Jesus the ritual sacrifice

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by exile, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Sacrifice is universal, that should tell you something.

    Evidence?

    Not a sacrifice then, is it?

    Yes.

    No, He's not. Demuzi et al are are symbols of agrarian renewal. The sacrifice of Jesus was not about that.

    Our Lord hung on the Cross before the world was created. Read the commentaries of St Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua 42 I think is telling on this point.

    Thomas
     
  2. Ecumenist

    Ecumenist Well-Known Member

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  3. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    Wikipedia appears to be neutral on the subject. Pointing out early arguments and then refuting essentially saying that death and resurrection is more central to Christianity, but that sounds like bs to me. All the aforementioned that societies practiced the human sacrifice believed their sacrifices would be resurrected and would ensure the renewal of their well-being. I don't see how that's a big jump to Christ being sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Obviously the Jews at that time felt that God wasn't eternal and that they needed a scapegoat to pay for man's sins in order to ensure their well-being. Which also means that they never truly believed the God of the OT was eternal and their willingness to go through with human sacrifices during that times further supports the fact. I'm surprised that they haven't continued the practice of human sacrifices. But as one person I spoke to pointed out men have been sacrificing themselves for the well-being of mankind in the name of God up to the present day.

    Just to show the otherside of the picture. The Zarathushtrian belief in an eternal God, no longer requiring a scapegoat, fostered the belief that human life is sacred. Life was a gift from God. To take life away would be deemed a sin. The Zarathushtrians would never have condoned Jesus' self-sacrifice or anyone elses for that matter.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Quite ... so if the references I have checked are correct, and the Canaanites did practice human sacrifice, here we have the new God of Abraham showing him that this is not going to be the way for Israel.

    Jesus was not given up by the people as a sacrifice as far as they were concerned.
    The Jews don't let Romans officiate at their ceremonies.
    The Jews don't sacrifice by crucifixion.
    Ergo ...
    His death was an execution, not a sacrifice.

    He was given up by the people because He didn't 'deliver' on their assumed promise of freedom from Rome, and He was given up by the Romans as a matter of political expediency.

    A sacrifice stands in place of the people. Jesus was rejected by the people.

    (The Christian notion of sacrifice is, of course, something else altogether)

    It's nothing like them at all.

    Where?

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Nonsense.

    Which, had they not been subject to their sins, they would have seen. Therefore the above is the 'exoteric' reason, but the death for sin is the 'esoteric' reason.
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Isn't the point that God provided the human sacrifice in Jesus, though?

    It's seems a very un-Jewish piece of theology, as Jesus assumes all the Greek trappings of an agricultural diety, such as Dionysios, as directly evidenced by the Christian rituals of drinking blood as wine, and bread as flesh. It's pagan ritual appropriated and called non-pagan.
     
  7. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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  8. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Brian —
    Well ... the sacrifice is His own Son, so in a sense He is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

    But the point I'm making is it was not a sacrifice as far as the Jews / Romans were concerned, it was an execution.

    The way I view it is that agricultural deities have a limited apprehension, they exist within the context of the annual cycle, and as such they are, if you like, 'naive symbols' but, they are nevertheless symbols and are not entirely devoid of meaning or efficacy.

    I think it's universally agreed that the pagan rituals do not put forward the idea of 'one body' in a union of divine participation, nor carry the notion of recapitulation and resurrection as Paul, for example, expressed it.

    There is a commonality in Christianity because the symbols — bread, wine, blood, flesh — are universal, rather than pagan. I see it as a deepening of the Hebrew notion of 'memra'.

    A significant pointer is that the mysteries of antiquity were 'eros' mysteries, in which the person is 'overcome', whereas from the very outset Christianity brought out the ideas of 'agape', a term which is not used in reference to the pagan rituals. This is not simply a case of rebranding, but of significant distinction.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Perhaps God was making a point, not changing His mind — there's nothing Abraham does that would make a God who accepts sacrifice relent, unless He only enjoys it when the sacrifice is kicking and screaming?

    But God is a God as far as Abraham is concerned ...

    That's incorrect, and I rather thnk you know it.

    That's not true either, and I think you know that, as well.
    Or show me where it meets the requirements of a Jewish Liturgical Sacrifice.

    Indeed. John the Baptist started it, but then, he knew a thing or two.

    But the Jews didn't. That's the point.

    The Jews rejected Him — that's why it's an execution and not a sacrifice.

    Had it been a sacrifice, then the Jews would be Christians, wouldn't they?

    That's my point: it was not a sacrifice according to the Romans, the Jews, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and anyone else you care to mention. Only His followers saw it this way.

    Thomas
     
  10. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    exile and Brian, aren't you two jumping between the two traditions? The Jews had their traditions, and then Christ came and worked under different rules. Correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not pretending to know any of this. But we can't evaluate the Jewish tradition through the actions of Christ and the Christian god. Can we?
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Which introduces a paradox when we bear in mind the Isaac story mentioned in the original post.

    Well, they are universal when dealing with agricultural deities, who - so like the corn - die and rise up again every year.

    However, you are quite right - Christianity is a revolutionary evolution. Even if it is described as a synthesis of two different traditions (Greek and Jewish) Christianity was still a radical form of spiritual communism of its time.

    To myself, one of the most outstanding features of it in context was the idea of inclusivity. Social status was extrapolated from everyday society into the idea of the afterlife - even if argued to be using pagan themes, I can't see any similar idea of equality in the ancient world, certainly around the Mediterranean cultures.[/QUOTE]

    That's part of the point I'm discussing in reference to the original post - human sacrifice was banned by the Jews, but was still used, either commonly, or in a very limited way, by most cultures.

    (The Romans used it in times of extreme national emergency - it comes up when Hannibal threatens the city but I can't think offhand of any other specific examples.)

    As for different rules - well, to an outsider like myself, I see a splinter group within Judaism under James, which is then hijacked by Paul into some strange Greek hybrid. That's why the original Gospel of Mark finished at the crucifixion, with no resurrection - because the faith was still evolving in the first few centuries into the form we have now, with texts being provided for and edited to support the prevailing ideas (cf Marcion). It's easy to forget that we have standardisation in terms of Christian theology and texts now - but definitely did not within the first four centuries.
     
  12. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19)

    "It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." (Luke 16:17)

    "Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God." (Peter 2:20-21)

    “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law" (John 7:19)

    and “For the law was given by Moses,..." (John 1:17)

    “...the scripture cannot be broken.” --Jesus Christ, (John 10:35)
     
  13. exile II

    exile II Interfaith Forums

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    Here's evidence that the Jews continued to sacrifice humans after Abraham.

    But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel. – 2 Kings 16:3

    This shows that the Jewish ideology is constantly wavering.

    Thomas I don't understand your point. You had a point, up until you acknowledged that Jesus' followers saw his crucifixion as a human sacrifice which would redeem their sins. The Jews performed [animal] sacrifices for the same reason. His followers were the ones who wrote the NT and they considered him "the lamb of God," a human sacrifice. I think I can agree with you that Jesus never directly called himself Christ or Son of God, but his followers did and the Jews questioned it and he didn't deny it. I don't see why you keep on rejecting the similarity of this situation to the Egyptians and other antecendants.
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Or prophecy ...

    My cource director referred to it as "The Mystery of Christ is revealed in a reflection on the Salvation History of Israel in the light of the Greek philosophical tradition."

    But Christianity cannot be explained simply as a synthesis of Hebrew and Hellenic thought. And not have caught on so quickly as it did, at a grass-roots level.

    Theologians (East more than West) grapple with the issue of whether theology is 'Christianity Hellemized', or 'Philosophy baptised'. As one notable theologian said: "When the Fathers think, they Platonise."

    It is possible however to see the distinction between 'pure' Platonism and Christian Platonism, and Maximus the Confessor 'corrected' Platonism (and Origen) in light of the data of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    The first catechism (after the Didache) was written by Irenaeus, who was a scriptural exegete and not a classically-trained philosopher (although he expressed a debt to Justin, who was). His 'recapitulation theory' of salvation is founded entirely on St Paul, with no recourse to philosophical argument, and it's still regarded as the 'umbrella' under which the various theories of salvation are gathered ...

    And again, Christian writers introduced the term 'agape' into philosophical discourse, and this and other indicators show how, in some of its aspects, a profane philosophy was not enough by itself ...

    In my own opinion, the influence of Aristotelianism after the first millenium has done us more harm than good. We're still hampered with an Aristotelian/Newtonian world view, where a Platonic one would be a lot more fluid (and has supporters among the Quantum brigade ...)

    If anything, the West is too focussed on litigious and forensic detail, too focussed on making definitive statements, the East too prone to wander off into abstractions. Ideally we should be working together (I think we are at almost every level but the street!), each then chacks and balances the other.

    As it's you I'll bare my soul a little ... one of my biggest beefs with the institutional church is that this aspect, which to me is fundamental, is too often and too easily overlooked. We're too hierarchical, and there's a huge effort spent on 'the new evangelisation' which is all about securing the next generation of Christians. We should be the champion of the poor, and the poor should see us as such, as being 'on their side' and 'fighting their corner' even if they do not profess Christianity.

    Problem is, Christianity could never have survived under James, not as a splinter group, or, as some say, an esoteric stream within exoteric Judaism — the message was just too big — James prayed (they say he had knees like a donkey for the hours he spent in the temple) ... but what was his theology?

    Someone had to carry the message to the world, and not just the Jewish world, and watered-down Judaism wouldn't cut it ... what other option was there?

    If there was no resurrection, there would have been no Gospel of Mark. Remember Paul was preaching resurrection before Mark wrote his gospel. Also that the 'mysteries of faith' were 'secret', but we know from the likes of Pliny (c110) that there was a Liturgical feast in celebration of 'Christ as to a god' and these rites were 'depraved, excessive superstition'.

    It should also be noted that Christianity was by this time widespread: "For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms. But it seems possible to check and cure it. It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found. Hence it is easy to imagine what a multitude of people can be reformed if an opportunity for repentance is afforded." In short, Christianity flourished, the local religions declined, and pogroms were instituted to assert the old order.

    There will of course be divergence — the religion was spreading faster than the institution could keep up with, and this was increasingly difficult until Constantine's recision in the 4th century — but we can safely assume there was a constant message and there were the basic rites of Baptism and the Eucharist, the latter of which speaks of the Resurrected Christ.

    There's no mention of the cultic rites of Christianity in any gospel, but Christianity was a Liturgical Cult before it was a Scriptural one.

    I think we did more than you allow. The standard tenets of Christianity were preached from the very beginning.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    The crucifixion is not a sacrifice according to the world, only according to the Christian, and only according to the data of Revelation.

    You're trying to make the picture fit every other picture, so you're missing the essential detail.

    Not just a human sacrifice — He is the Son of God, remember.

    Jesus the man suffered to complete the union with the Divine, but Jesus the Son already enjoyed that union and was never apart from it ... the suffering of man is for our salvation, not for His deliverance.

    At the time, His followers did not see the crucifixion as a sacrifice, but as a defeat ... that's why they (but for John) weren't there. Only after the Resurrection, and specifically Pentecost, did the picture become clear.

    Yes. He is the Archetype of Sacrifice. He hung on the Cross before the world was made.

    Never said that, I said you're error is in assuming an Egyptian influence.

    As far as the Jews were concerned, there was absolutely no doubt that Jesus was declaring his Divine status as the Son of God, and that everything that God is, is His. If you understand the deeds and the parables, as His audience did, the declaration is inescapable. That's why they tried to stone Him more than once.

    Because any similarities are only superficial. You won't understand anything from too much emphasis on the superficial.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Quite.

    The Covenant with Israel still stands.

    There was a time when Christianity assumed them to be done away with, but this is Supercessionism, and anyway, St Paul is quite explicit on the fact that the Word of God is the Word of God, and stands eternally.

    Christ called His Covenant 'new' ... and the author of Hebrews talks of a 'new and better way' (Hebrews 10:20), but I think it was our error to assume the Jews were abandoned, up the creek without a paddle.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    God sacrificing his son makes sense in the Christian tradition, but Judaism doesn't recognise Jesus as divine, so from there perspective it was simply an execution. So any sacrificial traditions in Judaism is unrelated to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    Right?
     
  18. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    you are completely missing the point - as well as being unnecessarily accusatory. throughout the period of the judges through to the destruction of the first Temple, jewish culture was a struggle between the siren voices of bloody, child-sacrificing, sexually immoral canaanite idolatry and the moral compass of the prophetic voice. in other words, we were *total fecking sinners and idolators* and this was why we ended up losing the first Temple and the first jewish commonwealth. what you are failing to notice is that, according to jewish tradition, culture and religion as it has developed into a sustained civilisation, THIS WAS SEEN AS A BAD THING. so the quote you give is from a prophetic book where we are writing down all the terrible things we did in the past - that is *not* the same as saying "jews always performed human sacrifice". it was not a JEWISH thing to do so. it was an IDOLATROUS thing to do so. doing so was what got the prophets, sages and all right thinking people upset, angry and determined to root out. it's a bit like saying that "brahmins and khatris always oppressed the lower castes" - it may have happened, but it was a cause for sadness and reform, not for celebration as part of the normative system. we are not defined by our idolatrous backsliding, but by our rejection of it.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  19. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    You sound more Church of England than Roman Catholic. :)
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Perhaps ... but for this, and other reasons, I appear to be gravitating towards the East ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     

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