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Who Was/Is Jesus Of Nazerath?


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#1    Jesusfan

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 04:29 AM

Just curious to how many of you have pegged Jesus... Was He a prophet of God, a Teacher, the messiah, or else even God Incarnate, very Son of God? Or do some of you believe that jesus never existed, or else did exist, but none of the NT writers accurately portrayed Him, as they built up the Myth of Jesus being the Christ Messiah?


#2    Welsh Shaun

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 04:35 AM

A historical figure thats life has been distorted for the benefit of others.

If that makes any sense?

Edited by Welsh Shaun, 31 October 2005 - 04:35 AM.

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#3    seanph

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 01:31 PM

The Jesus as characterized in the NT is almost wholly fictional.  The historical Jesus was an end-time prophet who believed god was working through him in order to bring about some sort of reformation of Judaism and usher in a new age--spiritual restoration--of Israel.  He never intended to start a new religion.  Christianity was a product of his followers.

Jesus of Nazareth (30 CE) (Academic site LIVIUS)
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messi...laimants05.html

Here's an interesting article by Reginald Fuller (Molly Laird Downs Professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary) from the Oxford Companion To The Bible on Jesus' self-understanding:

Jesus’ Self-understanding.  While Jesus’ career evoked messianic hopes among his followers and fears among his enemies, stage I material shows him reluctant to assert any overt messianic claim. The self-designation he uses is son of man. This is so widely attested in the gospel tradition and occurs (with one or two negligible exceptions) only on the lips of Jesus himself, that it satisfies the major tests of authenticity. It occurs in all primary strata of the gospel tradition (Mark, Q, Special Matthew, Special Luke, and the pre-Gospel tradition in John). It is not attested as a messianic title in earlier Judaism and occurs only once outside the gospels (apart from citations of Psalm 8.5–7), in Acts 7.56. So there should be no reasonable doubt that it was a characteristic self-designation of the historical Jesus. It is not a title but means “human one,” and it is best understood as a self-effacing self-reference. It is used in contexts where Jesus spoke of his mission, fate, and final vindication.

Jesus certainly thought of himself as a prophet (Mark 6.4; Luke 13.33), but there was a final quality about his message and work that entitles us to conclude that he thought of himself as God’s final, definitive emissary to Israel. He was more interested in what God was doing through him than in what he was in himself. He did not obtrude his own ego, yet his own ego was included as part of his message: “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matthew 10.40 || Luke 10.16 Q); “Follow me” (Mark 1.17; etc.); “Those who are ashamed of me …” (Mark 8.38); “Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me (Matthew 11.6 || Luke 7.23 Q); “If it is by the Spirit [Luke: “finger”] of God that I cast out demons …” (Matthew 12.28 || Luke 11.20 Q). Jesus dared to speak and act for God. This is clear in the antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5.21–48: “It was said to those of ancient times … but I say to you”), in his pronouncement of the forgiveness of sins (which only God could do, Mark 2.5–12; Luke 7.36–50), his acceptance of the outcast and healing of lepers who were shunned under the law. Coupled with such features is the tremendous authority with which Jesus spoke and acted, an authority for which he offers no credentials save that it is intimately bound up with the authority of the Baptist (Mark 11.27–33) and rests upon God’s final vindication (Mark 8.38 and Luke 12.8 Q). Jesus does not claim overtly to be Son of God in any unique sense. Passages in which he appears to do so belong to stage II or III of the tradition. But he does call God “abba” in an unusual way, which points to God’s call to which he has responded in full obedience, and therefore we may speak of his unique sense of sonship. But we must bear in mind that in this Palestinian milieu sonship denoted not a metaphysical quality but rather a historical call and obedience. Jesus did challenge his disciples to say who they thought he was, which elicited from Peter the response that he was the Christ or Messiah (Mark 8.27–30; cf. John 6.66–69). According to Mark, he neither accepted nor rejected Peter’s assertion. What did Peter mean, and in what sense did Jesus take it? It is commonly thought that it was meant in a political-nationalist sense and that Jesus rejected this. It seems more likely, however, that Peter meant it in the sense of the anointed prophet of Isaiah 61.1. Such a response to Jesus would have been wholly appropriate as far as it went. What Peter and the other disciples did not realize, of course, was that this mission extended beyond the terms of Isaiah 61 and that it also involved rejection, suffering, and death. It is possible, though much disputed, that Jesus modeled this further insight upon the figure of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. We could be sure of this if Mark 10.45b belongs to stage I.

A very early tradition (Romans 1.3) asserted that the earthly Jesus was of a family descended from the royal line of David. We cannot be sure that this played any role in his self-understanding. For the post-Easter community this title was important as qualifying him for the messianic role he assumed after his exaltation.

The use of “Rabbi” and “my Lord” in addressing Jesus during his earthly ministry did not denote majesty: these were titles of respect accorded a charismatic person. However, as the conviction grew among his followers that he was the final emissary of God, these terms would acquire a heightened meaning.

In sum, we find in the Synoptics only limited evidence for an explicit Christology in Jesus’ self-understanding, and such evidence as there is is critically suspect. He was more concerned with what God was doing in him than who he was, especially in any metaphysical sense. But what God was doing through him in his earthly ministry provided the raw materials for the christological evaluation of Jesus after the Easter event.


Kindly,

Sean

Edited by seanph, 31 October 2005 - 01:37 PM.

"Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation donít conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed."--Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

#4    mako

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 01:44 PM

Here is where Seanp and I disagree in a minor way.  I don't believe that a "historical" Jesus existed.  I believe that Jesus is an amalgamation of several 2nd and 1st century BCE rabbis and charlatans and that Christianity is the creation of Paul/Saul of Taurus.  We have nothing written by the supposed disciples and any thing written written by their comrades was actually written too late to have been truly that of their comrades.  We only have the word of the NT that Jesus and the disciples existed, no where else (contemporarily) were they mentioned.  Just my opinion, but with more evidence of non-existence than for existence!  yes.gif

Our earth is degenerate in these latter days.  There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end.  Bribery and corruption are common,   Children no longer obey their parents.  Every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world evidently is approaching.
                    Assyrian tablet circa 2800 BCE

#5    Paranoid Android

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 10:53 AM

I believe Jesus to be the Son of God, the second part of the Trinity, who died and was resurrected for the sake of humanity.

But this is just my humble opinion.

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#6    SoLLiZ

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 05:04 AM

i think jesus was just a guy (or possibly a couple of people rolled into one) who wanted nothing more than to try and reform judaism. i dont think he was the son god, thought himself to be the son of god, or anything more. i think people just took his name and slapped the legends of mithra and other gods to his name and formed another religion.



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#7    PLO

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:11 PM

He was am ethnicly coloured, jewish extremist i.e terrorist, who camp in the mountains and trained guerrila armies to fight the Western imperial machinations of Rome.  Ironic isnt it?

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#8    seanph

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:22 PM

Somebody want to tackle that one?!

"Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation donít conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed."--Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

#9    Jesusfan

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:35 PM

Quote


He was am ethnicly coloured, jewish extremist i.e terrorist, who camp in the mountains and trained guerrila armies to fight the Western imperial machinations of Rome.  Ironic isnt it?

Sincerely hope that you are making a joke my friend... Since the Jesus that History and the Bible portrays is one who preached/taught/ and lived out the ideals of loving others, and doing unto them as you would want them to do unto you... He told us to love and pray for our enemies, not to take up swords(bullets) and try to kill them off, but show them love and allow God to work on their hearts...

If the World would have learned His message, and tried to Love God with their whole herat and mind, and love their neighbors as themselvers, a lot of needless bloodshed would have been averted...

That is another reason that jesus is unique among all religious founders, not only did he do the acts of God, claimed to be God, was raised from the dead to show that his claims were true, but that He lived out perfectly what He was teaching... The Man and the Message 100% agreement... Pity that othe  religions would try to use the sword and vilolence to achieve the means... Know that the Church did do brutal acts and commited atrocities, but they were NOT obeying the dictates of Jesus Christ in doing this, as His true Church was able to overcome Roman Empite through Love and by good deeds of kindness, not acts of agression and violence... Bu the followers of other religions that taught and did... Peace of Peace contrasted with Prophet of War... Just something to think about...


#10    PLO

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:42 PM

"Since the Jesus that History and the Bible portrays is one who preached/taught"

yeah see m8 there in lays the problem what the BIBLE PORTRAYS.  When putting things into a historical context you can clearly see he was not what the bible portrays, i.e a super natural zombie with healing powers.  Pretty far fetched idea you have there m8.

But yes the character who called himself the Christ would have deffinatly tryd to enlighten and teach people, i do not dispute that, but so do radical jewish, islamic extremists and right wing christian fire brands. So.......

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#11    Mythra

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 04:22 PM

Quote

That is another reason that jesus is unique among all religious founders, not only did he do the acts of God, claimed to be God, was raised from the dead to show that his claims were true, but that He lived out perfectly what He was teaching...

My Lord Mithra did the same thing, but 200 years before Jesus was a gleam in Jehovah's eye!  In other words, your Jesus is just a poor copy of my Lord Mithra!

Through the grace of our Lord Mithra do we recieve salvation and life eternal.  

#12    trublvr

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 05:16 PM

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My Lord Mithra did the same thing, but 200 years before Jesus was a gleam in Jehovah's eye!  In other words, your Jesus is just a poor copy of my Lord Mithra!



Mythra,

    Even if one disagrees with the Christian view of Jesus, it is not (could not) be true that Jesus was a copy of Mithras or any of the other figures of the Greek or Egyptian mystery cults.  

    First, no one claims that Mithras or any other salvific figure in the mystery cults appeared in space, time, and history to proclaim anything.  Because there was no emphasis on the historicity of these mythic figures, the members of the cultus really weren't concerned with this.  

    Second, the mystery cults figures didn't proclaim to be "god" in the Jewish monotheistic sense (any more than they "proclaimed" to be anything else), and they were not viewed that way by their devotees.  They were more like demi-gods (at best), and paying homage to them looking very little like the homage paid to the Jewish God.  If one were to ask a mystery cult devotee if Mithras or Adonis or Attis were "god" in the sense that Jesus portrayed himself as God, he/she would not be able to fit the demi-god into the same category.  A self-revealing deity who is immanent and transcendent in the world he created and who works to redeem his creation was in no way what the mystery cults deities looked like. At best, these deities were figures to which one paid tribute for the pursuit of ecstatic experiences.  Self-revelation in space, time, and history, the redemption of a wayward creation, and radical divine self-involvement were in no way a part of mystery cult mythology.

   Third, no religion--including the mystery cults--has anything like the Jewish theology/belief in resurrection.  The dying and rising "saviors" of the mystery cults did not give of themselves sacrifically for the sake of the world's redemption.  They died because they were so tied to the earth (some pantheism involved here) that when the winter came, they died with the vegetation.  In the spring, they rose with the vegetation.  That is hardly "resurrection."  The Jewish belief in resurrection is rooted in (among other things) the belief that God would vindicate the righteous martyrs and the righteous dead.  Jews before and after Jesus maintained that at the end of time, God would judge the world, finding the faithful in Israel to be in covenant faithfulness with Him and judging the wicked in Israel and in the Gentile world.  What the Christians claimed (and still claim) about Jesus is that what God was supposed to do at the end of time for Israel, he did in the middle of history for Jesus.  Jesus died a righteous death that in some way was redemptive for the sake of Israel and the world.  No one before or after Jesus ever followed a failed (i.e., dead) messiah!  At best, they would have remembered him fondly, but they did not follow him.  A dead messiah simply was not the messiah.  Christians maintain that God vindicated Jesus, thusly authenticating his death as God's victory, not Jesus' defeat.  And resurrection was not a mere coming back from the dead.  Jesus raised people from the dead during his ministry, but no one ever claimed that these people were resurrected.  Why?  Because resurrection was more than just coming back from the dead.  Resurrection involved God's raising of the dead to new life, a state in which the body could not die again, a state in which the resurrected one had power over sin, death, and hades.  This is resurrection. The mystery cults have nothing like this.  No religion outside of Judaism (and Christianity and Islam which are derived from Judaism) has anything like this.

Fourth, many make the charge that the early Christians stole this or stole that from the mystery cults simply because some (and not all) of the mystery cults existed in some form before Jesus.  Two big problems with that, though, are as follows: a) Some of the elements inherent to the myths of mystery cult demi-gods were already present in Judaism.  For instance, someone says, "Well the Christian view of Jesus as great teacher, a miracle-worker, and a dying/rising savior can be found in the (earlier) stories of Horus or Osiris." But this would be unnecessary for Christians to do concerning Jesus.  Jesus and his earliest followers were Jewish.  Jewish religion was rife with prophetic figures who taught profound things and worked miracles.  Also, the notion of sacrificial death was a major part of atonement theology as seen in the Passover, levitical law, and other instances in the Torah.  And as I've detailed above, resurrection, in addition to being entirely different from anything mystery cults believed about the "rising" of their demi-gods, was categorically a Jewish concept.  The Christians had too much material available to them via Judaism to have to turn to mystery cults for influence.  The New Testament (whether one agrees with/believes in it) demonstrates an obvious and unabashed reliance upon Jewish theology and practice, lifting from mystery cults.  cool.gif There is a huge problem with categories.  Last year on this forum I had a discussion with a fellow member who claimed that the Christians "stole" the sacraments of baptism and communion (Lord's supper) from part of the Osiris myth.  The supposed parallel?  Osiris' brother (Horus) cut him into pieces and threw him in the Nile river.  So because Osiris was dismembered and thrown into water, and because the Osiris myth existed prior to Jesus, then the Christian stole communion (Jesus' "dismemberment") and baptsism (hey, it happens in water, right?) from the mystery cult devotees.  This intentional confusion of categories sadly dominates much of the discussio about the influence of mystery cults on early Christianity.  Just as it is irresponsible to equate Mithras' "rising" with Jesus' resurrection, it is irresponsible to mingle things that are essentially different, no matter how many apparent similarities there are.

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#13    PLO

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 05:40 PM

no one before or after Jesus ever followed a failed (i.e., dead) messiah! At best, they would have remembered him fondly, but they did not follow him.

Mohamad and budha the All Father of Norse mythology im sure theres hundreds of other "martyrs" out there, consider theres over 500 religions on the planet. Funny that the life of Buddha is somewhat extremely similar to the life of jesus, and jesus' death on the cross isnt anything new to be honest, spear in the side etc, its all happend before you know.  Just wish people could accept christianity is nothing more than an amalgimation of many other religions.  It's hardly very original.



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#14    Jesusfan

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 06:17 PM

Quote


no one before or after Jesus ever followed a failed (i.e., dead) messiah! At best, they would have remembered him fondly, but they did not follow him.

Mohamad and budha the All Father of Norse mythology im sure theres hundreds of other "martyrs" out there, consider theres over 500 religions on the planet. Funny that the life of Buddha is somewhat extremely similar to the life of jesus, and jesus' death on the cross isnt anything new to be honest, spear in the side etc, its all happend before you know.  Just wish people could accept christianity is nothing more than an amalgimation of many other religions.  It's hardly very original.


Buddha did not have a life remotely like that of Jesus, as he was raised up as a prince within his country, and tried to figure out a solution for the ills concerning the fate of the sick/poor/needy he saw daily outside of his palace...

Contrast that with someone who was born into a lower class family, whose earthly father was a trade carpenter, and whose Mother had to daily face accusations of being an Adulyeter and whose real father of her child was an unnamed Roman soldier...

jesus allowing Himself to die by being placed upon the Cross did not happen to Buddah, Mohammed, or any other religious figure...

In fact, Christianity founder was the ONLY religious leader who ever CLAIMED to be the God  of the framework of a Western understanding of that term, not an avater of an eastern god, but as actually being in the flesh God incarnate...

His resurrection from the dead and being exaulted to God was not the same as Buddha/mohammed either...





#15    PLO

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 06:32 PM

"Contrast that with someone who was born into a lower class family, whose earthly father was a trade carpenter, and whose Mother had to daily face accusations of being an Adulyeter and whose real father of her child was an unnamed Roman soldier.."

Jesus was in line to the throne of david and destined to become the king of the jews, his brother was a VERY powerful religious leader.  He didnt give his life for us, he was betrayed by his fellow jews becuase he was trying to reform judaism, once in the power to do he would have led a holy war against rome and plunged every jew into it, so they killd him in order to cut a better deal with the Romans, which didnt help them much.  And yes, the Buddha and Jesus are very similar, and the point i was making about mohammed is not that they were similar, read my post again.

"jesus allowing Himself to die by being placed upon the Cross did not happen to Buddah, Mohammed, or any other religious figure"

oh, yes, it has.

Your also saying that every Pharoh didnt claim to be the flesh incarnate of gods, or anyone of the heroes populating greek mythology?.  MAN read your history more.

Edited by PLO, 02 November 2005 - 06:38 PM.

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