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6 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2008 - 10:17PM #1
koolpoi
Posts: 6,239
Were there any Jewish writings on the subject of the messiah in the last century of the BCE era?I'm wondering if there might have been some writer or prophet who influenced Jesus.I'm skeptical of the "Son of God" theory concerning his life.What do Jews think about him?Was he a rabbi whose ideas got twisted?Was he deluded?Did he actually exist?The only information about him seems to come from Christian sources whose objectivity is obviously open to question.I've heard that there were other messianic movements during  this period.Could they have influenced Jesus or his followers?Whoever he was,whatever his true ideas were,his life was founded on Jewish tradition.I'd really like hear some Jewish perspective(s) on him.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 17, 2008 - 6:33AM #2
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
[QUOTE=koolpoi;361503]Were there any Jewish writings on the subject of the messiah in the last century of the BCE era?I'm wondering if there might have been some writer or prophet who influenced Jesus.I'm skeptical of the "Son of God" theory concerning his life.What do Jews think about him?Was he a rabbi whose ideas got twisted?Was he deluded?Did he actually exist?The only information about him seems to come from Christian sources whose objectivity is obviously open to question.I've heard that there were other messianic movements during  this period.Could they have influenced Jesus or his followers?Whoever he was,whatever his true ideas were,his life was founded on Jewish tradition.I'd really like hear some Jewish perspective(s) on him.[/QUOTE]

We don't really have a perspective or opinion about him, any more than we do about Muhammad, Zeus, or Thor.

As far as the historical background goes, yes there was plenty of "messianic" unrest in the era when Jesus is supposed to have lived. The Messiah was supposed to be a political redeemer who would defeat Israel's enemies and restore its sovereignty and independence and reestablish the "golden age" of the monarchy under David and Solomon. From 63 BCE onward, Judea was occupied and ruled by Rome, and as the Roman occupation continued so too did the nationalist unrest. Given that today is St. Patrick's day, there are a great deal of parallels to Ireland's occupation and subjugation by England. We know that one of Jesus's supposed apostles -- Simon the Zealot -- was by his very name a member of one of the radical nationalist revolutionary movements. Judas Iscariot may also have been a member of the Sicarii, a nationalist terrorist group. In this milieu,  claiming to be "the Messiah" was a political statement -- it meant, essentially, a declaration of war against Rome. We don't know how much of the Jesus story is accurate, but that is the only reason why the collaborationist elite in Jerusalem and the Roman government would have had any interest in executing Jesus. It's also worth pointing out that Jesus's crucifixion was by no means unique -- the Romans crucified thousands of Jews and Pontius Pilate was so brutal and bloodthirsty that even the Emperor Tiberius felt the need to recall him to Rome due to excessive cruelty. Whether Jesus actually thought he was the Messiah or if he were simply used and manipulated by nationalist extremists who had infiltrated his movement, we don't know. But he was just one of the many Jews who were murdered by the Roman imperial machine.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 17, 2008 - 6:44AM #3
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

koolpoi wrote:

....I'd really like hear some Jewish perspective(s) on him.



BS"D

In my perspective there IS no Jewish perspective on jesus.  jesus is a Non-issue in Judaism except for the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews in his name.  But if you want a sympathetic perspective on jesus by Jews, please post this question on the forum of Jews who practice Christianity - Messianic Judaism - if you can find any MJ who actually IS a Jew posting there - which is RARE.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 19, 2008 - 1:21AM #4
koolpoi
Posts: 6,239
Nieciedo, Many thanks.As always, your comments were very educational.Sorry if I struck a nerve.I just thought that since so much Jewish suffering can be traced back to a person ethnically Jewish who preached a kind of Jewish heresy,Jews might have an interesting perspective on him.Would I be correct in assuming that those groups seeking a political messiah borrowed the concept from the theological messiah?Was the connection between the two meanings of "messiah" just linguistic  convenience or something more?Buns,The last thing I wanted was a "sympathetic" perspective.I'm curious about the historical figure, warts and all,assuming he existed at all.Jews (like Hindus,Buddhists etc.)don't show up at my house arrogantly presuming to instruct me about God.I am curious about these missionaries' religion just as I am about North Koreans who believe in Juche.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 19, 2008 - 6:54AM #5
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
There never was a concept of a "theological Messiah" in Judaism. That is the product of Christianity.

"Messiah" means "anointed" and is a synonym for "king" because Israelite kings were not "crowned" but rather anointed with oil.

The Messiah, such as can be pieced together from the rather vague prophecies in the Tanakh, was always envisioned as a human political and military ruler who would establish a new world order of universal peace and justice after securing Israel's sovereignty and freedom from enemies.

When Jesus failed to achieve any of these things, the notion that these political actions were meant to be taken as "spiritual" and "theological" symbols arose.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 19, 2008 - 7:23AM #6
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

koolpoi wrote:

...Buns,The last thing I wanted was a "sympathetic" perspective.I'm curious about the historical figure, warts and all,assuming he existed at all.Jews (like Hindus,Buddhists etc.)don't show up at my house arrogantly presuming to instruct me about God.I am curious about these missionaries' religion just as I am about North Koreans who believe in Juche.



BS"D

I understand. I also was interested in Juche for a time, until I got as much response from vaqrious "officials" as I got from the Saudi Royal family - obviously I am not one worthy to respond to on such matters as human rights.

But I was taught as a child that jesus is a non-Issue in Judaism. Historically we have full 3-dimensional portraits of all famous and infamous Jews in our history - warts and all. That is our way. the REAL picture. On Jesus we have NOTHING. That is REALLY SIGNIFICANT because it means that if there ever was an historical Jesus that person either was someone else or had nothing to do with anything in jewish hsitory at all.

It is my opinion that jesus was someone else. We have historical records of itinerant preachers from the Essenes which resemble the Gospels attributions of Jesus pretty much to the letter. But conspicuously absent from these various bios are theological concepts such as those compiled in the Gospels. This leads me to believe that the person of Jesus may be a later non-Jewish adaptation of a real Jewish preacher's message taken completely out of context and adapted to a non-Jewish theological persepctive. The source for this phenomenon may be linked to the alleged missionizing journies of the one known as Paul or Saul of Tarsus who is said to have "spread the Gospel" to many non-Jewish peoples.

THAT is the only historical reality of Jesus that I can determine that exists in Jewish history and records - the proven forgery in Jospehus' works notwithstanding.

If you want to learn about likely candidates for the REAL Jesus in Essene literature in Jewish history there is a LOT if information available.

But our sages have determined that for the Christians, their jesus is an acceptable reality whether historically true or not - just as our Torah is an acceptable reality for us.

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