith ( in One God ) around the World.
That's a very nice, and liberal thing for a rabbi to do. I think that conservative nonChristian Judaism considers Christian theology to be idolatry or heresy because it worships Christ as part of God. Christians have done a pretty good job spreading belief in the Christian God around the world. Now you might say that God the Father, in whom nonChristian Judaists believe is part of the Christian God too, so in practical terms Christians have spread belief in a common Godhead around the World.

Now I am not sure how or how correctly "He then preceded to take apart the Christian Pastor on the Spiritual Identity of Jesus, verse by verse. No objective person could have thought the Pastor had won the debate.", because I am not familiar with what debate this was or what was the question(s) debated. For example, if the debate was how closely Jesus was aligned with the pharisees, then it seems like a hard debate for me to win either way. The pharisees were important, and they had similar ideas, and Jesus read in the synagogue, so He apparently had learned Hebrew. But He was also a religious dissident who criticized them strongly and often. So I could see myself being persuaded one way or another if someone researched the topic well. Further, some people are simply good or bad debaters. The rabbi, used to the method of rabbinical debating, could have been a much better debater than the pastor, who living in a mostly Christian society might have failed to consider the topic strongly enough. I'm sure alot of Christians haven't strongly considered the Rabbinical claims. And when one hears something for the first time without considering it, it can seem much more persuasive.

I doubt that: "So it is far more than some sort of "Blindness" that prevents Jews from believing Jesus is the Christ." This comes down to the question of whether Jesus is the Christ. If Jesus is the Christ, then it's a fact and religious Jews don't see this because of something preventing their seeing it. Poetically speaking, when someone is unable to see/understand something, it's described as a kind of blindness. Maybe the person can't understand it because their mental abilities are too weak. Or maybe they don't have enough information. But the fact that one doesn't have enough information is due to his/her imperfect knowledge. Just as our physical vision is limited, so is our knowledge of the universe. If I don't have eyes on the back of my head, then there's a "blind spot" there. So for some religious Jews, they don't see this because they don't have enough information, or their mental "vision" isn't good enough to understand it. However, if not understanding something simply because you don't have enough information, or your understanding is simply very fuzzy, then maybe "blindness" is too strong a term, since the person still has the ability t see, but for some other reason, like the fact has been hidden, can't see it. If on the other hand, Jesus isn't the Christ, which I doubt, then it isn't blindness but the absence of His messiaship which prevents them from seeing it.

I agree that: "Jesus was in accord with basic Pharisaical teachings.", but only in a very broad sense, like adherence to basic concepts like the general resurrection. In other important things like His idea of one baptism for the remission of sins, I doubt he was in accord with Phariseeism on this point. My understanding is that they had mikvah baths that were supposed to be repeated for spiritual cleaning many times.
You are right that: "His philosophical outlook on the poor and loving God and loving neighbor were not the first time these things had been taught by Jews." The Old Testament has similar concepts. However, He mentioned that giving up one's life out of love is the strongest love, and He gave up His life for love of God, neightbor, and the poor, so you can say His outlook was stronger than the other teachers in this regard, although it's foreseeable that in the preceding centuries there was another Jew who had done this. But still, Roman flogging and crucifixion was especially brutal, so maybe their sacrifice wasn't as strong as His.

You are right that: "He was also of the strain within Judaism that was rather free of the Temple in that one could worship in the home or where just a few gathered. This approach to worship was why the Pharisees were able to survive the expulsion and go elsewhere." However, I am not sure whether this approach was general to Judaism. The Sadducees focused alot on the Temple, and I don't remember them being in synagogues. But the idea that one can prayerfully worship in places other than the Temple seems pretty basic in the Old Testament. Alot of places where prayers happen in the Old Testament are outside the Temple. I think that the Temple hadn't yet been built in King David's time, but His Psalms talk about praising God on harp and lyer.

You had said: "I once saw a debate between a Rabbi and a Protestant Pastor. The first thing the Rabbi preceded to take apart the Christian Pastor on the Spiritual Identity of Jesus, verse by verse. No objective person could have thought the Pastor had won the debate. " I thought you meant that the Christian Pastor was wrong about the Spiritual Identity of Jesus, because you said no objective person could say he won the debate, so I asked: "Please enligten us what ideas we Christians have about Jesus' identity are so wrong and therefore blasphemous?" You responded:
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I am sorry that I confused you. I was speaking to the idea among Christians that it is nearly incomprehensible that Jews have not accepted Jesus as The Messiah. The fact is that their case for not doing so is perfectly reasonable and based squarely on scripture. At the end of the day I don't think they have come to the correct conclusion but Christians should not be scratching their heads in wonderment why more Jews don't convert or have some hard feelings based both on sober interpretation of Theology and of course the unfortunate history between the two groups.
So it sounds like you think Christianity is correct about Jesus' identity as the Messiah, but that religious Jews' reasons for rejection makes good sense too, and the Christian pastor lost the debate. Well, that is confusing, but it can mean that you think Christianity is right, but that nonChristian Judaism can make good enough arguments to win a debate well. In that case perhaps you can think of counterarguments the pastor failed to raise and therefore you are still OK with the Christian viewpoint despite him losing the debate. It's ok that you confused me. religion can be confusing.
You are right that among some Christians find it "nearly incomprehensible that Jews have not accepted Jesus as The Messiah." This is true for Christians who are very thoroughly convinced about this themselves. It's like people who are very convinced a certain way about politics finding it incomprensible that other people have opposite views. There's probably alot of people who feel this way about those who voted for another candidate in the last election.
I am not sure that The fact is that their case for not doing so is perfectly reasonable and based squarely on scripture. If the Christian view of the scriptures is correct, then it seems like their case might not be "perfectly" reasonable and "squarely" based. Each of their arguments should have a counterargument if they are incorrect in their conclusion.

For example, Isaiah 52 prophesies about the Servant who makes or undergoes a sacrificial offering: "So shall he sprinkle many nations". The most obvious reference is to the sacrifice made later in the Song, and how sacrificial blood is usually sprinkled. Rabbinical Judaism translates this phrase as "startle many nations." However, this verb appears about 30 other times and each time it has to do with pouring or sprinkling. The Rabbinical reasoning is that if something is sprinkled, then there is a shaking action involved, and if people are shaken, this can mean they are startled. I find this Rabbinical explanation not "perfectly reasonable."
Now maybe their case doesn't rely on this and they can make another argument about something else. And then maybe there is a counterargument showing that this argument isn't perfectly reasonable either.
There is a 3 or 4 volume set called "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus." There are alot of objections and alot of answers, and with so many of each, I am doubtful that either the Christian or Rabbinical case is "perfectly reasonable" and "squarely based" on scripture.

I agree with you:
Quote
At the end of the day I don't think they have come to the correct conclusion but Christians should not be scratching their heads in wonderment why more Jews don't convert
The early Christians didn't scratch their heads in wonderment about this either. They had alot of doubts themselves. And part of their attitude was that more religious Jews didn't convert because they weren't able to spiritually understand it. The early Christian understanding of this was like the parable of the seeds. Some seeds went on good soil, others on bad soil, and some others were stopped by the cares of the world. So maybe more religious Jews don't become christian because they: aren't interested in exploring new teachings, don't agree with Christian morality about peacemaking, or have too many earthly worries to consider becoming Christian. There are plenty of Christians with these same problems, which hold back their spiritual development.

I agree that:
Quote
Jews don't convert or have some hard feelings based both on sober interpretation of Theology and of course the unfortunate history between the two groups
Sure, some don't convert partly based on their sober analysis of theology. I think their analysis is at least sober, even if it isn't correct. For example, I think that people can have a sober analysis both in favor of and against the US's entrance into WWII, the former based on national defense, and the latter based on pacifism and anti-imperialism. With religion, where there's alot of philosophy and poetry involved, there is as much if not more room for a broad range of analyses. Unfortunate parts of history between the two groups can push them farther from eachother, thus decreasing conversions, and adding bad feelings.
Also, I agree that Christians shouldn't be surprised if religious Jews "have hard feelings based... on sober interpretation of Theology." Such a statement is apparently what your term "both" includes above. It's possible I think to make a sober analysis of theology from the viewpoint of Rabbinical Judaism and reject Christianity as heretical like some religious officials did in Jesus' time. Then based on this rejection, the Old Testament and rabbinical oral traditions with their hard attitude against theological heresies explains why some religious Jews have hard feelings against Christianity. So I understand that some people have strong temptations toward negative atiitudes in their psychology and so I shouldn't be surprised like you say if some have hard feelings based on theology.
That doesn't mean it's moral or practical to have hard feelings against Christianity based on religious differences. First of all, the religious Jews could be wrong in their theological differences with Christianity. Secondly, just because people have a certain religion doesn't necessarily mean they are good or bad people. Third, as a religious minority that has chosen to live in predominantly Christian society, it is impractical to maintain bad feelings towards Christians. Fourth, Christianity has alot of good things to recommend it even from the standpoint of Rabbinical Judaism, as for example the rabbi in the debate you mentioned thanked Christians for spreading knowledge of God. Christianity has spread knowledge of God and the Tanakh to such a degree, and in practical terms teaches moral interpersonal relations enough that the positives in it should overcome negative feelings.

Thank you for posting the link to the article "Jesus the Jew". I found it interesting and posted my review of it earlier in the thread.

You are right that:
Quote
The Shammaite school was dominant during Jesus's lifetime. There was also a smaller school, the Hillel School, in existence.
This is what your article and/or Nazarene's explained.

I am unsure when you write:
Quote
Jesus seemed to be repeating the idea's of Rabbi Hillel, ie healing on the Sabbath, mixing with Gentiles and having a focus on the Golden Rule.
Some important ideas of Jesus, like his strong focus on prayer and faith seems unique, and your or Nazarene's article pointed out that Jesus strongly disagreed with the school of Hillel on divorce, which was treated much more liberally by Hillel.
His idea of healing on the Sabbath is consistent with R.Hillel's idea that it's OK to tend to the sick on the Sabbath, but I doubt whether R. Hillel talked about healing miracles in this regard. Miracles are by definition rare, and it seems rare for someone in Rabbinical Judaism to do this, so I doubt Rabbi Hillel addressed this directly.
Further, it isn't clear how much Jesus mixed with gentiles and Hilel allowed for this. Nazarene's article mentioned that the School of Shammai made an edict against Jews eating with or visiting the homes of gentiles, and the article viewed- apparently correctly- James' rejection of Peter eating with gentiles in their houses as obedience to this Shammaite edict. It isn't clear to me whether Hillel had a countervailing teaching, but it seems maybe this teaching wasn't a particular one of Hillel because he had a more liberal attitude about gentiles, and this was a particular teaching of Shammai.
Also, while both Jesus and Hillel focused on the Golden Rule, Hillel's version of it was negative, in the sense of not doing to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you, while Jesus' version was affirmative, in the sense that it said to do to others what you would have them do to you.

Kind Regards, Marc.




Deacon Lance,

I sympathize with your words:
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I am familiar with the quotes of the fathers and councils prohibiting Jewish practices. However, what does one make of the Ethiopian Christains who integrated many Jewish practices into their tradition. Also the Council of Jerusalem did not forbid the contiued practice of Jewish traditions, it simply forbade Jewish Christians from imposing them on Gentile Christians. If modern Jewish converts wish to maintain their culture I do not think it should be a cause for scandal or digging up canons that had a specific purpose in a specific context.

You are right that "the Council of Jerusalem did not forbid the contiued practice of Jewish traditions, it simply forbade Jewish Christians from imposing them on Gentile Christians." In light of this, the fathers' and councils' prohibition can be interpreted as a change in Church doctrine since the Council. Another example would be how the Council of Jerusalem apparently accepted Judaic proscriptions against certain animals' foods. But then St Peter had a vision that it was OK to eat any kind of animal. Now, in light of the Council of Jerusalem, and St Paul's writings about people who were circumcized staying circumcized, I agree with your suggestion that it should be OK for modern Jewish converts to maintain their culture. Still, maybe it still should be cause for scandal and diffing up such canons, since there are canons and Church fathers' writings against it. But the scandal shouldn't necessarily resolve itself against Jews maintaining their culture. Also, it may depend on which parts of their culture they are maintaining. If it was an extremely strict part of their culture saying to avoid physical contact with gentiles, then obviously Christianity would reject this.

Further, your words about "digging up canons that had a specific purpose in a specific context" suggest that based on the canons' purpose and context that they wouldn't be applicable today and are buried. Well, this is partly true, because these canons about avoiding certain involvement with religious Jews are rarely discussed and are often violated, so in that sense they are buried.

Further, the context hasn't changed totally from that context. Orthodoxy has a relatively ascetic attitude and considers itself the true faith. Within this mindset, the idea of dissassociating from non-Christian religious activities makes sense. And Orthodoxy does have an idea that canons approved by an Ecumenical Council have a very high amount of authority or are infallible. It may be that in the specific context of the time, the Ecumenical Council considered that its canons were how Orthodoxy must be, regardless of changes in time and place. In practical terms following such strong restrictions is questionable, but then the Orthodox Church also has an idea of "ekonomia" that makes an exception for such impractical situations.

At least one specific purpose, mentioned in either one of the canons or its interpretation was to dissuade Jews from converting if they didn't really believe in Christianity. Now we don't have the same social pressures to convert like in the Middle Ages, as today society is somewhat tolerant of religious diversity. These social pressures explain why someone would convert without really believing in the religion. However, today there are still social forces, like marriage between religions that can create some pressure. But still, it appears that this particular purpose has disappeared.

Another purpose, which seems as valid then as now, is St Ignatius' idea that it's important to disassociate from Judaic religious practices because, for St Ignatius, Judaism was a prefigurement of Christianity. So for him, continuing Judaic practices suggests that Christianity, that which was prefigured in Judaism, hadn't been realized yet.
Now personally I am doubtful about St Ignatius' reasoning, because, for example, St Paul circumcizes his disciple Timothy, and didn't see this as contradicting the idea that Christianity had been realized.

Take Care,

In Christ,

-Rakovsky




Alveus Lacuna,

I agree with you when you say:
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Just a little scholarly point of clarification: There are four sects which remain known to us in the 21st century... The LORD could have been a part of another grouping of Jews at the time which is now lost to us.  
Except there could be more known to us today, if one considers John the Baptist's movement, and the Nazorites, who apparently existed then, to be sects too. Our Lord probably belonged to both of those in my opinion. The Nazorites aren't lost to us, but I think we seem to have alot less knowledge about them than about the pharisees and Sadducees.

I am not sure that: "And even then, our knowledge is based on very, very few primary sources... " We have Josephus, the histories in Judaic tradition like the Talmud, we have the Qumran scrolls, the Bible. These are big works, so maybe there are other sources from that time. There are also the Christian apocryphal writings like the Gospel of Nicodemus, and I think they probably mention the Pharisees and Sadducees to some extent because those two groups are very related to the subject matter of Christ's ministry, which some of those apocryphal writings cover.

I trust your judgment here: "Also, we're not even clear on who or what exactly the Essenes are, as different sources on them contradict one another. Was the community at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls community) an Essene group? Probably, but we don't know for sure. Were their pools used for baptisms? Maybe, but they could have just been for bathing and ritual purity issues." I vaguely remember reading something similar before: that we don't have a clear idea of the Essenes, and whether the Qumran community was Essene, although it is often referred to as Essene in modern references. I don't know whether different sources contradict eachother, but trust your judgment, because even the New Testament contradicts itsself at least on first glance. So writings about a group can be contradictory, especially if there is alot to say about the group or it has alot of ideas, like it sounds like the Essenes did. As for bathing and ritual purity issues, to my mind the pools could have been for the repeated Judaic ritual baths called Mikvahs. It isn't clear to me that you were referring to Mikvahs when you wrote this, because one could bath for medical cleanliness and then use the water in another way, like sprinkling holy water on things for ritual purity issues. "The Baptism of St John" as the New Testament calls it, sounds unique to St John, and in neither of the writings about the Essenes nor about St John, to my knowledge, does it say the Essenes followed St John. So it sounds like the Essenes weren't using the pools for Baptisms in the sense of the Baptism of St John.

I agree with you that:
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Most of this is gray, and in many cases the Church's tradition is as reliable a source as anything else, but obviously not always, as there are some instances of things in tradition that are verifiably false on historical grounds.
But I am not sure what you are referring to as verifiably false in Christian tradition. Christian apocrypha is kind of like Christian tradition, but is considered noncanonical, and has some unusual-sounding ideas, like proposing some closer relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, which in my vague memory of the apocrypha might have been a marital or male-female-partnering relationship.

I agree with you:
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Anyway, I'm just pointing out that most of the issues you are bringing into the discussion are only bringing in more problems rather than providing any real solutions. You're right to critique Saint Iaint's assumptions, but I also find it problematic to jump right on board with the currently popular assertion that the LORD was verifiably a Pharisee. The Church's tradition has given us a different understanding of what a Pharisee is, and usually the Christ is not a part of that picture. This assertion might rather be the product of an intellectual fad where something counterintuitive is posited as a revolutionary idea, and because it isn't verifiably false everybody gets on board with the new, "edgy" idea.
Saying Jesus was a pharisee ascribes more characteristics to Him, and since the New Testament doesn't explcitly say He was a pharisee. So saying He was a pharisee ascribes added traits to Him, like that He was connected to the Rabbinical system, and therefore creates problems in the form of uncertainty about His traits instead of confirmed solutions. But this doesn't mean one shouldn't consider this possibility.
Saint Iaint is also making an assumption that Jesus wasn't a pharisee, and so it's right to criticize this, because the New Testament doesn't say that He wasn't, either.
It's problematic to jump on board with the assertion He was a pharisee. But I doubt this is a popular assertion, because Skarsaune's book Northern Pines pointed to said Jesus was close to them, but not that He belonged to their ranks. My impression from a brief search of the "Jesus and Judaism" book Northern Pines pointed to suggested the same, and since Wright is considered very conservative by Northern Pines, I doubt Wright will go farther than the other two authors Northern Pines cited for this assertion.
I am not sure how or that the Church's tradition has a different understanding of what a Pharisee is than Northern Pines presented. Northern Pines just seemed to be talking about basic characteristics of the pharisees' belief system, which seem OK at first glance. The Church has given us a negative-leaning attitude to the Pharisees' oral teachings, and Northenr Pines has pointed in the direction of accepting some of those teachings, like about Moses' chair. But Northern Pines didn't say most of the oral teachings were good, and he pointed out that Jesus apparently accepted some of the same ideas as the oral teachings, like about the Moses chair.
You are right that the Christ isn't usually part of the picture of the Church's negative attitude toward the oral teachings, except that Christ also appeared in the New Testament to share a negative attitude toward the oral teachings.
For example, I could make a list of bad court precedents and laws and then say that the legislature and courts, with their laws and precedents, make the Constitution of no effect. Here, it would appear that I had a negative attitude toward the precedents and laws, even though maybe I was OK with some precedents and laws.
So sometimes there are these intellectual fads, where people jump on because it's new and edgy and not verifiably false. The supposed "Seal of the Church of Jerusalem" among some Messianic Jews, with its down-pointing fish under a Star of David seems to be one example. It was recently either discovered or invented in the last 40 years in the Israeli State and has caught on among the Messianic Jewish community. That doesn't mean it's true or false, but it's an example of the kind of phenomenon you are talking about.

Health and Happiness to You




Theophilos78,

Thank you for writing with your sharp-minded comments.

I trust you when you say: "The translation I gave read FROM the Jews. I see that this is in line with the translation you suggested: OUT OF", because most translations in Bible.cc said "from" for this term.

This is somewhat in line with Saint I's proposed translation, "out of", as you say, because "from" and "out of" are synonyms, although they aren't exactly the same same words.

You are correct when you say:
<<However, this modification does not solve the problem. the specific prophecy referring to Judea in Matthew's Gospel has a different word than Jesus' statement in John 4. To compare from the original language:
καὶ σὺ Βηθλεέμ, γῆ 'Ιοuδα,
οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν 'Ιοuδα (Matthew 2:6)
ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν 'Ιουδαiων ἐστίν. (John 4:22)>>
That is, just changing "from" to "out of" doesn't solve the problem that Saint I is claiming "out of Judea" is the right translation, while most translations say "from the Jews/Judeans". One reason it doesn't solve the problem is because, as you say, John 4:22 has a different word for what something is "out of", than the verses Saint I gave to support his position. That is, just because the supporting verses Saint I cited mean "out of Juda" doesn't mean John 4:22 says that.

And as you point out, "Ιοuδα" used in the supposedly supporting verses, and "Ιουδαiων" are "obviously not identical." The former means Judah and the latter, Judeans, the people.

It's confusing when you say:
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The context is also important. Why did Jesus utter that sentence in response to a Samaritan woman who used plural personal pronouns while making a contrast between herself and Jesus? What was that distinction based upon?
That is, normally in understanding a passage it helps alot to understand the context. But sometimes context can leave questions open. Here, the context is a discussion about salvation, and the Samaritans and Jews as peoples, and about places of worship- the mountains and jerusalem.

To answer your question(s), the distinction between Jesus and herself was based on  the Samaritans and Jews as peoples, who were in turn distinguished based on locations of those peoples' worship. This means He and she were both distinguished indirectly based on places of worship. So he uttered the sentence to clarify his position on the question of the worship by the two peoples, who were referred to with the personal pronouns "you" (collectively the listener's people) and "we" (the speaker's people).

Here I underline in the passage from the Bible the parts talking about Samaritans and Jews as people, and put in italics the places.
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Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
That is, the Samaritan woman contrasts her people's ancestors, the Samaritans who claim worship should be in the mountains, with the Jews who claim that one must worship in Jeruslem.
Then Jesus responds by contrasting the Samaritans' worship with the Jews' worship, saying that Samaritans worship what they know, while Jews worship what they know because salvation is from the [thing under discussion].

Consequently, the "thing under discussion" is something related to Jews, because grammatically speaking, showing that salvation comes from it shows that the Jews know it. Yet, Judea, the Judean people, and Jerusalem, are all related to eachother.
The logic most apparent to me of the Jewish part of the contrast, when written with places and the jewish people as alternatives, leads to a confusing result. This logic of the Jewish part of the contrast can be written with the following statement with places and the jewish people as alternatives, and using either side of the forward slashes in it leads to a confusing result:
"Salvation comes from the Jews/Jerusalem/Judea so they worship what they know, because they know themselves/Jerusalem/Judea."

So just from using the context of the contrast, it is confusing whether He is referring to a place or a people, as one can know either, in the sense of be familiar with either, but it's confusing to say that in another sense, like psychologically, one knows either a place or a people. One can say grammatically: "I know the Chinese people well", or "I know the Mongolian desert well".

You asked Saint I:
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Finally, the word Ιουδαiων in John 4:22 occurs in the verse below:
Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν 'Ιουδαiων... (John 20:19)
Do you think this is another case of mistranslation and it should read "for fear of the one from Judah" instead of "for fear of the JEWS"?

You are making a good point, because the meaning of the word Ioudaion is so clearly "Judeans" when put in context:
"Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews... (King James Version)".

That is, it doesn't make sense to say they shut the doors "in fear of Judah" as a geographical place. That wouldn't make sense. Judah might have had some earthquakes, but still, it would be said that it was the earthquakes rather than just the physical location, as it's another place on earth. And in any case earthquakes weren't mentioned in connection with this. But the disciples were afraid of persecution by other religious Jews. So the KJV's translation of the term as "Judeans" makes the most sense based on the context. And since in English Judeans is translated commonly as "Jews", it's a correct translation in English.

And I assume the term "the one from..." isn't even similar to what comes before "Judeans", because the KJV and the other translations on Bible.cc don't have anything like that. All the translations there say "fear of the Jews" with nothing between "fear of" and "the Jews".

You made a good point when you said:
Quote
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.
That is, Saint I was saying Jesus wasn't a Judean, yet here Jesus says salvation is from the Judeans. In Christianity, Salvation comes through Jesus, so the most obvious reading of this saying by Jesus is that He was part of the Judeans, since it sounds like it means somehow Judeans are a source or point of origin of salvation. If Jesus was part of the Judeans, then this would explain how their group is a point of origin for His salvation, as He came from amongst them.

You are right, except maybe for your last sentence, when you replied to Saint I's response here:
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Thanks for your reply, but I still fail to understand one point. If we make a comparison between John 4:22 and John 20:19, the supposed distinction between the words Judahite and Judean disappears:
ὅτι ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν 'Ιουδαiων ἐστίν.
καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν 'Ιουδαiων.
Both these verses have the same word: Ιουδαiων.
If you focus on John 20:19 and claim that the word Ιουδαiων means JUDEAN, you should conclude that the verse in John 4:22 reads "The salvation is from the Judeans". The Evangelist seems unaware of the distinction you are making between the English words Judahite and Judean since he used in both instances one single word in Greek.
Except that I think maybe you actually did understand his point- he was clearly confused when he mistranslated the same word to mean something quite different in the other verse. Like you pointed out, comparing the word in question, Ioudaion, in John 4:22 to the same word in John 20:19 makes the distinction between Saint I's proposed English translation of that word in the two verses disappear, since the original, Greek word is the same in both verses.
A caveat is that I remember S.I. proposing that in John 4:22 the term in question was "Judah". while you are suggesting he is proposing the term is Judahites.
You correctly said S.I. concluded that the word in John 20:19 means "Judeans", so he should conclude the same thing about the word when it's used in John 4:22, like you say, and he should find your translation of the word in the verse OK.
Probably, he shouldn't conclude that you have translated all of the verse OK, because none of the translations of it on Bible.cc, which include the KJV and others, begin their translation of the verse with the word "The".
I doubt whether the evangelist writer appears unaware of the distinction S.I. is making between the English words Judahite and Judean, because Greek has both words in two separate forms. It's just that in the two verses in question the writer chose to use the Greek word for "Judeans". This double use of the same word doesn't mean tbat he was unaware of the distinction, because he could have simply found the term "Judeans" to be the most appropriate term here. He could have considered to salvation to be from the Judeans in the sense that Jesus was a Judean, either by His birhplace being in Judea, or because His family's background came from the Hasmonean Kingdom of Judea, which included the land that later became the provinces of Galilee and Judea.

Peace,
Rakovsky
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« Reply #168 on: May 23, 2011, 03:13:35 AM »

Keble,

You have a cool picture. It looks like a pillar of fire. And your caption "by night" sounds intriguing.

I somewhat disagree that: Seraphim Reeve's post
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doesn't seem to be about them[Messianic Jews]. It seems to be about being smug in having found The Right Way and congratulating oneself about having done so.
It's true that Seraphim Reeves' isn't writing about Messianic Jews in particular, rather he is writing broadly about Judaizing, which he sees broadly as Christians observing unique Jewish customs commonly seen as non-Christian. I disagree about such a definition of Judaizing, because Wikipedia refers to it as the idea that following the Mosaic law, like circumcision, is needed for salvation.

Calling them "Messianic judaists" and saying it was "prudence" for the "Holy Fathers" to "reject" their Judaizing sounds a little bit like smug language, as it's strong language criticizing something he disagrees with, and "Messianic judaists" aren't what they call themselves. Still, well, they connect themselves to Judaism and Christianity, so the term "judaists" doesn't seem seriously improper, although he should have capitalized it.

Otherwise, almost all rest of his comments just seemed like an assessment from a Christian point of view that the Jewish customs had been fulfilled, and were unnecessary, which explains why he disagrees with Messianic Judaism. Just showing why one disagrees with a school of thought doesn't mean the person is being smug that his/her way is right and is congratulating him/herself about it with fanfare.
The terminology about "Holy Apostles" and "Apostolic Fathers" sound like strong terms, but the terms themselves are OK.

Kind Regards.




Doubting Thomas,

I think that Seraphim Reeve's post you referred to was OK, although some parts were confusing. Smiley

Regards.




Mikho,

Yes, I feel the same way you do when you say:
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What I like about Christianity so much is that "there is no more Jew nor Greek, but one in Christ Jesus."
Alot of countries define people based on their ethnicity. And it's a big advantage for Christianity that you don't have to think about yourself as separate from others, or more or less of a person based on ethnicity, but instead just think about yourself as Christian.

All the Best.




FatherHLL,

I agree with you when you write:
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^^^The statement that Jesus was not a Judean is to refer to Him as a Galilean. Of course, he was born and registered in Judea being of the lineage of David, so this point is nonsense. Jesus was a Jew.
But it's alittle confusing: if Jesus was born in Judea and then moved to and lived for many years in Galilee, it seems like in a sense he is both Galilean and Judean. If someone is born in Pennsylvania and then lived 20+ years in California, it seems like he/she is something of both.

And you were right when you said: "^I believe those are Rakovsky's notes on the book, not quotations from the book itself." Thanks for pointing that out.
Although um, to split a hair, they were notes about the interview that was about the book. hehe. Smiley

Father Bless.




Heorhij,

I remember reading a view similar to that which you mention here:
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There are some people in Ukraine who very seriously argue that Jesus was a Ukrainian. The extreme west of Ukraine is often referred to as Halychyna (former Austrian Galizien), and Jesus was a Galilean. Galilee and Galizien are of the same root. Also Galatians were most definitely Ukrainians.
I remember being curious about this. The history article(s) I read about the region of "Galicia" said that this name- Halych/Galicia/Halychyna came from the city or town called "Gals" there. The explanation for the name of Gals- or with Ukrainian pronounciation "Hals"- is that the term came from the Greek word for salt, as there was a significant salt mine there.
The internet says: "The greek word is 'als or "hals" in Roman letters." (www.du.edu/~jcalvert/phys/salt.htm)
Meanwhile, the Wikipedia entry on Galilee says "The region takes its name from the Hebrew galil, "district", "circle", a noun which, in the construct state, requires a genitival noun. Hence the Biblical "Galilee of the Nations", Hebrew"galil goyim"(Isaiah 9:1)."
So it isn't apparently true that the two words- Galilee and Galizien are the same root.

Still, it's possible in my mind that the Gauls lent their name to Gailica. I read that the Galatians were Gauls, in a book about Celtic history. It seems possible that the ancient historians knew alot about the Gauls in Galatia because Galatia was so close to Greece, but that they didn't know as much about Galicia in Ukraine because it was farther away, and so they didn't record about Galicians living there when they hypothetically would have been, according to the Galicia-is-named-after-the-Gauls theory.

I doubt that Galatians were most definitely Ukrainian because (A) I read that they were Gauls, and (B) you are saying this together with other humorous ideas like your words with the Cool that since Jesus went across a sea in the gospels, it must have been the Black Sea, which is obviously false, as the Bible specifies these travels were on the Sea of Galilee, and the Black Sea was far away from His ministry, which was in and around Judea.

Zdorovye i Schastye Vam




Entscheidungsproblem,

You commented about the Jesus=Ukrainian idea that Heorhij mentioned:
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"Reminds me of the whole Anglo-Israelism/Christian Identity group of people." :p

I agree because they are both nationalist ideas associating their nationality with central Biblical ethnicities. One difference is that the Anglo-Israel/Christian idea, in my mind is that either Anglos came from the Israelites, like from a/the Lost Tribe/Tribes, or that Jesus or His apostles came to England early in Christianity. Actually this latter view is part of Church tradition, as there's a tradition that Joseph of Arimathea went there after the Resurrection.

Take care.




Peter the Aleut,

You asked Saint I:
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<<Marc1152,
The link you provided - 'Essay on Jesus the Jew' is a piece of garbage. [-Saint Iaint]>>

How so?
<<Quote from: Saint Iaint on June 29, 2010, 04:22:35 AM
If there are any inquirers on here reading this - please don't imagine that any of this Pharisaic, Talmudic, rabbinical GARBAGE has anything to do with the Orthodox faith... None of this 'Jewish' junk has anything to do with true Orthodox Christianity!>>
Says who?

This is his personal opinion, which is mostly incorrect. I think the author of the article made some mistakes, like saying that the debates with the pharisees didn't lead to Jesus' death, but most of the article was correct. I think less than 20% of it I disagreed with, some more of it I had doubts or uncertainty about, but most of it was correct.
Saint I is simply jumping to the conclusion that it's garbage because it was written by a rabbi, and he is concluding this based on his strong dislike of Rabbinical Judaism and his, excessive-opposite-of-nuance, so to speak. I highly doubt he read most of the article, and is just rejecting offhand associations between Jesus and Jewish religious identity from the time. When it comes to reviewing this article, apparently he doesn't think much about how someone with an overall incorrect opinion about a topic may factually correctly view certain parts of that topic.

Thank you for the patience you have shown as forum moderator. Smiley

All the Best.





Nicholas Myra,

You commented: <<What about Baptism? What about Chrismation? What about the Eucharist? [-Saint I.]>>
That's how you accept the sacrifice.

You're right, and thanks for answering this.
Orthodoxy considers those ways of accepting Christ's sacrifice. Additionally, there is also a part of acceptance that is intellectual acceptance and faith. This is acceptance in another sense I think. Like I can accept the sacrifice's benefits in Baptism and the Eucharist, and I can also psychologically accept the sacrifice's reality with faith. And the rites you mentioned are also things that show such acceptance and are effective because of the sacrifice.

Kind Regards.
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« Reply #169 on: May 29, 2011, 06:05:01 PM »

By the way, I take back something I had said: I vaguely remember agreeing with Northern Pines that the Torah, indeed the Tanakh as a whole lacked the idea of demons.

However, in the Temple ritual of Leviticus, the scapegoat is labelled as "for Azazel". Azazel was apparently some kind of demon.
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« Reply #170 on: May 29, 2011, 09:45:59 PM »

I just got home from a wedding. The Orthodox Groom's uncle is apparently some ilk of Messianic person who keeps Rabbinical law. He wore a hat, tzitzit (prayer tassels from his belt) etc.

He's Gentile..from Texas.. He was a nice enough fellow but I found it weird and inappropriate. People sure go down some strange roads.
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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« Reply #171 on: May 30, 2011, 03:21:35 PM »

By the way, I take back something I had said: I vaguely remember agreeing with Northern Pines that the Torah, indeed the Tanakh as a whole lacked the idea of demons.
I believe it refers to them as "The serpent" "Ha'Satan" or "idols".  Wink
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
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« Reply #172 on: July 02, 2011, 03:37:22 PM »

Since we are discussing this, I thought it might be interesting to read some of the canons on Jews.

CANON LXV of the 85 CANONS:

If any Clergyman, or Layman, evter a synogogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.

CANON LXX of the 85 CANONS:

If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all who is on the list of clergymen, fasts together with the Jews, or celebrates a holiday together with them, or accepts from them holiday gifts or favors, such as unleavened wafers, or anything of the like, let him be deposed from office. If a layman do likewise, however, let him be excommunicated.

CANON XI of the 102 CANONS:
Let no one be enrolled in the sacerdotal list, or any layman, eat the unleavened wafers manufactured by the Jews, or in any way become familliar with the Jews or call them in case of sickness, or take any medicines from them, or even bathe with them in public bathing beaches or bathhouses. If anyone should attempt to do this, in case he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; or in case he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.

I suspect these were written in the time when Jews were proselytizing (they were still doing this during the time of Christ as it evidenced by some things The Lord had said about them "compassing sea and land to make one proselyte")...and being of a Jewish background myself, I know how giddy many Jews get when a Christian converts to their religion....but does this mean I can't buy whole wheat matzo at 75% off after Passover, to feed to my pet rats?  Grin
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« Reply #173 on: July 02, 2011, 03:38:41 PM »

One thing I think we can glean from the canons Nik presented is that certainly Christians are not to live under the Mosaic Law or to keep Jewish festivals or holidays.

What really troubles me about the MJ movement is the apparent ethno-centric nature of it, as if God has a set of favorites - the natural descendants of Jacob - and the rest of us are second-class Christians.

MJs even eschew the title Christian, and will not call St. Paul Paul, but refer to him as "Sh'aul" instead.

How can anyone read Galatians and imagine that the followers of Christ are still under the Law?

They are dispensationalists, and may be a modern manifestation of the Ebionite heresy of ancient times.
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« Reply #174 on: July 02, 2011, 04:02:21 PM »

I just got home from a wedding. The Orthodox Groom's uncle is apparently some ilk of Messianic person who keeps Rabbinical law. He wore a hat, tzitzit (prayer tassels from his belt) etc.

He's Gentile..from Texas.. He was a nice enough fellow but I found it weird and inappropriate. People sure go down some strange roads.

Unlike most "messianic Jews", I actually grew up as an Orthodox Jew, in an Orthodox Jewish community in the 1960s-1970s. I have noticed these self-styled "messianic Jews" attaching tzitzit to their belts and belt loops.

If they knew anything about Halacha (Orthodox Jewish Law), they would know that the tzitzit are not something you just attach to belts; the fringes are attached to the arba kanfot (4 cornered white garment) which religious Jewish men wear under their shirts, or to the tallit katan (large prayer shawl worn during morning services on Shabbat--the Sabbath).


The whole reason why "messianic Jews" even claim to be Jews is to convert other Jews to their form of evangelical Protestantism. Those who actually were knowledgeable Orthodox Jews, when they do become Christians, join the Roman Church or the Orthodox Church.
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"O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us..." (from the Prayer of St Basil the Great)

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« Reply #175 on: July 02, 2011, 04:56:25 PM »

This reviving of the traditions of the Judeo-Hebrew Rite seem quite confusing to me.  It appears to be historically accurate to say that Patriarch St. James the Just of Jerusalem was a very Torah-observant Jew and so were several of his successors, in spite of their love for Christ.  Yet I've seen a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch, that Judaism should not be assosciated with Christianity.  I'm sure someone will know of what I'm talking about here.

Xenia,
If you'd like to -- I'd love to read what happened to you, to change your mind about Jesus.  Even though I know Jesus seemed to disregard the Oral Talmud, as many of the Pharisees followed it -- and some of what he criticized them on were ideas that could be taken from the Talmud.  They say God gave this Oral Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai, so how did you learn to reconcile these things with Orthodox Christianity?
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« Reply #176 on: July 02, 2011, 07:27:39 PM »

This reviving of the traditions of the Judeo-Hebrew Rite seem quite confusing to me.  It appears to be historically accurate to say that Patriarch St. James the Just of Jerusalem was a very Torah-observant Jew and so were several of his successors, in spite of their love for Christ.  Yet I've seen a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch, that Judaism should not be assosciated with Christianity.  I'm sure someone will know of what I'm talking about here.

Xenia,
If you'd like to -- I'd love to read what happened to you, to change your mind about Jesus.  Even though I know Jesus seemed to disregard the Oral Talmud, as many of the Pharisees followed it -- and some of what he criticized them on were ideas that could be taken from the Talmud.  They say God gave this Oral Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai, so how did you learn to reconcile these things with Orthodox Christianity?

Here is my story, more or less:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37407.0.html

As for the Talmudic writings (the so-called "oral Torah"), I always had doubts about it, quite frankly. I never, in my mind, placed it on the same level as the Written Torah (Five Books of Moses), even though as a child I was taught they were equal in inspiration and value. So maybe that's how Christianity was finally able to reach me. The Talmud contains a lot of anti-Christian teachings, and I think its those teachings that keep many Jews from accepting Christ. They might not all study Talmud (esp. Gemara), but the teachings do trickle down to all of them.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 07:31:36 PM by Xenia1918 » Logged

"O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us..." (from the Prayer of St Basil the Great)

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« Reply #177 on: July 03, 2011, 12:44:17 AM »

Quote from: Xenia1918
The whole reason why "messianic Jews" even claim to be Jews is to convert other Jews to their form of evangelical Protestantism. Those who actually were knowledgeable Orthodox Jews, when they do become Christians, join the Roman Church or the Orthodox Church.

True.
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