Most Issues are NOT Black and WhiteSaturday, February 17th, 2007
I just finished visiting and posting the comment below on another blog(http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/08/09/154557.php) where a Mr. Potter was making some typical revisionist history comments about Jesus and the New Testament. This was my post.
I do not have time to address every point of disagreement, but I must simply make a few points:
1. Mr. Potter makes numerous points as if fact, but which have no solid historical documentation. For example,
...contrary to the extant versions of the story they allowed to survive, the historical Jesus was a political and military activist, and the Romans killed him for it.While there is plenty of room to question the New Testament documents, there is no credible historical data to support this statement.
One can refer to scholars like Elaine Pagels and John Crossan all day, but unless others like NT Wright are also consulted/cited, you fail to take into account a balanced presentation. “The Gnostic Gospels” was, in my opinion, the least scholarly work Pagels has ever authored. In that text she bases many of her key arguments on unproven presupposition and, unfortunately, on emotion. While she has written some excellent scholarly pieces, this was not one of them.
2. I find it interesting that Mr. Potter refers to NT writings as influenced by Rome. While he is correct that the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi texts were not heavily influenced by the Roman culture I am curious to know what he means. I will try to visit his site for more understanding.
3. My apologies if I missed something on this page, but Jesus was not killed for being a military threat (with what army?), or for claiming to be Messiah (Mr. Potter was correct on this point), but for speaking against the Temple worship of his day. Because of the stir he was making, the Jewish leadership was concerned when he talked about the Temple not being important. He disturbed the economic flow that surrounded the Temple - he was threatening their livelihood.
Even though it was a ridiculous notion, the Jewish leadership was afraid that he might muster enough following, especially among the Zealots, to lead an uprising that would bring the Romans down upon them. This happened in 70AD, but Jesus had no intention of doing this - at least not in the mode that the Zealots wanted. He was probably more inclined see things in the same way as the War Scrolls point (contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls), but not exactly that either. If you would like to read more about this subject from another perspective that is somewhat radical, yet quite different from those Mr. Potter points to, I would suggest “The Challenge of Jesus,” by NT Wright.
This issue, like most, is not all black and white - it is full of grey. The problem with most discussions in our day is that people only read/hear one side of the argument whether it be NBC or FoxNews, or like in this issue, the right or the left. Mr. Potter is citing those on the left side only and those scholars do the same thing those on the right do - they cite only the sources that agree with their view. I like NT Wright because he gets attacked from BOTH sides which tells me he is working harder to find the grey, which usually means a more objective approach.
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Water Baptism - Early Church
Church Fathers and NT Revelation
Church Fathers Santification, Holiness
Sabbath and Christian Worship
Baptism Early Church Scholars
Constantine Christianity Sunday Worship
Paul Apollos Hebrews Philo
Jesus Paganism and Early Christianity
Constantine vs Donatists
Constantine Worship of Sol Invictus
Tertullian Paul and Marcion
Early Church Fathers Military and War
Palestine in the Ancient World
Christian use of Candles in Worship
Christians and Pagan Influences
Sabbath Day Worship
Baptismal Practices in the Early Church
Constantine - Sol Invictus
Who Wrote Hebrews in the Bible?
Emperor Constantine Donatus
Constantine and the Sunday Law
Tertullian Paul as False Apostle
Apostolic Succession-Early Church
Athanasius the Black Dwarf?
New Testament, Faith, and the Resurrection
New Testament and Tithing
Pagan Influences on Christianity
Hellenized Jews and Pagan Influences
Sabbath Day and Sunday Worship
Baptism in the Early Church
Emperor Constantine - Christianity
Constantine Led an Army?
Did Paul or Apollos Write Hebrews?
Constantine Council of Nicea 325AD
Jesus Words Only - Del Tondo
First Century Apostolic Succession
Was Saint Athanasius Black?
Bart Ehrman New Testament
David Bercot and Heretics
Hannah Whitall Smith
David Bercot and Church History
Keeping the Sabbath
Baptismal Practice - Early Church
Emperor Constantine the Great
Who Wrote Hebrews? Paul or Apollos
The Real Story of Constantine vs Donatists
Role of Constantine in Development Christianity
Douglas Del Tondo and David Bercot
Gonzalez and Athanasius