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Switch to Forum Live View When Did Christianity Begin?
4 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2010 - 11:16AM #1
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,982

First, some.............one here will recognize the question as being plagiarized from another source.


The general range of thinking on the subject dates the beginnings of Christianity as starting with Jesus. Either with His birth, or with the beginning of His preaching ministry.


At the other end, the more historically attuned might say that Christianity began as a movement among Jews. It would not become recognizable as a distinct new religion until many years later, after the first generation of Jesus' followers had passed from the scene.


Your thoughts?

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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4 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2010 - 11:31AM #2
teilhard
Posts: 51,872

Yes ... Interesting ...


In The Canonical Gospels, The Self-Understanding of The Historical Lord Jesus (The Christ) of Nazareth seems to have been, "Prophet" ...


His Teachings mostly conformed to those of The Party of The Pharisees (as over against The Sadducees) ...


Did He have some Connections with The Essenes ... ???

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2010 - 12:18PM #3
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,982

Some might argue that Christianity  should actually be dated to around 1700 BC with the time of Abraham since Christianity is a natural evolution of Abrahamic law.

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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4 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2010 - 12:23PM #4
whatson2nd
Posts: 2,936

I think Christianity was rather diffuse and varied in the first centuries. It wasn't until the end of the second century that gentiles began to accept the gospels as accounts of actual historical events and it was the third century when it got a boost by Constantin's recognition of it.

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2010 - 1:08PM #5
whatson2nd
Posts: 2,936

The epistle writers know nothing of a miracle worker or teacher from Galilee, those are later developments, or a later merging of traditions by the author of Mark.

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2010 - 1:17PM #6
teilhard
Posts: 51,872

Movement ----> Community ----> Tradition(s) ----> Organized "Religion"


takes TIME ...

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2010 - 2:21PM #7
Dennis
Posts: 1,433

Dec 27, 2010 -- 1:17PM, teilhard wrote:


Movement ----> Community ----> Tradition(s) ----> Organized "Religion"


takes TIME ...





Yep... Yet another reason to see Acts as fictive and the Paulines as being second century. They presuppose an well organized religion from the beginning. The "big bang" theory, as well as the careful organization, for instance, of the topics in 1 Corinthians? Never happened, in the former, happened in the second century in the latter.

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2010 - 2:37PM #8
Dennis
Posts: 1,433

Dec 26, 2010 -- 11:16AM, RJMcElwain wrote:


First, some.............one here will recognize the question as being plagiarized from another source.


The general range of thinking on the subject dates the beginnings of Christianity as starting with Jesus. Either with His birth, or with the beginning of His preaching ministry.


At the other end, the more historically attuned might say that Christianity began as a movement among Jews. It would not become recognizable as a distinct new religion until many years later, after the first generation of Jesus' followers had passed from the scene.


Your thoughts?





Christianity can not be traced any earlier than after the first Jewish Roman war. The earliest attestation of Jesus the human is probably in Mark, and there are signs that it was written after the war and after Josephus wrote his Wars of the Jews. The Paulines could have been written at any time, if one separates them from Acts of the Apostles, a second century composition seen as a myth of Christian origins. "Paul" is first noticed in the second century, but there is not really any attestation of his writings until the end of it, with scant notice of Paul, about half the time in concert with Peter, until then. (I have found some half dozen references, from most of the work from the Apostolic Fathers.) The attestation of Jesus, outside the Christian references, is scanty (and not without controversy) and there is none of Paul that I can find.


If one looks at the original, which most scholars think is Mark, we have a parable, a perfect chiastic structure of the book as a whole. It is a book of hope, where Jesus or God is salvation, is a metaphor for the good of Israel. The expectations are that Jesus/Israel will triumph. A Roman cross ends that, just as the Roman army destroyed the temple. But the book leaves the reader with hope for the future. God is salvation. He has been raised! He will meet you in Galilee (the ancient Israel), where expectations will be fulfilled. At least, this is one reading of it. It didn't play like that to a literal, martyr-minded Roman sensibility, used to gods dying and rising. Soon, Jesus became divine, just like many of his age considered great.


So, my thoughts are that Christianity is post-70, beginning with a metaphor (of Jesus) taken literally by Gentiles and elevated, in the messianic hopes of the underclass. (Remember the theme of the divine appointment of the king, in Jewish terms, messiah, was not particular to Judaism. It was common and the themes are found throughout the Near East.)


There might have been a "historical Jesus." It's impossible to say. Ted Weeden made his case that the Jesus of the Passion was lifted from Josephus' story of "Jesus ben Ananias." That tends to lend credibility to a metaphorical meaning for Jesus, the parabolic/chiastic reading of the story of Mark.


Dennis

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2010 - 3:12PM #9
teilhard
Posts: 51,872

The "Date" Question is ALWAYS interesting ...


Given the Observed Fact that Developments take T-I-M-E ... We ought not be surprised that we DON'T have (much) "attestation" of the earliest-original-first-early-origination of ANYTHING ... or ANYONE ...


Dec 27, 2010 -- 2:21PM, Dennis wrote:


Dec 27, 2010 -- 1:17PM, teilhard wrote:


Movement ----> Community ----> Tradition(s) ----> Organized "Religion"


takes TIME ...





Yep... Yet another reason to see Acts as fictive and the Paulines as being second century. They presuppose an well organized religion from the beginning. The "big bang" theory, as well as the careful organization, for instance, of the topics in 1 Corinthians? Never happened, in the former, happened in the second century in the latter.





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4 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2010 - 7:23AM #10
Dennis
Posts: 1,433

Bob, I think another distinction needs to be made. "Christianity" did not begin with Jesus, and most scholars would probably agree with that. According to most, Jesus was a Galilean Jew. This probably could have meant many things, because several notable charismatics, sages came from first century Galilee. What it did NOT mean was that Jesus began a religion. In the synoptics, his Judaism is clear. Jewish scholars like Flusser, Neusner and Maccoby have pointed out the similarity of Jesus' teachings found, particularly when Jesus was "confronted by" Pharisees, and that of the Pharisees, especially those of the "school" of Hillel. If there was a historical Jesus and any of the synoptics are to be believed, he was a Torah observant Jew and would have been appalled to have seen what happened "in his name." Resurrection? A literal reading of that is a real crock of you know what, straight from the annals of the Mystery religions. The symbolic didn't work, we see in the fictions created from Mark in the other gospels (as well as later versions of Mark), so we still have fools out there believing the literal veracity of a smelly corpse rising!  


Christianity is a perversion of Judaism, actually. It is based on a forumula found in 1 Cor. 15 (created from a hallucination, if one is to believe the author and that this author was the same as that of Galatians) that has nothing to do with Judaism and of its two major rites, the Lord's Supper/Eucharist is an abomination to Judaism, whereas the baptismal rite as practiced by Christianity, is a throwback to the Mystery Religions and the Gnosis of those. Why is it a perversion? It insists upon claiming Judaism as its base, whereas it has nothing in common with Judaism except in the uspurpation of many of the Hebrew scriptures and the gall to insist that it has superseded Judaism, that indeed a "messiah" landed. It didn't even have a Jewish view of the messiah!


Contra my thoughts about the metaphor of Jesus/Israel in the earlier post, if there was a Jesus, Christianity did not begin with him. It is also just plain stupid to believe that the "gospel" of "Paul" existed in the middle of the first century, in concert with the "Jesus groups." The Paul Seminar missed the boat on this one!


 

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