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Passions in Poetry

Who Put The Sermon on the Mount in the Mouth of Jesus

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jbouder
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Not at all.  YOUR views are clearly misinterpretations based on a failure to read the texts in context and, in my opinion, on your blurring of the lines between two co-existant, but distinct, Jewish sects.

Paul was not in conflict with James - he was in conflict with early Pharisee converts that sought to maintain the hedge around the Law (the Traditions of the Elders) as a mainstay for Christian life and conduct.  Neither Paul nor James can be read to promote a legalistic system.  James addressed antinomianism and Paul address Judaizer legalism.  In both Paul and James, it is clear that good actions necessarily proceed from genuine faith - in this view, Paul and James enjoy harmony.  Furthermore, a careful reading of Paul reveals that he never considered Christianity to be divorced from its Jewish roots.  The culmination of the Gospel in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ simply extended the promise of God to all people, "grafting" the wild branch to the "true vine" by adoption.  

The Essenes were not Christians - they were an ascetic, Jewish, Messianic sect that was certainly not looking for a Jesus-like Messiah.  I am not aware of any significant Christian documents being unearthed at Qumran.  If you are, please share them.

The church is a human institution and, like all human institutions, is capable of error.  But new perspectives should be judged on their merits, not afforded equal authority solely on the basis that the new perspectives are new.  Your perspective seems to be skewed by a misreading of James and Paul, as I think I've begun to demonstrate.  Whether or not my reading of the text falls under the "church-approved" category is irrelevant.  What is relevant is whether or not my reading places James' and Paul's writings in their proper, respective contexts.

Jim
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Raph:
quote:
While not as educated or sophisticated as paul's work, it still shows that while they may not have depended on letters, they
certainly didn't shy from writing. So while your theory may challenge the quality of the work, it doesn't explain
the absence of James or the early sect's work.

I think Jim's response did cogently explain why James' influence (through writing) is less prevalent in the early church than Paul's.  

But when you demand an explanation for the "absence of James or the early sect's work", these thoughts come to my mind:

1)  The early Christian community was no established and ecclesiastically organized body.  So it's not surprising that there is a lack of written material from the earliest days.  


2)  There was an oral tradition, which was the praxis of the earliest Christians, which resulted in the writing of the gospels, at a slightly later date.  


3)  The writing of Paul's letters and the Gospels are still very early in relation to the events of which they speak.  The time lapse is perfectly fitting for the typical transmission process of that culture in that day ... which was a strong oral tradition, transferred to the written page.


4)  The epistle of James was widely circulated in the first few centuries of the Church (though viewed as spurious by some).  And while this is small in comparison with the many letters of Paul, the writings of James are completely absent from the Qumran scrolls.  So the only solid trace of James' teaching is in the very tradition which you seem to call "Pauline" and "heretical".  


quote:
Back to those scrolls for a moment . . .whether or not you believe the Qumran sect was on in the same, Paul's letters and ideas
show he was exposed to writing that the sects shared. Paul's theology rests on faith. In his letters to the Romans
and Galatians he states that the scriptures say: 'the upright man finds life through faith' and 'we are told: the righteous
man finds life through faith' respectively.
Where did this idea come to Paul, what scripture is he quoting? Evidence points to the Book of Habakkuk, an apocryphal
OT text. 'The upright man will live by his faith' ~Habakkuk 2:4
Why is this important? Because the sect at Qumran repeatedly makes mention of this scripture in their Habukkuk
commentaries.

Raph,

Itís widely understood and certain that Paul was merely quoting the canonical book of Habakkuk.  It requires no "evidence" when you can read it for yourself.  And that fact, in no way, even begins to suggest that Paul might have borrowed from the Qumran community.  Habakkuk was one of the Hebrew prophets, and Paul was a Pharisee, as thoroughly Jewish as Jew can be.  The Qumran community too, was an offshoot of the Jewish religion, therefore their sacred texts were Jewish.  The "borrowing" was theirs.  Paul and Qumran community had a common source ... the Hebrew scriptures.  Thatís the most cogent explanation.  Anything else is unnecessarily elaborate, contrived, and unnatural.  


I also want to briefly touch on the tenuous nature of Eisenman's theories.  From what Iíve read, the world of scholarship finds his views extreme and marginal.  And though many praise him for his originality and zeal (fitting attributes of artists, moreso than historians), he is considered a "reconstructionist" whose work is founded upon mountains of speculation.  And before you say, "it's a ganging-up, and a conspiracy of the Catholic Church", not all who disagree with Eisenman are Catholics, or even Christians.  


Of course it's not fair for me just to point out that he is in the minority, and that his views aren't popular.  That, in and of itself doesn't make one wrong.  So I just want to mention a few points of what is very doubtful in his work:


* His dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls seems "forced" into the years of early Christianity.  Paleography (by comparing the texts to the "Nash Papyrus", a small fragment of the Old Testament from Egypt dated 2nd century B.C.) has concluded that the texts are older than 50-66 A.D.  And I don't know how much stock you place in radio-carbon analysis, but it also has seemed to confirm this.  It seems quite obvious to many that Eisenman has established his views, then proceeded to shift dating and various other evidences to fit.  


* His drawing of analogies between "James the just" of the New Testament, and "The Righteous One" of the Qumran texts, is inconclusive.  The terms "righteous" and "just" were such general and common terms among ALL religious groups, that no connection can be assumed without something more substantial.


*  Likewise, his comparison of "The Liar" and "Wicked Priest" with Paul is arbitrary.  First of all, one has to assume that Paul was indeed in the wrong, subverting the pure Judaic practice, before you can even make that comparison.  It's circular reasoning.  It's much more cogent to believe that Jesus DID bring forth something very different than Judaism, else he wouldn't have been handed over by the Jewish leaders for crucifixion.  Therefore Paul (like his Lord and master) would also encounter the stubbornness of the Judaizers.  Paul was merely guarding the heart and soul of the gospel, to keep it from slipping back.  The "new wine" of the gospel could not be put in the Old Jewish wineskins of legalism.  Therefore Paul was a defender or reformer.  The comparison with the "heretic" of the Qumran texts can only be made if it is assumed that Paul was turning men away from the pure gospel.


Also, EVERY religious community had teachings of "The wolf in sheepís clothing".  Any system which involves dogmatic truth, by itís nature, will be in danger of corruption and dilution.  Therefore "The Liar" and "The Wicked Priest" of the Qumran text, are just more examples of the same.  You might as well connect Paul with the "Infidel" of the Muslim scriptures.  Such features are much too general and common among religious groups, to even begin to make a connection.  The only real connection I see is a theological / psychological one ... that God has put in the hearts of all, an awareness of the truth.  And no matter how dim or perverted, various religious traditions attest to the common principles of God.  


quote:
The Second character is the Wicked Priest, who is determined to destroy those 'zealous for the law' and has a role in the
death of the teacher of righteousness. This would be the Temple priest (most likely Ananas) who we know was adamant
about rooting out and destroying the early christians. Something Saul of Tarsus, by his own admission was party to. What
we have of the Qumran's events of the death of their Righteous One, hold startling similarities to Eusebius & Josephus
versions of James martyrdom.



Again, martyrdom is more than common among zealot groups.  Even less amazing if we think (as the soundest scholarship shows) that the Qumran community was most llikely an Essene community.


Secondly there is NO proof from Eusebius or Josephus that Paul was an agent in the martyrdom of James.  They rather confirm what the Christian scriptures also state, that the Church as a whole (including Paul) was suffering Roman and Jewish persecution.


Also (I'm assuming that you mean "Ananias"), Ananias was a thoroughly Jewish high priest who persecuted the Church for not being jewish enough!  His persecution was based upon the Christian deviation from Judaism, for he considered the Christians to be blasphemers and heretics.  So how can you say that Paul (along with Ananias??) was persecuting James and the "early sect" for being too Jewish, when actually the early persecution involving the high priest was because they weren't jewish enough?  


So, on one hand you're arguing that Paul was an antinomian, breaker of tradition, leading people astray from the pure "Jewish" gospel, while on the other hand you are associating Paul with Ananias, who was anything but antinomian.  


quote:
Why is it implausible that it was Paul who misunderstood the teachings of the early sect? As the Qumran
texts, or at the very least, Paul's own admissions of being at odds with some of the early sect, would show.



Because you have to first prove, with something substantial, that there WAS such an early sect.  The only thing we can say with certainty is that there was a group of Christians who tended to fall back upon the tenets of Judaism, and that this group was confronted by Paul.  There is nothing to suggest that this represents the "early sect", as if it were easily shown by chronology.  And the question of which teaching (that of the Judaizers or that of Paul) more accurately reflects the teachings of Christ, is settled by textual internal evidence.  


Though I will concede that James (along with Peter) was likely swept up for a time in the error of the Judaizers, my argument is that 1) this error was not a reflection of original Christianity as much as it was a reflection of the old jewish sacrificial system, and 2) This schism was one in which Paul was vindicated and the other apostles seemed to come in line with the truth.  


I have addressed some of the historical problems with Eisenmanís views.  Next I will examine the textual internal evidence which shows that 1) Paul and James were not (ultimately) in any fundamental disagreement, and that 2) Paul was not antinomian.


quote:
Paul shows that he will do whatever it takes, including deceit, to win new adepts to his vision, and a look at the history of the church shows the tradition continued.  A tradition of preying on the ignorant and unstable.



Only with a ruthless "hermeneutic of suspicion" could anyone read that into what Paul was saying.  Do you not recognize the wisdom of causing as little offense as possible in merely outward things?  Would you not eat what the natives cook, in a more primitive setting, if only not to offend them and to show respect?  In the present world of an almost overboard pluralism, Iím surprised you canít relate to what Paul was saying.  


Even the French said "When in Rome do as the Romans do".


To attribute malicious deceit to Paul, whose goal was that he might "save some", is missing the intent of his heart.

more later ...


Stephen.  
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quote:
1)  The early Christian community was no established and ecclesiastically organized body.  So it's not surprising that there is a lack of written material from the earliest days.  


2)  There was an oral tradition, which was the praxis of the earliest Christians, which resulted in the writing of the gospels, at a slightly later date.  


3)  The writing of Paul's letters and the Gospels are still very early in relation to the events of which they speak.  The time lapse is perfectly fitting for the typical transmission process of that culture in that day ... which was a strong oral tradition, transferred to the written page.


4)  The epistle of James was widely circulated in the first few centuries of the Church (though viewed as spurious by some).  And while this is small in comparison with the many letters of Paul, the writings of James are completely absent from the Qumran scrolls.  So the only solid trace of James' teaching is in the very tradition which you seem to call "Pauline" and "heretical"


1. was the Qumranic community an established and ecclesiastically organized body? they somehow managed to produce a large
amount of written materials

2. the sheer quantity of material recovered at the Qumran site proves that communities of the time did not rely as heavily on the oral traditions as you suggest

3.the qumranic community's scrolls are very early, in fact, most likely during or soon after the events in which they speak, as the republican/imperial
rome argument would attest to

4.how would you know exactly what's missing from the qumranic materials when after 50 years  only a fraction of what was recovered
has been translated? the nag hammadi scrolls were released to scholars and completely translated  by 1977. access to the dead sea scrolls
was restricted to a specially selected group for over 40 years, causing an uproar amongst scholars and historians for the monopoly and the
unprofessional handling of the texts.

quote:
* His dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls seems "forced" into the years of early Christianity.  Paleography (by comparing the texts to the "Nash Papyrus", a small fragment of the Old Testament from Egypt dated 2nd century B.C.) has concluded that the texts are older than 50-66 A.D.  And I don't know how much stock you place in radio-carbon analysis, but it also has seemed to confirm this.  It seems quite obvious to many that Eisenman has established his views, then proceeded to shift dating and various other evidences to fit.


I have copies of books on my shelf that pre-date my birth, whose language is archaic compared to our modern tongue. would you assume
my age by the books I keep?  But let's get to the facts you've proposed. First off paleographical evidence is often contested and it depends
many variables. But let's look at it concerning the scrolls.

The initial 'accepted' dates were based on the paleographical work of Solomon Birnbaum. Here's Birnbaum 'scientific' technique by which
he dereived a final date for the text of Solomon found in one of the caves. The Qumran texts were believed to date from 300BC to 68AD
(368 years) this established, he discovered 46 features of a one particular style of writing in the text, and 11 of another. With this information
he came to this equation:

46? to 11 equals 368 to x.  This somehow becomes 72. 72 is then subtracted from the starting number(300 BC) and the date for that
specific text was determined to be 228 BC. Confused? Me too, and so were most scholars who threw out Birnbaum's method.

Attempts to date Greek texts found at Qumran was also uncertain, one scholar said "the process is unreliable even with substantial manuscripts, but here we are dealing with dim and scrappy fragments which allow no more than a partial impression of the graphic ensemble"

Now, with regards to carbon dating, it's important to note that the texts themselves were not scanned initially. For fear of damaging the texts, wrappings found in the jars containing them were tested. This was often contested and repeated requests for retesting the scrolls
were denied. In 1991, 19 of the texts were finally tested, dating put them at 2-135 AD(CE). But these results have also been contested
by supporters of a pre AD sect so carbon dating from either side is questioned.

quote:
Likewise, his comparison of "The Liar" and "Wicked Priest" with Paul is arbitrary.  First of all, one has to assume that Paul was indeed in the wrong, subverting the pure Judaic practice, before you can even make that comparison.  It's circular reasoning.  It's much more cogent to believe that Jesus DID bring forth something very different than Judaism, else he wouldn't have been handed over by the Jewish leaders for crucifixion.  Therefore Paul (like his Lord and master) would also encounter the stubbornness of the Judaizers.  Paul was merely guarding the heart and soul of the gospel, to keep it from slipping back.  The "new wine" of the gospel could not be put in the Old Jewish wineskins of legalism.  Therefore Paul was a defender or reformer.  The comparison with the "heretic" of the Qumran texts can only be made if it is assumed that Paul was turning men away from the pure gospel.


I disagree, you assert that the Temple priests wanted Jesus killed for preaching a different kind of doctrine. You forget that the Priests
at this time were appointed by Herod and later the Roman governors of Judea. It's much more cogent to believe that Jesus saught to
restore dignity to the Temple, much like the Maccabeans had railed against their 'hellenized' Temple and priests. Thus,  Jesus' anger and chasing of the money- lenders who had made 'his father's house a house of merchandise.'  Josephus' history and more importantly the
Talmud scorn the High Priests of this era, their legacy is one of wickedness and violence and they were hated by the Jews:

Woe is me because of the House of Boethus,
  woe is me because of their slaves.
Woe is me because of the House of Hanan,
  woe is me because of their incantations.
Woe is me because of the House of Kathros,
  woe is me because of their pens.
Woe is me because of the House of Ishmael, son of Phiabi,
  woe is me because of their fists.
For they are the High Priests, and their sons are treasurers,
and their sons-in law are trustees,
and their servants beat the people with staves


quote:
Therefore "The Liar" and "The Wicked Priest" of the Qumran text, are just more examples of the same.  You might as well connect Paul with the "Infidel" of the Muslim scriptures.  Such features are much too general and common among religious groups, to even begin to make a connection


I disagree,when looking at Jesus' words, the documented hatred and corruption of the Temple priests, the Qumran texts and Josephus' historical accounts, the pieces fit. You call it reconstructionism, I believe christianity as we know it is reconstructionism. And i'd argue the
features are far too general, the descriptions of the characters when placed with the accounts of Acts or Josephus' history make sense as
more than coincedence or general features amongst religious groups.

quote:
Again, martyrdom is more than common among zealot groups.  Even less amazing if we think (as the soundest scholarship shows) that the Qumran community was most llikely an Essene community.


First of all, linking Jesus to the Essenes is not a new theory, But that assertion was based on the popular view of the Essene's were
a pacifist ascetic and celibate people. But the Qumran sects 'Community Rule' scroll contains regulations on marriage and children,
and indeed graves of both are found at Qumran, so there goes the celibacy theory. The Qumran site also houses a very non-pacifist
'War Scroll' and the ruins contain what look to be military defenses including a tower and forge.The Essenes were reported to no sacrifice animals, but the Temple Scroll describes procedures for sacrifice and animal bones were found buried in the caves or carefully in jars.
The Essenes were said to be held in high honour by and friendly with Herod. But many of the texts are hostile towards practices that
are traits of the Arab rulers, and towards authority.

Eisenman mentions the Qumran community refer to themselves the Osei ha-Torah(doers of the Law) shortened this is Osim. It's
important to note i have found in my studies, that shortening terms is common practice in Hebrew mysticism, its called Notariqon.
Its not difficult to imagine the mystics at Qumran calling themselves the Osim(oseem). Why is this important? Epiphanius, an early
historian, describes a dead sea 'heritcal' sect called the Ossenes. Its not difficult to merge the Osim with the Ossene. Consider the
terms Nozrim, Nazoreans, Nazarenes and Nasrani, are interchangeable as early names of the christians. Speaking of the Nozrim,
Eisenman notes that the Qumran peoples also dub themselves the Nozrei ha-brit.(keepers of the covenant) Nozrim could easily
be a derivitive of Nozrei. I'm sure youre scoffing at the idea, but consider as Eisenman states, the evolution of Caesar, to Kaiser
to Tsar.


quote:
Secondly there is NO proof from Eusebius or Josephus that Paul was an agent in the martyrdom of James.


Whoa, whoa whoa, where did I state he was? I mentioned Saul was there during Stephen's stoning that's all. With regards
to James and Paul i simply stated my belief that they were at odds on the finer points of sect doctrine! If this is in reference
to the Liar, Wicked priest, they were wholly seperate adversaries of the Righteous and I never stated anything differently.

quote:
Also (I'm assuming that you mean "Ananias"), Ananias was a thoroughly Jewish high priest who persecuted the Church for not being jewish enough!  His persecution was based upon the Christian deviation from Judaism, for he considered the Christians to be blasphemers and heretics.  So how can you say that Paul (along with Ananias??) was persecuting James and the "early sect" for being too Jewish, when actually the early persecution involving the high priest was because they weren't jewish enough?


Annas and Ananias are interchangable as Annas is a contracted form of the latter. I've already challenged your thoughts on the
High Priests of the time and just how upholding of the Law Jesus thought them to be. Remember what Stephen says as he is stoned
in front of Saul:

"You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it!"

It is obvious that it is the Temple and High Priest's who are not 'Jewish' enough in Stephen's eyes, just as in Jesus' when he chased the lenders from the Temple

quote:
Because you have to first prove, with something substantial, that there WAS such an early sect.


Considering the myriad of factions that exist in modern times, consider the factions that existed before the church was finally unified
under Constantine it's not hard to believe. Prove it definitively? Prove Paul's vision.

quote:
2) This schism was one in which Paul was vindicated and the other apostles seemed to come in line with the truth.


Yes, according to the church. You have faith in their words.  I have little faith in those who thought it best to hide, restrict and burn
countless texts throughout their history before men could decide for themselves.


quote:
Only with a ruthless "hermeneutic of suspicion" could anyone read that into what Paul was saying.  Do you not recognize the wisdom of causing as little offense as possible in merely outward things?  Would you not eat what the natives cook, in a more primitive setting, if only not to offend them and to show respect?  In the present world of an almost overboard pluralism, Iím surprised you canít relate to what Paul was saying.


As surprised as I am that you can't see a difference in James' words vs Paul's. You say 'that he might save some', I say 'anything
to get new adepts', a long standing practice of the church.

look, i never set out to change your beliefs and only forwarded when questioned. philmont asked where the notion that the sermon on
the mount was not jesus' came from, i offered a hypothesis. we're at an impasse, and I withdraw, not because of you, but the arrogant
notion that anything more i'd put forth is ignorant or unstable
Stephanos
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Raph,

We're not at an "impasse", if you still believe your facts to be stronger than mine.  

I'm not trying to be arrogant, just thorough.  

You haven 't even asked me what my interpretation of the scripture that mentions "the ignorant and unstable", or how I think it is properly applied.  So why get upset, and drop out of the middle of what I consider to be a great discussion?


It's up to you.  If it's getting touchy and you don't want to continue, I respect that.  But I am going to go ahead and respond to your latest reply.  If you want to continue after that, then great.  Personally, I think it's been civil enough.  

(give me a few more days to reply-  No time now.)

Stephen.
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stephanos, the arrogance i spoke wasn't in regards to anything you've said. by all means respond, and i may continue here or in private

i don't believe my facts to be stronger, you challenged my evidence, and i challenged yours. the carbon dating and paleography for example.

you should know this. as the thread has gone on i've defended Eisenman's theory, but it's not the crux of my belief that Pauline thought is a misinterpretation of Christ's teaching. my beliefs stem from reading the bible and about early church history.

but as you asked for textual proof, I offered that the Scrolls were 'potential' proof. I could be absolutely wrong about them, it wouldn't change my view of Pauline thought. I would still, however, argue a strong link between them and Jesus. Mike O. Wise's:The First Messiah later believed the 'teacher of the righteous' of the scrolls to be a forgotten prophet who foretold the coming of Jesus. it would explain the incredible similarities and inconsistencies regarding republican/imperial rome, if they were visions.

shrugs. i'm not sure, what I argued earlier, was that the texts should never have been in the church's grasp, (a church known for burning anything considered 'heretical.'), that scholars should not have been restricted access to study and date them, and that while Eisenman's views seem radical amongst scholars, so to is the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs amongst paleontologists. the debate still rages on their source and meanings
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quote:
Me:  The early Christian community was no established and ecclesiastically organized body.††So it's not surprising that there is a lack of written material from the earliest days.††


Raph:  Was the Qumranic community an established and ecclesiastically organized body? they somehow managed to produce a large
amount of written materials.



You yourself said "there is no disputing that the site housed an immense amount of scrolls on sect rules, beliefs and scriptural commentary."  Does that sound like a new community, or an established one?  Many organized rules, beliefs, and even scriptural interpretations, are not the hallmarks of a new religious movement.  


Why not take the more natural path of letting the evidence determine belief, rather than the other way around?  


Of the following statements, which would be more natural:

1) "There are organized, and numerous writings, therefore the Qumran community is probably an older sect.",

or

2) "The organized and numerous writings of such a young sect, shows that the traditional version of Church history is mistaken, for it proves that such things can be written in a very short amount of time"?


You have to assume that the Qumran texts ARE equated with the early Christians in order to argue that a relatively young group could produce so many texts, so quickly.  That's a very circular argument.  The largest segment of scholarship does not believe that the Qumran society was a new religious group, but one that had been established for a considerable amount of time ... at least enough time to establish the level of organization that the Qumran scrolls exhibit.  


quote:
the sheer quantity of material recovered at the Qumran site proves that communities of the time did not rely as heavily on the oral traditions as you suggest.


It also depends upon the nature of the community.  A religiously established community with a scribal system such as the Essenes would be more apt to write things down, than a group of more common people, peasants and fishermen which comprised the early Christian community.  Also you canít rightly conclude that there was NO reliance on oral tradition in the Qumran community.

quote:
3.the qumranic community's scrolls are very early, in fact, most likely during or soon after the events in which they speak, as the republican/imperial rome argument would attest to



Some are close to the events described, some aren't.  The dating of the scrolls also range from 1st century B.C. to around 66 A.D.  Though I think your Imperial / Republican argument is not without it's own problems, even if it were true, this would be in accorance to the majority view that the Qumran community was a separatist and thoroughly Jewish sect.  So I have no problem with your dating really (though I still think that the bulk of scholarship would argue for earlier dates overall).  What I take issue with is your unfounded connection of the Qumran community and the earliest Christians.  There is no evidence for this.


quote:
how would you know exactly what's missing from the qumranic materials when after 50 years††only a fraction of what was recovered has been translated? the nag hammadi scrolls were released to scholars and completely translated††by 1977. access to the dead sea scrolls was restricted to a specially selected group for over 40 years, causing an uproar amongst scholars and historians for the monopoly and the unprofessional handling of the texts.



How would YOU know exactly whatís missing from the Qumranic materials when after 50 years only a fraction of what was recovered has been translated?  Your argument really depends upon what is allegedly missing, not mine.  From what I have read, the majority of scholars involved are/ were indeed Roman Catholic, but not all.  Also the decision to keep the translation process for themselves seems to be one based upon a desire to profit monetarily ... The mercenary spirit is not such a flattering motive, I admit, but a much more likely one than a conspiracy worthy of pulp fiction.


quote:
I have copies of books on my shelf that pre-date my birth, whose language is archaic compared to our modern tongue. would you assume my age by the books I keep?



Of course not.  But someone might accurately estimate the correct century or decade of your life, based upon the books you write.  And I was talking about what was written by the Qumran community, not the co-existing manuscripts of the Old Testament, among other more ancient writings, which were found.  


quote:
...Confused? Me too, and so were most scholars who threw out Birnbaum's method.



Well in quoting Birnbaumís "method", you have just gone over my head and yours too.  Therefore it means little to me that you and I (laymen, with little knowledge of paleography) are confused about it.  The only thing I can say is, the broad consensus of scholars is still for an earlier date.  Eisenmanís theories are still viewed as fringe and unconvincing, by most scholars involved, Catholic or not.  Iím not versed enough (neither are you) to really debate Paleography.  But I think the strength of the more traditional views of the sect being a separatist Jewish group is not based in dating alone ... there is also interpretation of the texts, and a wholesale lack of any positive evidence that would suggest the Qumran community can be equated with the early Church.  

At best (and I really have no problem with this), what is known about the Qumran community might indicate that they were a zealot, messianic, separatist group who were looking for the Messiah.  In which case, some of them very well might have known of Jesus, or even began to follow him.  There was one of his Twelve disciples who was perhaps of like description, Simon the Zealot.  


But there is every indication (and no evidence to counter) that Jesus was anti-zealot, and quite different from the many militaristic Messiahs which inevitably popped up from year to year.  


quote:
I disagree, you assert that the Temple priests wanted Jesus killed for preaching a different kind of doctrine. You forget that the Priests at this time were appointed by Herod and later the Roman governors of Judea. It's much more cogent to believe that Jesus saught to restore dignity to the Temple, much like the Maccabeans had railed against their 'hellenized' Temple and priests.


Before I respond, let me set a backdrop.  I want to try to describe the the differing political mindsets of the Jewish leaders of that time ...  The Sadducees (the priestly class) were the Liberal political party of the Jews.  They were also collaborationists whose fault (in the eyes of the Pharisees, the more right-wing political body) was their compromise, and un-nationalistic cooperation with Roman authorities.  Of course the Sadducaic practice was simply a political approach of purely pragmatic concern, to gain as much favor as possible with the Romans and so procure a relative peace, in the midst of national captivity.  To be above all the other captives, though you may be a captive yourself, is not so bad.  In fact it is making the best of the worst.  That was their philosophy.  They really despised Roman Rule over them as much as their conservative cousins, (the Pharisees), but they felt that the best political course was non-resistance and patient manipulation within the system.  "Relax and work with what youíve got", they seemed to say.  The more rigid Pharisees, on the other hand, hated the Romans and hated them on mostly ideological / theological grounds.  If Israel was Godís chosen, then a Pagan nation ruling over Israel was the ultimate disgrace ... dispeasing to God and Jew alike.  So their hatred of the Roman occupation of Israel was more religiously fevered than that of the Sadducees who basically had ceased from believing anything supernatural.


Seeing this polar division within the Jewish leadership, wouldn't it be natural that both would find Jesus threatening, even if for slightly different reasons?  The Sadducees (of whom Caiaphas was a prime example) were threatened by Jesus since his popularity and controversy might cause the trigger finger of Rome to twitch.  During that time there had already been political "Messiahs" who had procured a following, and made their rebellion known.  The Romans, out of fear, tended to be quick in making examples of them, so that no further uprisings would happen.

The Pharisees were threatened by Jesus for a slightly different reason (though they too did not want to see the Romans bear down hard upon Israel because of zealotism).  His popularity presented a threat to their personal influence and religious sway over the people.  He constantly questioned them publically, and exposed their hypocrisy on a regular basis.  Their well loved status as the highest teachers of Israel was being challenged.  Their persecution of Jesus was from the politics of personal power and grandeur in the eyes of the Jewish people.  They didn't like to be discredited, and to have someone else be called "Rabbi" in any popular degree.  


So ...  you're right that the Sadducees persecuted Jesus for potentially being "too religious", and "too Jewish" ... but I would add, not for pure concern of doctrine (they had little concern for dogma), but for mainly political reasons.  But you fail to see that the Pharisees persecuted Jesus for preaching and espousing something different than the Rabbinical/ legal system of that day.  He bristled in many ways against their dogma.  So theirs was a more a religious contention with Jesus, because he preached something different than the Jewish religion as then practiced and viewed, and which allowed the Pharisees popular control.  So they too persecuted Jesus more out of personal concern than out of any real desire for the truth.  They just used their narrow doctrines as means to accuse and condemn him.

But if Jesus was neither a re-establisher of Mosaic legalism, nor a collaborationist with Rome, nor a military zealot, but in actuality demonstrated views in common with all three of these groups, and yet different than all three ... Is it any wonder that the leaders of the Jews, whether on the right or on the left, would misunderstand and view him as a dangerous threat?

Oscar Cullmann in his "The State in the New Testament" describes very well, using Mark 12:13-17, this precariously narrow, but middle way that Jesus walked among the political pundits of his day:


ďWe know that it was just this question of taxpaying which was regarded by the Zealots as the criterion, so to speak, of loyalty to Judaism.  As a matter of fact this very question was indeed addressed to Jesus in order to 'entrap him in his talkí (Mark 12:13).  According to Mark, it is the Pharisees and the Herodians who pose the question.  Both groups are at one in wanting Jesus disarmed.  And it is the only thing they have in common, for in other matters they are radically opposed.  The question is: 'Should we pay taxes to Ceasar or not?'  For themselves, the Pharisees would prefer to answer in the negative, although they do not, like the Zealots, draw the extreme consequences.  The Herodians on the contrary, are the collaborationists who make common cause with the Romans and naturally for themselves return an affirmative answer.  It is just the presence of both groups which constitutes for Jesus the special temptation.  Both want him to compromise himself.  If he answers yes, he will be shown up as a collaborationist and will disallusion the majority of the people.  If he answers no, this is an avowel that he himself is a Zealot, and indeed a leader of the Zealots; and we know what that meant to the Romans.  

But Jesus does not so compromise himself.  It is true that his answer has often been thus misconstrued, as if the sphere of Caesar is here presented as being of equal value with the sphere of God.  But this is precisely not the case.  If Jesus had really attributed to Caesarís sphere the same value as God's, then he would have placed himself on the side of the Herodians.  For this is exactly what the Collaborationists maintained:  Ceasar is Godís counterpart.  

... the double imperative logically follows:  on the one hand, do not let the Zealots draw you into a purely political martial action against the existence of the Roman State; on the other, do not give to the State what belongs to God!

... Because Jesus' position on this question was not simple but had to be complex, men could mischievously distort his point of view, and the certainly did.  Thus they distorted also his critical attitude toward the Temple, representing it as a revolutionary intention to destroy it.
"


Jesus' position on the practice of Judaism was very similar to his position on Zealotism (in fact his take on Zealotism came from his unique view of Judaism).  He had much in common with it, but rejected much of what had become of it.  Therefore the left-wing Jews might easily misrepresent him.  And yet so would the right-wing Jews.  Because he was more extreme, by being essentially LESS extreme than any of them.  

So it's just not as simple as you've been making it out to be.  Were the Jews persecuting Jesus because he was purely Judaic, and they were Rome-friendly compromisers?  If that were the case, then many of Pharisees would have been crucified along side him.  

The truer, more subtly complex picture, is that the enemies of each other joined together to deal with a common enemy (who was really their friend, if only they would have heeded).  Itís the old addage, that "the enemy of your enemy is your friend".


quote:
I disagree,when looking at Jesus' words, the documented hatred and corruption of the Temple priests, the Qumran texts and Josephus' historical accounts, the pieces fit. You call it reconstructionism, I believe christianity as we know it is reconstructionism. And i'd argue the features are far too general, the descriptions of the characters when placed with the accounts of Acts or Josephus' history make sense as more than coincedence or general features amongst religious groups.



First of all, there's still significant debate about whether "The Liar" and "The Wicked Priest" of the Qumran texts were talking about historical individuals in existence at that time, or whether they were in reference to groups of people and beliefs.  As you know the writing of that expectantly "apocalyptic" community was often symbolic.  They may have been prophetic writings referring to some future conflict.  The point is that we just donít know.  But to connect the Wicked priest to Paul (whom we have much specific historical data about in the New Testament) is far fetched and on the outer fringe of incredible theories.  If Paul were associated with the Qumran community, there is not so much as a mention of his name, or the names of any of these enigmatic characters within the Qumran texts themselves.  

In fact priesthood is the only thing that has any substantial commonality with Paul.  But the title "Priest" could have easily been used for ANY leader of a religious populace.  Internal evidence of Paulís writings easily show that he was NOT anti-nomian, and never demeaned the Law in the way you describe.  Internal evidence from Paul's works alone will suffice in demonstrating this.  

It is more likely that "The Wicked Priest" and "The Liar" might be applied to Jonathan the Maccabee or his brother Simon.  But even that is unproveable, due to the ambiguity of the texts on the matter.

So bottom line, the traditional view appears much more solid, and is not at all toppled by these hyper-speculative theories.  As far as I'm concerned, my next goal is to demonstrate that the writings of Paul and James were not substantially opposed, though they have differnet points of emphasis.  Your external evidence is very weak.  But still the internal evidence of the scriptures is the strongest argument that the traditional view is the soundest view.  And to that I will soon turn.

quote:
It is obvious that it is the Temple and High Priest's who are not 'Jewish' enough in Stephen's eyes, just as in Jesus' when he chased the lenders from the Temple


Exactly.  But I (like the older and greater Stephen) am making a distinction between the true "Jew", and a mere practicer of the Judaic religion.  The Jews who were responsible for his death also accused him of speaking "words of blasphemy against Moses and against God". (Acts 6:11). Remember that for the Christians, the Messiah and the very Gospel were naturally that to which the Law pointed to, and acutally (in history) led up to, which explains how they could criticize the Jewish authorities for despising and disobeying the heart and soul of the Law, while still preaching something other than the Law.  But the only way the Jewish leaders could reasonably accuse the Christians of "speaking against Moses" was if what they were preaching, were really something other than the Mosaic law ... something different.  

You can see this throughout the New Testament.  They did the same to Jesus.  The view you are espousing, fails to take in account the nuances of thought on both sides.  It's more complex than you are making it.  If you're going to look at mere accusations of not "keeping the law", then you are in a quandary.  Because BOTH sides were claiming that about the other.  That information alone can't settle the argument.  

The real question is what each side meant by saying such things, and why they said them.


quote:
Considering the myriad of factions that exist in modern times, consider the factions that existed before the church was finally unified under Constantine it's not hard to believe. Prove it definitively? Prove Paul's vision.


Thatís not what I meant.  I meant for you to offer proof that the Qumran community was positively Christian ... with textual proof, other than ambiguities.  We're now arguing internal textual evidence.  Defending Paul's conversion experience, beyond the texts themselves, would be a wholly separate consideration ... in metaphysics or psychology I suppose.      


quote:
Me:  This schism was one in which Paul was vindicated and the other apostles seemed to come in line with the truth.


Raph:  Yes, according to the church. You have faith in their words.†



No, according to the writings of Paul and of James we DO have.  But what do you have according to the texts which have been allegedly burned and subverted by the Church, in order to hide the real disunity between Paul and the other Apostles, with no proof whatsoever that they ever existed?


quote:
As surprised as I am that you can't see a difference in James' words vs Paul's.



I never said I canít see a difference.  Just as I can see a difference between Paul and Peter... or between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, for that matter.  What I don't see, is a difference so fundamental, that the two canít abide together in the same holy house of truth.  At least they themselves didnít think so.  And thatís what I will attempt to demonstrate next.


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (03-06-2005 03:43 PM).]

 
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