reply to post by jmdewey60
Thanks for some of the observations and arguments on the book.
I can imagine that the "Jewish" issue in Revelations will cause more concern than the other arguments of Kirsch, especially since the fundamentalist
Christians currently most obsessed with Revelations could be considered "Christian Zionists", or in some cases "Messianic Jews".
I've been a bit side-tracked with other reading obligations.
What I can shortly say is that the points raised by Kirsch on p.14 are again mentioned later in the book.
I'm not sure my Bible interpretations speak of "Jews" (but I'll check), and the terms Hebrews, Israelites or Judeans were more common. As you also
seem to suggest, terms like "Jew" as apart from "Christian", were still under construction. But that's what Kirsch points out too: differences between
Judaic sects, and the author of Revelations condemning the "sell-outs" in a context of Roman colonialism and oppression.
A stunning book that I bought at the flea-market is: After Jesus: The triumph of Christianity
(The Reader's Digest Association, Pleasantville:
This has been a very helpful companion on Kirsch, and it can be read from a faithful or simply historical position.
I've just read on the confusions in early Christianity, and what really differentiated groups like the Pharisees, Sudducees, and Essenes.
During the life of St. Paul there were huge debates about the "God fearers" (gentiles who attended synagogues, but were not willing to undergo the
painful hazards of adult circumcision, or the dietary laws).
Some Christian churches (which were localized sects) demanded that circumcision came before baptism for gentiles, while St. Paul eventually decided
the Mosaic law was not applicable to gentiles who turned to Christ, and suggested that they only help to fund the poor in Jerusalem.
However that was not the final word on the matter for other sects.
Then there was also the unclear status of older sects, like the Samaritans, who formed the only native population of the Judean region that was
recruited into the Roman army.
So Revelations was indeed written at a confusing time, but it probably helped to define Christianity as apart from Judaism over the coming
About three centuries later, the Catholic Church infused Christianity with paganism on the pretext of distancing itself from the Jews.
Luther and the Protestant "reformation" kept a huge dash of antisemitism in his writings.
Kirsch refers again to the paradox of "Christian Zionisms" on pp.194-210.
I think ultimately the author of Revelations (Luther first wanted to leave it out completely) did have a fervor against certain people and groups
(Romans and the priestly upper-class; Hellenists and sell-outs), and although Christianity preached peace (or passive resistance), the Judeans did
have a major uprising in AD 70, which destroyed the more war-like groups, but not necessarily their anti-authoritarian mind-set.
edit on 10-2-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)