What do Jews think of Christ?

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by Postmaster, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    blimey, this isn't a court (or a philosophical logic textbook), so unclench! sheesh.

    OK - evidence of "judaic influence"
    here, this is a *claim*. i could equally well claim that i am fulfilling the prophecies of ezekiel by riding around in a chariot with my pants on my head. anyone can claim "influence" on a record sleeve, but evidence of influence that ain't. i'd want something more substantial.

    same goes for this, the only thing being that it contradicts his actual acts.

    i am not denying that jesus himself is "jewishly influence", actually, in case you thought i did. i consider him a radical rabbi who crossed the line (and was probably pushed, as well). i think i would have picked the sermon on the mount, myself. nothing in there that any jew could really disagree with. anyway, this statement is polemic against hypocrites, rather than a blanket statement.

    you see, for me the issue is that some statements may be his, whereas others may be attributed, maybe incorrectly. this makes it impossible to say what he really thought.

    with the attribution of messiahship and the subsequent break with tradition from paul, that's where i think it really stops being judaism. after that, influences are pretty questionable if you ask me. for a start, judaism doesn't do the salvation thing. see what i mean?

    as far as definitions go, i don't need to see a dictionary definition of the word - i know it can mean a lot of things. don't patronise me. what i want to know is what *you* mean by it - "early", for example is OK, whereas "undeveloped" and "unevolved" are not, imho. i think if you wanted to avoid being pejorative, you would have been more precise in your use of terminology. so, which of these synonyms do you actually mean?

    now you're being obtuse. i didn't say there was *no* evolution or development. what i am trying to explain is that there is nothing that we do nowadays that is not *directly* linked to the Written Torah as given at sinai and/or the Oral Torah (however long ago that was). for example, you can't turn on a light on saturday because of the Torah command not to work on Shabbat. give me an example of something you think is *not* in early judaism and i will show you where it comes from.

    that's not the point i'm making. of course for the last 1600 years the situation that the rav describes has been the case (at least, in europe) but the point is actually that the text quoted (that the righteous of the nations would get a portion in the world to come) goes back to a time where the jews were not weak. you surely cannot be suggesting that soloveitchik of all people considered halachic judaism to be a *modern* development?

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  2. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    We agree here: the historicity of Jesus’ existence and teachings has been obscured. Much of the Gospel can be interpreted as afterthoughts in justification of deviations from the jewish faith of the time. However, the discussion was one of cultural influence not biblical inerrancy.


    The interconnectedness of the faiths during the infancy of Christianity, and its reliance upon Hebrew tradition, is indisputable. The quoted passages were chosen to demonstrate that early Christians bound themselves to Judaic theology and sought to convince their contemporaries, jews or otherwise, that the post-messianic age had begun. The new testament puts great emphasis on the theme that a new covenant had been struck and thus changes to the order were possible, if not required.



    ( modern : primitive :: new : old )
    Negative connotations should not be inferred from my statements. Comments which intend insult are unmistakable.


    Extrapolating the reasoning above to between bc300 & ce400, the powerful jewish nation lived in harmony with the Roman empire because it was 'righteous.' This scenario is not supported by history; 'righteousness' cannot be asserted regarding the Romans, who were clearly the most powerful.


    Without an oppressive influence, 'classical' Judaism would never have needed religious tolerance. The Hebrew nation may have been truly mighty before roman conquest & subsequent oppression, but during that time they had little tolerance of other faiths. Tolerance of roman polytheism resulted when the pagans took military and economic control of their lands. Groups that did not submit were overrun and forcibly pacified.

    Returning to the actual point of this thread, the heretical jewish-christian sects were not generally tolerated by jews during this period. Since these sects taught that god would topple the romans, they were heavily persecuted, and non-christian jews in the empire were not protected from this. Later, once roman paganism embraced christianity, jewish tolerance was extended to the hybrid as well.



     
  3. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    fine by me.

    and i was saying that you didn't seem to know that much about the jewish culture of the time - which you haven't exactly refuted so far.

    the point i have been trying to make all along is that whatever christians may say about their judaic influences, it is not very well reflected either in their use of texts or the structure of their theology. this is very difficult to talk about without concrete examples.

    thanks for clearing that up. i would hate to infer negative connotations from your statements. *rolls eyes*

    as i've just been reading bertrand russell, i fear i must demur. however, you must understand that we get all sorts on this board, from self-declared new age prophets to novices to straight-down-the-line orthodoxy-maintainers and you've just waded in with a rather bizarre, oddly formal approach as if this was an academic journal. with respect, i will take the liberty of suggesting that you'll have more pleasant discussions if you attempt a more human style.

    absolutely not. obviously, as you are aware, the roman "nation" would not be considered righteous. what the phrase "righteous amongst the nations" denotes is the people who belonged to other nations, but nonetheless behaved righteously despite their group's general wickedness. it's an affirmation of freewill and a refutation of the group condemnation that is often implied by a literalist reading of the Torah.

    so, basically, if i understand you, what you're saying is that the only reason religions are nice about other groups is if they are scared of them. is that correct? i have to say (with my idealist hat on) that i think such a conclusion is not borne out by closer acquaintance with the personalities of classical judaism. OK, some of them really hate the romans but my impression is by no means one that reflects your opinion.

    umph. actually, the whole of the talmudic tractate avodah zarah is devoted to this issue - how do you practically deal with living in a society in which idolatry is rampant? it's a very complicated issue and cannot be reduced to a statement such as this.

    not at all. tolerance dates back well before constantine.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  4. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    The narrow definition of ‘judaic’ used above rests upon a false dichotomy; it asserts that any deviation from one creates an unrelated second. The fact that Christianity is no longer Judaism is unavoidably true, but it ignores mutability and does not demonstrate a lack of ‘influence.’ Christians began as a post-messianic sect within the contemporary jewish establishment. As new theological concepts were incorporated into the jewish-christian faith, the less jewish it became. There is a historical continuum along which Christianity evolved from Judaism. If and when modern Judaism identifies its ‘true messiah,’ it will not emerge unchanged.



    During the first century, followers of Jesus professed idolatry and insurrection: a false messiah, a threat to law and order, punishable by death. Under roman orders, jews hunted christian converts.



    Written well past the first century.



    No.
    Ante-classical Judaism, if biblical history is at all reliable, detested other faiths. When the power to destroy those faiths was available, they did so. Those who left descendants after the roman conquest had conceded to the might of the Romans’ ‘gods.’

    Further, many faiths preach ‘tolerance,’ this does not require them to enjoy and/or preserve other religions. Claims of religious tolerance only imply a lack of open hostility.
     
  5. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i'm not exactly sure what you mean. are you saying that changing theology requires reinterpretation of texts, or vice-versa? or what? plain english might help.

    sheesh. what i am saying is that AFTER THE PAULINE SPLIT it is hard to claim that subsequent modifications in christian development are founded on jewish positions. that's what i mean by lack of influence. there was influence at the beginning, but it eventually - and rapidly - died out. i don't even think we particularly disagree about this, but your use of language is really obscuring this discussion. you seem to think that metaphysics can be dissected using the tools of logic - whilst missing the essential nature of religious thought.

    as indeed it has not been unchanged by the false messiahs that have had more jewish impact than jesus ever had.

    but the concept i keep coming back to, which is viewed as authoritative, not only predates this, but is aimed at distinguishing between the righteous and the unrighteous on an *individual* religious level. i think you also fail to appreciate the difference between authentic jewish religious thought (as appreciated by jesus, i tend to think) and the behaviour of some jewish individuals and groups (as criticised by him). specific instances of intolerance may undermine the principle, but they do not overturn it.

    written *down* past it, but as far as we are concerned, *established and operative* well before it - some would claim all the way back to sinai.

    so here we come to your basic misconception. the bible is not academic history, but sacred history. there is even a principle: "in Torah there is no time". this may seem bizarre, even paradoxical to you, but it is nonetheless the case. the "faiths" you say we detest are in fact actions. somebody who does not act like an amalekite cannot be considered an amalekite. therefore it is not the person that is to be detested, but the action they carry out. the jewish position was never that rome had to be destroyed, but that where we were oppressed, that oppression was to be resisted wherever possible. therefore biblical support for something is not really historical evidence, but religious evidence and as such probably not sufficiently "reliable" for your purposes. at no point was the 'might of the roman gods' ever considered to be in evidence - rather, that the jewish people had sinned and thus were reaping the whirlwind.

    in that case, mate, i fail to see what the feck you're doing *here*. this is a comparative religion site and i think you'll find that everyone who posts here for any length of time at least makes the effort to practise tolerance or at the least try to avoid giving unnecessary offence. good luck anyway - i am sure that your own "lack of open hostility" as demonstrated so far only makes me want to hear more from you.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  6. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Yes is very true... There is even old Roman documents of reports of swords going blunt from the slaughters of Christian followers who gave there lives in honor of the New found faith. May they rest in peace.
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Sounds like something straight from Eusebius, his "lessons in propganda" - aka, Ecclesiastical History. :)
     
  8. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Nah... That's what some idiots say about the reports of amount of Jews that died in the concentration camps, millions died. Sometimes it's hard to believe atrocities but unfortunately we are humans of free will and sometimes great evils occur, and that's why the message of Christ was sent to change humans and he gave his life.

    Don't forget bone is hard material I suppose killing about 1 family of practising Christians that opened a church would have blunt a sword.

    Sometimes humans lean towards selective thinking and selecting history, we have 2 sides of Roman documentation, the ones of acceptances of Christianity and the of opposing Christianity, surely if they were bias we would only have one sort history ;)

    All it takes is to light a fire to be bias. Something the Persians were good at with some of Ancient Greek work. Ancient historians have been known to lie though, however that is also a matter of debate because there is no real hard evidence they have.. They possibly would have been misinformed.

     
  9. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    Lest it be forgotten, the core of the discussion in which Banannabrain & I are engaged began:
    We have discovered an agreement, contrary to my previous assumption:
    so now a
    historical discussion follows.

    The assertion that jewish tolerance of christians evolved from self-preservation is supported by non-biblical writings. e.g. M. Tullius Cicero, "Orations: Three orations on the Agrarian law, the four against Catiline, the orations for Rabirius, Murena, Sylla, Archias, Flaccus, Scaurus, etc.":





    "While Jerusalem was flourishing, and while the Jews were in a peaceful state, still the religious ceremonies and observances of that people were very much at variance with the splendour of this empire and the dignity of our name and the institutions of our ancestors. And they are the more odious to us now because that nation has shown by arms what were its feelings towards our supremacy. How dear it was to the immortal gods is proved by its having been defeated, by its revenues having been farmed out to our contractors, by its being reduced to a state of subjection."
    Cicero (~bce59) above describes a Jewish people who have been forcibly subjugated. Clearly there are at least two camps among the jews at this time—those who will show their feelings, “by arms,” and those who can be, “reduced to a state of subjection.” An appropriate response by the jewish leadership under such oppression would be to proscribe anti-roman (or anti-babylonian, or anti-egyptian) rhetoric as a matter of survival. Religion & politics have always been thus related. It is a matter of ‘religious history’ that such proscriptions could be made on theological grounds alone.



    It could be true that ‘tolerance,’ as we have defined the word thus far, developed in Judaism prior to the second century. Nevertheless, visionary leaders like Jesus & Bar Kochba re-kindled the aggressive traditions in hebrew mythos: they attempted to bring about fulfillment of messianic prophesy. Some jews still say that the “true messiah” will cause mass conversions to Judaism among the gentiles, because they will realize that they have strayed from the true faith. Such divisive beliefs, present in most faiths, contradict tolerant doctrines. This is to say that the current state of ‘tolerance’ is a practical (or political) response to the futility of the violent confrontation between the several faiths.
     
  10. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    well, that's something!

    caveat: i am not a historian. don't expect me to necessarily agree terms of reference.

    that's all fair enough, but the problem with even history qua history is that of the voice of the narrator. in other words, subjective presenting itself as objective. i don't believe history is free from bias, sacred or academic. now, i know what the biases of sacred history are, but you and i are going to have a serious disagreement if you expect me to take what romans say about judaism and jews as in any way indicative of reality and how jews and judaism see and saw themselves. i was not aware, for example, that cicero was any kind of expert on judaism - and whilst josephus, for example, is often held up as a historical exemplar, he's also pretty much a traitor and collaborator. in other words, the romans were the nazis of the ancient world - they thought a great deal of themselves and their worldview and thought everyone else was a barbarian (apart from the greeks, who they just thought were a bunch of effete aesthetes - but in any case this PoV is originally greek!)

    now, let me tell you how i react to this quote from cicero:

    that is because our religious ceremonies and observances were incomprehensible to the romans, because we weren't interested in the sort of things that they were interested in. you have to remember that the romans seemed to us the worst sort of brutal, murderous thugs who engaged in terrible immoralities and appeared to believe only that might was right. their gods were no better than they were, being a similar bunch of incestuous, bloodthirsty, powerhungry intriguers. naturally, we refused to honour the emperors as living gods. naturally, we refused to put up statues and worship them. naturally, we refused to pray for their continued domination and longevity. this, naturally enough to the romans, was somewhat insulting - we should, to their way of thinking, have been grateful. it reminds me somewhat of the attitude of the british during the age of empire.

    bertrand russell points out that the romans seemed to have a bit of an inferiority complex when it came to the greeks - they kind of knew that their own philosophers and culture weren't up to much compared to more enlightened civilisations (although they had the best army, of course and could beat up anyone who pointed this out) and there is (i believe, though i couldn't give you evidence) something to be said for the idea that they might have felt something similar about the jews - certainly when eventually given the opportunity to sign up to something a bit jewish (christianity), they did so in droves.

    and for this we're supposed to think well of them? hah. it is a very *primitive* (and i use the word in its unsophisticated sense) theology that says "we beat you because our gods are tougher than yours".

    and some did both. at this time, the pressure on jewish society was such that people argued vehemently about what their reaction to the romans should be. if you remember the "what have the romans ever done for us?" discussion from "life of brian", there is a similar dialogue in the Talmud.

    in which case, it is surely remarkable that individual good romans and so on were singled out for compliments in jewish sources.

    they could, but that is not to say that they were in each and every case.

    there is certainly a tradition that when the messiah comes a lot of people will convert, but anything said regarding messianic prophecy is *always* a matter for debate. it is more productive to understand this tradition as relating to righteousness as opposed to judaism as a "true faith" per se - nobody is maintaining that "the gentiles" originally were part of the "true faith" and then "strayed". there isn't a tradition for that.

    that is imho the cynical response. i would prefer to be more positive about it.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  11. n24il

    n24il New Member

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    [spam deleted]
     
  12. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    "There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed. " --Russell

    "If merely "feeling good" could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience..." --James
     
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Sounds applicable to anyone with any kind of opinion, from the extreme reductionist to furthest-out theist.

    But let's keep to the discussion issues, rather than throw in a few quotes for ad hominem purposes in the absence of a more constructive response.
     
  14. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    oh, so i'm "feeble and contemptible" am i? frankly, if that's your attitude you can feck right off. there are plenty of genuine discussions to be had without my subjecting myself to this sort of rubbish.

    bananabrain
     
  15. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    Brian:
    I do not feel that my citation of Bertrand Russell-- twice cited by our friend Bannanabrain-- rises above the level of personal assault perpetrated against me in this discussion. Further, it explicitly addresses the argument against my assertions regarding the motivations behind theological change--specifically, it refutes that Banannabrain's idealist viewpoint, per se, is meritorious.
    The lack of irony in h(is/er) most recent angry response demonstrates the applicability of Russell's idea.

    B-brain,
    It was wrong of me to cast you as either feeble or contemptible. I regret the offense.
    -djm
     
  16. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    russell's insults are easy to read between the lines. if only yours were as subtle.
    now, it is one thing to quote russell at me (and, frankly, he doesn't understand judaism either, if his chapter on it in "history of western philosophy" is anything to go by) but you are obviously intelligent enough to know when you are likely to give offence, despite your original protestations to the contrary. i was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt about your "primitive" comment but this last post leads me to conclude that you knew exactly what you were doing and dam' well did it anyway. intentionally insulting me and then mock-apologising for it just comes across as underhand and snide. it's exactly what a politician does when he gets caught out - "it was taken out of context", "i didn't mean it like that", "i was misquoted" and all the other excuses, when it's manifestly obvious that he did exactly what he was accused of.

    all i have *ever* said about you is that you don't know anything about the way judaism works. that's not a personal insult, merely a conclusion based on your statements so far and one which you have given me no cause to revise. you said that judaism was "primitive" and i responded by comparing jewish culture to the contemporary european equivalents. what you perhaps fail to understand is that in disparaging my culture you disparage me. it's very personal to me. i am astonished that someone can do this and be unaware of the reaction he/she is likely to provoke. i merely responded in kind.

    i actually find it illogical, not to mention extremely rude, that you should choose to insult me (and, by extension, everyone here - in fact, while we're at it, wasn't russell a socialist?) for being idealistic. all belief systems (including logic) are idealistic to some degree - everything has its axioms or is supported in some way by circular reasoning. hence the necessity for belief.

    i'm not here for flame wars. i am here for dialogue. i wouldn't post things on a board of atheists saying "you're all going to hell" (not that i believe such things anyway) - and, if i did, i don't think i'd be entitled to complain about the responses i got.

    bananabrain
     
  17. DrewJMore

    DrewJMore Logical Demonstrator

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    As I said, I regret having given offense. However, realize that you have been deliberately baited to drive my point.

    You'll correct me, I'm sure, but it seems you believe that Jewish oral law as it regards 'tolerance' follows entirely from grand theological truths, and not from political necessity. If you cannot accept the influence of politics on the development of laws, or stipulate such for the sake of an argument, then this belief appears to be one of Russell's "comfortable myths," the consequence of which (i.e., "...becomes furious...") you have demonstrated.
     
  18. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    in other words, "haha, gotcha!" wow, that's really telling me. as i thought i made clear in my last post, it was pretty obvious that you were acting intentionally - and what you've just said here is that you regret giving offence at the same time that you deliberately give it to make what is a rather banal point. therefore, you don't actually regret it at all, as you very well know. what you appear to have just proved in fact is that insulting somebody makes them annoyed (not furious, in fact, just irritated). impressive stuff.

    i notice that you ignore the fact that socialism and logic are both idealistic disciplines essentially founded on belief - a comfortable myth if ever i've heard one. one of the things i like about judaism is that it deals well with paradox and can embrace both the rational/logical/scientific as well as that with which these methods cannot cope. i'm not going around saying that science, logic and rationalism are rubbish - i'm just saying they are not as all-encompassing as its fundamentalists like to think.

    furthermore, i never said "entirely". all i said is that anyone who knew anything about the oral law and the personalities involved can point to tolerance which evolved at a time of power, as opposed to from political necessity. at no point did i say politics had no influence on the development of these laws. once again you are drawing sweeping and oversimplified conclusions before actually investigating the issue, which was the cause of my original objection. reductio ad absurdum is a lousy way to make a point - perhaps if you stop doing trying to prove religion ridiculous we might have a more productive discussion. until then, you're just going to piss people off and i'm going to get tired of it - as indeed i now am.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  19. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    The thread is way off topic and becoming a flame war - time to close, methinks. :)
     
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