Originally posted by bigredenquirerI am with smadewell in appreciating the value of a historical man. I also have found greater belief
in a creator God now that I have been able to overcome the smoke-screen of a dying-resurrecting man. Take Jesus (the Roman Catholic Church creation)
out of the equation and there is a wonderful and very personal path to God.
Well, it's not just the RCC's mythos one must get back beyond in questing after the historical man -- as I'm sure you're aware. One must also go
back beyond ante-Nicene "Churchanity" and its ecclesiastical struggle against their Gnostic opponents.
Further, the two prong approach in this quest is what I recommend.
First, one must understand WHO the various proto-Gnostic opponents of the Apostle Paul were, while keeping in mind that Paul himself is not always
fully informed about where these opponents are coming from (since he's often working on second hand reports about what they're teaching and what
trouble they're causing), so his corrective epistles have to be examined critically.
Further, we learn from the rabbinic literature that Gamaliel had disciples who were selected to study the Greek literature in addition to their Jewish
studies, so that they might function as emissaries and/or liaisons to the Gentile Powers-That-Were. Doubtless, Paul was one of these disciples. So,
despite his command and use of the Greek language, he is still very much a Separatist (Pharisaic) scholar, who is thinking in Hebrew and Aramaic,
while attempting to communicate and translate (rather than transliterate
) his proto-rabbinic concepts into Greek for the benefit of a Greek
speaking Gentile audience and Greek speaking Jews living in the Diaspora.
Secondly, one must place the gospels back into their proper historical, linguistic and cultural context and understand that the Greek texts were (at
least in part) based upon an original Hebrew narrative of Yeshua's life and/or an original Hebrew collection of his sayings.
So, the man himself, Yeshua ben Yosef, and his sayings, must be read and understood through the eyes of one familiar with the proto-rabbinic
Separatism (Pharisaism) that was current among the people, sages, miracle workers, pious ones, prophets and messianic figures of the Common Era.
In short, one SHOULD NOT discount the miracles Yeshua wrought anymore than SHOULD discount the miracles wrought by others living in that cultural
milieu and period, as recorded for us in the rabbinic literature.
Additionally, because his disciples believed in the Resurrection of the Dead ... one SHOULD NOT dismiss their
belief that Yeshua died and was
resurrected from the dead - not unlike the resurrection of Moses, which was part of the accepted Oral Tradition of that period and which we find
recorded for us in the literature of that time. Whatever one's personal doubts on that count ... one SHOULD accept that this was the belief held by
Yeshua's immediate disciples, etc.
Still.... The Christology and theology of "Jesus, the god-man" belongs to a later period and is the result of the religous syncretism that
influenced Paul's proto-Gnostic opponents, who, sadly, gained a foothold among the early Gentile Believers.
[edit on 12-6-2005 by smadewell]