When you approach the New Testament – and the Bible as a whole – as though it were a single text, implicit to that approach is a belief in an ahistorical unity of composition, as though the individual books were written with the intention of becoming a single volume. But this was not the case, and as the individual books of the New Testament were being written, there is absolutely no evidence that there was any thought given to compiling them into a single volume. That single volume was assembled by others, centuries later, and in response to very specific and particular historical conditions – to say nothing of the fact that the texts were then edited to agree with one another doctrinally. One glaring example of this comes from the very opening lines of the Gospel of Mark, which in later versions of the text have the words υἱοῦ θεοῦ (“son of God”) added. These are notably missing from our earliest extant copy of Mark, the Codex Sinaiticus, which anyone can verify online.Continue reading
It was represented to me that in my approach to the New Testament gospels I was missing the “core message,” and in the process I was seemingly denying the central tenant of Christianity, namely that Jesus is God. Although certainly central to Christian faith today, the notion that Jesus is God – that he was always and will forever be God – was not always quite so simple. Although it is evident that Christians believe Jesus is now God, there was at one point in time an extensive debate regarding the relationship between God and Jesus, a debate which ultimately culminated in the doctrine of the Trinity.Continue reading
On the webpage you sent to me, it states the following regarding Aramaic primacy: “Textual scholars have examined the Peshitta and found clear evidence of influence from later translations. The dialect used in the Peshitta is from a later time period than that of Jesus and His disciples.” This is a fact, but it entirely ignores the fact that the earliest texts we have of the New Testament are dated precisely on the same methods they are using to criticize the Peshitta. Both the conclusion that the earliest preserved fragments of the New Testament are dated to the 2nd-3rd Centuries and that the dialect of Aramaic used in the Peshitta does not match that spoken by Jesus and his followers is based entirely on the study of handwriting styles.
Yahweh holds a grudge. Jesus forgives.
In an earlier post, I posed the question of whether or not there can be a Christianity without a God. So much of what we know about Jesus’ teachings and Christianity more generally are predicated on the notion that a single, all-powerful God must exist that it is seemingly impossible to separate the two. We are likewise not helped by the fact that so much of the central teachings and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth were altered through interpretation from seemingly the very moment of his death. The very question of Jesus’ divine nature — one which is not clearly explained in any of the canonical Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John — was itself not settled until three centuries after his death, and then not out of a concern for truth as out of a desire to unite Constantine’s empire. Politics and not reality made Jesus the God-incarnate we know today.
The question is not why Judas betrayed God, but why God betrayed Judas.