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February 23, 2010

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"Because that makes the Jewish rabbi’s who have been studying those texts for 2600 years tantamount to imbeciles (if I were to believe you on this point). How could they miss such obvious things even someone that knows no Hebrew or has never studied the texts in their original language knows so precisely? It’s mind boggling to believe your claims about the ignorance Judaism might have about it’s own texts. I dare you to go and read some rabbi’s – pick any single one – then come back to me and if you think they are that ‘clueless’."

First, the Hebrew Bible is not Judaism's "own text." That is begging the question. Later Judaism and ancient Israel to whom the texts were given are two completely different philosophical entities. Judaism had been Hellenized by that point, so saying that Christianity was Hellenized and Judaism wasn't is just not true. Even the polemics found in works like Enoch and Jubilees, or those in the War Scroll, have adopted Greek paradigms in terms of their theology. As I said before, the question is not whether culture has had an influence, but which culture was influenced by God for that very purpose. An atheistic one doesn't qualify, and argument will remain lost on any orthodox Christian if you continue to advocate for such a hermeneutical shift.

Societyvs., I've never yet been able to find a reason cited for dating the gospels later than 70AD other than a naturalistic assumption that they must have been written later because they predict the destruction of the temple (in 70AD). In other words, the prediction must have been written after the fact because it's not possible to predict things.

If you've read of any actual reasons, please let me know because I've been trying to find out if there's an argument or merely an anti-supernatural bias.

I would challenge everyone on here to take on this simple exercise.

(1) Go and study Mormonism (an off-shoot of Orthodox Christianity - which tried to replace it)

(2) Use your history and scriptures to find the illogic in what Joseph Smith did - from his own writings to his Book of Mormon.

(3) You will see the glaring weaknesses in many respects - from historical analysis problems, to copying from the King James text in the Book of Mormon, to the usurping of the Christian lineage based on what can only be called 'trumped up theology'.

It's not hard, everyone go and try it - I have - was a great experience to defend the faith in that regards and 'seek the truth' in that endeavor. Very fun.

Now after that - let's do the same with a study of Christianity and Judaism and see the outcome.

Read all the literature of the rabbinics od the day, study the history of the time, the gospel creations, the letters, and basic Judaism as compared to Christianity (then and even now).

The problem that you will find is really simple...Mormonism wasn't the only one to redefine the way a religion should be expressed.

Yeah Mormonism tried to steal the monicker of the 'true church', added 'new scriptures', and trued to basically usurp the Christian identity.

I am just asking to be real is all.

"First, the Hebrew Bible is not Judaism's "own text."" (Hodge)

I never said that Hodge, I am fairly aware of the Mishnah and Talmud - commentaries on the Tanakh...thus I said rabbinical writings.

"Judaism had been Hellenized by that point, so saying that Christianity was Hellenized and Judaism wasn't is just not true" (Hodge)

True, to a degree. I would ask some simple questions about this Hellenization you speak of.

Did Judaism forsake the 'One God' idea?

Did Judaism forsake ideas like circumcision and kosher laws?

Did Judaism forsake their take on the messianic idea?

I mean it's true some hellenization occured, no probs there, but did they add in more books to the Tanakh? You mention Enoch and Jubilee's - but they never made the Jewish canon for some reason.

I think it's a grand argument about hellenization - but it's also pushing too much onto Judaism as if it copied the Christian community in it's adoption of this process. I didn't see Judaism become the official religion of the state at any point....wonder why exactly?

"As I said before, the question is not whether culture has had an influence, but which culture was influenced by God for that very purpose" (Hodge)

I think a better question woud be how much was too much Hellenization?

"In other words, the prediction must have been written after the fact because it's not possible to predict things." (Amy)

The funny thing Amy is they are being 'nice' with their actual assumptions on the writing of the gospel texts. In fact. nothing older than a piece of John fragment from about 125AD is the oldest piece of any of those gospels they have.

The texts could have various additions to them, could be older than 125 AD, or were written in a time period either just after the first war, or maybe even prior (as is claimed by on church father). There are many things we do not know.

Those assumptions though are based on the language used in the texts themselves.

Jesus seems to be fighting with the Pharisee's for some reason in and out of those gospels...not sure why though...the Sadducee's actually ran the temple? This evidence can work both ways...however it makes more sense Christianity was vying for the heart and soul of Judaism after the destruction of the temple (to be the 'it' faith of Israel).

And if you read the gospels from Mark - to Matthew - to Luke - John...it does fit into that lineage pretty good concerning the debate with Judaism. Mrk is rather less confrontational, Matthew derides the Pharisee's to some degree, Luke doesn't care too much (but it's in there)...however John is pretty clear on what he thinks of Judaism.

It is clear, if read in what seems like their likely order, they move towards a harsher take on Judaism...culminating in John. It is also quite clear things may have been added - like a virgin birth story to Matthew, an ending to Mark, or even an further ending to Matthew (not conclusive).

It makes sense if one understand the biblical culture of writing. For example, they think 3 different people wrote Isaiah - adding portions to make it 66 chapters...same is thougt of the Torah (JEPD analysis).

Now these aren't analysis' to take lightly - they are based on linguistics and te study of the Greek and Hebrew in each...so their is some serious substance to some of this.

Societyvs,

How can we be sure it a progressive revelation and not just humans becoming more in-tune with God? Maybe it was the human writers that changed their wording and not God. I admit times do change and our progressive revelation of what God is does change – I think we are all pretty in full admission of that. However, I also admit the human language was evolving at the same time and new concepts of explanation were being used – did God change…not likely…but our writing on Him did....I think progressive revelation just may be a fact or we are beginning to open our eyes more to the possibilities of God.

This is all good enough and makes the case perfectly well even as you admit it. So the fact that something changed when Jesus entered history does not make any argument against the interpretations we have as something changed many times within Judaic belief. The fact that the supporters of the status quo did not recognize and Him and His teachings also tells us nothing about the source of our information because this happened throughout their history as well.

As for ‘progressive revelation’, nowhere in the 1000 years the beginning of the writing of those OT texts and another 2000 more on top of that of history did Judaism actually find a Triune God (fact). The language we use about God may change – but his actual Being/Substance does not.

True. But before Abraham He didn't promise them the land of Canaan either, and before Noah He didn't promise to flood the earth once and then never again, and before Moses He didn't instruct them how to make a tabernacle or command them not to gather manna on the Sabbath, etc.
God revealed different things at different times. Jesus told the Jews how the OT was all about Him. When Paul went from synagogue to synagogue he reasoned with the Jews there (right where you admit they had access to the OT) and he proved to them using the Scripture that Jesus was the Messiah. He couldn't do this unless 1) the facts of His life were already common knowledge and 2) they lined up to Jewish satisfaction with the OT.

The temple was destroyed in the first war in 70 AD – I thought everyone knew this.
Then why'd you say it?
No temple has existed since that period of time (as one example of why things changed). Secondly, during the temple period in Jesus’ life the Sadducee’s ran the temple – they died off in the first war…their view of the sacrificial system was basically over (died with them). Thirdly, after the temple was destroyed and the Pharisee’s started running synagogues (which became the main expression in Judaism) there was no temple anymore so they developed new ideas around the Torah and Prophets concerning sacrifice (ie: charity and repentance being great examples).

Good, other than your condescension this paragraph is quite helpful. So you admit that Jews who were reading their Scriptures had different views of things and couldn't convince one another of their interpretations. We have these same arguments about different interpretations over the resurrection, the existence of angels, the cases for divorce, etc. Exactly what you claim as evidence against Jesus' conformity to God's revelation in the OT. You admit to two groups with different views of the sacrificial system and the centrality of the Temple and suddenly new ideas of charity and repentance. So there is nothing in the fact that they didn't all interpret Jesus' life as He told them to that gives evidence that that interpretation is actually a Gentile invention. Of course many thousands of Jews in Jerusalem and then many more is diaspora did accept the interpretation.

Nonetheless, Jesus seemed to be a little different than each area but seems quite Pharisee in interpretation (rabbinic). You can note in the gospels, for example, that Jesus never actually goes against what this group is teaching but the hypocrisy of their actions. Jesus is seen going against the Sadducee’s on the resurrection.

Good, you continue to make the same admission as above. And here you appeal again to the continuity of the Gospels with the OT even as you try to undermine it.

This is based on a variety of studies under ‘higher criticism’ and you’ll be shocked to know most Christian leaders do not dispute these dates. How can they, there is no better evidence available at this moment in time.

Don't over-estimate how easily I am shocked. No, in fact, the best dating has the entire NT written before 70 with the possible exception of John's writings being pre-90. In fact we have copies of fragments of Gospels (on codices, yet) dated to the 60s, putting their writing no later than the 50s. And, as I'm sure you'll not be shocked to hear, they are dependent in many cases upon earlier written source material and are found right where they were written and interpreted - among the Jews.

John is really the only gospel pointing to claims of divinity and at the same time messing that up – as if confused on the issue.
All of the Gospels demonstrate His divinity.
All I am saying is there is no need for a virgin birth based on bad interpretation of Isaiah 7:14.

It's not based upon Isaiah. Isaiah is used, after the fact, as Matthew does with much of the OT, to show that the life Jesus lived comports to things written as prophecy in the OT. The writer of Matthew was trained as a Pharisee himself and did not invent a story based upon his own faulty reading of the central book of his own religion. Arguing against your claim that the virgin birth was invented is your own over-reach: the story was not necessary.

Daron you should look into this – it was believed via this virgin birth that Jesus was able to be both divine and human at the same time – this gave him the ability to do this special thing. I am saying there is no need for this invention (which it is if you study the Hebrew on that word)

Yes thanks, I have looked into it. No, studying the almah, bethulah, parthenos connection does not demonstrate this to have been a mistake. And it's not Mary's virginity which "allowed" Jesus to be divine.
The reason for the virgin birth is to provide a miraculous entrance into the world, not to make Jesus divine. It was neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for His divinity.

If you check that passage – it’s about Hezekiah – the term mighty God actually comes from a name in that passage.

If you'll check you'll see Isaiah also said he would rule forever, which he knew HEzekiah could not do. And Isaiah would not apply to Hezekiah every name, not just God, with which he refers to YHWH.
In reference to Hezekiah, are you claiming that the Jews never understood their prophecies in terms of dual fulfillment?

Hmm.
My previous comment has gone missing. If it continues AWOL I'll reproduce it later. But I returned because I forgot that you said somewhere above that the Jews never got to the Trinity by studying their own Scriptures. That's true, of course, but you've admitted that knowledge and language develops as we go. And certainly the Jews knew that God could be in Heaven, manifest Himself physically incarnated on earth, and fill His followers and empower them with HIs Holy Spirit. Sure enough, the idea needed a fuller development, as did their presentation of the after-life, but the elements were there for Jesus when he showed His disciples that the entire Scriptures were about Him.

I have made two comments here that are not appearing. Could the site moderators see if they are available yet?
Thanks.

My apologies, all, for my confusion. I didn't realize there was a second page for comments where mine were showing up.
In other words ... nevermiiind.

Becoming a rabbi, studying monotheism, learning Hebrew, studying Hebrew Scriptures, and following Yeshua.
http://www.man-na.com/Rabbi_Max_Wertheimer.htm

" My teaching was wrong! "

Rabbi Lichtenstein, who also knew the Hebrew texts and believed in Yeshua as Messiah.
http://www.MessianicAssociation.org/bio-lichtenstein.htm

Isaiah 9 is and was considered Messianic and the names for God are applied to Messiah.
http://www.messianicart.com/chazak/yeshua/isaiah9.htm

Professor of Hebrew, James D. Price:
"""""""""
But what they really give is a modern Jewish interpretation, one that has developed as the result of debates with Christians since the time of Christ.
The truth is that there was a strong Messianic tradition long before the time of Christ, a tradition that was well known among the Jews of Jesus' day. It was this tradition that the early Christians knew and applied to Jesus This tradition is preserved in the pre-Christian translations of the Old Testament made by the Jews, such as the Septuagint (LXX), and the Aramaic Targums. These translations were somewhat standardized by the time of Christ, so the Messianic traditions contained in them have remained rather unaffected by later debates with the Christians. The post-Christians translations made by the Jews reflect the effects of their debates with the Christians and their resultant anti-Christian bias. It is no surprise that the post-Christian Jewish apologists switched from the Septuagint to the later Greek translations of the Old Testament.

The ancient Jewish Messianic traditions are also still present in the Talmudic literature, although somewhat tainted by the post-Christian debates. These ancient Jewish sources indicate that the passages in the Old Testament understood by the early Christians as Messianic were also understood by the ancient Jews as Messianic. Alfred Edersheim, a Christian Jew and scholar of the nineteenth century, one much more acquainted with the complexities of Messianic prophecy than Thomas Paine, compiled a list of 456 such references to the Messiah in ancient Jewish literature: 75 from the Pentateuch, 243 from the Prophets, and 138 from the Writings, supported by more than 558 separate quotations from the rabbinic literature.[1] So, although Lippard and Sigal may not regard the passages as Messianic prophecies, they were regarded as such by both ancient Jews and Christians. Lippard and Sigal have essentially disregarded these ancient Jewish Messianic traditions, and have invented a modern definition of what constitutes a Messianic prophecy--one that suits their own apologetic agenda. I will call attention to these ancient traditions in my responses to Lippard's discussion of specific Messianic passages.

James D. Price, Ph. D.
Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament
"""""""""""""

http://www.messianicart.com/chazak/yeshua/responsetoskeptic.htm

"I would challenge everyone on here to take on this simple exercise."

The problem with your analogy is that Judaism had changed too. There was not an emphasis in pre-Hellenistic/post-Sinai Judaism on kosher laws. The idea that there is one God is held by Christianity as well. The question isn't whether God is one, but whether God can be revealed as one being, but more than one person. Finally, the messianic idea within Judaism was nationalistic, but specifically against the Greeks and Romans. That didn't happen. So what you've provided here is a basis for rejecting Judaism's interpretation of the Messiah at the time of Christ.
The Mishna and Talmud are later works that reflect there own cultures and times (See Neusner on that one). Instead, I think that you are ignoring vasts amount of evidence when it comes to the fact that Judaism was Hellenized, which is clear from every piece of 2d Temple literature I can think of (Philo, the Pseudepigraphical writings, the apocrypha, the DSS, etc.). You're list is arbitrary. I could easily ask if Judaism kept the Priestly view of the Messiah as much as the kingly, the divine view as much as the human view, the purpose of the kosher laws as a picture of the community's relationship with God as much as a bunch of religious rituals to make oneself feel righteous. I'm not simply right that Judaism was Hellenized to a degree. I'm right about that period. Later Judaism interprets the physical promises in a spiritual sense, the same as Christianity does. I would suggest becoming more familiar with the literature before you become too set in this idea to consider otherwise. Just my two cents.

>>Those assumptions though are based on the language used in the texts themselves.

Can you give me an example of what you're talking about or point me to where someone makes a case for this?

"Can you give me an example of what you're talking about or point me to where someone makes a case for this?" (Amy)

I would, but this is a long exercise and the best bet is to read Wikpedia and various other sources on the 'Q' theory to get the point of the theories and why they were developed.

However, I have pointed out the fights with the Pharisee's that appear often enough in the gospels from Mark to John...why? Why the Pharisee's exactly?

The Saducee's actually ran the temple (alongside the Romans) and were the religious power-house and elitists of the day...if their should be problems with any faith for 'hypocrisy' you would think it would be this cast of characters...but this is not the case. Jesus says maybe a few lines ever to the religious leaders of his day (the same religious leaders we are lead to believe had him killed). Which is really odd, since Jesus is seen in constant debate with Pharisee's.

Also, for the Galilee region, via the study of historical literature about Galilee it is being found out that this area was not filled with Pharisee's - being countryside territory (Pharisee's are found more in the city centres). Jesus likely had very little contact with this group because according to his own preaching and wanderings - he avoided cities almost all the time.

That's one issue.

The messiah as God issue is another one that reveals a jump in theology.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not link Jesus being messiah as equal to God...one could say it never even crosses their mind since it cannot be found in their writings.

When we get to John it is all but fact in that gospel. Which is a huge leap from Judaism founded beliefs about the messiah to new inventions about what the messiah means...which makes me believe John was not written by someone Jewish.

It also doesn't help that John reads anti-semitically in nature. It uses the term 'Jew' over 60 times in it's chapters. That's a huge linguistic leap when you think it (a) says that word almost more than twice as much as the rest of the NT combined and (b) the synoptics use that term a total of 15 times in the 3 books combined.

So yeah, if we dare look a little closer and study some of these cross-anaysis' of the gospels (even the whole NT) we can see some things do not add up.

"Finally, the messianic idea within Judaism was nationalistic, but specifically against the Greeks and Romans. That didn't happen. So what you've provided here is a basis for rejecting Judaism's interpretation of the Messiah at the time of Christ." (Hodge)

Okay, so what is it you are claiming I am saying exactly?

"The idea that there is one God is held by Christianity as well. The question isn't whether God is one, but whether God can be revealed as one being, but more than one person" (Hodge)

Well, this one is easy - the answer is 'no' according to Judaism - then and now - no amount of Hellenization has changed that.

"There was not an emphasis in pre-Hellenistic/post-Sinai Judaism on kosher laws" (Hodge)

Maybe not, but it wouldn't have been a concern in their own communities...with a foreign group running the show it becomes a constant inssue. This is not even debateable for a Christian - our scriptures tell us this is clearly the case - from Acts to Paul's letters.

"I'm not simply right that Judaism was Hellenized to a degree. I'm right about that period. Later Judaism interprets the physical promises in a spiritual sense, the same as Christianity does" (Hodge)

I agree aspects of Judaism were hellenized or they were effected by Hellenization - fact. However to make the claim Judaism was hellenized means what exactly? There is very little proof for this in the rabbinic writings - both prior and after and Greece and Rome came to stay.

In fact we find Judaism trying to retina it's lands (Via wars), it's temple, it's kosher laws, it's monotheism, etc. Very little about Judaism is changed by the hellenization happening around them - in the sense that the religion changes many of it's meanings.

As for the messiah ideal, during and prior to life of Jesus it is proven the idea is not linked to God and is both a physical (Maccabee's) and a spiritual idea (Essene's). The idea of the messiah is linked to the land of Israel, a king, and freedom from the oppressors...read on Bar Kohkba which happened well after Christianity appeared and rabbi Akiva declared this man 'messiah' (he led the 2nd war against Rome).

So you hellenization idea, which may have some merit, lacks the problems I see in Christianity with hellenization.

Christianity, from what can be seen, almost did a 180 from the original Judaic ideas it built from (we cannot say the same thing about Judaism).

In Christianty we have a 'virgin birth', a messiah that is equal to God, the Holy Spirit that is a 3rd personality of God, a Trinity, the 'son of god' as a literal term, sacrifice of human on behalf of humans (atonement), etc.

Now I know none of those ideas have been held in Judaism pre-Christianity and Post-Christianity...and Christianity claims to have risen from Judaism.

Question is one of 2 things - did Christianity rise from Judaism at all? And if so, when did it start changing the terms of the agreement?

Just stopping in to say that I've read through two pages of comments and that the latest comment by Societyvs, in a single statement, says it all: "did Christianity rise from Judiasm at all?"

If that is the question, debate is truly futile. I doubt that anyone who reads these pages could convince you of it.

"If that is the question, debate is truly futile. I doubt that anyone who reads these pages could convince you of it." (Tene)

Problem is Tene I am convinced this is exactly so...not sure the denominations in general are admitting this fact per se.

article on emergent movement

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=3678

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