Friday, May 11, 2012

Christianity and the Roman Empire – Part III The Second Century

So we arrive at the second century A.D. and find the Catholic Church’s administrative apparatus in place and the new church flourishing. As mentioned in recent posts, the destruction of the temple by the Romans and the death of the Jerusalem Christians is a common marking point for the end of Jewish control of Christianity.  That is not to say that it marked the final split between the two religions, however. The separation actually took a couple of centuries.

One can understand this link between Judaism and Christianity by recalling the story of Jacob and Esau who, as brothers, fought each other in the womb. Both religions were variations of messianic philosophy. In the Jewish case, the belief was derived from second century B.C. apocalyptic literature. In the Christian case, Jesus was the messiah and his resurrection the foundation of the belief system. But the resurrected messiah was incomprehensible to the Jewish religion because it did not allow a kinship between man and God.

The Romans did not differentiate between Jews and Christians until 96 A.D. when the Fiscus Judiacus (tax on Jews) was implemented. This tax was imposed on all Jews of the empire as reparations for the revolt against Rome that resulted in the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Christians were not required to pay the tax.

Of course there were cases in the first century when the Christians were singled out for persecution, first under Nero and then Domitian, but our interest for this post lies specifically in the second century.

The following are the major currents we’ll be discussing:

The development of Christian dogma
Apologists
The heresies
The persecutions

The first three describe aspects of the development of the Catholic Church and the fourth the Roman reaction against the behavior of Christians.

As time went on, the Christian dogma was refined as scholars analyzed the sacred writings and came to conclusions about their meaning. The dogma was build brick by brick, sentence by sentence until it became the law of the church. The dogma was defended by apologists who sought to put it in the context of the history of man and the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Simultaneous with the defense was the offence – working against the many variants of the main belief system. These heretical outliers threatened to undermine and dilute the exclusive role of the Catholic Church as protector of the Christian theology.

Below are some brief sketches about the lives of early Christian theologians.

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (50-108), stressed the relationship between the teachings of Jesus and the hierarchy of the church -- that Christians should obey their bishops. He was martyred in Rome.

Justin Martyr (100-165), an apologist, was one of the earliest Christian writers. Born in Judea and martyred in Rome, Justin believed that the Greek philosophers took their essential ideas from the Hebrew Bible, proving the eternalness of the Christian belief system. He labeled Socrates a Christian. In his Dialog with Trypho, Justin demonstrated why Christians are the true people of God.

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (140-202) was an apologist known for his book Against Heresies. Irenaeus took specific aim at Gnostics who were causing a great threat to the church. Gnostics believed that a person could achieve salvation through the acquisition of secret knowledge of God. Furthermore some Gnostics saw Jesus as the vehicle that brought this knowledge to the human race. Irenaeus succeeded to the title of Bishop of Lyon when he absent in Rome during a massacre there.

Tertullian (160-225) was an early Christian writer from Carthage who, like Irenaeus, was an apologist writing against heresies. Tertullian has been labeled the “Father of Western Theology” and was the first to use the term “trinity”.

Origen (185-253) was an Alexandrian scholar and theologian, whose father was martyred during the reign of Septimius Severus. One of Origen’s important contributions was First Principles a book which describes God as the logos, the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of sin and redemption, and the Bible.

Throughout the second century the church moved forward developing its theology and solidifying its administrative apparatus as the only true interpreter of Christian theology through its link to the savior. But progress was also disrupted by the Roman persecutions which were much more serious in the 100s than at any other time. I was surprised that this “Golden Age” of the empire with its superior leadership could have been so cruel to the Christians – particularly during the time of Marcus Aurelius, the stoic.

Prior to Marcus, the emperors of the second century followed the outline of Trajan who specified to Pliny that Christians not be sought out but rather tried in court if evidence of their guilt could be presented. There is no question that the persecutions were more severe under Marcus but we lack evidence that he created a new more restrictive policy. The persecutions appear to be local, originating with the provincial magistrates and there has been speculation about Marcus’ involvement in them. For example, one academic felt that Marcus’ personality was impacted by the troubles of his reign – incessant wars, famine, and disease, and these made him turn his anger against the Christians.

Below is one of the few quotes we have from Marcus Aurelius about Christians.

That soul which is ever ready, even now presently (if need be) from the body, whether by way of extinction, or dispersion, or continuation in another place and estate to be separated, how blessed and happy is it! But this readiness of it, it must proceed, not from obstinate and peremptory resolution of the mind, violently and passionately set upon Opposition, as Christians are wont;  but from a peculiar judgment; with discretion and gravity, so that others may be persuaded also and drawn to the like example, but without any noise and passionate exclamations.

In other words, to him, the soul must be properly prepared to leave the body at the end of one’s life. That preparation must take a form that sets an example for others. This he contrasts with the Christian attitude which is “obstinate and violently set upon opposition”, like tragic actors.

After Marcus, Severus returned to the previously established policy of Trajan with some exceptions. For example he sought to prohibit conversions to Christianity and Judaism. There were some severe persecutions in Africa during the early 200s A.D.

Here we close the story of the second century and move on. By the time another century had passed, the Christian church was moving rapidly toward official recognition by the empire. Then, as we’ve discussed before, the church would rise as the empire was moving toward collapse.

28 comments:

Mr.Jean-CharlesLequy___jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

To this very accurate exposé of the chronological development of the Christian Church and its doctrine in the second century, I must point out a list of important facts to remember:

1.
In this era, when we say Catholic, we are using the greek word katholikos which was back then used in its primary sense, to identify the Universal Church, in opposition to unorthodox branches and offshoots of the time, like the Gnostics who were the most heterodox of them all.
Later on, the word Catholic started to be used in a different way, after the Great East-West Schism of 1054 which formally divided the State Church of the Roman Empire into two branches, namely the Eastern Greek Orthodox and Western Latin Roman Catholic. From that time on, Catholic began to be synonymous to Roman Catholic, i.e. under the leadership of the bishop of Rome who by then gained absolute papal supremacy over the western half of the former Roman Empire.

2.
For nearly 900 years, until the Schism if 1054, the successive Popes (bishops) of Rome fought for supremacy over all the other local Patriarchs (Bishops) of the Roman World. The original structure of the Church of the first 1000 years can still be observed today among the Orthodox Churches, where we have the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox, the Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox, The Maronite (Lebanese) Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox, the Chaldean Syriac Orthodox, etc, each of them having their own independent Patriarch who has the sole jurisdiction over their territory, considered equal among equals.

3.
The Gnostics were considered the most heretical among all heretics, because they were the most heterodox of them all, as Gnosticism does not share any common roots with Orthodox Christianity. In fact, the Orthodox Apologists saw Gnosticism as consisting in an attempt to hijack Christianity to integrate it into the mindset of Greek Mystery Religions, in order to mix it along with Egyptian, Babylonian and Medo-Persian mysticism, as Gnosticism found no common roots with Judaism, but rather rejected its God as repulsive and evil.
For this reason, compared to the Gnostics all other so-called heresies paled in comparison, and theological debates to counter them could be labeled, for most of them, as the Art of splitting hairs in two.

4.
Even though the Jewish ex-rabbi-turned-Apostle Paul of Tarsus extensively codified and legislated on the meaning of the Gospel Message as it should be transmitted among the Gentiles (and would make it possible for Christianity to become a Universal Religion exportable to the ends of the Earth), some apologists explored the possibility of mixing the Gospel Message with the philosophies of Socrates and Plato, as these contained a great number of similarities with one another (for example about the paradoxal dilemma and battle between the human flesh and the divine Spirit).

W.LindsayWheeler said...

It is interesting to note that Justin the Martyr calls Socrates Christian.

I consider Christianity a Greek Religion, not Jewish. If you look at the Sadducees with their hostile opinion towards life after death and the soul are the traditional Jewish thought. The Pharasees are the more Hellenized Jews.

Jesus told the Jews, "The Faith will be taken away from you and given to another race." Jesus said himself that another culture and another race will define the Faith. Christianity is a Greek/Doric religion.

Jerry Dell Ehrlich wrote a fantastic book, Plato's Gift to Christianity. It is absolutely fabulous on how Christianity adopted practically everything of Plato. The "Logos" that St. John talked about is the Natural Law.

I have it explained here in this essay Christ the Logos the font of Greek philosophy. It was the Doric Greeks that discovered the logos and it was this that Socrates and Plato picked up. The milieu at this time was Hellenism. Christianity grew up in a Hellenistic culture and that is what formed it.

Christianity is a Greek, if not more particular, a Dorian religion. Jesus Christ is Apollo incarnate.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 1)

I find it sad to read such a list of short declarations founded on partial and approximate information, i.e. half-truths... and even some derailed conclusions.

I will answer and comment each one of these groundless affirmations:

1. "The Pharisees are the more Hellenized Jews"

Affirming such a thing is an insult to Judaism itself.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, this declaration has absolutely no foundation whatsoever:
"PHARISEES (Φαρισαῖοι; Hebr. "Perushim"): Party representing the religious views, practises, and hopes of the kernel of the Jewish people in the time of the Second Temple and in opposition to the priestly Sadducees. They were accordingly scrupulous observers of the Law as interpreted by the Soferim, or Scribes, in accordance with tradition. (...) "Perisha" (the singular of "Perishaya") denotes "one who separates himself," or keeps away from persons or things impure, in order to attain the degree of holiness and righteousness required in those who would commune with God. (...) With the destruction of the Temple the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older, priestly tradition. Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. True, it gave the Jewish religion a legalistic tendency and made "separatism" its chief characteristic; yet only thus were the pure monotheistic faith, the ethical ideal, and the intellectual and spiritual character of the Jew preserved in the midst of the downfall of the old world and the deluge of barbarism which swept over the medieval world."
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12087-pharisees

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 2)

2. "The Sadducees with their hostile opinion towards life after death and the soul are the traditional Jewish thought."

This declaration has both true and false components:
First, true that a some of today's Jewish viewpoint about angels and the supernatural come from the Sadducees's theological position... but it is also false to pretend that theirs is the traditional Jewish thought of today.
Rather, the modern Jewish thought has in fact inherited from both, as we have today a new re-mix of the respective positions of both Pharisees and Sadducees of the old days, as the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 explains:
"It was not the immortality of the soul which the Pharisees believed in, as [the Jewish historian Flavius] Josephus puts it, but the resurrection of the body as expressed in the liturgy, and this formed part of their Messianic hope. In contradistinction to the Sadducees, who were satisfied with the political life committed to their own power as the ruling dynasty, the Pharisees represented the views and hopes of the people. The same was the case with regard to the belief in angels and demons. As [the books of] Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiasticus indicate, the upper classes adhered for a long time to the Biblical view concerning the soul and the hereafter, caring little for the Angelology and Demonology of the Pharisees. These used them, with the help of the Ma'aseh Bereshit and Ma'aseh Merkabah, not only to amplify the Biblical account, but to remove from the Bible anthropomorphisms and similarly obnoxious verbiage concerning the Deity by referring them to angelic and intermediary powers (for instance, Gen. i. 26), and thereby to gradually sublimate and spiritualize the conception of God."
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12087-pharisees

Moreover, we can reap these facts from history:
"From their own point of view [the Sadducees] were orthodox conservatives (...).
From the standpoint of the Pharisees who championed the hope of everlasting life and believed in the existence of angels, through whom God could communicate with men [Sadducees] were infidels. (...) The Pharisees accumulated the oral tradition which was afterwards codified and elaborated or preserved by fragments, which served some useful purpose, in the Talmud and other Rabbinic writings (...).
Josephus wrote: "The Sadducees do away with Destiny altogether and set God beyond the possibility of punishing or supervising men. (...) They deny the immortality of the soul and the punishments and rewards of Hades [Sheol /afterlife].
- Free online 1911 Classic Encyclopedia (based on the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, first published in 1911). http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Sadducees

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 3)

3. Christianity is a Greek (Dorian) religion. Jesus Christ is Apollo incarnate.

To affirm such a thing would be like declaring that Albert Einstein was a Nazi, simply because he was a German who still lived in Germany during the first years of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich; or to pretend that because Oprah Winfrey is Black, that she was born and raised in Africa, because Blacks come from Africa, not from America.
I could give thousands of such examples to examplify this kind of twisted logic.

On the contrary, there a huge number of articles and books written nowadays about the Jewish roots of Christianity, like these ones:

Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel: A Message for Christians,
by David H. Stern Ph.D, 2009, Lederer Books.

Lost in Translation: Rediscovering the Hebrew Roots of Our Faith,
by John Klein & Adam Spears, 2007, Selah Publishing Group.

The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus, by Nehemia Gordon, 2005, Hilkiah Press

Finally, in his book entitled:
Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church, by Ron Moseley, 1998, Lederer Books,

we learn these well-know facts:

* The early leaders of the Church were all Jewish
* The original Church was organized around the pattern of the Jewish synagogue
* Yeshua (Jesus) used numerous Jewish idioms in his teachings and has, perhaps, received some training as a Pharisee himself.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 4)

Concerning the similarities between Gentile Christianity and Greco-Roman religion, these are due to the piling up of hundreds of layers of traditions and teachings that were added to the original teachings of the New Testament by the Roman Catholic Church, as centuries went by.

As an example of these extra layers that have piled up over the centuries, we can give the example of the whole Corpus of Canon Law developped and codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century.

These are the facts:

"Thomas blended Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand truths pertaining to God. According to Thomas, God reveals himself through nature, so to study nature is to study God."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

"Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, his commentaries on Aristotle are his most lasting contribution. In theology, his Summa Theologica was one of the most influential documents in medieval theology.
(...)
St. Thomas Aquinas believed that truth is true wherever it is found, and thus consulted Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers. (...) He largely followed Aristotelian terminology and metaphysics, and wrote comprehensive commentaries on Aristotle, often affirming Aristotle's views with independent arguments. Thomas respectfully referred to Aristotle simply as "the Philosopher."(for example, in Summa Theologiæ, Q.84, art.7., the sed contra is only a quote from Aristotle's De anima.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomism

"As a program, scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers: to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle but also of Neoplatonism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism

In 1914, Pope St. Pius X, wrote in his Encyclical Doctoris Angelici:
The capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas (...) are to be considered as the foundations upon which the whole science of natural and divine things is based (...)
http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/doctoris.htm

In other words, to paraphrase all that we have just read:
Aristotle's teachings are the foundations of Thomas Aquinas's whole science of natural things, as the [Roman Catholic] Church also adopted it as Canonical (Sacred Rule of Law)..

Where do you think the concept of the Earth as being in the center of the Universe with the sun rotating around it, comes from?
Who was this teaching coming from? Yes, Aristotle.
What was the impact of the decision of the Church to include all these doctrines (teachings) as part of her Canon Laws?
Well, simply put, as the cosmology of Aristotle became Doctrinal Rule of Law for the Roman Catholic Church, it meant that anybody daring to stand against any one of these doctrines, would be found guilty of treason against the church and heresy in face
of Divine Doctrine, and therefore facing the Death sentence...
So what did Galileo dare teach, if not that the Earth was not anymore in the center of the Universe, but instead was revolving around the sun?
And what were the consequences of his bold publishing of his discoveries?
Yes, death threats, intimidation, and orders to retract and deny the truth.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 1)

I find it sad to read such a list of short declarations founded on partial and approximate information, i.e. half-truths.

I will answer and comment each one of these affirmations:

(PART 1)
1. "The Pharisees are the more Hellenized Jews"

Affirming such a thing is an insult to Judaism itself.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, this declaration has absolutely no foundation whatsoever:
"PHARISEES (Φαρισαῖοι; Hebr. "Perushim"): Party representing the religious views, practises, and hopes of the kernel of the Jewish people in the time of the Second Temple and in opposition to the priestly Sadducees. They were accordingly scrupulous observers of the Law as interpreted by the Soferim, or Scribes, in accordance with tradition. (...) "Perisha" (the singular of "Perishaya") denotes "one who separates himself," or keeps away from persons or things impure, in order to attain the degree of holiness and righteousness required in those who would commune with God. (...) With the destruction of the Temple the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older, priestly tradition. Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. True, it gave the Jewish religion a legalistic tendency and made "separatism" its chief characteristic; yet only thus were the pure monotheistic faith, the ethical ideal, and the intellectual and spiritual character of the Jew preserved in the midst of the downfall of the old world and the deluge of barbarism which swept over the medieval world."
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12087-pharisees

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 4)

Concerning the similarities between Gentile Christianity and Greco-Roman religion, these are due to the piling up of hundreds of layers of traditions and teachings that were added to the original teachings of the New Testament by the Roman Catholic Church, as centuries went by.

As an example of these extra layers that have piled up over the centuries, we can give the example of the whole Corpus of Canon Law developped and codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century.

These are the facts:

"Thomas blended Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand truths pertaining to God. According to Thomas, God reveals himself through nature, so to study nature is to study God."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

"Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, his commentaries on Aristotle are his most lasting contribution. In theology, his Summa Theologica was one of the most influential documents in medieval theology.
(...)
St. Thomas Aquinas believed that truth is true wherever it is found, and thus consulted Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers. (...) He largely followed Aristotelian terminology and metaphysics, and wrote comprehensive commentaries on Aristotle, often affirming Aristotle's views with independent arguments. Thomas respectfully referred to Aristotle simply as "the Philosopher."(for example, in Summa Theologiæ, Q.84, art.7., the sed contra is only a quote from Aristotle's De anima.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomism

"As a program, scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers: to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle but also of Neoplatonism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism

In 1914, Pope St. Pius X, wrote in his Encyclical Doctoris Angelici:
The capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas (...) are to be considered as the foundations upon which the whole science of natural and divine things is based (...)
http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/doctoris.htm

In other words, to paraphrase all that we have just read:
Aristotle's teachings are the foundations of Thomas Aquinas's whole science of natural things, as the [Roman Catholic] Church also adopted it as Canonical (Sacred Rule of Law)..

Where do you think the concept of the Earth as being in the center of the Universe with the sun rotating around it, comes from?
Who was this teaching coming from? Yes, Aristotle.
What was the impact of the decision of the Church to include all these doctrines (teachings) as part of her Canon Laws?
Well, simply put, as the cosmology of Aristotle became Doctrinal Rule of Law for the Roman Catholic Church, it meant that anybody daring to stand against any one of these doctrines, would be found guilty of treason against the church and heresy in face
of Divine Doctrine, and therefore facing the Death sentence...
So what did Galileo dare teach, if not that the Earth was not anymore in the center of the Universe, but instead was revolving around the sun?
And what were the consequences of his bold publishing of his discoveries?
Yes, death threats, intimidation, and orders to retract and deny the truth.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 1)

I find it sad to read such a list of short declarations founded on partial and approximate information, i.e. half-truths.

I will answer and comment each one of these affirmations:

1. "The Pharisees are the more Hellenized Jews"

Affirming such a thing is an insult to Judaism itself.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, this declaration has absolutely no foundation whatsoever:
"PHARISEES (Φαρισαῖοι; Hebr. "Perushim"): Party representing the religious views, practises, and hopes of the kernel of the Jewish people in the time of the Second Temple and in opposition to the priestly Sadducees. They were accordingly scrupulous observers of the Law as interpreted by the Soferim, or Scribes, in accordance with tradition. (...) "Perisha" (the singular of "Perishaya") denotes "one who separates himself," or keeps away from persons or things impure, in order to attain the degree of holiness and righteousness required in those who would commune with God. (...) With the destruction of the Temple the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older, priestly tradition. Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. True, it gave the Jewish religion a legalistic tendency and made "separatism" its chief characteristic; yet only thus were the pure monotheistic faith, the ethical ideal, and the intellectual and spiritual character of the Jew preserved in the midst of the downfall of the old world and the deluge of barbarism which swept over the medieval world."
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12087-pharisees

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 4)

Concerning the similarities between Gentile Christianity and Greco-Roman religion:
These assimilations of Christianity to the pagan religions and philosophies of the former Roman Empire are due to the piling up of hundreds of layers of traditions and teachings that were added to the original teachings of the New Testament by the Roman Catholic Church, as centuries went by.

As an example of these extra layers that have piled up over the centuries, we can give the example of the whole Corpus of Canon Law developped and codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century.

These are the facts:

"Thomas blended Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand truths pertaining to God. According to Thomas, God reveals himself through nature, so to study nature is to study God."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

"Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, his commentaries on Aristotle are his most lasting contribution. In theology, his Summa Theologica was one of the most influential documents in medieval theology.
(...)
St. Thomas Aquinas believed that truth is true wherever it is found, and thus consulted Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers. (...) He largely followed Aristotelian terminology and metaphysics, and wrote comprehensive commentaries on Aristotle, often affirming Aristotle's views with independent arguments. Thomas respectfully referred to Aristotle simply as "the Philosopher."(for example, in Summa Theologiæ, Q.84, art.7., the sed contra is only a quote from Aristotle's De anima.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomism

"As a program, scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers: to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle but also of Neoplatonism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism

In 1914, Pope St. Pius X, wrote in his Encyclical Doctoris Angelici:
The capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas (...) are to be considered as the foundations upon which the whole science of natural and divine things is based (...)
http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/doctoris.htm

In other words, to paraphrase all that we have just read:
Aristotle's teachings are the foundations of Thomas Aquinas's whole science of natural things, as the [Roman Catholic] Church also adopted it as Canonical (Sacred Rule of Law)..

Where do you think the concept of the Earth as being in the center of the Universe with the sun rotating around it, comes from?
Who was this teaching coming from? Yes, Aristotle.
What was the impact of the Roman Catholic Church's decision to include all these doctrines (teachings) as part of her Canon Laws?
Well, simply put, as the cosmology of Aristotle became Doctrinal Rule of Law for the Roman Catholic Church, it meant that anybody daring to stand against any one of these doctrines, would be found guilty of treason against the church and heresy in face
of Divine Doctrine, and therefore facing the Death sentence...
So what did Galileo dare teach, if not that the Earth was not anymore in the center of the Universe, but instead was revolving around the sun?
And what were the consequences of his bold publishing of his discoveries?
Yes, death threats, intimidation, and orders to retract and deny the Truth.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 5)

You misquoted Jesus by distorting what he told the Jews:
"The Faith will be taken away from you and given to another race."
Jesus said himself that another culture and another race will define the Faith.


There are 2 mistakes in this quote.
1. He was talking about the kingdom of God, not about the Faith.
2. He was talking about a group of people, not a racial group.

Now, here is the quote, as we read it in the NIV translation:
"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [the Jews] and given to a people [the Gentiles] who will produce its fruit.” – Matthew 21:43
http://bible.cc/matthew/21-43.htm

The Kingdom of God is the inheritance of the benefits and priviledges of the King’s-dominion.-

As Paul Preached in Rome to Jewish leaders, when many of them refused to believe in the Gospel message about Jesus as Messiah, he made this final statement:
"Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!" Acts 28:28 (NIV)
In other words:
So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it." (NLT)
http://bible.cc/acts/28-28.htm

W.LindsayWheeler said...

To jclequy

It is of no doubt that Christianity grew out of Judaism but much of it is Greek. As Prof. Erhlich points out much of the teaching comes from Plato.

The saying is "Culture defines politics". Culture also defines religion. It was Hellenism that formed Christianity. There is a conscious movement afoot for the last 500 years to "judaize" Christianity. The Puritans in their own day were called "demi-jews". Protestantism is in fact a judaized form of Christianity. The Ecumenical councils promulgated more than once canons prohibiting the "Judaizing of the faith".

You wrote, These assimilations of Christianity to the pagan religions and philosophies of the former Roman Empire are due to the piling up of hundreds of layers of traditions and teachings that were added to the original teachings of the New Testament by the Roman Catholic Church, as centuries went by.

What Protestant seeks to do is strip away all of these "layers"! But Christianity, Roman Catholicism, is supposed to be European and NOT Jewish. Christianity is a 80% break from Judaism. It is supposed to be a Greek Religion not Jewish.

The problem today is that Christianity is supposed to be Jewish and in the last century this phrase was formed, "Judeo-Christianity". This is an error. There is NO such thing as "Judeo-Christianity".

What happened is that European feasts and festivals were "Christianized". That is supposed to be! Christianity is thoroughly European.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

To jclequy:

The Jews rejected Christ. Why? Jesus Christ declared himself God, and man. In Jewish belief, there is a gulf between God and Man and there is NO crossover.

You must go to Socrate's dictum that "Concept precedes knowledge".

This is very important to understand. In Greek culture, there are many personages that were Half-god and Half-man such as Achilles, and Hercules and many more. The concept of a Half-god and Half-man was throughout Greek culture. When Christ said he was also a God, the Greeks believed and the Jews rejected him outright!

Jesus is not a Jewish concept. Semitic mind thought is to the extremes. They are iconoclastic. Greek thought is binary and combinatorial. They easily comprehended the mystery of Christ.

The Trinity and the dual nature of Christ is Greek not Jewish. The two most central and fundamental dogmas of Christianity is Greek not Jewish.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to Lindsay Wheeler's comments,
(PART 5)

You said:

1.
"It is of no doubt that Christianity grew out of Judaism, but much of it is Greek."

This is true, only when you consider its later forms developed after centuries of transformations... in other words, it is true only when you observe its latest steps of metamorphosis, as can be observed within Roman Catholicism and to some extent within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

2.
"It was Hellenism that formed Christianity."

This is only true in the sense that Hellenism helped conceptualize, verbalize and cristalize the Christian doctrine.
In this manner, the concept of Trinity was first verbalized in an embryonic form as a Triad, by Theophilus of Antioch around the year 170, as he used the greek word Triados [Τριάδος].
Then around the years 200-210, Tertullian was the first to use the latin word Trinitas, followed by the theologian Athanasius who cristalized the concept as a fully developped mature definition, in the year 325 at the Council of Nicea.

3.
"Christianity is a 80% break from Judaism. It is supposed to be a Greek Religion not Jewish."

The Christianity that you are talking about, that is a 80% break from Judaism, is no other than the Roman Catholic Church, along with, to some extent, its sister the Eastern Orthodox Church.

And yes, of course, Christianity represents a break from the Jewish religion. But it was never intended to be an 80% break, rather a 20% break from biblical Judaism (represented even today by the Karaites), and yes, 60% break from Rabbinical Judaism (represented today by the Traditional Jewish).

The similitudes between the Rabbinical Judaism against which Jesus was opposed, and the Medieval (pre-Vatican II) Roman Catholic Church are staggering, as Jesus reprimanded the Rabbis of his day, about this massive body of Traditions that had started to pile up, which would eventually become the Talmud:

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus,
"Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders...?"
Mark 7:5

Jesus replied to them:
"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions."
Mark 7:8
"You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition."
Matthew 15:6

How were the rabbis misbehaving, according to Jesus? He said:
"They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders"
Matthew 23:4

For the same reason, he said to them:
"And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."
Luke 11:46
"You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."
Matthew 23:24

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 6)

You said: "Christianity, Roman Catholicism, is supposed to be European and NOT Jewish."

My answer is: Yes, Roman Catholicism is European!
Even more so, it is Graeco-Roman along with a huge amount of Babylonian heritage as well !
But No, Christianity was never meant to be a divorce from Judaism, as Jesus specified:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Matthew 5:17

The Jesus Movement was rather supposed to be:
* An offshoot from its Jewish roots,
* A logical redefinition implied by the messiahship of Jesus,
* A realignment away from rabbinical derailments.
* And yes, it was also meant to involve an expansion of thought by inclusion of new concepts that were alien to traditional Jewish thought but familiar to Greeks, for which the Apostle Paul was the most important initiator, along with the Apostle John.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 7)

You said:
"In the last century this [concept] was formed, "Judeo-Christianity". This is an error.
There is NO such thing as "Judeo-Christianity".

This declaration is a total denial of the last 200 years of archaeology and biblical discoveries.

Even though Archaeology as a science was initiated during the Renaissance by the Italian Flavio Biondo, it really took off only in the 19th Century thanks to the unlimited ressources that Napoleon had at his disposal when he took control of Egypt and "gleaned" (some would say "plunder") its treasures to fill the Louvre Museum.
Your timing is right: the concept of a Judeo-Christianity began in the same era when Archaeology began to soar as an applied science with significant means at its disposal: As archaeologists started to use the Bible to find lost cities and whole civilizations, it became clear that we had been ignoring a treasure chest of knowledge to which we never had access before.
A first example of this is with the existence of the Hittite civilization, of which the Bible spoke more than once, but about which some renowned scholars and historians scoffed, "we know that the Hittites is yet another example of the many fables told by the Bible - they never existed - since we have no archaeological evidence for their existence"... until it was discovered in the 19th century...
This is why that only since the 19th century have we begun to use such an expression as "Judeo-Christians", which has been confirmed over and over since the archaelogical discoveries in Qumran and all over Israel and as we regained contact with the earliest Jewish and Christian writings... and our ignorance has shrunk.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

to jclequy:

For me, it seems that you belong to just another in a long line of heresies. I stand for traditional Christianity as embodied in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. And you belong to protestant sect. Clearly the twain shall never meet. I reject your premises and you reject mine. But I do have a question for you:

Is Jesus Christ fully God and fully man?

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 8)

You made the following statements to which I will answer as a whole:

You said:
- "There is a conscious movement afoot for the last 500 years to "judaize" Christianity."
- "Protestantism is in fact a judaized form of Christianity. "
- "The Puritans in their own day were called "demi-jews".
- "The Ecumenical councils promulgated more than once canons prohibiting the "Judaizing of the faith".

Again, this is a mix of true and false declarations, thus very inexact at best, since one must understand what judaizing really means.

First, one must understand that Protestantism sees itself as an effort to return to the original doctrines and practices of the Early/Primitive Church, just as Jesus's goal was to strip naked the rabbinical Judaism of his day, from all the extraneous pre-Talmudic Traditions which they had accumulated over the previous 4 centuries.

Second,Judaizing, i.e. forcing non-Jews to convert to Judaism before embracing Christianity, was unequivocally rejected and forbidden in the year 48 by the Jewish Apostles at the First Council of the Christian Church in Jerusalem, at which the Apostle James was presiding, as recorded in Acts 15.
In fact, the Judaizers were the first group in the history of the Church that were considered as erring towards heresy.

(about your last question, keep posted, it's coming up!)

W.LindsayWheeler said...

You are wrong about the term "judaizing". Judaizing DOES NOT mean forcing non-Jews to convert to Judaism but it refers to Christians adopting Jewish ideas, customs, feasts or mentalities. When the Ecumenical councils condemned "judaizing", it meant Christians who picked up the OT and understood it literally. It was those who rejected clergy and such. Judaizing is in the Canons of the Ecumenical Church and does NOT refer to anything in the New Testament. "Sola Scriptura" is a Jewish mindset. To reject images is Judaizing. Case in point, Protestant houses of worship with their plain walls match Jewish synagogues which match Islamic mosques. All three disapprove of images.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 9)

You said:
"The Jews rejected Christ. Why? Jesus Christ declared himself God, and man.
In Jewish belief, there is a gulf between God and Man and there is NO crossover.
When Christ said he was also a God, the Greeks believed and the Jews rejected him outright!
[The God-Man] Jesus is not a Jewish concept. Semitic mind thought is to the extremes. They are iconoclastic.
Greek thought is binary and combinatorial. They easily comprehended the mystery of Christ.
The Trinity and the dual nature of Christ is Greek not Jewish.
The two most central and fundamental dogmas of Christianity is Greek not Jewish."


This set of declarations is filled with truths, but is also missing many key facts about both Jews and Greeks, which provide a more accurate picture of history.

- - PART ONE : ABOUT THE GREEKS - -
First, there is something that few people realize about the Greeks:
By the time the Gospel was reaching Greece for the first time, a great number of Greeks had been adopting a disembodied form of philosophy not really involved with the search for Truth, but rather preoccupied with Purity of Thought and Discourse.
Within this mindset, it is not important to know if what someone speaks is Truth, but rather, whether or not his exposé contained the expected form of appropriate logical Demonstration. In other words, one needed to look and sound scholarly enough, and was expected to follow the proper procedure of Discourse, to be considered worthy to be listened to.
We read about such an event in the book of Acts (Chap.17), where the Hellenic Jew Paul is offered to give a speech to expose this "new" doctrine that the Athenians found to be alien to such an extent, that even before he could finish his long scholarly discourse, because he had started to talk about the strange concept of "Resurrection", they cut him off, saying: "Some other day..."

"Some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him. And some said, "What would this babbler say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities".
(Acts 17:18)
"And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus [also known as Mars Hill], saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears; we wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except
telling or hearing something new." (Acts 17:19-21)
"Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this. So Paul departed from among them." (Acts 17:32-33)


The Apostle Paul had stumbled onto a major philosophical wall: Most Greeks considered the body as the Source of Evil, therefore unredeemable, which explains why Gnosticism became so popular, for a time, because making so much more sense to them, since Gnosticism taught that the Christian redemption consisted in being set free from the constraints of the prison which consists of the evil physical body.
We can see this concept clearly depicted in the Gnostic [pseudo-]Gospel of [pseudo-]Judas (written over 100 years after Judas died), where Jesus says to Thomas that he
will be doing a good thing by delivering Jesus to be crucified, because he will be the one responsible for setting Jesus free of his despicable mortal shell.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 10)

(see first my reply in Part 9)

As I said before in Part One of my reply, this set of declarations is filled with truths, but is also missing key facts about both Jews and Greeks, which provide a more accurate picture of history.

-- PART TWO : ABOUT THE JEWS / The Messianic Scriptures --
Because of the restrictive rabbinical interpretations of their Scriptures, the Jews had been suffering from Religious Sclerosis since before Jesus arrived on the scene.
Within their own Scriptures, they had readily available to them all the teachings and concepts required to accept the Gospel message, including both the Messiahship and Full Deity of Yeshua, but their accumulated Tradition was forming a theological wall of narrow-mindedness which made it so difficult to believe in him as Divine Messiah.

Even when John the Baptist was in jail before he was beheaded, he sent messengers to ask Jesus:
"Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?"
Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."
Matthew 11:2-6

What was Jesus talking about ?!!??
Simple: It was a message coded in such a way that the messengers would not understand, but John alone, as Jesus was quoting the prophet Isaiah which said more exactly:
"Your God will come, (...) he will come to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Isaiah 35:4-6

So many Scriptures were talking about a Divine Messiah. Not just divinely sent, but divine in nature:

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us]."
Isaiah 7:14

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God [El-Gibbor], Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:2,6

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from everlasting/eternity (עוֹלָם Olam).”
Micah 5:1-2

On the Jewish website Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective, we find that the word עוֹלָם Olam can be used in many ways, including Eternity (past or future).
In the prayer of thanksgiving we have the expression Melech Ha-Olam, King of the Universe
Also, Olam might derive from the root עלם, "to hide", meaning "the hidden, unknown time".
The meaning can also be "Age, Era", parallel to the Greek aeon (the root of the English word "eon").
http://www.balashon.com/2010/09/olam.html
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=micah%205&version=WLC

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 11)

(see first my reply in Part 10)

-- PART TREE : ABOUT THE JEWS / The unexpected Key --
The concrete wall that we hit when we attempt to explain to a Jewish person that God has a son who is also God, originates in the foundational declaration of faith called the Shema:
"Hear ô Israel, The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE (YHWH ECHAD)"
Deuteronomy 6:4

But it is in this very same verse that we find the key to unlock the mental blockage of a Jew about the Unity of God:

The word Echad (unity) is different from Yachid / Yachad (unicity /uniqueness /unit /oneness), which is even translated "solitary" in Psalm 68:6 and refers to someone who is absolutely alone.

Echad can be used in so many ways including, when counting, the cardinal number ONE, also as a ordinal number to mean the first one.

But it is in discovering the peculiar ways that this word is used in the hebrew biblical texts, that we see such a concept that surprisingly evades even the Jews themselves:

In many cases, ECHAD is used to describe a compound unity, as when it is said that Man and Woman in marriage will become ONE flesh (l-visar echad). Genesis 2:24.

As when ONE cluster of grapes is named eshkol enadim ECHAD וְאֶשְׁכֹּ֤ול עֲנָבִים֙ אֶחָ֔ד

When we see that ECHAD is used in cases of Compound Unity, as for Adam and Eve who did not fuse into an hermaphrodite being, but instead remained distinct personalities, we can understand the famous Jewish Declaration of Faith in this manner:

"Hear, O Israel:
The LORD our God,
The LORD is a compound unity."

This translation is thus taken to be primary evidence for the triune nature of God.
Many Jewish Messianic congregations have statements of faith that illustrate this view:

We believe that God is "echad" (one) as declared in the Shema (Deut. 6:4), a compound unity manifested in three persons.
We believe that the Shema...teaches that God is Echad, as so declared: a united one, a composite unity, eternally existent in plural oneness.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 9)

You said:
"The Jews rejected Christ. Why? Jesus Christ declared himself God, and man.
In Jewish belief, there is a gulf between God and Man and there is NO crossover.
When Christ said he was also a God, the Greeks believed and the Jews rejected him outright!
[The God-Man] Jesus is not a Jewish concept. Semitic mind thought is to the extremes. They are iconoclastic.
Greek thought is binary and combinatorial. They easily comprehended the mystery of Christ.
The Trinity and the dual nature of Christ is Greek not Jewish.
The two most central and fundamental dogmas of Christianity is Greek not Jewish."


This set of declarations is filled with truths, but is also missing many key facts about both Jews and Greeks, which provide a more accurate picture of history.

- - PART ONE : ABOUT THE GREEKS - -
First, there is something that few people realize about the Greeks:
By the time the Gospel was reaching Greece for the first time, a great number of Greeks had been adopting a disembodied form of philosophy not really involved with the search for Truth, but rather preoccupied with Purity of Thought and Discourse.
Within this mindset, it is not important to know if what someone speaks is Truth, but rather, whether or not if his exposé contained the expected form of appropriate logical Demonstration. In other words, one needed to look and sound scholarly enough, and was expected to follow the proper procedure of Discourse, to be considered worthy to be listened to.
We read about such an event in the book of Acts (Chap.17), where the Hellenic Jew Paul is offered to give a speech to expose this "new" doctrine that the Athenians found to be alien to such an extent, that even before he could finish his long scholarly discourse, because he had started to talk about the strange concept of "Resurrection", they cut him off, saying: "Some other day..."

"Some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him. And some said, "What would this babbler say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities".
(Acts 17:18)
"And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus [also known as Mars Hill], saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears; we wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except
telling or hearing something new." (Acts 17:19-21)
"Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this. So Paul departed from among them." (Acts 17:32-33)


The Apostle Paul had stumbled onto a major philosophical wall: Most Greeks considered the body as the Source of Evil, therefore unredeemable, which explains why Gnosticism became so popular, for a time, because making so much more sense to them, since Gnosticism taught that the Christian redemption consisted in being set free from the constraints of the prison which consists of the evil physical body.
We can see this concept clearly depicted in the Gnostic [pseudo-]Gospel of [pseudo-]Judas (written over 100 years after Judas died), where Jesus says to Thomas that he
will be doing a good thing by delivering Jesus to be crucified, because he will be the one responsible for setting Jesus free of his despicable mortal shell.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 12)

(see first my reply in Part 11)

-- PART FOUR : ABOUT THE JEWS / Their reasons to reject Jesus --

You said:
"The Jews rejected Christ. Why? Jesus Christ declared himself God, and man.
In Jewish belief, there is a gulf between God and Man and there is NO crossover."


As I showed in my preceding reply, there was a crossover available, but it was systematically hidden from their eyes by their rabbinic theologians.

If you talk today with any Jew, and you ask him why Jews have rejected Jesus as Messiah?
The answer is very swift and simple:
He failed to bring to Earth the establishment of the physical/visible Kingdom of God by restoring the Throne of David.
They see him therefore as a lunatic, a failure.
That's what our blogger-historian Mike Anderson has been talking about in his article of April 28, 2012, as he wrote: "Jesus' Galilean mission was a failure" - ... on a traditional Jewish standpoint of course.

The second reason to reject him was the political cover-up, supposedly because he was declaring himself a King, so that they could make him standout as a pretendent to the Imperial Throne of Rome,and crucify him for conspirating against Caesar.
Paradoxically, this is exactly what they were hoping for in a messiah: a leader who could shake and break the yoke of Rome.

The 3rd reason: Jesus's Deity was not the long-lasting pretext to reject Jesus.
The Traditional Jewish theologians rather see the Deity of Christ as a later invention of pagan Christianity, which came much later, centuries after his crucifixion, but which was not intended to be part of the original message of Jesus.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 13)

-- PART FIVE : The concept of the LOGOS for the Greeks and the Hebrews. --

What is the concept of the Logos? In a nutshell, we have this basic definition:
"Ancient philosophers used the term in different ways. The sophists used the term to mean "discourse", and Aristotle applied the term to refer to "reasoned discourse" or "the argument" in the field of rhetoric.
The Stoic philosophers identified the term with the divine animating principle pervading the Universe."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

We can also understand it simply by the various ways that it has been translated:
Latin Verbum, French Parole & Verbe, English Word, and in
Hebrew הַדָּבָר Ha-Davar
(http://dvar-adonai.org/hnt/He_htm/John001-005.htm)

For the sake of simplicity I will quote again from Wikipedia:
"Early translators from Greek, like Jerome in the 4th century, were frustrated by the inadequacy of any single Latin word to convey the Logos expressed in the Gospel of John. The Vulgate Bible usage of in principio erat verbum was thus constrained to use the perhaps inadequate noun verbum for word. (...) Reformation translators took another approach. Martin Luther rejected Zeitwort (verb) in favor of Wort (word), for instance, although later commentators repeatedly turned to a more dynamic use involving the Living Word as felt by Jerome and Augustine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

Undeniably, the word and concept of the Logos is Greek...
But when we understand what it means, we discover that this concept has been familiar to the Hebrew mindset, as far in the past as the first chapter of Genesis...

"Davar הַדָּבָר is Hebrew for "word" (...) "The Word" is one of the most important concepts in Scripture.
The Gospel of John begins with, "In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in [the] beginning with God. All things were made by him..."
This passage echoes Genesis 1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth... and God said, 'let there be light', and there was light..." which describes God
speaking the universe into being.
Davar means both the "word" itself and its accompanying creative act.
In Isaiah 55:11 the 'Davar' goes out of God's mouth to accomplish a task.
This passage states that the 'davar' never returns void, it always achieves its purpose.
The Davar is both the "word" and the accompanying power to fulfill.
"Davar occurs over 1400 times in Scripture and is translated by 85 different English words in the King James Version.
Its root verb occurs over 1100 times and required 45 different English words.
It can mean word, book, power, purpose, utterance, prophetic message, cause, matter or thing.
It can be written, spoken, or seen."
http://www.davarpartners.com/the-meaning-of-davar.html
http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/introduction.htm

Fascinating to notice how both the Greek and Hebrew definitions can meet by showing to be so similar!
In conclusion, the Semitic /Hebrew mindset is flexible enough to allow for such a concept to be understood.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 9)

You said:
"When Christ said he was also a God, the Greeks believed and the Jews rejected him outright!
[The God-Man] Jesus is not a Jewish concept. Semitic mind thought is to the extremes. They are iconoclastic.
Greek thought is binary and combinatorial. They easily comprehended the mystery of Christ.
The Trinity and the dual nature of Christ is Greek not Jewish.
The two most central and fundamental dogmas of Christianity is Greek not Jewish."


This set of declarations is filled with truths, but is also missing many key facts about both Jews and Greeks, which provide a more accurate picture of history.

-- PART ONE : ABOUT THE GREEKS --

First, there is something that few people realize about the Greeks:
By the time the Gospel was reaching Greece for the first time, a great number of Greeks had been adopting a disembodied form of philosophy not really involved with the search for Truth, but rather preoccupied with Purity of Thought and Discourse.
Within this mindset, it is not important to know if what someone speaks is Truth, but rather, whether or not if his exposé contained the expected form of appropriate logical Demonstration. In other words, one needed to look and sound scholarly enough, and was expected to follow the proper procedure of Discourse, to be considered worthy to be listened to.
We read about such an event in the book of Acts (Chap.17), where the Hellenic Jew Paul is offered to give a speech to expose this "new" doctrine that the Athenians found to be alien to such an extent, that even before he could finish his long scholarly discourse, because he had started to talk about the strange concept of "Resurrection", they cut him off, saying: "Some other day..."

"Some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him. And some said, "What would this babbler say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities".
(Acts 17:18)
"And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus [also known as Mars Hill], saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears; we wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except
telling or hearing something new." (Acts 17:19-21)
"Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this. So Paul departed from among them." (Acts 17:32-33)


The Apostle Paul had stumbled onto a major philosophical wall: Most Greeks considered the body as the Source of Evil, therefore unredeemable, which explains why Gnosticism became so popular, for a time, because making so much more sense to them, since Gnosticism taught that the Christian redemption consisted in being set free from the constraints of the prison which consists of the evil physical body.
We can see this concept clearly depicted in the Gnostic [pseudo-]Gospel of [pseudo-]Judas (written over 100 years after Judas died), where Jesus says to Thomas that he
will be doing a good thing by delivering Jesus to be crucified, because he will be the one responsible for setting Jesus free of his despicable mortal shell.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I believe the earliest use of the term "Logos" is by Heraclitus. Heraclitus uses the phrase, "steering nature from within". The "Logos" was the reason found in nature. Logos is the Natural Law or Laws of Nature. It is righteousness (the dictum that all things are constructed to do one thing), the golden mean, "The Rule of One is Best", etc.

St. John is using that as the meaning of "the Logos". Here is an article describing that, "Christ the font of Greek philosophy".

----
On your The Traditional Jewish theologians rather see the Deity of Christ as a later invention of pagan Christianity, which came much later, centuries after his crucifixion, but which was not intended to be part of the original message of Jesus.. See that term "pagan Christianity". That is how Judaizers condemn Roman Catholicism. What you call "pagan" is European. What you and your compatriots are doing is stripping Christianity of its "paganess" which means stripping it of its "Europeaness". "Pagan" is a code word for European.

You can't mix oil and water. And NO, Christ as a divinity is not a product of "pagan" Christianity, but Christ himself said so. He said, "He who has seen me, has seen the Father" making him equal to God the Father. This infuriated the Jews.

Again, Is Christ fully God and fully Man? You haven't given the answer to that yet. It may be alright for Jewish Christians to have imageless places of worship but what ends up happening is that you seek to impose Judaism throughout Christianity. The actions of the Puritans demonstrates that.

jclequy@yahoo.ca said...

Answer to W.LindsayWheeler
(PART 14)

Your last question to me pertained to my (PART 12) where I explain why the traditional (i.e. modern) Jewish theologians still reject Jesus’s Messiahship.

What we call today Traditional Judaism, pertains to the Jews who have rejected and are still rejecting the messiahship of Jesus, and THAT was the subject that I was talking about.

In opposition, the Messianic Jews are those who have crossed over and chose to believe that Yeshua was and is still the promised Messiah of Israel, and that was NOT what I was talking about, neither was I taking about my faith nor about my beliefs.

I was simply explaining that today, the only remaining justification for traditional Jews to reject Jesus’s messiahship, was that He failed to bring to Earth the establishment of the physical / visible Kingdom of God by restoring the Throne of David, as he said himself: "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). They therefore see him traditionally as a lunatic or a failure. Period.

The other main historic reason for rejecting Him back then, namely his declaration of His Deity, has been revisited since the 20th century. Following the general revisionist trend that we see nowadays among scholars, the Jews have followed suit and are now reading History under a new "light", a new perspective according to which Jesus never pretended to be God, but only his apostles (or later generations of disciples) added these alien (i.e. pagan) teachings, after the "disappearance" of Jesus. This is why today the original rejection of Jesus for declaring himself to be God, has now become void, since they no longer believe that he ever declared such things.

This new scholarship among Jews who still reject Jesus as Messiah, can be found in the new book by Shmuley Boteach, entitled "Kosher Jesus" (2012, Gefen Publishing House)

As for my Christological position, I thought that I made it clear: If you read again my (PART 10) (PART 11) and (PART 13), you will see it crystal clear.
But to reassure you, I will use this Paulinian Trinitarian salutation:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
(2 Corinthians 13:14)