Author Topic: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?  (Read 2245 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 603
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« on: October 08, 2013, 10:01:49 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.

Offline orthonorm

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 10:04:42 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.

Who needs the book when you have you.

The argument is sound. The conclusions one draws from it depends on how one understands revelation.
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,388
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 10:07:47 PM »
I haven't read the book, so I can't really address the argument.  I do have a question about this point:

7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

Why? 

Does the author address this?   
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Offline Kerdy

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,813
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 10:16:02 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.
I have not read this book and based off of what you posted I never will.

Offline orthonorm

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 10:20:18 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.
I have not read this book and based off of what you posted I never will.

Most people already have in another package. What's the point?

Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 10:20:50 PM by orthonorm »
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline stanley123

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,811
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 10:21:13 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.
Mr. Vermes was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, but later on joined a liberal jewish synagogue.

Offline Kerdy

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,813
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 10:25:13 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.
Mr. Vermes was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, but later on joined a liberal jewish synagogue.
That explains a lot.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 10:31:32 PM by Kerdy »

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

  • Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,065
  • A Communist who doesn´t believe in Communism...
  • Faith: Strong Atheist
  • Jurisdiction: Philosophical Positions Below Signature
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 10:57:03 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.

1-3 are wrong. Christ thinking He was divine was clear from Mark 14:61-62, Matthew 21:15-16, Matthew 22:41-45, Matthew 16:16-20, Mark 2:28, Matthew 27:43 and their corresponding parallel synoptics. If Christ affirmed in Matthew that He is the Son of God, there is no way Paul did that. Furthermore, St. Paul's writings predate the Gospels and the Didache, so his usage of the Gospels and the Didache is anachronistic.

4 is partially true, the concept of a Logos was also common among pre-Christian Jews like Philo of Alexandria and some of the Deuterocanonical books like the Wisdom of Solomon or Sirach.

5. St. Constantine just called the council, he personally didn't do a single thing.

7. Too late now!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 11:12:48 PM by xOrthodox4Christx »
My Philosophical Positions:

-Marxism, Anarchism, Communism

-Empiricism, Rationalism, Analytic Philosophy, Naturalism

-Humanism, Existentialism, Altruism

Offline lovesupreme

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,421
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 11:03:39 PM »
I can't see anything novel in this assertion. Liberal scholars have been trying to reduce Christ to a prophet and His Church to a politically-motivated accident for some time now. Am I wrong?

Offline Gamliel

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,801
  • "Truth is born as lightning strikes -- Archilochos
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of San Francisco
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 11:55:39 PM »
^.  No.  I have seen this argument in a lot of other writings.

Offline lovesupreme

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,421
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2013, 01:36:43 AM »
^.  No.  I have seen this argument in a lot of other writings.

I mean, if you want to go back far (and you can go even earlier, I'm sure), Islam makes the same claims about Christ being a prophet but not the Son of God. This is not new ground on which these scholars are treading!

Offline Hinterlander

  • Site Supporter
  • High Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 624
  • Faith: Inquirer
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2013, 08:08:53 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2013, 08:16:51 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

Meaning what exactly?  Fruits of the spirit?  Joy, love, peace, etc.  Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline Romaios

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,933
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2013, 08:39:03 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

One thing's for sure: we've got the fruits of our Fathers.

As for our own, "comparison brings death to the soul".
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 08:41:06 AM by Romaios »

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

  • Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,065
  • A Communist who doesn´t believe in Communism...
  • Faith: Strong Atheist
  • Jurisdiction: Philosophical Positions Below Signature
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2013, 08:43:40 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

Meaning what exactly?  Fruits of the spirit?  Joy, love, peace, etc.  Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?

Yeah, what does that mean? Protestants could be the best Christians in the whole world (which they are not!) but what would that prove if Orthodox were the worst Christians in the world and Protestants were "the best."

That doesn't negate in any way, the truth of the Orthodox Faith.
My Philosophical Positions:

-Marxism, Anarchism, Communism

-Empiricism, Rationalism, Analytic Philosophy, Naturalism

-Humanism, Existentialism, Altruism

Offline Jonathan Gress

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,567
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2013, 08:58:24 AM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.

1-3 are wrong. Christ thinking He was divine was clear from Mark 14:61-62, Matthew 21:15-16, Matthew 22:41-45, Matthew 16:16-20, Mark 2:28, Matthew 27:43 and their corresponding parallel synoptics. If Christ affirmed in Matthew that He is the Son of God, there is no way Paul did that. Furthermore, St. Paul's writings predate the Gospels and the Didache, so his usage of the Gospels and the Didache is anachronistic.

4 is partially true, the concept of a Logos was also common among pre-Christian Jews like Philo of Alexandria and some of the Deuterocanonical books like the Wisdom of Solomon or Sirach.

5. St. Constantine just called the council, he personally didn't do a single thing.

7. Too late now!

Good answer. How does Vermes deal with Christ's self-affirmation as divine, or does he completely ignore those bits?

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Delusional Overlord
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,689
  • And the cat is back again.
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2013, 10:13:01 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I think trying to compare two different groups of people is going to get you all sorts of false conclusions.  There are too many variables.  Rather, it is better to compare one's self without the Church to one's self with the Church.  Are you or I a better or worse person because of the Church?
If your leg causes you to creak, cut it off.  It is better to practice hesychasm with one leg than with two legs, one noisy, to abandon silence and the prayer.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,826
  • Faith: Dyophistie / anti-severian
  • Jurisdiction: With Pews
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2013, 10:22:58 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

More like plums to e turned into palinka.
Meaning what exactly?  Fruits of the spirit?  Joy, love, peace, etc.  Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?
Holy martyr Proterius, patriarch of Alexandria,  pray for us!

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2013, 10:36:04 AM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

More like plums to e turned into palinka.
Meaning what exactly?  Fruits of the spirit?  Joy, love, peace, etc.  Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?

Are you saying Orthodoxy is a healthy fruit and Protestantism makes you drunk? ;D
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Taxiarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,317
  • This will have been fun.
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2013, 11:12:16 AM »
Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?

Now, that would sure make for a prickly situation...
'When you live your path all the time, you end up with both more path and more time.'~Venecia Rauls

Blog ~ Bookshelf ~ Jukebox ~

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 603
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2013, 11:56:00 AM »
Good answer. How does Vermes deal with Christ's self-affirmation as divine, or does he completely ignore those bits?
Vermes doesn't deny that Christ made claims to be the Son, or a son of God. He focuses on terminology, arguing that in light of the Charismatic Jewish tradition that preceded Jesus, and how the term "son of God" was used within it, he argues that when Christ refers to himself as "son of God" it does not mean what contemporary orthodox Christianity thinks it does. Rather than meaning the unique, divine Son of God who is co-eternal with the Father, Vermes argues that "son of God" means a servant of God who acts as a messenger. Vermes sees Jesus as another Moses or Elijah, whom he thinks also could have been called sons of God.

Regardless of what one believes I think this is a valid point. Jesus affirming that he is the Son of God, or a son of God, does get one to the contemporary orthodox Christian understanding of what "Son of God" means. Is he the Son of God as Jehova's Witnesses understand? as Mormons understand? as Gnostics understand? as orthodox Christianity understands? To get to a more specific point more is required, and I think the Christian tradition has done a decent job of providing such information.

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 603
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2013, 12:01:06 PM »
I haven't read the book, so I can't really address the argument.  I do have a question about this point:

7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

Why? 

Does the author address this?   
Sorry, that was a typo on my part. Point #7 should be  "Christians should return to seeing Jesus as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God."

His main thesis is that Jesus did not see himself as coeternal or consubstantial with the Father. He didn't see himself as divine in any way shape or form. In light of this, Vermes argues that Christianity should reform itself to see Jesus not as God incarnate, but a messenger of God.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 12:01:19 PM by truthseeker32 »

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,388
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2013, 12:24:02 PM »
Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?

I'm allergic to pineapples, and I love mangoes!   :o
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2013, 12:28:25 PM »
Or Protestants are spirutual mangoes and Orthodox are spiritual pineapples?

I'm allergic to pineapples, and I love mangoes!   :o

Uh-oh...
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,388
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2013, 12:29:55 PM »
Sorry, that was a typo on my part. Point #7 should be  "Christians should return to seeing Jesus as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God."

His main thesis is that Jesus did not see himself as coeternal or consubstantial with the Father. He didn't see himself as divine in any way shape or form. In light of this, Vermes argues that Christianity should reform itself to see Jesus not as God incarnate, but a messenger of God.

I understood #7 even with the typo, but my question still stands.

If Christianity abandons the divinity of Christ, how does Vermes see Christianity changing or improving?  Is it simply a matter of "authenticity" without having thought much further on it?  Or does rejecting the divinity of Christ enable us to understand him and his message in a way that makes it easier to live and apply?  If so, in what way?    
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,388
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2013, 12:31:32 PM »
Uh-oh...

There was a poster a few weeks back, if I'm not mistaken, who accused me of having a Protestant spirituality or outlook or some nonsense like that.  I'll bet he feels justified.  :P
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2013, 12:32:04 PM »
If Christ is just a prophet, would he be considered a true or a false prophet, especially by those who are not Christians?
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2013, 12:33:02 PM »
Uh-oh...

There was a poster a few weeks back, if I'm not mistaken, who accused me of having a Protestant spirituality or outlook or some nonsense like that.  I'll bet he feels justified.  :P

"I knew it!  He likes Protestant mangoes!!!"  [Insert smug smiley]
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline Hinterlander

  • Site Supporter
  • High Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 624
  • Faith: Inquirer
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2013, 01:35:33 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 01:36:06 PM by Hinterlander »

Offline Hinterlander

  • Site Supporter
  • High Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 624
  • Faith: Inquirer
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2013, 01:38:06 PM »
I just finished going through it. His essential argument is as follows:

1. Jesus was a Charismatic messenger of God who did not see himself as divine.
2. The earliest Christians did not see Christ as divine. This can be seen in the Didache and synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
3. Paul shifted emphasis from Christ's message to Christ himself, the first step in altering Christ from a prophet of God to the Son of God.
4. Gentile, primarily Hellenistic influence, brought with it platonic concepts that further moved Christianity towards seeing Christ as the eternal, divine logos.
5. At the council of Nicea, Constantine was persuaded by bishops like Athanasius to adopt and promote the idea of homoousious.
6. The rest is history.
7. Christians should return to seeing God as a prophet of God, not the unique, divine Son of God.

In light of this argument, I was wondering if any of you have read the book, and if so what you thought of his arguments.

Thank you for reading it and summing it up.  I probably won't read it now, but thanks!  I have Pelikan to read and then hopefully Behr on the early church.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Supreme Commander of the Joint Armed Warrior Services (JAWS) of the Oriental Orthodox Church
  • Section Moderator
  • Protostrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,388
  • "You have car, but no insurance?"
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Czech Lands
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2013, 01:47:23 PM »
I have Pelikan to read and then hopefully Behr on the early church.

Don't say "hopefully".  DO IT.  :)
Mor has an open appeal. This we knew already.

Mor suffers from Invincible Ignorance and is guaranteed salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Offline Rufus

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2013, 02:17:23 PM »
Good answer. How does Vermes deal with Christ's self-affirmation as divine, or does he completely ignore those bits?
Vermes doesn't deny that Christ made claims to be the Son, or a son of God. He focuses on terminology, arguing that in light of the Charismatic Jewish tradition that preceded Jesus, and how the term "son of God" was used within it, he argues that when Christ refers to himself as "son of God" it does not mean what contemporary orthodox Christianity thinks it does. Rather than meaning the unique, divine Son of God who is co-eternal with the Father, Vermes argues that "son of God" means a servant of God who acts as a messenger. Vermes sees Jesus as another Moses or Elijah, whom he thinks also could have been called sons of God.

Regardless of what one believes I think this is a valid point. Jesus affirming that he is the Son of God, or a son of God, does get one to the contemporary orthodox Christian understanding of what "Son of God" means. Is he the Son of God as Jehova's Witnesses understand? as Mormons understand? as Gnostics understand? as orthodox Christianity understands? To get to a more specific point more is required, and I think the Christian tradition has done a decent job of providing such information.

It's even easier than this. Jesus eventually got Peter to figure out he was the Christ. So do you think he went around claiming equality with God?

Look at ancient Christian writings such as the epistles of Ignatius. They believed that Christ's divinity was kept a secret in order to deceive the devil into taking him.

Use your heads, people!

Offline Rufus

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2013, 02:22:04 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.

And I continue to be the only Orthodox person I have ever met who is willing to touch a poor person with less than a 10-foot pole.

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Delusional Overlord
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,689
  • And the cat is back again.
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2013, 02:30:59 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.

And I continue to be the only Orthodox person I have ever met who is willing to touch a poor person with less than a 10-foot pole.
Am I reading this wrong or are you asserting an incredibly haughty and proud statement?
If your leg causes you to creak, cut it off.  It is better to practice hesychasm with one leg than with two legs, one noisy, to abandon silence and the prayer.

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2013, 02:33:37 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.

And I continue to be the only Orthodox person I have ever met who is willing to touch a poor person with less than a 10-foot pole.

I gave a dollar to a woman begging at an intersection.  Her hand brushed my finger as she took the bill from me.  I couldn't wait to get home to wash my hands, as she was very dirty.  Does that make me a hypocrite?
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Delusional Overlord
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,689
  • And the cat is back again.
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2013, 02:34:37 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.

And I continue to be the only Orthodox person I have ever met who is willing to touch a poor person with less than a 10-foot pole.

I gave a dollar to a woman begging at an intersection.  Her hand brushed my finger as she took the bill from me.  I couldn't wait to get home to wash my hands, as she was very dirty.  Does that make me a hypocrite?
You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.
If your leg causes you to creak, cut it off.  It is better to practice hesychasm with one leg than with two legs, one noisy, to abandon silence and the prayer.

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 603
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2013, 02:35:46 PM »
I understood #7 even with the typo, but my question still stands.

If Christianity abandons the divinity of Christ, how does Vermes see Christianity changing or improving?  Is it simply a matter of "authenticity" without having thought much further on it?  Or does rejecting the divinity of Christ enable us to understand him and his message in a way that makes it easier to live and apply?  If so, in what way?    
I think he simply sees it as more true and should be accepted because it is true.

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2013, 02:36:05 PM »

You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.
[/quote]

Next time, I guess.  I will have to acquire a telescopic 11-foot pole, because a straight pole won't fit in my car.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Delusional Overlord
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,689
  • And the cat is back again.
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2013, 02:43:59 PM »
Quote
You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.

Next time, I guess.  I will have to acquire a telescopic 11-foot pole, because a straight pole won't fit in my car.
It could be just like a mechanical arm that lowers.  It would normally be in an upright position with a dollar attached. When you see someone that warrants your charity. You just lower the boom and allow them to take the money.  You then pull to a safe location free of poor people, reload the contraption and you can be off to your next charitable giving event.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 02:44:28 PM by TheTrisagion »
If your leg causes you to creak, cut it off.  It is better to practice hesychasm with one leg than with two legs, one noisy, to abandon silence and the prayer.

Offline orthonorm

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2013, 02:45:02 PM »

You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.

Next time, I guess.  I will have to acquire a telescopic 11-foot pole, because a straight pole won't fit in my car.
[/quote]

Tie the dollar to a rock and throw into oncoming traffic next time. Let's see if these people really are willing to work for our money.
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline orthonorm

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2013, 02:46:07 PM »
Quote
You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.

Next time, I guess.  I will have to acquire a telescopic 11-foot pole, because a straight pole won't fit in my car.
It could be just like a mechanical arm that lowers.  It would normally be in an upright position with a dollar attached. When you see someone that warrants your charity. You just lower the boom and allow them to take the money.  You then pull to a safe location free of poor people, reload the contraption and you can be off to your next charitable giving event.

This is basically the structure of buying a pair of Tom's except you also get a badge of charity to show everyone.
January 23, 2016, 03:47:17 PM   Ad Hominem - "mere foil"   +45

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(literature)

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Delusional Overlord
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,689
  • And the cat is back again.
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2013, 02:46:40 PM »
Quote
You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.

Next time, I guess.  I will have to acquire a telescopic 11-foot pole, because a straight pole won't fit in my car.

Tie the dollar to a rock and throw into oncoming traffic next time. Let's see if these people really are willing to work for our money.
:laugh:

thats the spirit!
If your leg causes you to creak, cut it off.  It is better to practice hesychasm with one leg than with two legs, one noisy, to abandon silence and the prayer.

Offline hecma925

  • Non-clairvoyant, but you can call me Elder
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,201
  • Unbreakable! He's alive, dammit! It's a MIRACLE!
    • Blog
  • Faith: Truthful Chalcedonian Truther
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of the South
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2013, 02:51:06 PM »
Quote
You probably should have attached it to an 11 foot pole and passed it to her that way.

Next time, I guess.  I will have to acquire a telescopic 11-foot pole, because a straight pole won't fit in my car.
It could be just like a mechanical arm that lowers.  It would normally be in an upright position with a dollar attached. When you see someone that warrants your charity. You just lower the boom and allow them to take the money.  You then pull to a safe location free of poor people, reload the contraption and you can be off to your next charitable giving event.

Ah, the suburbs!  Maybe they can put of picture of me on the front page of the newspaper with headline: LOCAL MAN GENEROUS; DOESN"T GET DIRTY -"Close call," says eyewitness.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline Rufus

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2013, 03:24:48 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.

And I continue to be the only Orthodox person I have ever met who is willing to touch a poor person with less than a 10-foot pole.

To be fair, Orthodox monks I have seen are very good about this. I overlooked that.

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Delusional Overlord
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,689
  • And the cat is back again.
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Anyone Read Geza Vermes' "Christian Beginnings"?
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2013, 03:26:27 PM »
Less important than how a Christian begins is how he ends, and usually not very well as they tend to end just like everyone else in the world around them. People can mock the Odox and other "liturgical" Christians for all their pomp, but to be fair, without it, how would anyone know these people were Christians?

This thought has been creeping around my mind for months now in the guise of this question:  Are Orthodox Christians distinguishable from Protestants in terms of "spiritual fruit"?

I admit it is an improper question because ultimately who are we to judge or compare.  I am pretty humbled by the acts of love, service and sacrifice I witness in my Protestant congregation.

And I continue to be the only Orthodox person I have ever met who is willing to touch a poor person with less than a 10-foot pole.

To be fair, Orthodox monks I have seen are very good about this. I overlooked that.
So it is just you and the monks.  Got it.  ::)
If your leg causes you to creak, cut it off.  It is better to practice hesychasm with one leg than with two legs, one noisy, to abandon silence and the prayer.