Judaism and Christian theology

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Introduction

I saw a interview with rabbi Yizchack Breitowitz,from Jerusalem that is most interesting as it explains the view about Jesus  by the Jews. It is a  old video from 2015 but i think it is still very valuable, at least for me. I added the transcript below to allow readers to read in more languages.

index

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the interview

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Transcript

The  early Christians did regard themselves as Jews. Jesus himself regarded himself as a Jew and many  Apostles in fact were Jews. They considered themselves Jewish. Peter himself differed with Paul. Peter took the position that followers of Jesus should practice circumcision, keep kosher and keep the Sabbath because they were Jewish. And of course, we have Hebrew Christians until this day. 

0:52 So the question is why can’t I be a religious Jew, believe in the Torah and still say that Jesus is the Messiah?

I would say that Judaism has three fundamental issues with the Christian theology.

1:09 Issue number one: God being infinite and non -material

which does not go to the Messianic aspect but to the divinity and trinity, the father, son and holy ghost. Our problem would be that God has never and will never assume a human form. Once you deal with the reification or the corporealization of the diety, you are violating a tenant of God being infinite and non -material. That of course goes to the divinity and was a later developemt in Christianity.

In terms of the Messianic vision . let’s say I don’t believe that Jesus is God or son of God but let him be the Messiah wich we do believe in. So I would say there are two points.

1:09 Point number one: the notion of a second coming

Point number 1 is that classical Jewish litterature does not accept the notion of a second coming. That is, once the Messiah reveals himself, he will a accomplish a designated mission of getting the Jews back to Israel rebuilding the Temple and hopefully establishing world peace.

Now Jesus was of course crucified. Jesus was murdered before he completed any of those things. Because of that , Christianity developed the idea of a Second coming that Jesus will come back and complete the mission.

Thy say, as far as normative Jewish theology is concerned, when the Messiah comes, he is going to get the job done. He is not going to die and then come back. That is point number one. 

2:35 Point number 2: certain commandments are no longer binding 
which is actually more important is, and I am not going into the debate of whether Jesus said or the Apostles or later people said. But the notion in the New testament that God abrogated his covenant with Israel and that God has replaced the Sinaitic revelation with Justification by Faith which is really Paul’s innovation. Paul created the idea that one get redemption not by works but by faith, Justification by Faith, that is a theological postulate which is absolutely inconsistent with the eternity of the Torah and the divinity of the Torah. Yeah, I understand that one could make the argument that it is not Jesus’s argument. In fact there are passages where he says “I am not going to abrogate a single letter of the Torah and yet, even within the Christian Bible ther are narratives in which he implies that certain commandments are no longer binding and certainly Paul took a position that none of the commandments are binding. That is a postulate that we can not accept because as Mamonide writes in his article of faith, even the Messiah will not abrogate or replace the Torah and that’s our problem with Christian Theology.

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Conclusion

I try to understand Jesus with a anthropological approach. Jesus was a jew and that is a fact, a jew that was circumsized afer 8 days.

Yizchack Breitowitz mention a very important saying of Jesus to be found in Matthew 5,17-20 

17 ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. 18 In truth I tell you, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, is to disappear from the Law until all its purpose is achieved. 19 Therefore, anyone who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of Heaven; but the person who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of Heaven. 20 ‘For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven.”

This part is something I have to look closer at. What better is it than listening to a Jew, if you want to understand the Jew Jesus?

And as Yitzchak mentioned Christian Jews in rhw interview, I came to look closer at jewsforjesus.org

 

Jesus’ miracles

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Introduction

For two weeks we wont read about Jesus miracles. The Sunday issues a few weeks to come,  are instead Jesus  kerygma (teaching) starting with the parable about the rich men in Luke 12,16-21. I prefer to read and think about his  kerygma from now on. I explain why in this post.

When the Pahirisees asked  Jesus to show a  sign from heaven, aacording to  Marc 8,12 with a profound sigh said:

“Why does this generation demand a sign? In truth I tell you, no sign shall be given to this generation.’

and later in Matthew 12,39 Jesus is even more negative to the miracle requirement:

It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”  

It is like Jesus did not want to make signs. he wanted to talk and teach.

These verses made me think,

  1. what miracles, did he do, if he ever did?
  2. What signs did Jesus talked about  a part of his own dead and resurrection (the miracle of Jonah)
  3. What was it that made the news about Jesus spread so fast over the Mediterranean and even convert the Roman emperor?
  4. what is my faith, do I need Jesus to do miracles and signs?

I try to answer these questions in this post.

The disciples never asked for miracles.

I never read that the disciples asked for signs or miracles.  He said “follow me” and they followed him. They had true faith in him.

Do we have faith or do we need signs and miracles?

Do we have faith or do we need Jesus to miracles as the apostles wrote?

the apostles and his followers had Jesus do miracles, Jesus dind’t want to.

Jesus didnt want to make miracles. The apostles saw the need to raise Jesus’ status so they had him maybe do miracles.  A Messiah sent by God, must be able to do miracles.   This was what the apostles and the people of that time,  As many before them and during their time did.
e.g. Tacitus tells about the miracolous healings of the Emperor Vespasianus in Alessandria (“Nein und Amen” Italian version Ute-Ranke-Heineman, page 95)

Jesus teachings in The Gospels loose importance, because of all  the “fairy tale like”  miracle stories

The effect of their miracle stories,, true or not, have today probably the opposite effect the apostles asked for. The Gospels with all the miracles have become fairy tales for many adults. Jesus miracle stories are not required anymore. Instead the miracle stores remove our attenions from Jesus teaching/kerygma with his among others, his parables

Index

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The miracles

The apostles tells about three types of miracles

  • on nature
  • on humans
    • healing sickness
    • making blind see
    • getting deamons out
    • getting deads alive
  • Jesus own dead and resurrection

jesus himself talked about:

  • healing sick people,
  • getting deamons out
  • and his own dead and resurrection
  • signs that he talked about Capharanaum

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The spreading of the news about Jesus 

Thre is a legend about Luke who met disciples in Syria, coming from Jerusalem. They were enthusiastic telling about what recently happened in Jerusalem. It reminds me about Cleopas who said to Jesus:

18 ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ( Luke 24,18 )

The resurrection of Jesus was a news that spread around the Mediterranean, despite not having any communication technology other than letters.

Talmidins and storytellers

There were not only Talmidins who recorded all that Jesus said. There were for sure also  professional storytellers, storytellers that travelled around like musicians telling about what Jesus did. They earned money depending on their success, the amount of listeners they had. 

Jesus, the main figure in storytellers mind.

Jesus became a legend and with it, he became  a source of stories and money for many of these storrytellers. Jesus existence stimulated the fantasy of many. With the old myhtological knowledge and believes among  the Hebrews and the Greeks, the storytellers got  extraordinary stories to tell about, stories that helped them to achieve  greated success among their audiences.

the story of the drowned pigs at Genesareth must have have been a very successful story among among those who did not like Jesus.

Collection of stories

Several stories about miracles were told and became a collection of stories that among others John used in his Gospel according to Rudolf Bultman a German Lutheran theologian and professor of the New Testament at the University of Marburg (“Nein und Amen” page 93. Uta Ranke Heinemann) 

Was it necessary to spice the story of jesus and  his resurrection  with a lot of other miracles, to have a good spreading effect of Jeus teaching? At that time it was maybe necessary as many regarded miracles as proof of divinity. 
Dionysus, the Greek god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, by the Romans called Bacchus, made a miracle where empty jars were filled with wine and then, wine came out from a water source on the island of Andros. This event was at that time celebrated January 6.

Of course the folllowers of Jesus must have regarded him as far more powerful than the God Dionysus. So Jesus must of course also have made wine out of water like John tells.

The Christians did not like the festivity of the miracle of Dionysus. So the solution was to take over this festivity with  a Epiphany (epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) where we today celebrate the realization that Christ is the Son of God. But at that time it was as “he made his first godlike miracle at the wedding in Cana”.
(Out of topic, To remove a festivity in Rome was not a easy task. The Saturnalia dedicated to Saturn had to be taken over by  a Christian Christmas. )

200 years ago, miracles were a proof of divinity so a adding  of miracles by the apostles in teh Gospels were necessary for the spreading of jesus’ Kerygma (teaching). 

It looks like Jesus talked to the Pharisees when according to 

Matthew 12,39 he said: “It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”  

He said “unfaithful generation” not “unfaithful Pharisees”.
The only sign it will be given”  does this mean that the  other signs were made for the faithful? Hardly. As he talked very bad about Capharnaum that got signs but did not listen.
I have worked hard to understand the miracles told about in the Gospels finding answers with knowledge about Quantum Physics.
I am however now  reconsidering the miracle stories and my own faith.

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my faith

Uta-Ranke Heineman does not believe Jesus made all the miracles as told about in the Gospels.

God and miracles

If there is a God, per definition, a God can do miracles, that is do paranormal actions in Nature we can not explain with our limited reason.  Compared to the Creation of the Universe, a resurrection of a dead or the healing of a sick, is simply nothing.

God and messengers

According to the Bible and the Quran, God has sent several messengers. If God wants to, a messenger can ask for and start miracles. 

I believe that God can do anything but I dont need Jesus to have been a wine god ora  miacolous  healer, to believe in him.

Only one miracle?

So the question is: did Jesus do  only the miracle “of Jonah” as Jesus called his death and resurrection or did he do more like the Gospels authors tell?

The importance of miracles.

2000 years ago it was maybe necessary to make divine signs and miracles to get learners,   get respect and attention among all the messengers that walked around at that time preaching.

Mark 4:24- says: “The report about him (ed. his healing in Galilee)  went out into all Syria. They brought to him all who were  sick, afflicted with various diseases and torments, possessed with demons, epileptics, and paralytics…. Great multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and from beyond the Jordan followed him.”

Jesus about the miracles and signs.

Jesus himself was terribly angry and ddisappointed with several cities (Capharnaum among others) that did not listen to him, despite the miracles and signs. Jesus did not like to make signs and miracles. he wanted the lost people fo Israel to listen.

The need of miracle stories today

A friend of mine, a psychologist, thought that these miracle stories are still needed to attract attention.

I see that in Italy, many Christians do exactly what Jesus did say we shouldn’t about e.g. deeds and praying: “don’t sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues” andpray to your Father who is in secret” Matthew 6:1-6:7

I have listened  many times to  judgements, accuses, bad talking in the Churches.  I had to repeat several times, parts of the mountain speech like “love you enemie”,  “do not judge” etc. I wonder if many ever have listened “with their minds” to Jesus teaching. Many may be happy to read miracle tales.
Even if many still need miracles to come to Church, what is the meaning of all this,  if these people are blinded and do not follow the recommendations and good rules Jesus gave?

 

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Sources

“Nein und Amen” Italian version Ute-Ranke-Heineman

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Conclusion

Gospel miracles or not,  Jesus’ kerygma (preaching) with his parables are what is important. Not only, these  tell me that he was a extraordinary men, a Messiah. I personally dont need miracles to believe that.

I appreciate Rudolf Bultmanns view.  ” that all that matters is the “thatness”, not the “whatness” of Jesus, i.e. only that Jesus existed, preached, and died by crucifixion matters, not what happened throughout his life.” ( Wiki )

I am sure  that Jesus really existed and he died on the pole (staurus) as has been told about in the Gospels.  The Muslims believe that he never died.  He died ad he resurrected after three days like he told when he spoke about the miracle of Jonah. His teaching and his death and resurrection miracle, were the main reasons so many followed him dying like martyrs in Rome and we today do not pray to Roman Gods anymore.
I have paid attention to Jesus’ teaching. His advices have helped me  for many years as a teacher and as a retired human and neighboor, still does. Thanks to his teaching, I try to collect treasures in heaven and I hope to be there at the resurrection

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy  Church,
the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

P.S.

i will continue my effort to write a story that describes Jesus’ years as a young boy, his whatness, I continue my research with a anthropoligical approach. I try  to understand Jesus the background of Jesus teaching and his karisma. I still believe he did not suffer only as an adult. He must have had a difficult childhood too.

The Gospels

Introduction

This post had the title “the apostles looking for Jesus”.
I decided to change the title of this post as the content has become more and more oriented to what the Gospels really are.

I understand now why it was prohibited to translate the Gospels. That a  few were killed by the church because they translated it, is now more understandable. i wrote about this translation story in 
www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2019/01/01/translated-gospel-prohibition

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Talmidin

Talmidin were those who followed Jesus and accurately wrote  what Jesus said and teached.  ( read more
in  
www.thattheworldmayknow.com/rabbi-and-talmidim ), 

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The Gospels

Their Thalmidin memories and documents later reached  Papias of Hierapolis, Paul and the evangelists who wrote Mark, Matthews, Luke’ and John’s gospel.

Lukes gospel is regarded by many to be the most accurate Gospel. There are also suspicions that some New Testament texts have been adjusted to fit the early church dogmas.

About Mark we can read what Clement of  Alexandria said in a letter found  1958,  by Morton Smith, a professor of ancient history at Columbia University,  in the monastery of Mar Saba situated 20 kilometers south-east of Jerusalem.

 “when Peter died as a martyr, Mark [i.e. Mark the Evangelist] came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those of Peter, from which he transferred to his former book [i.e. the Gospel of Mark] the things suitable to whatever makes for progress toward knowledge.

Clement wrote in his letter about the unfalsified Gospel of Mark, later called  “secret gospel  of Mark”. Read more in http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/secretmark.html

The  Gospels were written by authors who never lived with Jesus. The authors made their best to  fill the knowledge gaps. They sought inspiration therefore from the Old Testament. For this reason the early life of Jesus became a a paraphrase of the life of Moses. 

read more about this issue in my page about Mamzer Jesus.

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Jesus teaching

There are little  doubts about what Jesus teached and  said.  Especcially those parts that are against the Christian dogmas should be genuine words of Jesus. Examples are:

  • “Love your enemie “ and Jesus letting his feet be cleaned by a prostitute. Jesus  told with these examples,  that God want the sinner to be converted and not killed. The Catholic  Church defending its dogmas, didn’t follow Jesus, killing and torturing with its inquisition.
  • Jesus choosed Mary of Magdala to inform the disciples about his resurrection. Only now Mary of Magdala is recognized as not having been a prostitute, thanks to pope Francesco , with a special Sunday mass dedication in June.
    Despite Paul regarded women as submitted by men, he recommended several women as good disciples. The Catholic Church has yet not accepted that women could be priests. Neither does Witnesses of Jehova let women lead their meetings.
  • http://www.famigliacristiana.it/articolo/santa-maria-maddalena-la-discepola-calunniata-che-per-prima-vide-la-risurrezione.aspx )
  • “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani” are also  probably genuine  words of Jesus. Jesus wouldnt have said if he regarded himself a God.
  • The Gospels confirm parts of his teaching. The Gospel of Thomas  I(see https://archive.org/details/TheGospelOfThomas) documents several words  of Jesus that are  found also in the other Gospels. The Gospel of Thomas found in Egypt may have been uses by the Gospel writers.
  • Hypocrisy. Jesus is very severe against hypocrisy as in Matthew 32  “they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.”. The behaviour of many priests especcially those high up in the church hierarchy, was indeed examples of hypocrisy

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the Gospel writers never lived with Jesus?

It is often said that the Gospel writers probably never lived with Jesus.  This may be true for Luke who was a greek by birth.

Paul

Paul himself said he experienced Jesus resurrection

“Last of all he appeared to me too, as though I was a child born abnormally.”  (1 Corinthian 15:8 ).

John

John himself claims in John 21:24 that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of the “Beloved Disciple”.

John may have lived with Jesus from the time he was very young, following Jesus from his baptism to his death and resurrection.

He had then access to Marc, Luke and Matthews Gospel  when he started to write his own Gospel. Despite of this, it is very strange that there are in Johns Gospel

  • no parables, 
  • no exorcisms,
  • no sermon on the mount
  • no lord’s prayer,
  • no temptation by the devil,
  • no transfiguration,
  • no institution of the lord’s supper,
  • and almost no references to the “kingdom of God”

looking for Jesus in the  old testament.

The apostels made their best to reconstruct Jesus life and deeds to gie a most reliable historical pciture. This is especcially the case of Luke who added many details Mark did not have,  like for example  names of people. Were something was missing. like about Jesus childhood, the apostles filled in the missing parts with what they believed must have been the truth, searching in the  elder sacred scripts, like the story of Moses.

The childhood and life of Jesus is very much a paraphrase of the life of Moses.

inspired by Pagan believes
The wine miracle is a paraphrase of the miracle of Dionysos .
the saliva blind man miracle ( Marc 8,23, John 9,1 ) is a paraphrase of the miracle of the emperor Vespasiano descirbed by the Historian Tacito. ( “Nein und Amen”, Uta Ranke-Heineman page 95 ) .

the Greek God of medicine  Aesculapius also  made curing miracles that were documented at e.g. his temple in Coo.  ( “Nein und Amen”, Uta Ranke-Heineman page 97 ) .
For the apostles, Jesus  must have been not only a God of wine but also a god of medicine too. the apostles made their best to give a divine image of Jesus with these Pagan Roamn and greek myths. 

I wrote more about Jesus miracles  in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2019/08/04/jesus-miracles-2/

Peter’s eyewittness in Mark

Some of his disciples may  have lived when the first Gospels were written.

Marks gospel was  probably written with the help of Peters eyewitness as Peter was imprisoned in Rome.

Read more at www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com

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The Gospels contraddict each other

There are several contradiction in the Gospels that confuses the thinking readers. Here are some of these:

Genealogy. Matthew says that the father of Joseph was Jacob; Luke 3,23 says that the father of Joseph was Eli;
Luke says Jesus has 57 ancestors included Abraham;
Matthew says he had 42 ancestors that are different;
John does not add a geneaology, maybe John didnt think Jesus needed a royal pedigree to support his authority. Maybe he also thought that being a  descendant of Adam like Luke 3,23 suggests, is not honoring Jesus as everyone is a descendant of Adam.
reasd about Jesus geneaology in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2018/12/25/the-geneaology-of-jesus/

Disciple election. 
Matthew and Luke says that Jesus choosed the disciples in Galilee in the North of Israel; John says that Jesus choosed the disciples in Bethany in the south of Israel.

Easter celebrations. Jesus celebrate according to John, the Easters, that is Hannukka, Sukkopt and probably Shavout;
Mark, Matthew and Luke talk only about one Easter in Jerusalem.

Father prayer. John does not mention Jesus prayer despite he dedicated 5 chapter to the last evening.

John the baptist. Luke says that John the Baptist and Jesus were related;
According to John they seem not even to know each other.

(Source “Inchiesta su Gesù”, Corrado Augias, Mauro Pesce)

According to John Jesus said in Joh 10:30  “I and my Father are one”  Only John reports about this.  This is maybe because only John witnessed this teaching.
This saying has led many to believe and say things like  “Maryam mater dei” that  Mary is  the mother of God and give Jesus he epitet”God” as in God Jesus” like e.g. the article in ww.allaboutjesuschrist.org/jesus-is-god.htm tries to explain.

 I wrote about this issue in a previous post at www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2019/02/10/is-jesus-god/

The pork miracle, Territory of Gadareneses or Gerasenes?

Marc 5, 1 and Luke 8,26 both talk about how Jesus came over to the east side of the Galilee Sea, at the territory of the Gerasenes
Marc 5,1 says “a man with an unclean spirit at once came out from the tombs towards him. 3 The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain,”

One or  two possessed men?

Luke 8,26 says: “They came to land in the territory of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. He was stepping ashore when a man from the city who was possessed by devils came towards him; for a long time the man had been living with no clothes on, not in a house, but in the tombs.”

One wonder why the tombs were 60 chilometers away from the town of Gerasa (today Gerash). 60 km is  equal to about 6 days of intensive walking.
Matthew does the same mistake about Gadara that he says is at the river of the Galilee Sea.

2 possessed men

Matthew 8, 28 talks instead about the Gadarenes with 2 possesed men

“When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on the other side, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs — they were so dangerously violent that nobody could use that path. 29 Suddenly they shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?’ 30 Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding,… ” The 1 unclean spirit showed up to be 2000 spirits when they had to enter the 2000 pigs  owned by  the pig farmer that then lost them all in the Sea.”

NB. Gadara is 10 km away from the river, that is equal to about 1 day of walking.

Read more about these contradtictions in bible.org

Lazarus is only mentioned in John.

the last cry in the synoptic gospels

Matthew 15, 37 that was written first says about Jesus death:

“But Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.”

Luke the doctor, in Luke 23,46 were able  years later, add more details to this last cry.

46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice saying, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.‘ With these words he breathed his last.

Matthew had a third version in Matthew 27,46

46 And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Several names of people in Matthew, Luke and John’s Gospel are not named in the earliest Mark’s gospel despite the fact that Luke and John had access to Mark’s gospel.

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Conclusion

My view about the Gospels and its content has changed drammatically in this reasearch. I experienced  a tough paradigm shift  reading “Nein and Amen” by Uta-Ranke-Heineman and my faith was questioned.

I came out of this well. I still believe that God can do anything. I am writing a post about the miracles in the Gospels that I will publish tomorrow. All those miracles in the Gospels are not essential for my faith in Jesus. The “miracle of Jonah” is enough. He is a great Messiah anyway for his teaching/kerygma and his horrible death and miracolous resurrection. I believe we will met him one day again.

“I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.”
( The last verses of the Apostles creed )