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Featured Pre-Nicene vs Nicene Christianity

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Vouthon, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    Lmao, that joke is :handok::D
     
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Wait! Did I miss the punch line?
     
  3. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    I guess it wasn't 'brief' enough - all that Greek philosophy ontological stuff :p

    As the old adage goes, "it's all Greek to me".
     
  4. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Unfortunately I do not have a lot of knowledge about the immediate changes. I could throw thoughts at you, but I probably better had not. Its just a derail.

    ...for the purpose of unification?
    I must first demote my opinion, because its only based on limited historical knowledge. I don't 'Know', but I'll tell you what I personally think -- for real absolutely. What I think may change, so its just something for you to duck. It is generally accepted that encroaching political pressure surrounding Christology goes back further than the Nicene Council. These people lived in tribes, empires and in kingdoms and did not live under governments which promised freedom of speech as a right. They had so little in common with our notions of public discourse that we cannot take their public discourse at face value. Nothing they write in their gospels, in their public speeches, in their published works can be taken at face value. What they wrote in public was going to be read different ways by different people. This entire matter of the Nicene Council was a public matter. It was written at the point of a sword.

    The bishops, assuming they knew their scriptures (and they did), would have relied upon the wisdom of Proverbs, of Ecclesiastes. They would have protected Catholicism and Judaism which they cherished by lying to the political officials or at least by letting those political officials fool themselves. We cannot pick up a copy of Eusebius and pretend that he didn't know this -- or Tacitus or Josephus or any of them. They didn't live in the modern Commonwealth or today's Europe. They lived in Rome or Egypt of Byzantium etc. They knew the politicians would be out for power and blood and would want to hear lies, things that pleased themselves.

    "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. 6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one's feet or drinking poison. 7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool." (Proverbs ch26 v4-7)

    Of course they knew this. Of course they did! Of course we can't take their public words as guidance for our private lives but only as tiny windows into what they truly wanted to say.

    "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matthew ch7 v6)

    Of course the wise didn't throw their pearls before swine. They fed swine what the swine wanted to eat, and so you and I must go beyond what was said to and by those prattling politicans who thought to use Christ as a personal tool. They reached out to touch the ark, and they were repelled. So catholicism and tradition are somewhat opaque based upon only what has been written in public.
     
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  5. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    I read somewhere that the Jewish bishops were notably uninvited to the council.
     
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  6. lostwanderingsoul

    lostwanderingsoul Well-Known Member

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    Here is another thought. Today is suppossed to honor the "holy family". Today's church says that the holy family is Mary and Joseph and Jesus. But the Bible says that only God is holy. So the real holy family is God the Father and his Son Jesus. The early Christians would never have said that Mary or Joseph were holy. Calling them holy today takes away from the true understanding that only God is holy.
     
  7. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    It does????? Not the Bible I use.

    Look, go to an online Strong's Concordance and look up the word holy. You will find that there are holy books, holy people, holy places, holy buildings, holy objects, holy times, etc. Many many MANY uses of the word holy. But only God is "holy, holy, holy."
     
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  8. lostwanderingsoul

    lostwanderingsoul Well-Known Member

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    Yes, only God is holy. But the Catholic church said that yesterday was "holy family" day and they said the holy family was Mary and Joseph and Jesus. This thread is about how beliefs have changed since the time of Jesus. I am saying that no one in Jesus times would have said Mary and Joseph were holy. That is a new idea and it makes people ignore the fact that only God is holy.
     
  9. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    NO,you are misrepresenting me. I said that only God was the triple holy holy holy. Many things, places, times, AND PEOPLE in the Bible are holy. For example, the entire People of Israel is a nation of priests, a holy people set apart for God's purposes. Now I'm not saying that Jesus Mary and Joseph were holy in some way other than by being Jews. I'm just saying that you can't automatically say they weren't "because only God is holy."
     
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  10. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    My understanding, is that all 1,800 bishops were invited to the 'universal meeting' (technical term "ecumenical council") of the church in 325. Of that number, roughly 318 bishops are thought to have actually answered the summons, arriving with their respective retinue of deacons and lay advisors ('acolytes').

    Apparently, attendant bishops came even from Britain and Sassanid Persia (beyond the confines of the Roman Empire) to 'argue their case'.

    Having myself no prior knowledge of this 'non-invitation' of Jewish bishops, I conducted a search online and did find this from a book entitled, Faith of the Ages: The Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith (2012) by the American Pulitzer-prize winning historian Richard Rhoades, which reiterates this claim you've read elsewhere (see paragraph 3):


    upload_2020-12-28_19-32-14.png



    That could also explain the very important 'calendar' decision that was adopted in relation to the celebration of Easter at the Council:


    First Council of Nicaea - Wikipedia


    The feast of Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, as Christians believe that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus occurred at the time of those observances.

    As early as Pope Sixtus I, some Christians had set Easter to a Sunday in the lunar month of Nisan. To determine which lunar month was to be designated as Nisan, Christians relied on the Jewish community. By the later 3rd century some Christians began to express dissatisfaction with what they took to be the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar. They argued that contemporary Jews were identifying the wrong lunar month as the month of Nisan, choosing a month whose 14th day fell before the spring equinox.[55]

    Christians, these thinkers argued, should abandon the custom of relying on Jewish informants and instead do their own computations to determine which month should be styled Nisan, setting Easter within this independently computed, Christian Nisan, which would always locate the festival after the equinox. They justified this break with tradition by arguing that it was in fact the contemporary Jewish calendar that had broken with tradition by ignoring the equinox, and that in former times the 14th of Nisan had never preceded the equinox.[56] Others felt that the customary practice of reliance on the Jewish calendar should continue, even if the Jewish computations were in error from a Christian point of view.[57]

    The controversy between those who argued for independent computations and those who argued for continued reliance on the Jewish calendar was formally resolved by the Council, which endorsed the independent procedure that had been in use for some time at Rome and Alexandria. Easter was henceforward to be a Sunday in a lunar month chosen according to Christian criteria—in effect, a Christian Nisan—not in the month of Nisan as defined by Jews.[6] Those who argued for continued reliance on the Jewish calendar (called "protopaschites" by later historians) were urged to come around to the majority position. That they did not all immediately do so is revealed by the existence of sermons,[58] canons,[59] and tracts[60] written against the protopaschite practice in the later 4th century.



    However, that evidently did not 'extirpate' the problem - as the orthodox church of the time saw it - of Jewish believers in Jesus continuing to adhere to the law, for a number of centuries later at the Second Council of Nicaea, we find this:


    The Bishops at the Second Council of Nicaea: Canon 8 on the Treatment of Jews Converted to Christianity (787 CE)


    The Bishops at the Second Council of Nicaea: Canon 8 on the Treatment of Jews Converted to Christianity (787 CE)

    Since some of those who come from the religion of the Hebrews mistakenly think to make a mockery of Christ who is God, pretending to become Christians, but denying Christ in private by both secretly continuing to observe the Sabbath and maintaining other Jewish practices, we decree that they shall not be received to communion or at prayer or into the church, but rather let them openly be Hebrews according to their own religion; they should not baptize their children or buy, or enter into possession of, a slave


    The decree is, of course, referring to Jewish followers of Jesus who, at that time, evidently still existed and kept Torah observance somewhere in the Eastern Roman Empire.

    In the long-run, it could arguably be said to have been of benefit to both faiths that strict borderlines were drawn at the ecumenical councils beginning with Nicaea in 325 CE, between "Jew" and "Christian".

    For those in that sort of 'precarious' bardo-realm in the middle, many of whom were still attached to synagogues in the fourth century according to St. Epiphanius in his Panarion, the imposition of Nicene orthodoxy was most unfortunate. As he informs us, writing in 374–377, some fifty years after the Nicene council:

    The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis


    upload_2020-12-28_19-48-17.png upload_2020-12-28_19-49-4.png


    We learn from St. Jerome (345-420) in a letter to St. Augustine, that these 'Nazarenes' - whom St. Epiphanius in the above said were neither in accord with Christians or Jews, neither 'fish nor fowl' and about whom he had no idea if they regarded Jesus as just a "mere man" or if they affirmed the Virgin Birth - were still extant in fourth century synagogues even though the Rabbis ('Pharisees' as he calls them) also regarded them as minim (heretics).

    He calls them Ebionites:


    CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 75 (Augustine) or 112 (Jerome)


    What shall I say of the Ebionites who pretend to be Christians? To-day there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans [Minim], and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called 'Nasarenes'; they believe that Christ, the son of God...to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe. But while they pretend to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither.

    But, c'est la vie.
     
    #30 Vouthon, Dec 28, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  11. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, I'll do my best, but I have such strong feelings about this issue that if pressed, I'm really going to have to work at holding back, as I would be inclined to stop over the line into debating the issue. I would start by questioning the need for these creeds. They are supposedly based on biblical teachings, and yet their mere existence implies that the Bible does an unsatisfactory job of explaining the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost -- all of whom I believe to be "God." I'd say that Jesus' understanding of His relationship with His Father was pretty straightforward. He saw Himself as literally being the Son of the Almighty God. He worshipped His Father as His God. He said that His Father was greater than He. He prayed to His Father. He did His Father's will. At one point -- in Gethsemane -- we even see a brief divergence of their wills, when Christ asks that the cup be removed from Him if possible, but then says, "Thy will, not mine, be done." The bottom line is that Jesus recognized His subservience to His Father and never claimed to be "coequal" to Him.

    I don't believe that Jesus ever even gave a moment's thought to "neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance." These were terms that would have been very meaningful to a fourth or fifth-century Greek-educated Christian theologian, but they were completely foreign to a first-century Jewish convert to Christianity. Jesus' contemporaries -- His Apostles and disciples -- would have been every bit as baffled by them as I am. If all revelation from God to His Church ceased with the deaths of the Apostles, then perhaps the churchmen who lived several centuries later should have been willing to simply abide by the pure and simple language of the scriptures. Christians who accept these Creeds insist that they are merely "summaries" of what the Bible teaches. I see them as "expansions" and "extrapolations."

    I recognize that the Father and the Son are "one God." As a matter of fact, my denomination (Mormonism) teaches that they are. But I don't believe they are "one" in the way that the creeds say they are. You will find no evidence in first or even early second-century Christianity that the followers of Jesus saw them the way the creeds describe them, either. I can't identify and pre-Nicene sect of early Christianity that explicitly expresses my views, for the simple reason that I see the merging of Greek theosophical thought with the early Christian scriptures to have been a gradual one.

    Incidentally, I recently finished a very short little book called, "What is the Trinity?" It was written by Dale Tuggy, a university professor with a Ph.D. from Brown University. His fields of expertise are analytic theology, philosophy of religion and religious studies. I bought the book because I genuinely wanted to understand the Trinity from as rationale perspective as was possible. It was a fairly easy read and very worthwhile.
     
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  12. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    "The Council of Nicea was attended by 318 bishops, none of whom were of Jewish ancestry." Anti-Judiasm and the Council of Nicea
     
  13. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Pre-nicene era had a Christianity with out an official canon. The major "other" christian faction in that era believed that Jesus was a creation, and did not exist forever with God. He was created as the word of God and son of God during a time period prior to creation, and all creation were created through Jesus. But he is not coequal, nor is he coeternal. That was Arius, and later the so called "orthodoxy" called him a heretic and this is now known as the Arian heresy.

    Prior to that was the marcionic period which was another "heresy" where he believed the only way to reconcile the divide between the OT and the NT characters of God was to determine there are two Gods. Jesus was an illusion, and it was all made to appear, not that he was actually present on earth. He also seems to have had a NT canon with a much fewer number of books.

    Post Nicene era, the trinity was still developing and there were many many many differences between one another. The man created the word Trinity didn't believe in the trinity as we know it now. Nevertheless, it was during the time of Athanasias the trinity was codified making many models "heresies". This is the Christianity we know now, generally.

    Pre Nicene era there were many christianities. Many. There was also no Bible canon. So this is the most concise summary I could come up with.
     
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  14. Ehav4Ever

    Ehav4Ever Well-Known Member

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    Interesting topic.

    As a Jew, I see it like this. Pre-Nicaea Christianity was obviously not the same as Post-Nicaea. Further, one can probably conclude that pre-pre-Nicaea was also different than pre-Nicaea. What I find interesting is that the original Jewish Christians by the time of Nicaea appear to have already historically disappeared, as a indentifiable community, possible a century or so earlier. Meaning that essentially every family member/descendent of Jewish individuals mentioned in the New Testament were no longer identifiable and were not a part of the Nicaea decision making process - which is interesting and strange to me.

    It also appears that, historically speaking, all post-Nicaea Christianity is defined more by Nicaea doctrines and less by what ever the systems were before it. I.e. the lense by which modern Christianity seems to view its ideas seems based on the Nicaea rulings and not on the types of Christianity that existed before it.

    What I find interesting is that the change seems to have created an immediate rarety of Christian education of Christian texts in the langauges they were originally written in (Greek, Pesheeta, Pesheetto, Ge'ez texts) - except in minority populations. Also, what appears to be the beleif that Christian concepts, popular today, were the exact same as what was present pre-Nicaea and even immediately post Nicaea. Almost, like one of the Nicaea principles was to keep textual education and language skills out of the hands of the average Christian as well as the suppression of texts that could have proceeded/contradicted the ones they were extolling.

    Lastly, there seems to be a huge historical gap between the Christians of the 2nd century to Nicaea for which modern Christianity appears to mostly lack awareness in.

    Yet, that is my take on it.
     
    #34 Ehav4Ever, Dec 29, 2020
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  15. PearlSeeker

    PearlSeeker Active Member

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    Some notes:

    1. The first council in Jerusalem enabled universal ("catholic") Christianity alongside original Jewish Christianity. From then on you don't have to (completely) convert to Judaism to be Christian. This enabled rapid growth of Christianity among "God-fearers". I think this universality was beneficial but it was also the beginning tension of later separation of two faiths. Ties were cut gradually and mutually. Nicea was only a part of this. I don't see this break up as positive. In our time there have been some efforts to heal this...

    2. Faith in Father, Son and Holy Spirit (proto-Trinity in baptism formula) seems to be essential and original core of Christianity unless "the Great Commission" was added later in Bible. It seems to me (from the context) that Jesus (before resurrection) and his original followers saw Christianity as Jewish mission only and without any novelty theological concepts except hierarchy in law - placing love and heart as the centre and measure of fulfilling God's law - but all laws still had to be obeyed (except there is conflict with a higher law). Because of his holyness and wisdom in critical times Jesus was regarded Jewish Messiah. When Jesus was killed it seemed the game was over.

    Things changed with resurrected Jesus and Paul. I'm not sure who actually first witnessed resurrected Jesus - Mary and Mary Magdalene, Paul, Hellenistic Jews in Jerusalem... Anyway posthumous Jesus changed his mind - Christianity is to become a universal religion and has to be spread between all nations in the world. Jewish laws (actually a small number is) are not binding to all. Doctrine of high Christology and incarnation seems to came from Hellenistic Jewish cosmology and reinterpretation of God's word and Wisdom at creation process ... These were the major tenets of proto-orthodoxy.

    A little later there were also gnostic Christian groups and other sects with another reinterpretations of Christianity and different beliefs about nature of Jesus. There was much confusion... Proto-orthodox group was the dominant and decided to clear things up - creeds appeared already before Nicea. I don't think it was just political pressure involved. I understand how Proto-orthodox group took the responsibility to preserve the tradition from corruption. But I don't understand how they didn't see gospels can't together result in one creed because some points are mutually exclusive (for example virgin birth and pre-existence are not in all gospels).

    The allready mentioned baptism formula can be seen as the earliest example of creed. Later it was just supplemented several times. First known longer example is the Old Roman Creed (and just a little longer Apostles' Creed, probably based on the first). It's a summary of all
    canonical NT writings (informal canon already existed and there was general agreement about four gospels) without any fancy philosophical words. It also doesn't say anything about divinity of Jesus and Holy Spirit.

    The Nicene Creed dealt primarily with divinity of Christ (and Arianism) but Trinity was not yet formulated. Accordingly there were additions to Creed. Most notably "homoousios" (the same substance).
     
    #35 PearlSeeker, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  16. Moses_UK

    Moses_UK Member

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    Look at the Mithraism teachings, which mirrors Christianity today. Both cults merged in order for more harmony in the Roman world.
     
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