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Featured The Problems of Hellenized Judaism and interpretation of Christian Scripture

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by pearl, Aug 4, 2022.

  1. PearlSeeker

    PearlSeeker Well-Known Member

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    Jewish religion was not something hermetically closed in a vacuum and it was not always the same. We can see this influences and inconstency also in the Bible - two creation myths, traces of henotheism, no afterlife in older books, Persian influence etc.

    God as Bieng. YHWH = "I am."
    God as perfect. "Be perfect as your Father."
    God as changeless. "No shadow of change."
    Is this biblical or unbiblical?

    Regarding the statement of Xenophanes. It was against anthropomorphic gods. Bible is full of anthropomorphic depictions of God. So yes, He can respond emotionally to man's actions. He also has a body similar to human, he regrets his decisions etc. Instead Xenophanes said there is "...one god, greatest among gods and humans, like mortals neither in form nor in thought."
     
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  2. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    But would it be the 'Judaism' of Christian Scripture?
    God as 'Being' as an interpretation of God, to the Fathers of the Church with their background of Greek philosophy, it seemed a bold and unexpected confirmation of their own intellectual past, for Greek philosophy regarded it as its decisive discovery that it had discovered behind all the many individual things with which man has to deal daily the comprehensive idea of Being which it also considered the most appropriate expression of the divine. For them they had discovered the deepest unity between, philosophy and faith, Plato and Moses, the Greek mind and the biblical mind. The text of the Greek Old Testament could very well suggest such an identity of thought between Plato and Moses, but the dependence is probably the other way around; the scholars who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek were influenced by Greek philosophical thinking and interpreted the text from this angle; the idea that here the Hellenic spirit and the faith of the Bible overlapped must already have inspired them; they themselves built the bridge from the biblical concept of God over to Greek thought if they translated the 'I AM with who I Am' of verse 14 by "I am he that is". The biblical name for God is here identified with the philosophical concept of God.
    excerpts from 'Introduction to Christianity'.
     
  3. Ella S.

    Ella S. Goth Girl

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    I have always found the Platonic influences on not just Christian theology (and subsequent Muslim theology) through the Church fathers interesting, but also how Plato and Aristotle influenced figures like Maimonides in Rabbinical Judaism. Both religions seemed to gravitate towards Plato (and Aristotle).

    I think it's worth noting, however, that these Greek figures were adapting their own mythology. They were also working with turning a polytheistic God of the Gods type of figure into a more abstract, philosophical monism, just as Christianity and Judaism were seeking to do. I don't think it's that strange that they would notice how similar their efforts were and take inspiration.

    I think the Greek philosophers are more worthwhile than any of the Jewish prophets, anyway, because at least they didn't have to claim to speak for God to get people to listen to them and took responsibility for their own ideas. I'm glad that Jewish and Christian philosophers recognized the value in that discourse, because it makes their discussions a bit more productive.

    They're really held back by the concept of prophets still, though, in my opinion.
     
  4. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    What are the platonic influences on Islam or muslim theology as you put it?
     
  5. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that kids are not expected to pick up the Bible itself and start reading. In any Christian curriculum biblical stories are adapted to age- appropriate level. Ever heard of 'Veggie Tales'?
     
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  6. PearlSeeker

    PearlSeeker Well-Known Member

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  7. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    I used to have a Bible for kids too.
    Beautiful drawings, I still have it.
    But that's the point: stories are narrated as tales or fables.
     
  8. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    Is that not also found in the Bible?
     
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  9. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    The theology from Aquinas is Platonic and Greek but was accepted as the standard theology applied to Yahweh.
    https://philarchive.org/archive/GHESST-2

    Christianity is a blend of Judaisn and mostly Hellenism.
     
  10. cOLTER

    cOLTER Well-Known Member

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    The religion of Jesus was not an extension of Judaism, however considering that his early followers were Jews they tried to create a seamless theological transition. New religions aren't "suddenly born", they are often variations of previous beliefs around a new teacher. With Jesus followers were supposed to be starting over, reborn.
     
  11. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    And that's a problem in addressing the Jewishness of Jesus as presented in Scripture.
     
  12. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean. Christianity is Judaism with Hellenism and Persian theology added in. This is basically exactly what the mystery religions are as well. Judaism was the last to incorporate these new ideas.
     
  13. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Which parts of Christianity do you say come from Hellenism and Persian theology?
     
  14. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    The Briticannica entry on the Hellenization of religion has a good summary. These changes happened to many religions which resulted in th eMystery religions which Christianity is also a part of:

    https://wwwc.com/topic/Hellenistic-religion/Beliefs-practices-and-institutions


    This shows all the Christian concepts come from Hellenism, a trend sweeping through all religions from 300 BC - 100Ad. This is why the "mystery religions" also had dying/rising sons/daughters of their one true God. Like Judaism they started out using Mesopotamian myths and then adopted Greek and Persian myths as well.



    -the seasonal drama was homologized to a soteriology (salvation concept) concerning the destiny, fortune, and salvation of the individual after death.


    -his led to a change from concern for a religion of national prosperity to one for individual salvation, from focus on a particular ethnic group to concern for every human. The prophet or saviour replaced the priest and king as the chief religious figure.


    -his process was carried further through the identification of the experiences of the soul that was to be saved with the vicissitudes of a divine but fallen soul, which had to be redeemed by cultic activity and divine intervention. This view is illustrated in the concept of the paradoxical figure of the saved saviour, salvator salvandus.


    -Other deities, who had previously been associated with national destiny (e.g., Zeus, Yahweh, and Isis), were raised to the status of transcendent, supreme



    -The temples and cult institutions of the various Hellenistic religions were repositories of the knowledge and techniques necessary for salvation and were the agents of the public worship of a particular deity. In addition, they served an important sociological role. In the new, cosmopolitan ideology that followed Alexander’s conquests, the old nationalistic and ethnic boundaries had broken down and the problem of religious and social identity had become acute.


    -Most of these groups had regular meetings for a communal meal that served the dual role of sacramental participation (referring to the use of material elements believed to convey spiritual benefits among the members and with their deity)


    -Hellenistic philosophy (Stoicism, Cynicism, Neo-Aristotelianism, Neo-Pythagoreanism, and Neoplatonism) provided key formulations for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philosophy, theology, and mysticism through the 18th century


    - The basic forms of worship of both the Jewish and Christian communities were heavily influenced in their formative period by Hellenistic practices, and this remains fundamentally unchanged to the present time. Finally, the central religious literature of both traditions—the Jewish Talmud (an authoritative compendium of law, lore, and interpretation), the New Testament, and the later patristic literature of the early Church Fathers—are characteristic Hellenistic documents both in form and content.


    -Other traditions even more radically reinterpreted the ancient figures. The cosmic or seasonal drama was interiorized to refer to the divine soul within man that must be liberated.


    -Each persisted in its native land with little perceptible change save for its becoming linked to nationalistic or messianic movements (centring on a deliverer figure)


    -and apocalyptic traditions (referring to a belief in the dramatic intervention of a god in human and natural events)


    - Particularly noticeable was the success of a variety of prophets, magicians, and healers—e.g., John the Baptist, Jesus, Simon Magus, Apollonius of Tyana, Alexander the Paphlagonian, and the cult of the healer Asclepius—whose preaching corresponded to the activities of various Greek and Roman philosophic missionaries



    Also baptism and the eucharist were big parts of Greek religions before Christianity. Early Christian apologists told people that yes Jesus was just like all the other savior demigods but that's because the devi; went back in time and made it look that way to fool people.

    "
    Early apologists admited similarities and blamed them on Satan.

    Even allowing for these caveats, it is clear that substantial ideological and ritual similarities did exist. In fact they were sufficiently obvious to the early Christian apologists that they felt obliged to offer some explanation for them, particularly since, to their embarrassment, it was clear that the Mystery rituals predated their own. The most common explanation, offered by many Christian apologists including Firmicus Maternus, Tertullian and Justin Martyr, was that demons had deliberately prefigured Christian sacraments in order to lead people astray. This explanation has sufficed for Christians over countless centuries, and indeed scholastic bias towards the assumed uniqueness, primacy and superiority of Christianity is one of the major methodological pitfalls encountered by those engaged in the comparative study of Christianity and the Mysteries. Many Christian scholars have been so certain that Christianity alone, of all the world’s religions, is an original and unique revelation that at times it seems that they might almost prefer the “demonic intervention” explanation to the unthinkable possibility that Christianity was influenced by its philosophical and theological environs. This paper, however, will seek to explore and quantify the similarities and differences and to offer a more prosaic explanation for them as far as it is possible to do so at such a remove and in the light of the methodological "
    Jennifer Uzzell :
    The Relationship between Hellenistic Mystery Religions and Early Christianity:
    A Case Study using Baptism and Eucharist



    The Persian myths included Revelation (a huge battle between good/evil with lots of fire where all good members would be resurrected into new bodies and live in paradise on Earth forever), a virgin born world savior who would save humanity, an eternal war between God/Devil.
    as Mary Boyce pointed out on pg 29:

    " Historically, the unique features of Zoroastrianism, such as its monotheism,[5] messianism, belief in free will and judgement after death, conception of heaven, hell, angels, and demons, among other concepts, may have influenced other religious and philosophical systems, including the Abrahamic religions and Gnosticism,[6][7][8] Northern Buddhism,[7] and Greek philosophy.[9]"


    they had the first uncreated God

    "
    Zoroaster went much further, and in a startling departure from accepted beliefs proclaimed Ahura Mazda to be the one uncreated God, existing eternally, and Creator of all else that is good, including all other beneficent divinities.
    "
    The modern version of Satan was also from the Persians:

    "During the Second Temple Period, when Jews were living in the Achaemenid Empire, Judaism was heavily influenced by Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Achaemenids.[26][8][27] Jewish conceptions of Satan were impacted by Angra Mainyu,[8][28] the Zoroastrian god of evil, darkness, and ignorance.[8] In "

    Mary Boyce is the expert PhD in Zoroastrianism and lived in Iran to understand the religion and scriptiure better.
     
  15. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    You seem to post the same cut and paste stuff all the time and try to win a debate through sheer volume of material which is presumed to be true because of it's links to some sort of supposedly true scholarship.
    As I have probably said before to you, there is a presumption in all of this that all religions grew by taking material from other cultures and religions that they rubbed shoulders with. This is what the scholarship is built on. It has a naturalistic bias that is presumed true from the start.
    What is written in the Bible is dismissed off hand and the dates for it's writing are presumed to be much later than the Bible and conservative scholarship suggests.
     
  16. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    First of all I can source this from many scholarly works but I'd have to type it out myself. It's summed up nicely in some Encyclopedias for one. Some scholars have work online as well.
    So I use things already written. But the information doesn't change among the field.
    If you disagree you have to either find a scholar in the field who disagrees and has counter evidence or become a PhD yourself and do your own work.

    Yes the consensus of a field beats fundamentalists. I'm sure if all historians said the Quran was a collection of pre-Muslim Arabic theology and Greek philosophy/science and Judaism you would agree. Why not , they know what they are talking about. Meanwhile an Islamic fundamentalist can say "No, they have a naturalistic bias and don't know the Quran is the actual word of God!" But that isn't even an argument. They just don't care, their cognative bias has them in a loop and that's it.

    The scholarship is sound. The "naturalistic" argument has been shown to be crank. Also you don't believe the updates given in the Quran by Gabrielle (from God) so clearly you DO have a naturalistic bias.
    What you really mean is you don't have that bias only for your special beliefs. Which is a fallacy.

    But you asked the question what theology was taken from other religions? So those are some of the answers.

    Which can be verified as peer-reviewed, checked against other works in the field and researched yourself. Meanwhile you believe scripture which are ancient mythologies with no evidence?
    And use this naturalistic argument which is a work because you would never use it with any religion you didn't believe in. It magically only works when it matches your beliefs?

    Also even if one didn't have a "naturalistic bias", you can still find text and date it? You can still see a theology is basically a copy of older works? It doesn't just make people read supernatural claims and say "they must be true? It's the only explanation?" Not having this bias doesn't explain why Jesus is a Greek savior deity?



    So your "naturalistic bias" has been debunked. You seem to be unable to mount any further debates moving past that. But it doesn't matter because we also understand dates. The Bible has almost nothing original. The theology and stories in other religions pre-date the Bible.
    and again, if you don't believe the Quran you are employing a naturalistic bias against that. So you are just special pleading.

    Hellenism and Persian myths are far older than the gospels so dates are not an issue. Mesopotamia is over 1 thousand years older. So again dates do not matter. Even fundamentalists know the OT was written around 6 B.C. and forward.
     
  17. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    What field is that? the field of those who look for alternative explanations for the Bible other than what it tells us? Why would someone in that field disagree or have counter evidence?

    Are you talking about the cognitive bias of the historians who might come up with such things?

    The naturalistic argument has been shown to be crank by whom and why?
    If I do not believe the Quran, that does not mean that disbelief has anything to do with any naturalistic bias or with anything that anti supernatural historians might say about the Quran. All it means is that I believe the Bible and not the Quran.

    Peer reviewed means nothing with the peers all following the same presuppositions.
    I believe the Bible and it is ancient but why "mythologies" and what does mythology mean in this instance? Does it mean untrue or does it mean stories that have not necessarily been confirmed to be true historically?
    Unproven is also what you believe. That is what the naturalistic presupposition is, the belief that people take into a study.
    You could get around that by saying that you and Carrier and others have just gone into all this neutral and the evidence has convinced them, but imo the sort of evidence you have would not convince anyone who did not first have the naturalistic presupposition.

    You say that Jesus is seen to be a Greek Saviour deity by the evidence but the evidence you use is the naturalistic methodology whereby every religion has copied from other religions. That methodology is what all the factual evidence is viewed through.
    So what is claimed to be the history of what has happened with the Bible is no more than another belief, a skeptical belief, the religion/antireligion of a sceptic.

    I don't need further arguments really to show that all you have is beliefs and that nothing in what you say, except the facts, has been shown to be true.
    That something predates something else does not mean that the later copied the earlier unless you use the naturalistic copying methodology.
    Starting with the creation story and the flood, if those stories were true and passed down in that culture then there was no copying involved.
    Going on to Moses and Joshua and the conquest. There is evidence of Israel in Egypt and the conquest being true and according to the story in Joshua of what happened and which cities were burned etc.
    The historicity of different parts of the Bible, both OT and NT is shown in the archaeological and historical records.
    What is problematic for some is the supernatural involvement. Thus let's bring in the naturalistic methodology and move the writing of prophecy to times past where the prophecies were fulfilled. We can also use this methodology to do that with the time of writing of the gospels also and so we can say that the gospels were written by people who know nothing.
    Let's claim that the prophecies about Jesus were not real prophecies and that the story of Jesus was made up to fit prophecies that weren't there to begin with. (after all most of the Jews did not believe in Jesus and their understanding of the all of the OT must be correct)
    All this plagiarization is not a new idea but the stories used about the saviour deities were no more than lies mostly, lies which, if they existed at all, post dated the gospels and so that has been debunked. But now even with that debunking, sceptics still need justification for not believing the gospels and so it all gets more vague and common themes are used in the deity saviour stories even if they are really nothing like the Jesus story really and are only themes that should be expected in stories of gods/demigods being conceived by a God and dying but living on in some strange way.
    With all this the Jewishness of Jesus and the OT prophecies are ignored for the sake of vague themes.
    And I know I can go on and on when it comes to what has been done to debunk the truth of the Bible.

    Why would I say that Muhammad did not see some sort of angel?

    I'm sure you must mean "600BC and forward".
    The thing about 600BC and forward is that it comes from the naturalistic bias side of historians and is not believed by conservative believers with no such bias.
    Even believers who say that sort of thing don't believe the OT was made up then, all they believe is that there was redaction then, a combining of books etc.
     
  18. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    The fields are historicity, comparative religion and archaeology. They do not look for "alternate" explanations. They look for evidence that points to what is the most likely truth.
    If the supernatural stories in a religion were true there would be excellent historical evidence, especially in 1-2 A.D. But the evidence for Christianity is that it's the most syncretic religion possible, all the theology is re-used, real historians only mention people who believe the stories and the stories are written EXACTLY like all other myths. The literary devices and styles are extremely mythic. Jesus is as likely real as any Greek demigod. So it's possible but so is Romulus (he's Roman I guess).
    Historians have shown what the Bible tells us is ALL reworked mythology. The OT is Mesopotamian and the NT is Greek/Persian in theology but rewrites Moses, Kings and several OT narratives to update Jesus as the new Moses. These are not "alternate" explanations, they are the actual explanations. Just because a group of people take the myths and claim they are literal doesn't change anything. Islam does the same with the Quran. Doesn't change the fact that it's all just early Arabic theology, OT and Greek philosophy and science. But the Quran is less syncretic than the Bible.
    I'm sure you get all this just fine when it comes to the Quran and every other mythology ever.



    Are you purposely avoiding the point? Let's make it clearer. Do you think the historians who say the Quran is a syncretic blend of older Arabic myths, OT theology and Greek ideas are showing a cognitive bias because they are not assuming that Muhammad didn't actually get updates about Christianity from Gabrielle the angel?

    Or historians who write about the The Bhagavad Gita are showing a cognitive bias because they assume Krishna didn't really appear to Arjuna and give him this philosophy? They rather say the philosophy came from the Hindu scholars who over centuries of thinking and philosophizing came up with this philosophy and used a mythical setting to pretend like Krishna actually gave them the ideas. Are those cognitive bias?

    Because if you claim to not have a naturalistic bias then you should accept all the other claims as well. The Quran is from an angel of Yahweh. Jesus may have said there will be no more like him but the message was messed up and an angel needed to be sent to make corrections.
    This is backed by billions, has actual witnesses and many proofs so there is no argument against it. Hinduism is also well attested. Why would you not accept these claims if you have no naturalistic bias?

    This is the real crank, Historians are not "anti-supernatural". That is a claim you need to prove. Some historians actually 100% believed in a supernatural power. Bart Ehrman was one. He was an evangelical Christian. What historians are is honest to what the evidence presents.

    You could make a claim that a ghost ran across a cemetery at 4pm Monday. Another person could say they don't believe it's possible. You could then say "you have a naturalistic bias". They may then say "I wasn't sure so I investigated and asked to see the security tape. It was a boy in a sheet with eye holes. I then went to my younger brothers room and saw a sheet with eye holes cut out"

    The naturalistic bias had nothing to do with the evidence and belief that it was not supernatural. It's the same with religion. Evidence.




    No peer review means each new paper used the same evidence and standard of evidence. It isn't about sharing a bias?
    Mythology is what it is. It means it's wisdom, laws, advice, philosophy, psychology framed. in fictional stories about deities.
    Religious mythology includes theology. Christian theology is completely revamped Greek/Persain theology.



    The evidence is highly trained Greek school writers were writing fiction combining the new and popular Hellenistic ideas and this time doing it for Judaism. They also added Persian myths into it as well like Revelation, Satan vs God and a few others.
    There is literally zero evidence that any of that is true.
    As I said Ehrman was a born again evangelical fundamentalist. He absolutely did not have any bias. He bought fully into it. He isn't the only historical scholar either. Dr Josh Bowden is another who was a fundamentalist.




    No, there is an alternative, it's just absurd. Savior demigods, virgin born who were there to provide salvation to baptized members in the form of eternal life through a passion/sacrifice (and all other copied myths) were happening as a result of the popularity of Greek and Persian theology and THEN, a run of the mill typical national God, Yahweh, who reads just like all Gods going back to Sumer (and liked to use Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Babylonian myths) decides to for real have a son do the dying/rising in 3 days thing. But this one time it's real.
    That is absurd. Oh, and there is no good evidence. And during the entire 2nd century Christians were at least 50% Gnostic until Rome decided on a theology in the late 3rd century?

    This has nothing to do with naturalistic methodology, it's just clearly another myth.






    Yes, except the facts? I have all facts. You have a story with no evidence that you bought into and are now emotionally attached to. Wanting something to be true has no bearing on what is true.
    Islam and Hinduism make all the same arguments you make. Yet they are wrong by your beliefs. Which demonstrates a flawed methodology.
     
  19. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    Again, this raises the question, all these similar stories were myths, then one time they were not? OR they continued to be myths when the Israelites used them to create a religion for their people. This is far more likely.

    But archaeology says the opposite of what you are saying here. Thomas Thompsons work demonstrated Moses was a literary creation.


    "

    Q: Is there mention of the Israelites anywhere in ancient Egyptian records?

    Dever: No Egyptian text mentions the Israelites except the famous inscription of Merneptah dated to about 1206 B.C.E. But those Israelites were in Canaan; they are not in Egypt, and nothing is said about them escaping from Egypt.


    THE ORIGINS OF ISRAEL

    Q: What have archeologists learned from these settlements about the early Israelites? Are there signs that the Israelites came in conquest, taking over the land from Canaanites?


    Dever: The settlements were founded not on the ruins of destroyed Canaanite towns but rather on bedrock or on virgin soil. There was no evidence of armed conflict in most of these sites. Archeologists also have discovered that most of the large Canaanite towns that were supposedly destroyed by invading Israelites were either not destroyed at all or destroyed by "Sea People"—Philistines, or others.


    So gradually the old conquest model [based on the accounts of Joshua's conquests in the Bible] began to lose favor amongst scholars. Many scholars now think that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites, displaced Canaanites, displaced from the lowlands, from the river valleys, displaced geographically and then displaced ideologically.


    So what we are dealing with is a movement of peoples but not an invasion of an armed corps from the outside. A social and economic revolution, if you will, rather than a military revolution. And it begins a slow process in which the Israelites distinguish themselves from their Canaanite ancestors, particularly in religion—with a new deity, new religious laws and customs, new ethnic markers, as we would call them today.


    Q: If the Bible's story of Joshua's conquest isn't entirely historic, what is its meaning?


    Dever: Why was it told? Well, it was told because there were probably armed conflicts here and there, and these become a part of the story glorifying the career of Joshua, commander in chief of the Israelite forces. I suspect that there is a historical kernel, and there are a few sites that may well have been destroyed by these Israelites, such as Hazor in Galilee, or perhaps a site or two in the south.


    Q: Were the people who became Israelites in some sense not "the chosen people" but rather "the choosing people"—choosing to be free of their Canaanite past?


    Dever: Some liberation theologians and some archeologists have argued that early Israel was a kind of revolutionary social movement. These were people rebelling against their corrupt Canaanite overlords. In my recent book on early Israel I characterize the Israelite movement as an agrarian social reform. These are pioneers in the hill country who are fleeing the urban centers, the old Canaanite cities, which are in a process of collapse. And in particular they are throwing off the yoke of their Canaanite and Egyptian overlords. They are declaring independence.







    First, there are 6 confirmed savior deities who resurrected who pre-date Jesus. The apologetics you are reading is not true. Funny you believe those without any problem. This demonstrates more bias on your part.

    Original sources for resurrecting savior deities pre-Jesus -

    Dying-and-Rising Gods: It's Pagan, Guys. Get Over It. • Richard Carrier


    Now were. the stories people were familiar with before Jesus similar to Jesus? You say they were nothing like the Jesus story. Well that's strange because all of the 2nd century Christian apologists told people the reason all the other demigods were so much like Jesus is because the devil went back in time and made it look that way to fool people.

    What you think is truth is manipulated apologetics and you apply zero skepticism to anything that supports your beliefs. The bias here is massive.


    Christian apologist Justin Martyr (Dialogue 69):

    When we say…Jesus Christ…was produced without sexual union, and was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, we propound nothing new or different from what you believe regarding those whom you call Sons of God. [In fact]…if anybody objects that [Jesus] was crucified, this is in common with the sons of Zeus (as you call them) who suffered, as previously listed [he listed Dionysus, Hercules, and Asclepius]. Since their fatal sufferings are all narrated as not similar but different, so his unique passion should not seem to be any worse.



    The Relationship between Hellenistic Mystery Religions and Early Christianity:

    A Case Study using Baptism and Eucharist

    Early apologists admited similarities and blamed them on Satan.


    Even allowing for these caveats, it is clear that substantial ideological and ritual similarities did exist. In fact they were sufficiently obvious to the early Christian apologists that they felt obliged to offer some explanation for them, particularly since, to their embarrassment, it was clear that the Mystery rituals predated their own. The most common explanation, offered by many Christian apologists including Firmicus Maternus, Tertullian and Justin Martyr, was that demons had deliberately prefigured Christian sacraments in order to lead people astray. This explanation has sufficed for Christians over countless centuries, and indeed scholastic bias towards the assumed uniqueness, primacy and superiority of Christianity is one of the major methodological pitfalls encountered by those engaged in the comparative study of Christianity and the Mysteries. Many Christian scholars have been so certain that Christianity alone, of all the world’s religions, is an original and unique revelation that at times it seems that they might almost prefer the “demonic intervention” explanation to the unthinkable possibility that Christianity was influenced by its philosophical and theological environs. This paper, however, will seek to explore and quantify the similarities and differences and to offer a more prosaic explanation for them as far as it is possible to do so at such a remove and in the light of the methodological difficulties discussed above.




    -It is interesting that Celsus refers to Christianity and the “other mysteries”. Clearly he regards Christianity as a Mystery religion of a particularly low and degenerate sort. Even Augustine is forced to admit that Christians are not always morally distinguishable from the Pagans around them and Tertullian warns Christians that in matters of sexual conduct in particular, there are “heathens who may sit in judgement on you.” Julian is also deeply suspicious of Christian baptism which he understands as a licence to repeated immoral behaviour with confession and repentance as an “easy way out”.





    so far everything you have said is not true and easily debunked. It's apologetics designed for people who won't look any deeper.


    The OT prophecies are fulfilled in Mark, the other gospels copy him. Mark is writing mythology in so many ways.




    You believe he did get revelations from Gabrielle? Then you should pay attention to the information.
     
  20. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    No there is evidence that Genesis was written in 600B.C.


    "Although tradition attributes Genesis to Moses, biblical scholars hold that it, together with the following four books (making up what Jews call the Torah and biblical scholars call the Pentateuch), is "a composite work, the product of many hands and periods."[9] A common hypothesis among biblical scholars today is that the first major comprehensive draft of the Pentateuch was composed in the late 7th or the 6th century BCE (the Jahwist source), and that this was later expanded by the addition of various narratives and laws (the Priestly source) into a work very like the one existing today"



    Again, MOST SCHOLARS:


    Religion, Identity and the Origins of Ancient Israel


    K.L. Sparks, Baptist Pastor, Professor Eastern U.


    As a rule, modern scholars do not believe that the Bible's account of early Israel's history provides a wholly accurate portrait of Israel's origins. One reason for this is that the earliest part of Israel's history in Genesis is now regarded as something other than a work of modern history. Its primary author was at best an ancient historian (if a historian at all), who lived long after the events he narrated, and who drew freely from sources that were not historical (legends and theological stories); he was more concerned with theology than with the modern quest to learn 'what actually happened' (Van Seters 1992; Sparks 2002, pp. 37-71; Maidman 2003). As a result, the stories about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are


    Going back any further the Yahweh cult was the minority.

    Yahweh/Ashera looks to be a larger religion going further back.

    THE ISRAELITES' MANY GODS

    Q: The Bible would have us think that all Israelites embraced monotheism relatively early, from Moses's time on. Is that contrary to what archeology has found?


    Dever: The portrait of Israelite religion in the Hebrew Bible is the ideal, the ideal in the minds of those few who wrote the Bible—the elites, the Yahwists, the monotheists. But it's not the ideal for most people. And archeology deals with the ordinary, forgotten folk of ancient Israel who have no voice in the Bible. There is a wonderful phrase in Daniel Chapter 12: "For all those who sleep in the dust." Archeology brings them to light and allows them to speak. And most of them were not orthodox believers.


    However, we should have guessed already that polytheism was the norm and not monotheism from the biblical denunciations of it. It was real and a threat as far as those who wrote the Bible were concerned. And today archeology has illuminated what we could call "folk religion" in an astonishing manner.


    "The so-called folk religion even penetrated the Temple in Jerusalem."


    Q: One of the astonishing things is your discovery of Yahweh's connection to Asherah. Tell us about that.


    Dever: In 1968, I discovered an inscription in a cemetery west of Hebron, in the hill country, at the site of Khirbet el-Qôm, a Hebrew inscription of the 8th century B.C.E. It gives the name of the deceased, and it says "blessed may he be by Yahweh"—that's good biblical Hebrew—but it says "by Yahweh and his Asherah."


    NOVA | The Bible's Buried Secrets | Archeology of the Hebrew Bible | PBS

    Asherah is the name of the old Canaanite Mother Goddess, the consort of El, the principal deity of the Canaanite pantheon. So why is a Hebrew inscription mentioning Yahweh in connection with the Canaanite Mother Goddess? Well, in popular religion they were a pair.


    The Israelite prophets and reformers denounce the Mother Goddess and all the other gods and goddesses of Canaan. But I think Asherah was widely venerated in ancient Israel. If you look at Second Kings 23, which describes the reforms of King Josiah in the late 7th century, he talks about purging the Temple of all the cult paraphernalia of Asherah. So the so-called folk religion even penetrated the Temple in Jerusalem.


    Q: Is there other evidence linking Asherah to Yahweh?


    Dever: In the 1970s, Israeli archeologists digging in Kuntillet Ajrud in the Sinai found a little desert fort of the same period, and lo and behold, we have "Yahweh and Asherah" all over the place in the Hebrew inscriptions.


    Q: Are there any images of Asherah?


    Dever: For a hundred years now we have known of little terracotta female figurines. They show a nude female; the sexual organs are not represented but the breasts are. They are found in tombs, they are found in households, they are found everywhere. There are thousands of them. They date all the way from the 10th century to the early 6th century.


    They have long been connected with one goddess or another, but many scholars are still hesitant to come to a conclusion. I think they are representations of Asherah, so I call them Asherah figurines.
     
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