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Old 04-20-2001, 02:38 PM   #1
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Post How Many Myth Founders Where There?

I am curious.

One idea that seems central to the Jesus-Myth hypothesis is that Paul was the true founder of Christianity. Mythers vary according to just who those people were in Jerusalem and what they believed, but they are pretty sure that Paul was somehow responsible for the myth growing in popularity. And according to Doherty's brand, Paul is completey unaware of a human Jesus.

But what I find curious about this is that we know Paul was not the founder of all the early Christian churches. Not even of the most important ones for that matter. It is clear that there was a Christian movement that preexisted Paul and Christian communities that were founded by persons other than Paul. Yet they seemed to have preached much the same message as Paul. Apollos, for example, was preaching and teaching Jesus before he even met Paul. 1 Cor. 1:12; 16:12. There was also Andronicus and Junia, apparently a missionary couple, who evangelized independently of Paul. Rom 16:7. Another couple that worked independently of Paul, although sometimes in conjunction with him, were Prisca and Aquila. Rom. 16:3; Acts 18:2. Who were these people? What where they teaching? Where did they get their beliefs from?

Are we to suspect that all of these evangelists, although unrelated to Paul, were preaching this Jesus-Myth theory? And if they were, where did they get it from? Certainly not from Paul, since their ministries had been ongoing well before they met him. And if not from Paul, then from whom? Would that mean that Paul was not the founder of the Jesus-Myth? And if he was not then who was?

Why do we have so many Jews running around preaching a new religion based on pagan myths ? Is there any evidence to support this notion? Or is this picture contrary to what we know about Jews, even in the diaspora?

One early Christian community that we are reasonably well informed regarding is the Church in Rome. Some skeptics may be surprised to learn that Paul did not found the church in Rome. In fact, he had not even visited or previously written it prior to the Epistle to the Romans. But, if Paul did not found the Church in Rome, then who did?

Conservative Jews.

Any discussion of the spread of Christianity to Rome must begin with the spread of Judaism to Rome. The origins of a Jewish community in Rome can probably be traced to the time period shortly following the establishment of diplomatic relations between Rome and the Hasmonean regime in Judea around the middle of the second century BCE. The Jewish community in Rome undoubtedly
increased greatly after Judea was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 63 BCE. It also seems apparent that this Jewish community, although certainly Greek speaking, remained thoroughly Jewish. In 59 BCE, Cicero noted "how numerous they are and how clannish, and how they can make their influence felt." Cicero, Pro Glacco 66, at 296. It would seem from this remark that the Jewish community had reached the numbers and position to exert some influence on Roman authorities.

In 19 CE, a public scandal involving the Jewish community in Rome resulted in their expulsion by Emperor Tiberius. It seems that four Jews persuaded a Roman proselyte, Fulvia, to make a generous gift to the Jerusalem temple. Unfortunately, the four misappropriated the gift and the money did not reach the Temple fund. F.F. Bruce, Paul, the Apostle of the Heart Set Free, at 380. It would seem, however, that after the expulsion the Jewish community returned to Rome, as their numbers had reached between 40,000-60,000 by the beginning of Christianity. H.J. Leon, The Jews of Ancient Rome, at 135.

Christianity arose in Rome before Paul's missionary activities. The Roman Historian Suetonius wrote that Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews in 49 CE because of persistent rioting "at the instigation
of Chrestus." Suetonius, Life of Claudius 25. 4. This expulsion is also referenced by Luke in Acts 18:2. Many scholars believe the reference to riots instigated by Chrestus to be a reference to disturbances between Jews and Christians over the nature of Jesus. "The form and words he uses points to a well-known bearer of the name, and the common confusion between Christus and Chrestus makes it easy to suppose that Christ is meant." F.F. Bruce, Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, at 381. "Scholars have debated the precise identity of this person, but there seems little doubt that the events Suetonius records were brought about by arguments over the teaching of those Jews who had become followers of Jesus the Messiah (Latin Christus)." Dr. John Drane, Introducing the New Testament, at 16.

Yet another indication of how early the church in Rome was established is Paul's Letter to the Romans. Paul was clear that he had not yet visited the Christians in Rome, but that it was his desire to visit them soon. Paul states that he has for "many years planned to come to you." Romans 1:13; 15:23. Because the Letter to the Romans was written in 57 CE, it is clear that the church in Rome had been established many years before then. Established, that is, by a person or persons other than Paul. Moreover, this was clearly Paul's first letter to Rome. He had not previously written then and apparently did not consider himself to be in anyway responsible for its founding. In this regard, his letter sounds a different tone, although similar theology, than do the letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Thessalonians.

It appears, therefore, that Christianity arose in Rome well before any sort of organized missionary efforts from Paul. It appears that we must date the emergence of Christianity in Rome no later than 49 CE and probably some time earlier than that.

So how did Christianity first come to Rome?

That is one of history's unsolved questions. We simply do not know the specific identity of the founders of Roman Christianity. They were, however, almost certainly Jews. "One thing seems clear from other evidence - that Roman Christianity was originally Jewish, and Jewish of a nonconformist stamp." F.F. Bruce, Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, at 383. As late as 225 CE, Roman Christianity demonstrated indications of a Jewish nature, such as a purificatory bath similar to that of the Essenes. M. Black, the Scrolls and Christian Origins, at 91. Moreover, a commentator in the fourth century traditionally identified as Ambrosiaster stated, "[t]he Romans had embraced the faith of Christ, albeit according to the Jewish right, although they saw no sign of mighty works nor any of the apostles." This confirms that Paul did not play any role in establishing Christianity in Rome and that the first Christians in Rome were conservative Jews.

One possibility is that Jewish and proselyte pilgrims who had traveled to Jerusalem carried the message of Jesus to Rome. Acts 2:10-11 records that "visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes" heard Peter's preaching of the kerygma (or, early church message) in Jerusalem shortly after the resurrection of Jesus. Even if Peter's preaching on that occasion failed to result in the spread of Christianity to Rome, it demonstrates a possible way in which it happened. Jews and proselytes often undertook pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the Temple, and given the large Jewish population in
Rome, it is likely they encountered Christianity in Jerusalem. It is also possible that Jewish Christians relocated to Rome for various reasons, including, possibly, the early persecution of the Church in Jerusalem.

So, it appears from all of the evidence available to us that Christianity was spread to Rome very early by Jewish Christians. Eventually, by 56 CE at the latest, the Roman Church also contained Gentile Christians. As to organization, "the Christians in Rome appear at this time to have met as groups in house-churches or other local meeting-places. Some of the Jewish Christians may still have counted themselves as adherents of one or another of the Jewish synagogues." F.F. Bruce, PAHSF, at 385.

Despite the fact that the church in Rome had been established by conservative Jews, Paul writes them using the same language as he does the churches he founded. Are we to suppose that a church founded by conservative Jewish Christians had adopted the same, very non-Jewish meaning (according to Mythers) attached to the very Jewish words of Paul?

Paul opens his letter up by presenting his credentials and asserting the central theme of his theology. That God has intervened in human history by sending his son Jesus "according to the flesh" and affirmed Jesus by resurrecting Him from the dead.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> "Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which he promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the Dead." </font>
Romans 1:1-4.

What else does he have to say about Jesus? Well. Jesus died by crucifixion, but was resurrected from the dead.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> "Or do you not know that as many of us were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness in life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." </font>
Romans 5:35.

Now.

My question is, how would a church founded by conservative Jewish Christians, and which retained at least some of those beliefs (remember the ritual baths?), react to receiving a letter like this?

Is there any evidence that conservative Jewish sects were awaiting a solely spiritual messiah?

Is there any evidence that conservative Jewish sects were awaiting a purely spiritual resurrection?

None that I am ware of. Rather, it seems that the Jews expected God to intervene in human history. It also seems that they were expecting a physical resurrection. At least the majority of Jews and the Pharisees (which Paul goes out of his way to identify with) were expecting a physical resurrection. The Sadduccees disagreed with them and expected no resurrection.

Accordingly, the recipients of the Epistle to the Romans would take Paul at his word. They would think that Paul was talking about a human, "according to the flesh." They would think he was literally crucified and that he literally, and bodily, rose from the dead.

There seems to be no justification for the belief that this group would take Paul as Doherty does. Namely that Paul was not talking about events in this world at all, but some pagan references and concepts of heavens and spirituality.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 20, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 20, 2001).]
 
Old 04-20-2001, 04:28 PM   #2
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Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I am curious.

One idea that seems central to the Jesus-Myth hypothesis is that Paul was the true founder of Christianity.
</font>
Wrong. This is a straw man. Nobody thinks that.

No need to read the rest of your post, as it is certain to be riddled with more logical fallacies like this one.


Incidentally, I have decided only to read a theist's post until the first logical fallacy is reached. This cuts down my reading of garbage by about 90%.
 
Old 04-20-2001, 04:32 PM   #3
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Zoroaster:
Quote:
Wrong. This is a straw man. Nobody thinks that.

No need to read the rest of your post, as it is certain to be riddled with more logical fallacies like this one.

Incidentally, I have decided only to read a theist's post until the first logical fallacy is reached. This cuts down my reading of garbage by about 90%.
Quote:
</font>
Nobody thinks that Paul is the true inventor of Christianity? Really? No one?

I do not know how you could possibly know that, but it is untrue. I know some people do because I have met and debated them. In fact, if I had the time I could probably pull up a few quotes from skeptics here on this site.

But even so, how does that make the statement a logical fallacy? Isn't it just incorrect?

Nevertheless, if you don't believe that Paul was the true inventor of Christianity, then I can understand your lack of interest in the post.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 20, 2001).]
 
Old 04-20-2001, 05:03 PM   #4
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And in 30-60 years from now, assuming there were no recorded documents about the WACO Winnie roast. Anyone could recompile and prove David Koresh's true position of Christ. I was there at the Compound with my family a few weeks before the fire, many people stopped by to see the site. It was emotional etc. and I can see how a religion can get started pretty easy. (that part is true) We heard that 200 people could see David's body rising from the fire, unharmed. All his prophesies came true (and if not, in 60 years when they write it up, I'm sure that can be corrected.)

Now, 2ooo years from now, many will believe the rumors, and constructed story and the books that were written. It so large and well written, prophecies came true, believers followed him to his death, he arose in the flames, it must be true. Why take the chance of going to hell, if we just accept him as savior as he foretold us 2000 years ago. The people rejected him, the solders burned him to death, as small band of believers followed him... what a great story, and original.
 
Old 04-20-2001, 05:17 PM   #5
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A guy from Ohio, who never even met David Koresh and only heard about him on TV, decides David was the true messiah and starts covering all the bases, laying the ground work, and developing the basic story line.

There are always one or two of these "True Believers" around, see Layman for an example. Usually anal retentive type, no friends, loner, no woman would be interested them etc., No real purpose in life but to cause other people pain. Guilty from evil thoughts and past deeds. Only sees their own redemption by following and believing in someone else. God forbid if that person is still alive and disappoints them; they are also the same type of wacko that will kill them for not living up the their expectation. They are the first ones to shout the "string them up" songs as they cleans the land. Sounds like Paul to me.
 
Old 04-20-2001, 05:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by critical thinking made ez:
And in 30-60 years from now, assuming there were no recorded documents about the WACO Winnie roast. Anyone could recompile and prove David Koresh's true position of Christ. I was there at the Compound with my family a few weeks before the fire, many people stopped by to see the site. It was emotional etc. and I can see how a religion can get started pretty easy. (that part is true) We heard that 200 people could see David's body rising from the fire, unharmed. All his prophesies came true (and if not, in 60 years when they write it up, I'm sure that can be corrected.)

Now, 2ooo years from now, many will believe the rumors, and constructed story and the books that were written. It so large and well written, prophecies came true, believers followed him to his death, he arose in the flames, it must be true. Why take the chance of going to hell, if we just accept him as savior as he foretold us 2000 years ago. The people rejected him, the solders burned him to death, as small band of believers followed him... what a great story, and original.
</font>
If in 30-60 years, people are worshipping David Koresh as the resurrected messiah, we'll talk.
 
Old 04-20-2001, 05:51 PM   #7
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what is a Jew? The Samaritans were Jews. They were better known as Pharisees (they believed in the after-life). The Sadducees were Jews (with the atheist tendency that, when you are dead, you are dead). The zealots were Jews, they would rather die (and have an after-life) than to succumb to the Romans. The Essenes were Jews and they were probably the scholars (teachers) amongst those that believed in the after-life.

What is a Christian. I could look up all kinds of denominations. What is a Christain?
A Mormon, a Methodist, a Catholic, a Lutheran, a Baptist ... ?

If you really wanted to discover the man most responsible for Christianity and the large number of Jews in Rome ... read Josephus and he will tell you all about KING HEROD the GREAT!

thanks,
offa
 
Old 04-20-2001, 06:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Nobody thinks that Paul is the true inventor of Christianity? Really? No one?

I do not know how you could possibly know that,
</font>
Hmm.

Perhaps the same way that you do. Oh, come on - you know - like when you claim that a majority of scholars support your position that:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Most scholars have discarded that notion as an inaccurate and theologically naive product of the Protestant Reformation.
</font>
But then when challenged to prove it, instead provide only a list of your favorite authors (as if that were the same as "a majority of scholars")?

 
Old 04-20-2001, 06:12 PM   #9
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Sorry Om, I know its hard for you to accept. But the breakup is official. You have demonstrated that you will lie to me and about me:
http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000393.html

So. You are simply not worth it.


Does anyone want to talk about who founded the church in Rome?


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 20, 2001).]
 
Old 04-20-2001, 07:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Sorry Om, I know its hard for you to accept. But the breakup is official.
</font>
Um, again: challenging your fallacies and pointing out your double standards requires no interaction from you at all.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
You have demonstrated that you will lie to me and about me:
</font>
You did lie. You claimed I offered no sources. But I did.

1. You lied.
2. You were caught.
3. Deal with it.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Does anyone want to talk about who founded the church in Rome?
</font>
Oops. You forgot something.

Since our only evidence for such a church is from the NT, why should we assume that such a church existed? The uncertain nature of the Suetonius quotation has already been discussed at length:

http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...html#suetonius

 
 

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