Rome in transition

Discussion in 'Graeco-Roman' started by juantoo3, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Juantoo

    The distinction between Christianity and Christendom is essential for esoteric Christianity. The fact that secularism cannot appreciate it doesn't alter its value. Simone and others IMO appreciate the Roman and Jewish degenerating influence on Christianity for what it is.

    Esoteric Christianity
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Considering Simone passed away in 1943, she didn't have the benefit of more recent archeological and historic finds such as Qumran and Nag Hamadi. I'm afraid the opinion of *Jewish* degeneration of Christianity seems to me at best misplaced. Jesus was a Jew; not only a Jew, but a Jewish Rabbi. Christianity is nothing if it is not Jewish. Take the Jewishness out of Christianity and one is left with a hollow Pagan shell.
     
  3. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Do you actually think that the Gospel of Thomas is secular Jewish? Do you really belive that any in this "Jesus Seminar" could possibly understand Jesus as did Simone Weil? Christianity was around long before what you are calling Judaism. Everyone seems to know this accept these modern "experts" in facets of Christendom. If Christianity is true, it had to exist from the beginning. This is just common sense. Christendom is the modern invention.



    Certain things are obvious to those who appreciate the psychology of Christianity as the study of the relativity of "being" itself as it concerns Man in the timeless "now."
     
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I presume you are aware she was a disaffected Jew who converted late in life (such as it was, she died quite young), conveniently at the height of the second world war. This according to the Wiki biography. I do not fault her for converting, but I do question what she may have had to say in the matter as something along the lines of a confession under duress. People tend to promote many things they would not otherwise agree with when the alternative is death in a concentration camp.

    You seem to believe you know what it is I study and hold interest in. Yet, I don't really think you understand as much as you've convinced yourself you believe. BTW, that manner of presumptive belief is precisely the mechanism for prejudice and discrimination...but I suspect you already knew that. You have managed to redirect that manner of looking at the world, but the root cause remains. I do not consider that enlightened thinking at all...quite the opposite.

    I don't presume to know what it is you believe, study or understand...not because I do not know how, but because I understand the mechanism at work in doing so...that, and I have been incorrect often enough, just as you are incorrect here. You may believe you understand, but you don't understand quite as much as you think you do. ;) Just a friendly little FYI, nothing PC about it other than civility. :D
     
  5. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    You cannot admit that you are making these presumptions. You are speaking about Simone as though you understood her "being." What you are saying about conversion is simply not true. Read her account and you will see how wrong you are:

    Simone Weil - Christian anarchist,, 2 of 5

    Meister Eckhart describes those like Simone because he was one himself. Secularism simply cannot understand these people and does its best to prevent others from doing so..

    "Pity them my children, they are far from home and no one knows them. Let those in quest of God be careful lest appearances deceive them in these people who are peculiar and hard to place; no one rightly knows them but those in whom the same light shines" Meister Eckhart
     
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    1) The Gospel of Thomas is irrelevent. It adds nothing of significance to the Textus Receptus. It provides the Gnostics with an alternative text they can lay claim to as their own, but it is essentially a crib sheet for the other gospels.

    2) I have only cursory familiarity with the Jesus Seminar bunch, and for the sake of my scholarship prefer it that way. From my perspective, I see a host of interpretations and opinions, the JS bunch representing only one perspective, Weil-Needleman-Eckhart merely represent another POV.*

    3) This is historically inaccurate and misleading at best. What *precisely* am I calling "Judaism?" I refer to those who refer to themselves as Jews and Judaism. Has that changed over the centuries...sure, so has Christianity and every other major world faith, so what's the point? Modern "experts'" (among whom I count those you reference, BTW) opinions are largely irrelevent. I look at the evidences myself. Had you read the thread you would have noticed I have not limited myself to any *one* specific source for opinion and interpretation, instead I have chosen from a variety of sources and did what I could to get as close to source material as my language limitations allow.

    4) Why is it common sense? It only makes common sense if one allows self-referential validation. If age is the determiner (which is a logical fallacy, BTW), then animism is *the* religion that *has* existed from the beginning of religious endeavor among conscious thinking humans. I have written some extensive threads to that end as well, care for references?

    5) I'm not sure how you can say this? Is it because it has changed over the centuries? So what? *All* of the major world faiths have. If that is cause for disqualification, then all world faiths are disqualified in your view. That's just common sense.

    That is one POV, and I will not say it is an incorrect POV. It is not one I share primarily because I am absorbed with the POV of finding the factual, *real,* "on the ground" Jesus of history. From my perspective, it doesn't get any more truthful than that. Everything else, IMHO, is just fluff added on top, just another interpretation of the mythos, of creating a G-d in our own image.

    *I am not settled comfortably into *any* POV, even my own POV is subject to amendment...but after all the effort I have put into it, it would require a considerable weight of evidence to shift. It is apparent to me that you haven't taken the time to read this thread, and that's OK, it is not required in order to respond. Perhaps if you had though, you might come away with a little different opinion of what it is I have laid out here. You might realize that this is a lifelong struggle to understand the *reality* rather than the myth. Your comments lead me to believe you are still caught up in myth...your preferred myth, but myth just the same. ;)
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    -emphasis mine, jt3


    Simone Weil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Born an agnostic Jew in 1909, experienced a religious ecstasy in 1937-38, and died in 1943 (height of WWII serving in the French Resistance).

    It looks pretty cut and dried to me... ;)
     
  8. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    A living conscious teaching cannot have a point of view. By definition it is pure affirmation which is not a point of view. Points of view are the lawful mechanical results of the degeneration of conscious teachings. The many facets of Christendom are points of view. Christianity is pure conscious affirmation. As fallen creatures we lack conscious affirmation and the purpose of Christianity unlike Christendom is to allow a person consciously to become capable of experiencing it.

    From Simone's letter to Father Perrin linked to in my previous post:

    Simone even at sixteen felt the purity of Christianity but was repulsed by corrupt Christendom. It was later in her short life as described in this letter that she had her mystical experiences.

    As a secularist you don't accept the division between Christianity and Christendom or Judaism and secular Judaism. Simone Weil was repulsed by the results of a lot of secular Judaism around her. However if she had read something like the following from Rabbi Cooper she would have agreed. The "great beast" for Plato and for Simone is secularism and Simone fought the Great Beast. Rabbi Cooper isn't referring to secularism.

    Parabola Magazine - Featured Selection
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    That's all well and good, but I think I'll hold out for a response to post 146 if you don't mind, rather than allow to sidetrack into an irrelevent discussion.
     
  10. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    re #146

    1) The Gospel of Thomas is irrelevent. It adds nothing of significance to the Textus Receptus. It provides the Gnostics with an alternative text they can lay claim to as their own, but it is essentially a crib sheet for the other gospels.

    ) I know that the GoT is meaningful since it reflects a transcendent perspective normal for Christianity.

    2) You are lucky to have avoided the Jesus Seminar

    3) Christianity cannot change. All that changes are secular expressions.

    4) Christianity is self referral validation. A Christian validates the corrupted human condition within himself and carries his cross for the sake of his "being" potential.

    5) The exoteric levels of these traditions always change. But their transcendent origin is the same. Hopefully this diagram will make this more clear

    On The Transcendent Unity of Religions

    That is one POV, and I will not say it is an incorrect POV. It is not one I share primarily because I am absorbed with the POV of finding the factual, *real,* "on the ground" Jesus of history. From my perspective, it doesn't get any more truthful than that. Everything else, IMHO, is just fluff added on top, just another interpretation of the mythos, of creating a G-d in our own image.

    A point of view is just a subjective appreciation initiating from the fallen human condition within ourselves. The task of the Christian is to experience direct affirmation of reality so that they can begin to serve the conscious purpose intended for Man.and is our potential
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    That is your choice to view that text in that manner. I don't see it in the text, I see a simplified version of the cannonized gospels.

    I suppose there are those who believe themselves faithful and even zealous for doing so...I am not one of them. Suffering is overrated, particularly self-inflicted suffering.

    I'm not sure I am understanding...are you no longer in a fallen condition? Are you somehow "above" the need for a POV?

    Even if I could accept the comment at face value, it evades the obvious. Jesus, and even Christianity, and even Monotheism, is not necessary for a metaphysical experience. Why rail on about a monolithic authoritarian religious structure if it serves no purpose to your spirituality? Just dump it and be done...

    On the other hand, either Jesus was a real flesh and blood human, or he was not. If he was, then the message is clear. If he was not, then it is all a sham anyway.
     
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Arles


    A tidbit I stumbled on doing other research...

    Edict of Milan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Diocletianic Persecution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    VERY extensive article on the Diocletian Persecutions of Christians.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    bump for reference
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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  15. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    very interesting; 'now ruz' is celebrated by the bahai as l remember posts; and St Augustine was a follower of Mani before converting..
     
  16. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Ah yes, those little truths that are seldom brought to light...

    St. Augustine was a man of his times though. Coming along just after the Nicean Council, and modifying his "belief system" as convenient (no doubt with some political urging of one form or other), he does come across to me as a spin meister extraordinaire, and does a great deal to sell the "new and improved" Christianity to the masses of Pagan Romans. Angel or devil, just depends which side of the stands you are sitting in...
     
  17. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I've had this idea brewing in the back of my mind for quite a while now, and last night it was trying to gell, but I'm still not sure I can set it into words yet.

    Christianity is Jewish, and yet it is Pagan. Jewish and Pagan are pretty distinctly different. If Jewish is "virgin" and Pagan is "pregnant," then Christianity is "sort of pregnant." Which is just not possible, yet here we are, depending how one counts, from 1925 to 1716 years later, and Christianity is still struggling with its identity crisis.

    Some of the stuff going through my mind yesterday:

    Christianity has this superstitious substructure definitely borrowed from Paganism, most likely Mithraism. Not long back I would have really had to choke on this and hesitated to get it out, but it is really beginning to make too much sense.

    Christianity has this dichotomy or duality, (G-d versus Satan, Good versus Evil) that is a hallmark of Mithraism (and I presume the foundational Zoroastrianism from which Mithraism came). Mithraism was endemic and pervasive throughout the Roman military ranks at the time, including Constantine's troops. The difference being that Constantine also had troops that were of Celtic British Christian inclination, and it probably didn't hurt that his Mother Helena was Christian, and his Father Constantius Chlorus was at least sympathetic to the Christian cause and neglected to pursue the governmentally sanctioned persecutions of that era (Diocletion, some of the worst persecutions Christians faced). Throughout the Empire Christians were under threat of persecution, except in Britain under Constantius and later under Constantine.

    Here's the rub; Constantine is historically noted as being anti-semetic. This is not a minor issue, even if it is subtle. Christians for intents and purposes are at this time a fringe sect of Judaism. Now, if I understand correctly (and I am open to correction by our Jewish members), this superstitious dichotomy as practiced by Mithraic Christianity is a foreign concept to Judaism. I am going to try to explain.

    There is a wide vein that runs through Christianity that has this superstitious attitude about Good over Evil which corresponds directly with Mithraic attitudes. Good isn't done for the sake of good (protests to the contrary notwithstanding), good is done for the checkmarks on the balance sheet; get enough good checkmarks and you go to heaven; too many bad checkmarks and you go to hell. Christians hold to a reverential magic in the checkmarks on the balance sheet.

    By contrast, Judaism as I understand, emphasizes good for the sake of good. There isn't any superstitious focus on heaven and hell (some Jews don't even believe in hell, or the devil, and a few don't even believe in heaven). Even if they do believe in heaven, hell or the devil, there isn't the emphasis like there is in Christianity. In Judaism it isn't about checkmarks on a balance sheet, it is about doing good because it is the right thing to do.

    Now, in saying all of this it is not my intent to imply that either format is correct or incorrect, certainly there are those within each outlook that fall short or fail and can be held out as poor examples, just as there are those of each outlook that can be held out as good examples of how things are *supposed to* work.

    It is still a major intrigue to me about how a peripheral sect of Judaism could shift its way of looking at the metaphysical from one outlook to the other. I think we've well established the political motivation and assistance in achieving that end (most notably the Nicean Council), but there is still that underlying nagging question of the logistics and practical implications to the common lay person of what was discarded and what was superimposed.

    It is evident that the Christianity of today is not the Christianity of Yashua circa 30 AD. What we have today isn't even a glimmer of the Christianity of 100 AD. Certainly there are echoes and hints of the earliest teachings, but the Christianty we have today also strongly exudes a definitive kinship with Mithraic dualism. For better or worse.

    There's more to be said for Constantine's sympathetic leanings as well, and I believe it was Eusebius and Licantius (I've got the notes around here somewhere) that were the spin meisters for Constantine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Milvian_Bridge

    Excellent article, very insightful.

    More and more I am finding my assertions regarding Constantine's pardon of Christians as a political thank you for services rendered to have some substance, but the twist of his mother being Christian was a recent discovery that helps feed the personal motivations as to why when he obviously had a negative outlook on Judaism generally.

    The so-called Edict of Milan (religious toleration) seems to have included Judaism, yet interestingly provides for official antagonism of Manicheanism. Such is the nature of politics, and as we see shortly after, not *all* of Christianity was acceptable to the political powers that be either...and true to Roman tradition, what was acceptable at any given time was subject to change on the whim of fashion or fancy.

    In case it hasn't been obvious, the point of transition I am refering to is the period roughly from the battle of Milvian Bridge and Constantine's ambiguous conversion to defeat Maxentius and become Roman Emperor, up to the Council of Nicea, a period of about 12 or 13 years. That seems to be the period during which the major transformation took place and Christianity shifted most from its Jewish roots and became more Pagan and Mithraic in design and outlook.

    In reasearching Constantine I am finding that while he did thumb his nose somewhat at Roman convention by dissing certain long established Pagan norms (such as sacrificing at Pagan altars as thanks for various victories, especially after Milvian Bridge), it is also clear that Constantine was not overtly Christian either. His deathbed baptism underscores this point, but throughout Constantine's political career he did conduct himself as a nominal Pagan, and interestingly at the same time as a nominal Christian. It was political posturing, and Constantine was a consummate politician. He was able to posture himself in ways that appealed to either constituency. Quite brilliant, actually.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Namaste uno2tree,

    Wunnerful contemplation and look forward to the discussion.

    The founders of my church, Unity were husband and wife. The wife came to a spiritual conclusion from feelings and faith. She had a healing and a mantra, "I am a child of G!d and therefor do not inherit disease." Her husband acknowledged her healing but could not her faith. He went at it from a logical, more analytical perspective and tested it by committing to prayer and meditation every day, once he also experienced a healing he continued his study.

    I have not the capacity to dissect as you have, I feel and understand and internally know more and enjoy reading your analysis.

    I like what you are contemplating, I don't know if it is becausre you are onto something or because it validates my tinking and feeling. Either way, thanx.
     
  19. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    Juan, I saw your post on the separate thread, and I am glad to try to offer an opinion.

    As usual, you have done a wonderful job of framing an interesting question. I will try to answer, but as I have said before, I will answer from a Reform perspective and as my ideas evolve, one with a strongly rationalist pov as well. Orthodox or Conservative Jews might have a different view.

    To start with, I think you summarized the Jewish position on heaven and hell quite well. I would like to include a couple of wiki quotes and expand as well:

    This is a wonderful part of Samuel with vivid images of the witch and Samuel's ghost.

    I had forgotten this section from Daniel but I think I will go back and re-read it. It appears to be the first description of resurrection.

    It seems like this concept may come from the Daniel quote above ?

    I am just quoting from memory here, but I think Gehenna is also a place in Jerusalem outside of the Temple area. It is derived from the Valley of Hinnom.

    The issue that you bring up about the devil is interesting as well. My conception of the devil comes from the reading of the Book of Job. In this book the devil causes some serious problems for Job, but it all works out in the end. My understanding is that the traditional view of Satan was the he was the inquisitor, like the prosecuting attorney, :), and not the red dressed fellow with the nasty pitch fork.

    As a Reform Jew, my ideas continue to evolve from the traditional Jewish concept of these issues. I have been reading R. Zalman's book, "Integral Halacha" (which is discussed in depth on a thread by that name in the Judaism subforum) and I am struck by the notions of "deconstruction" and "reconstruction" which have played such a major role in the modern Jewish movements of Renewal and Reconstructionism. What this means is that we have to try to deconstruct the present idea back to its fundamental froms to reach a deeper understanding. This might be done by breaking the complex ideas down to mulitple, simpler ones. Then we have to reconstruct it by synthesizing a new form which is relavent to today's Judaism.

    So I have to ask myself (and you folks as well) what do deconstruction and reconstruction mean in the context of heaven, hell and Satan?

    At first thought, it seems to me that these were early notions of keeping order and good and evil in society. If you are bad, evil, you will go to hell. Satan is sort of the the trouble maker of hell (a rather nasty fellow, who can make life miserable). If you are good you go to heaven. How does this translate to present day ? That is the interesting question, isn't it ?

    It seems to me that heaven and hell can provide us visual images to help guide us in our daily decisions. But in order to do this we need to be well read in ethics, morality, and justice. Are there other possibilities of deconstruction and reconstruction that I am missing ???
     
  20. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    juan has asked me to poke my nose into this debate - with pleasure!

    well, anything i have to say about gematria is about hebrew gematria - i don't know about the rules around greek or arabic gematria. my comment on the loaves and the fishes episode tends to be a quote i once heard in a lecture the eminent student of comparative monotheism, karen armstrong:

    i don't believe that is true. judaism does not treat ethics as a separate category. moreover, the common ground between judaism and stoicism can be easily gleaned from a reading of the "meditations" of marcus aurelius and the talmudic tales of the friendship of rabbi yehuda ha-nassi, the redactor of the mishnah and the "emperor antoninus" (usually assumed to have been marcus aurelius, see here: The Antoninus Agadot in Medrash and Talmud - Wikisource). on the other hand, the most usual epithet for a "heretic" in the talmud is "apikoros", the greek work for "epicurean". i don't know much about the cynics, but it isn't as straightforward as this suggestion would seem to make it.

    depends which messiah you're talking about and whose sources you use.

    and if you know the jewish sources, the same thing was bothering the rabbis about the Temple cult.

    well, perhaps. the fact is that other rabbis came up with very similar stuff about the same sort of time.

    it's also been sanitised away so as to create an [arguably false] dichotomy between "jesus-ism" and the judaism of the "scribes, pharisees and doctors of the law" - but if you know something about the jewish context you'd find jesus as far more of a jewish figure than you'd probably expect. you need to look at what the contemporary jewish texts say about heretics and sectarians, also about the jewish groups the rabbis disliked, such as "'amei ha-aretz" (vulgarians, hoi-polloi) the sadducees, the romans and the greeks. the real change comes with the pauline break with the mosaic Law and that is when the "de-judaisation" of jesus probably starts.

    largely agreed nowadays to be an insertion by an overzealous christian, i believe. that's insofar as you can ever really take josephus' word on anything, particularly when it involves the romans.

    for which they were roundly criticised by the rabbis - yet considered perfectly jewish.

    not *only*. he would have been taught the Oral Law and aggadic material and he is clearly familiar with techniques such as "derash" (homiletical exposition) and "mashal" (parable).

    well, it didn't take an awful lot to get crucified back then - you just had to have a lot of followers and be on the news a lot saying controversial things. a lot of people got crucified or executed by other means for precisely this reason - potentially being an inconvenience to the roman occupation.

    that's certainly how it seems to me. clearly the guy had some questionable teaching methods (violating the sabbath for of dubious reasons if you ask me) but equally clearly he had a genius for getting to the moral heart of a situation.

    i don't remember that myself - the king does have some Temple duties to fulfil, but he doesn't have to be a priest for that, i don't think.

    that was always my question. i also heard that mary was of a prominent benjaminite family, rather than a levite, thus, in royal terms, re-integrating the royal claim of benjamin from saul, which was i believe still a point of complaint at the time.

    tacitus, i believe, thought the jewish sabbath a most degenerate institution. i think nowadays he would have been working on wall st and saying things like "lunch is for wimps".

    i don't think it's quite as straightforward as that. your statement assumes that there was *one* community. in fact, there were even two sanhedrins; one, the halakhic sanhedrin, is that referred to as the "court of 71" in the talmud, whereas it seems pretty clear that the one from the gospels is the "political" sanhedrin, which considered itself a religious court, but was politically compromised, filled with collaborators with the romans and did not follow correct halakhic procedure.

    i would say that would depend on whereabouts you were talking. if you think about alexandria, more jews spoke greek than anything else, aramaic generally was not so much of a lingua franca, whereas in judaea and to the north you'd get more aramaic i'd have thought. then you have to think in terms of where the jewish communities were, many of them would have spoken latin or phoenician or arabic or syriac or whatever.

    i disagree - that was the purpose of josephus' "jewish antiquities" - it was a history of judaism for a roman audience. philo's works were similar, communicating jewish insights for a greek-dominated society.

    i don't know about that. they might have regarded him as such, but about 60-70% of it as far as i can see was very much part and parcel of the rabbinic programme of renewal.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     

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