1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured The politics of Jesus

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Vouthon, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    17,335
    Ratings:
    +4,004
    Religion:
    Theological noncognitivist
    No misreading by me. I just pointed out acts of violence by Jesus. Acts of violence Jesus never denounced from the OT. John and Jesus never telling soldiers to quit their jobs. Perhaps open the Bible and read it would help you. You are taking a few verses in isolation to reconstruct Jesus into what you want him to be it seems
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  2. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,865
    Ratings:
    +2,177
    Religion:
    Catholic
    Reading the Bible is simply not enough for addressing historical questions as it is a document of faith. It ought to be read along with critical historical scholarship concerning the time and culture as Jesus was a man of his time and of his culture.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,865
    Ratings:
    +2,177
    Religion:
    Catholic
    I agree that the non violent resistance was a way of taking the sting out of humiliation.
     
  4. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,448
    Ratings:
    +3,642
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity
    Anyone can do that and come up with nearly anything, if read in isolation from the material culture and social milieu from which the text under discussion arose.

    New Testament scholars spend years acquiring proficiency in their field of expertise, including the linguistic skill necessary to read the original texts in Greek, and submit their studies for peer review by other experts in the field.

    If I may be so bold as to suggest, you might find it worthwhile to familiarise yourself with the scholarship. I try always to cite scholarship - in addition to primary source material from the text itself and contemporaneous literature - to back up my arguments, from those with the credentials to write authoritatively in this area. Have you done the same?
     
    #84 Vouthon, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  5. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    17,335
    Ratings:
    +4,004
    Religion:
    Theological noncognitivist
    Which is the point I made about so-called pacifism. You never countered my point nor even addressed it.

    So? That does not make their conclusions unchallenged nor correct by default. Your point is moot.

    I have referenced by paraphrasing a very verses already. I do not need to cite authorities to point out contradiction with soldiers compared to a claim about Jesus. Now do you have a point or are you just going to use vague authority figures to hide behind?
     
  6. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    17,335
    Ratings:
    +4,004
    Religion:
    Theological noncognitivist
    It is more about the power to humiliate.
     
  7. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    17,335
    Ratings:
    +4,004
    Religion:
    Theological noncognitivist
    Irrelevant as per the verses I paraphrased with interaction with soldiers. Not once did John nor Jesus tell a soldier to quit their trade. More so Christian pacifism is irrational on a national and/or global level.
     
    #87 Shad, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  8. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32,359
    Ratings:
    +14,769
    Religion:
    ecumenical & naturalistic Catholic
    It is almost impossible to ascertain whether Jesus' peace statements were a reflection of a complete abstaining of using deadly force, and this controversy raged in the 2nd century Church and beyond. At first, those who were in the Church could not join the Romans in even policing actions, but by the end of the 2nd century [going by my memory, which is sometimes rather dubious] matters short of war that may include some of the flock were allowed. However, if war broke out, they had to leave that role. [source: "Tradition In the Early Church" by Dr. Hanson-- Anglican]

    Eventually the decision of adhering to what became called the "Just-War Theory" was allowed, which had sharp restrictions on when one could engage in a war, and by-and-large only defensive actions that try to minimize civilian deaths were allowed. Wiki has a good article on this, btw, so one may want to check thoat out for further info.
     
  9. j1i

    j1i Smiling is charity without giving money

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    813
    Ratings:
    +305
    Religion:
    Tawhid

    The open culture of the people is far from moral integrity and public morality
    nations will determine their interests according to the level of consensus between the ideas of Jesus and the people.
    It is difficult for societies to agree with Jesus' policy because Jesus loves austerity and altruism and hates bad morals and bad habits and wearing naked women

    It will therefore not be acceptable and effective. Unless Jesus took a military remedial package

    In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is said to say that Jesus asks everyone to submit to god and anyone who refuses will be fighting

    Jesuit Military Policy

    Because human beings by nature love to object in the most rational things

    Note: God sends Jesus to help believers in their war against Satan and Jesus in my culture as man and not God
     
  10. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,448
    Ratings:
    +3,642
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity
    'Pacifism' is a modern anachronism, I concede, the more accurate term would be "non-violent social prophet" or "prophet of non-violent social change". The basic truism here is that he counselled against violent "resistance to evildoers" of any kind or form. One was to love one's enemies, bless those who cursed you, pray for those who abused you, let your abuser hit you on the other cheek rather than retaliating etc. etc.

    One of the points you raised, if I recall, is that Jesus's disciples were "armed" with swords when he was arrested (even though the gospels subsequently have him condemning them for using them to try and protect him)?

    The more common meaning of the Greek term μάχαιρα (machaira) is actually "knife" - as in the sacrificial knives they would have been using to celebrate the Passover and prepare the paschal lamb. I'll quote the scholar Professor Paula Fredrikssen on this one:


    "carrying a μάχαιρα was one of the last things that would have gotten a Jewish male arrested at Passover. One man out of every ten-person group (if we can trust the principles of Josephus’s reckoning for Passover) would have done so: 255,600 is the number that he gives for sheep slain, thus for males sacrificing. μάχαιρα in this context does not mean ‘sword’. It means ‘knife’, specifically the large knife used for slaughtering animals in sacrifice. It translates the Hebrew word מאכלת , as at Gen. 22.6 LXX...The point, however, is that the men on the temple mount would have carried their own knives to do the slaughtering.

    If any of Jesus's followers, the night of the meal, indeed carried μάχαιραι as the synoptic evangelists portray, this would align the episode in Gethsemane (Mk 14.47 and parr.) with the preceding story of the disciples’ arrangements for themselves and their teacher ‘to eat the Passover’ (Mk 14. 12-16): they would have come to Jerusalem prepared to offer the corban. So too tens of thousands of other pilgrims would have done. Contending with masses of pilgrims carrying sacrificial knives was part and parcel of dealing with the city at Passover, both for the priests and for the Roman soldiers assisting during the holiday to police the temple precincts...What we can know, if we as historians try to imagine ourselves back in Jerusalem at Pesach before the temple’s destruction, is that, in this earlier and specific Jewish context, μάχαιρα meant ‘knife’. Bearing one aligned its owner with the temple’s cult, and with the festival protocols of Leviticus, of Numbers and of Deuteronomy...Carrying a sacrificial knife at such a holiday implies nothing in terms of armed revolt against Rome. In short: the gospels do not present Jesus's disciples as armed.
    " (Paula Fredriksen, ‘Jesus in Jerusalem: Armed and Not Dangerous’ (p.322 - 324))

    It would have been very strange for observant Jewish-males not to have had μάχαιρα on the Passover. According to Josephus, 255,600 machairai were carried by Jewish males to offer paschal sacrifice at the Temple on Passover.

    It does not suggest that the Jesus movement was "militant", indeed Jesus' disavowal of one of his follower's recourse to violence in an attempt to stop him from being arrested is clearly evidenced in all four gospels:



    “Put your machaira back in its place; for all who take the machaira will perish by the machaira"


    This is a clear counsel against using the machaira as a weapon of violence in defence of Jesus, because of the cycle of violence that would ensue. Each gospel gives a different response but they all concur in having Jesus condemning the disciple who resorted to force in protecting him i.e.


    Luke 22:49-51

    When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our machaira?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him

    There are many other instances where Jesus restrains the violent impulses of his followers i.e.



    "He sent messengers on ahead, who went into a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But the people there refused to welcome Him, because He was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”

    But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and He said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy the lives of men, but to save them." And they went on to another village
    "​
     
    #90 Vouthon, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    • Winner Winner x 2
  11. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,865
    Ratings:
    +2,177
    Religion:
    Catholic
    And it is my understanding that Pilate as procurator was charged with keeping the peace in Jerusalem among the Jews during Passover. There existed an interdependence between Pilate and the High Priest who served at Pilates pleasure.
    Many of the 'crowds' mentioned in the Gospels are rebels, zealots, enemies of Roman occupiers who never heard of Jesus. According to Pinchas Lapide Jesus offered a 'practical strategy', thereby breaking the cycle of violence.
    The correct context, which is Jewish, is critical in any study of the Gospels as they are the only source for the historical Jesus, all other sources relate only what Christians did and believed. And that context is only found through layer after layer of extant evidence.

    Thanks for such an in-depth post.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    13,292
    Ratings:
    +4,392
    Religion:
    Christian
    Jesus did offer a practical strategy, but he failed to convince the various Jewish factions that fought each other and the Roman oppression.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,448
    Ratings:
    +3,642
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity
    Well put, yes indeed.

    @Shad's contention that Jesus is a violent would-be insurrectionist has a long pedigree of successful rebuttals in scholarship, as Professor Brian Pounds has noted in a study out earlier this year: "the portrait of Jesus as a violent rebel is not well received among present day scholars and is an example of the over-extension of the criterion of crucifiability" (p.114). The reason it is 'not well-received' is that: "the ubiquitous portrayal of a non-violent Jesus throughout the gospels in combination with more plausible alternative interpretations of sayings supposed to imply violence outweigh the aforementioned one-sided interpretations of these small number of logia" (p.20).

    As he writes persuasively at greater length (and this bears close reading):


    "Two of Jesus’ sayings containing the term “sword” are metaphorical admonitions concerning the division and opposition that following Jesus entails,635 while another clearly admonishes the use of violence: “Those who take up the sword, will die by the sword” (Matt 26:52).

    The prophetic context to which the so-called Triumphal Entry alludes pictures a peaceful messianic figure who rides on a donkey instead of a warhorse and is installed by divine intervention rather than by force of arms.636 The temple action in its gospel contexts functions as a form of economic protest or portent of destruction rather than an armed rebellion. If Jesus had attempted to stage an armed rebellion in the temple, he almost certainly would have been killed there and then by the Temple police and/or Roman cohort stationed in the Antonia Tower.

    The sword swipe of the disciple in Gethesemane indicates that broad resistance was not offered at Jesus' arrest, evidenced by the fact that several disciples were not arrested or killed on the spot.638

    In addition to these individual contested points, the larger challenge to any hypothesis that Jesus was a violent revolutionary is the lack of any first century sources that unambiguously portray Jesus in a violent manner. There is no question that the overall portrayal of Jesus in the gospels is essentially non-violent.640 Nowhere does Jesus take up a weapon in order to kill, as rebels did. On the contrary, he advocates nonviolence, even in the face of imperial oppression.641 These more plausible interpretations and contexts outweigh the previous set of interpretations used to reconstruct Jesus as a rebel. Moreover, they align with the non-violent representation of Jesus in all other material...

    As opposed to these attempts to portray Jesus as a violent rebel, in recent decades a new portrait has
    emerged of Jesus as a non-violent anti-imperialist....

    Taking Jesus' crucifixion together with isolated details such as the armed resistance at his arrest and gospel sayings that mention “swords” does not warrant sweeping away the overall consistency of the gospel portraits of Jesus as essentially nonviolent. This is a poignant example of the overapplication of Jesus’ crucifixion as a criterion to the point that other highly probable historical evidence is excluded...

    We found that the more recent reconstruction of Jesus as a nonviolent anti-imperialist, represented in the works of Richard A. Horsley, is worthy of deeper consideration...His emphasis upon Jesus' economic conflicts has an historically plausible basis and has explanatory value for Jesus' crucifixion because it connects to the shared ruling interest of the Judaean aristocracy and the Roman provincial administration. If Jesus implicitly questioned the right of Roman tribute, denied the validity of an annual temple tax, and publicly critiqued the oppression of wealthy ruling élites, these together fit quite naturally with the gospels’ representation of Jesus’ action in the temple as a form of economic protest.
    " (The Crucifiable Jesus (2019) p.147)​


    By the 'criterion of crucifiability' what Pounds is saying here is that the one thing 'armed-rebel-Jesus' proponents do have going for their deeply flawed thesis is that it takes seriously the crucifiability of Jesus - against which every model of his life must be weighed and account for. To quote Professor Larry Hurtado, “Indeed, one criterion that ought to be applied rigorously in modern scholarly proposals about the historical Jesus is what we might call the condition of 'crucifiability': You ought to produce a picture of Jesus that accounts for him being crucified.” (Hurtado, Larry. “Why Was Jesus Crucified?” Slate Magazine April 9, 2009).

    Professor Richard Horsley likewise emphasises that Jesus' manner of death demonstrates “[h]is program of resistance to the imperial order.” Conversely, he views certain other Jesuses to be invalid on the basis of their uncrucifiability:


    "It is hard to image, however, that either a visionary or an itinerant teacher would have been sufficiently threatening to the Roman imperial order that he would have been crucified"


    In this respect, though, even the minority of scholarly 'armed-Jesus-movement' advocates like Dale Martin would strongly disagree with Shad when he describes Jesus as the "bum at the bottom of the imperial order". No way - the Romans would not bother crucifying a 'bum'. That's why Jesus ben Ananias was released by the Prefect Albinus, deemed a harmless 'madman'.

    The Romans took Jesus far more seriously. As Pounds notes in relation to the very different treatment of the two 'Jesuses':


    "Josephus' account of one Jesus son of Ananias: Josephus depicts this Jesus as continuously proclaiming woe on Jerusalem until he is apprehended by Judaean authorities who in turn hand him over to the Roman procurator. Albinus has him severely flogged, but amidst Jesus' unyielding proclamation of woes against Jerusalem, the governor releases him on the grounds of his insanity (mani,an; J.W. 6.305)

    Both figures are depicted as pronouncing doom, subsequently apprehended by Judaean authorities, and then handed over to the Roman governor.729 However, it is pertinent to note that despite the similarity that both Jesuses are apprehended at least partially on the basis of a similar offence, one Jesus is let go whilst the other is crucified. It is precisely because of his perceived insanity, not in spite of it, that the former Jesus is released.730"

    They perceived Jesus of Nazareth as a genuine threat to the status quo, not some harnless, insane "bum" like Jesus ben Ananias.

    Likewise, those Christians and others who try to present a "lovey-dovey" purely religious characterisation of Jesus as someone who got along with everyone and didn't challenge the entrenched inequities and powers-that-be in his society, as well as the imperial - priestly order, completely fails the crucifiability criterion. Both are implausible in the extreme and evidence a lack of understanding of the rationale behind crucifixion.

    As Professor Pounds rightly states:


    "Victims of the cross are often depicted as those who participated in seditious or treasonous activities, such as defamation of the emperor, military desertion, or outright rebellion...

    Certain crucifixion scenarios can be eliminated as pertaining to Jesus of Nazareth because they defy other probabilities of his historical context. Jesus neither died during the time of a Jewish revolt against Rome nor did he die during the persecution of a religious group, thereby eliminating the possibility that he was captured as a victim of circumstance during those two scenarios.

    There is no reasonable evidence that Jesus was engaged in banditry, eliminating that crucifiable offence. In addition, we should note the obvious fact that Jesus was not a slave. This is significant because slaves were more likely than free people to be arbitrarily crucified, as the former were sometimes threatened with crucifixion on the whims of their masters.

    We are left with the manageable alternatives that Jesus was either considered a seditionist or a rebel".
     
    #93 Vouthon, Dec 5, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  14. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,448
    Ratings:
    +3,642
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity
    In addition to all that, I would add the testimony of the first century 'memories' of the historical Jesus outside the four gospels that are preserved in the epistles section of the New Testament. Some of these, such as the Pauline letters and Hebrews, are older than or concurrent with the earliest of the synoptic gospels - and are thus some of our most primitive records of the character of Jesus.

    In none of these do we find him 'remembered' as having been a militant, violent person in his lifetime - quite the contrary, they are unanimous in depicting him as non-violent.

    Firstly, St. Paul whose letters dating from the 50s AD are our earliest Christian texts (pre-dating the gospel accounts). In 2 Corinthians Paul tells us about the exemplary "meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:1), which can hardly be construed as militant. In his letters, Paul thus counsels that followers of Christ - imitating his 'gentleness' - must never "repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all [...] live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:17). In 1 Corinthians, he describes the conduct of people who are "wise in Christ [...] When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly" (1 Corinthians 4:12-13).

    Hebrews 12:3 informs us: "Consider him [Jesus] who endured such hostility against himself from sinners".

    Here Jesus is described as passively enduring hostility from 'sinners', not retaliating violently.

    1 Peter 2:23: "Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps [...] When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly".

    Again, the first century community that gave us the letter of Peter had no memory or notion of a 'violent' Jesus but once more a Jesus who patiently endured abuse and never retaliated.

    This all works to further buttress the numerous occasions in the actual gospels where Jesus is recorded as having advocated nonviolence even in the face of imperial oppression i.e. Mark 14:48; Matt 5:9, 26:52; Matt 5:39-44= Luke 6:29-6:35.
     
  15. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    17,335
    Ratings:
    +4,004
    Religion:
    Theological noncognitivist

    I never said that. You are attacking a strawman, Impressive how you could create such a claim from what I said. All I am saying is Jesus was not a pacific nor was non-violence an absolute.
     
  16. Shad

    Shad Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    17,335
    Ratings:
    +4,004
    Religion:
    Theological noncognitivist
    Yet was violent when the need required it. Toss in OT stuff as well. Again you going into points I didn't actually make such as being a militant like the Zealots. You forget that Peter was going to use the weapon. More so you forgot he was fulfilling what he saw as prophecy so fighting back at that time was against the goal of martyrdom.
     
  17. Thirza Fallen

    Thirza Fallen Crazy Cat Lady

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,117
    Ratings:
    +992
    Religion:
    Agnostic & Philosophical Buddhist
    I hope this is a joke...
     
  18. Thirza Fallen

    Thirza Fallen Crazy Cat Lady

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,117
    Ratings:
    +992
    Religion:
    Agnostic & Philosophical Buddhist
    Helping the poor, sick, marginalized and despised, putting the first last and last first, and sharing what you have and giving your goods to the poor does not sound at all conservative. He was always at odds with the conservative and legalistic religious leaders of the day who wanted to get in people's faces and moralize, all while giving themselves the best and leaving crumbs for the rest of society.
     
    • Winner Winner x 2
  19. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,448
    Ratings:
    +3,642
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity
    Succinctly and brilliantly put :thumbsup:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    4,649
    Ratings:
    +883
    Religion:
    Christian
    Jesus is in a sense apolitical and in a sense ultimately political in that he offers mercy and is ruling now and more visibly ruling in the future.

    When he comes again he will be seen as what he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That He already is.

    "Why do the nations rage and rulers conspire together against the Lord and against His anointed... the Lord laughs... Kiss the Son lest he be angry and you perish in the way" Psalm 2
     
Loading...