What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus?

James Boswell IIJames Boswell II Shipmate 7:13AM

There are numerous historical scholars today who agree on quite a lot.

Many, I think most of them, are convinced that there is overwhelming historical evidence that John the Baptizer, Jesus and all his earliest followers, held to the prevailing "erroneous" apocalyptic expectations of their time, believing. among other things that Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14; and 12:1-3 would be fulfilled in their lifetime.

There is, however, one thing which sharply divides even the best historical Jesus scholars of our time:

Did Jesus believe that he was going to have to die an atoning death?

Many, perhaps most of them, think that idea was not part of Jesus' original message -- it's not part of the Sermon on the Mount, after all -- but was added on later by the church to try to explain the embarrassment of his crucifixion.

What do y'all think, and why?
__________

Added thought: And Jesus' crucifixion was an embarrassment. Paul lamented that Greeks considered the message of the cross to be foolishness and Jews considered it to be scandalous.
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Comments

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited July 3
    I'm sure all of Jesus' contemporary followers all thought all was imminent and even He may have done prior to His resurrection, that He would fulfill all imminently after it, at most within the lifetime of the disciples.

    And although nothing would surprise me about late edits, I can't see how Jesus could have not known His mission for over 20 years. A mission He understood with fully human limitation and fully divine inspiration. Not a mission that was in any way necessary beyond John 3:16 - God requires no human sacrifice and we don't need just forgiveness in our benighted helplessness.

    He is the only hope. What to do with Him is hope, is charity in hope via faith. Charity is the substance of faith the substance of hope.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Yes, Paul did speak the foolishness and scandal of the cross, but I wonder if it’s taking it a bit too far to suggest that’s the reason for glossing atonement of some sort back on to it. The key, it seems to me, is the resurrection,

    As you said in the other thread, something highly motivating happened very early on that altered the perceptions of the disciples about Jesus. Whatever that was—and Paul and the Gospels would say it was the resurrection—it caused them to reconsider the meaning of Jesus’s death, and for that matter his life. So I would say that to the extent (if any) that the idea of an atoning death was added on later, it was to understand the meaning of that death in light of the resurrection.

    That said, my read of the Gospels is that Jesus did believe he would die an atoning death. Exactly how that death would be “atoning” is, of course, a whole ‘nother question.
  • I just got back from looking at a thread listing people's favorite books, and it tells me that I should have read more widely and not been as narrowly focused on "historical Jesus" studies as I have been! But that thread also mentioned Jurgen Moltmann as one of someone's favorite writers, and his intriguing idea of a God who suffers with us.

    It's been a long time since I read Moltmann, but that resonates with me, and I think it exemplifies something:

    Whatever thoughts we come up with on atonement, they should hopefully (surely?) be uplifting in some way!

  • edited July 3
    I've moved away from the whole idea of atonement, seeing it as a specific cultural idea, and not seeing that humanity needs rescuing from sin into heaven as its primary need in the here and now. Heaven can wait, except if the world or your life is about to end. Rather that we need to understand how to live in decent and kind ways with each other amid our disagreements: that we require reconciliation with each other. We need saving from each other - if we need saving at all - and our instinctive tribal, greedy, violent nature and how it harms us and harms the natural world. The problem I see with Christianity is its "other worldness", and the lack of demand to live with each other in loving, kind and decent ways in the present. Currently some powerful Christians support the idea of arresting the Good Samaritans who want to help people not die while crossing another desert. And they think like that 'taste and see that the Lord is good' means feeding people bombs from drones. This is converting Cathars in Carcasonne**


    ** okay, it was Béziers, but alliteration
  • @Martin54

    I appreciate the honesty of your first paragraph. Maybe the errant Jesus thread was not a total waste of time. :blush:
    ___

    But I'm going to "take you on" a little re your second paragraph, and I mean this in a friendly, not really adverse way:

    Many people have considerable difficulty with the traditional doctrine(s) of atonement. There was a time when I myself as an old line liberal -- if anyone mentioned Jesus' atoning death, it drove me straight up the wall.

    What do you MEAN, "God requires no human sacrifice." Why then did the Markan Jesus speak of the Son of Man having to die as "a ransom for many"? Ransom? Is that payment? Is that not an atoning sacrifice for sin?

    Isn't it the traditional shudder-some understanding that God had to lay all our sins on Jesus in order to forgive us? And didn't Paul even go so far as to say that God made the innocent, sinless Jesus "to be sin" in order to bring about our righteousness?
    __________

    Again, I do not mean any of this adversarily (sp?). I'm just trying to stir up some thinking here.
  • Yes, I tend to agree. For many Christians, it seems as though the chief (or only) sins are SECKS and PHILTH, as practised by those Horrid Gayz. Never mind raping the planet, exploiting the poor, denying basic healthcare, fresh water etc. etc. to millions of people...

    This ridiculous obsession, and the ways in which so many members of 'the church' simply do NOT care for each other, is rapidly making me think that the whole organised 'church' thing is a waste of time.

    The idea of a 'loving' God condemning his creation to everlasting damnation simply because some peeps put their genitals in the 'wrong place' is stinkingly abhorrent, but there are lots of other things that we may need forgiveness for...
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Atonement is abhorrent and brings Christianity into disrepute. Christ was demonstrating the power of love by living, dying and rising in it. If ever there was Christological editorialisation in the gospels, this is one of the prime examples.
  • @NOprophet_NØprofit

    Oboy. I may have opened up something really explosive here.

    All that you said, NOprophet, I may have endorsed in my earlier college life. And in some ways I still do. At this point, I am not going to try to answer you fully, but I just want to say one thing about this:
    The problem I see with Christianity is its "other worldness", and the lack of demand to live with each other in loving, kind and decent ways in the present.

    When the Markan Jesus says what he does at 10:45 , he does it because his disciples are arguing with one another about which of them is going to be the greatest when he Kingdom of God arrives on earth.

    He tells them they are totally off base, because "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

    My only point is this: If we were to 'buy into" this, would we not be called on in the present to be amazingly "loving, kind, and decent" toward one another?
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 3
    Yes.

    And, of course, many Christians, and their churches, do indeed buy into it. Alas, they're not the ones the Meeja buy into...
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Atonement is abhorrent and brings Christianity into disrepute. Christ was demonstrating the power of love by living, dying and rising in it. If ever there was Christological editorialisation in the gospels, this is one of the prime examples.
    The general concept of atonement is firmly rooted in Judaism, but it can be understood in many, many ways. I think much depends on exactly what is meant by “atonement.” If one assumes, as many seem to these days, that atonement must equal penal substitutionary atonement, I would tend to agree with you.

    But that is not the only way to understand atonement, and it is a relatively recent understanding. Your “Christ was demonstrating the power of love by living, dying and rising in it” sounds a lot like the moral influence theory of atonement.
  • Atonement is abhorrent...

    I sincerely hope the Hosts will not ban me for quoting once more briefly from my novel:
    _____________

    "But Professor Chase, if you once considered the doctrine of atonement to be abhorrent, how did you come to believe that it was not abhorrent to Jesus?"

    "Oh, but Mr. Walker, I'm convinced that it was abhorrent to Jesus. As I was just saying, I feel certain that the first time he read the suffering servant passage in Isaiah, it greatly upset him, and it continued to upset him for the rest of his short life "

  • I could have written, "for the rest of his short life, as we can most clearly see in the Garden of Gethsemane."
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    There are numerous historical scholars today who agree on quite a lot.
    This sounds weirdly positive. I needed that today.

  • LeRoc wrote: »
    There are numerous historical scholars today who agree on quite a lot.
    This sounds weirdly positive. I needed that today.

    In my opinion, there are six really exceptional historical Jesus scholars in America today:
    E. P. Sanders (who is agnostic), Paula Fredriksen (who is Jewish), Bart Ehrman (now an atheist), Reza Aslan (who has returned to Islam, John P. Meier (a Catholic Christian), and Dale C. Allison (a Presbyterian Christian).

    All these scholars employ excellent historical methodologies in their research, and all are convinced that Jesus was expecting an imminent cataclysmic ending of the present world to be followed by the establishment of God's Kingdom throughout the earth.

    I am in basic agreement with most of what these scholars say, with one exception: Four of them do not believe that Jesus expected to dies some sort of sacrificial death.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    The thing that sticks in my mind is Jesus' last words from the Cross in St John's Gospel - "It is finished" - which carry the notion as much of it is accomplished as they do the usual translation. I believe that Jesus came to accomplish whatever it was that the Father had planned for the salvation of humanity. It is perfectly possible that in human terms he may only have been dimly aware of what a terrible price that ultimately would exact, but now I am beginning to sound as though I hold to the kenotic theory, so I will leave it there.

    I am not a big fan of PSA, not because I believe it to be wrong, but because I believe it to be incomplete. I am more a fan of the Christus Victor theory as expounded by Gustaf Aulen.
  • Please define PSA.
  • Here are some of the most important works of those scholars:

    John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. 1991-2016 (five volumes so far, with a sixth yet to come!)

    E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus. 1993.
    ---Also, his Jesus and Judaism, 1985.

    Dale C. Allison, Jr., Jesus: Millenarian Prophet. 1998.
    ---[See also his Constructing Jesus... below.]

    Paula Fredriksen, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity. 1999.

    Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Prophet of the New Millenium. 1999.

    Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. 2013.

    I can't wait for Meier's final volume, in which he will deal with the really big questions: What was Jesus' view of himself, and how did he regard his death?

    Meanwhile, I consider Allison's Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History, 2010, to be a work of major significance, for in it he already deals effectively with those big questions.

    Along with the deceased German Lutheran scholar Joachim Jeremias (New Testament Theology, Volume One: The Proclamation of Jesus. 1971), these two scholars, Allison and Meier, have been among the strongest scholarly influences in my life.
  • Personal Salvation?
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 3
    No - Penal Substitutionary Atonement. I'm surprised you haven't come across the acronym - it's in common use AFAIK.

    A quick Google using those words will bring up lots of links.


  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I have just realised that I do have a major problem making a sensible contribution to this thread - the fact that I believe all attempts to create an 'historical Jesus' are essentially speculative attempts to construction a rationale of Our Lord's ministry, other than the one given in the N.T.. That is something that strikes me as an interesting, but not particularly useful, endeavour given that I do not believe the Christ of history to have been all that different to the Christ of the Gospels. I'd better leave this thread alone.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    That said, my read of the Gospels is that Jesus did believe he would die an atoning death. Exactly how that death would be “atoning” is, of course, a whole ‘nother question.

    After meticulously examining the New Testament evidence, Dale C. Allison (Constructing Jesus) concludes that Jesus did expect to be put to death, believing it was God's will that he die in order to bring about some great good for Israel and the world.

    Allison finds abundant NT evidence that "Jesus did not run from his death or otherwise resist it. On the contrary, anticipating his cruel end, he submitted to it, trusting that his unhappy fate was somehow for the good.... Jesus ' decision to die, whenever made and whatever the motivation and whatever his precise interpretation, left a vivid impression [in the memory of his disciples]. Indeed, next to the fact that Jesus was crucified by order of Pontius Pilate, his acquiescence to his fate is probably the best-attested fact about his last days. At some point, he determined to assent to his miserable end, accepting it as the will of God" (pp. 432,433).

    Those are strong assertions, and Allison as a historian is careful to point out that although Christians may feel encouraged by his scholarly finding that Jesus "did not run from death," such a conclusion, Allison cautions, "hardly constitutes a theory of the atonement. To do history is not to do theology" (p. 462).
  • I agree that it would be anachronistic to read the atonement thinking of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, or even of Paul back into the mind of Jesus. Still, we are left to wonder how the historical Jesus could have come to an idea so unexpected and so repulsive to the thinking of his Jewish contemporaries. How could he have come to expect that the mighty one, the Messiah, would have to suffer and die? How could he have come to think that the glorious Son of Man who was expected to arrive with the clouds of heaven, would end up having "no place to lay his head," and be mocked as "a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of sinners," -- a reprobate considered so irredeemable as to deserve death by stoning? How could Jesus have come to expect that he, as the Son of Man destined to receive power, dominion, glory, and honor, and be served by all the nations, would end up dying horribly as the servant to the nations? And why was Jesus so utterly convinced that it was his loving heavenly Father's "will" that this should happen to him -- so thoroughly convinced that he submitted to the Father's will even when he did not want to?
    Those questions and more I have tried to answer -- yes, in my novel.

    What I stated above is excerpted not from my novel, but from the INFO page of my website www.TheDeadSeaGospel.com. Again, I hope the Hosts will allow it.
  • It worries me that there are no women posting here.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 3
    Why? Some of us might be female, for all you know...

    In any case, the principal poster is you!
    :wink:
  • PDR wrote: »
    I have just realised that I do have a major problem making a sensible contribution to this thread - the fact that I believe all attempts to create an 'historical Jesus' are essentially speculative attempts to construction a rationale of Our Lord's ministry, other than the one given in the N.T.. That is something that strikes me as an interesting, but not particularly useful, endeavour given that I do not believe the Christ of history to have been all that different to the Christ of the Gospels. I'd better leave this thread alone.

    Luke Timothy Johnson (The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditonal Gospels, 1996) agrees with you. For him the "real" Jesus is the Resurrected Lord of the church. Johnson severely attacks the Jesus Seminar scholars for their poor scholarship (I agree), but he also takes on John P. Meier as being wrong in doing this kind of thinking (I do not agree). Johnson does, however, admit that "Meier's achievement ... is to show against theories that pretend to be critical but are not, and against the attempts to press the pieces [of the Jesus tradition] into any number of dubious shapes, that several pieces of the Jesus tradition that the Gospel narratives themselves emphasize as important to the understanding of Jesus have a strong claim to historical probability. This is not a meager accomplishment" (emphasis added).

  • PDR, John P. Meier has said that one of the reasons historical Jesus research is helpful for theology is that it makes it less easy for anyone to appropriate Jesus for either right wing or left wing causes.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Added thought: And Jesus' crucifixion was an embarrassment. Paul lamented that Greeks considered the message of the cross to be foolishness and Jews considered it to be scandalous.

    From his tone Paul regarded this as a badge of honor, not an embarrassment.
  • @Bishops Finger

    True, but at least I am in dialogue this time. Is that not some improvement?
    I shall now take a rest.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    I have come to believe that what is chiefly wrong with the arguments about the atonement is that they claim to be theories and literal descriptions of what was going on. Whereas I see that they are analogies or metahpors. Which can be turned into similes with the addition of "like" along the following lines:

    The atonement is kinda like paying a ransom.
    The atonement is kinda like dying in our place to fulfill righteousness.
    The atonement is kinda like a victory over personified powers of evil.
    The atonement is ..... and so forth.

    But it's not any one of those things. They are metaphors only, trying to describe a great and, if you'll excuse me, weird thing that happened.
  • If you state revolutionary things, and look socially and politically dangerous, you get killed. Or in more modern times put on a list of some sort.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 3
    @Bishops Finger

    True, but at least I am in dialogue this time. Is that not some improvement?
    I shall now take a rest.

    Heheheh...it's not for me to say if this thread's an improvement or not, but I'm still interested to know why it worries you that no women appear to be contributing...

    ...as I implied earlier, it's not always possible to discern a Shipmate's gender (even if that should be an important issue for you) from their username.

    Some of us may have Good Reasons™ for keeping our Real Life™ identity secret.

    Enjoy your rest, and keep up the dialogue!

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    PDR wrote: »
    I have just realised that I do have a major problem making a sensible contribution to this thread - the fact that I believe all attempts to create an 'historical Jesus' are essentially speculative attempts to construction a rationale of Our Lord's ministry, other than the one given in the N.T.. That is something that strikes me as an interesting, but not particularly useful, endeavour given that I do not believe the Christ of history to have been all that different to the Christ of the Gospels. I'd better leave this thread alone.
    I agree.

    If nothing else, as the only record we have for most of the New Testament is the New Testament, arguing that what really happened was something different strikes me as being founded in what has been described on these boards as a 'hermeneutic of doubt'.
  • Yes. As I tried to point out (as succinctly as I could) on the 'Errant Jesus' thread, we simply don't know for certain, so our response must needs be in faith.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited July 3
    True, but at least I am in dialogue this time. Is that not some improvement?
    It is indeed. :wink:

    PDR wrote: »
    I have just realised that I do have a major problem making a sensible contribution to this thread - the fact that I believe all attempts to create an 'historical Jesus' are essentially speculative attempts to construction a rationale of Our Lord's ministry, other than the one given in the N.T.. That is something that strikes me as an interesting, but not particularly useful, endeavour given that I do not believe the Christ of history to have been all that different to the Christ of the Gospels. I'd better leave this thread alone.
    This is where I am as well. I don’t think it means we need to leave this thread alone, though. It means we bring a different perspective. Nothing wrong with that.

    mousethief wrote: »
    I have come to believe that what is chiefly wrong with the arguments about the atonement is that they claim to be theories and literal descriptions of what was going on. Whereas I see that they are analogies or metahpors.
    This. They are attempts to describe what is in essence a mystery.

  • I plan eventually to let everyone know more fully how I feel about this subject, but I will wait for lots of views first to be expressed. (And when I do express mine, so what?)
  • @Bishops Finger

    True, but at least I am in dialogue this time. Is that not some improvement?
    I shall now take a rest.

    Heheheh...it's not for me to say if this thread's an improvement or not, but I'm still interested to know why it worries you that no women appear to be contributing...

    ...as I implied earlier, it's not always possible to discern a Shipmate's gender (even if that should be an important issue for you) from their username.

    Some of us may have Good Reasons™ for keeping our Real Life™ identity secret.

    Enjoy your rest, and keep up the dialogue!

    (Did you really trhink I could stay away?)

    Well, I know that Lamb Chopped, and Lyda, and one or two others here are women (for that became clear in how they self referenced) and they have not yet showed up.

    That worries me a little because some women, especially the more strongly committed feminist types -- of whom, by the way, I approve -- FERVENTLY object to any sense of being told that they ore anyone should be self sacrificial. And I understand that.

    I remember having difficulty repeating Jesus' "Do not resist one who is evil" teaching to a congregation in which there sat a wife and mother whose husband had abused her verbally for many long years by telling her she was a worthless piece of nothing, but when he finally left her for another woman, she got herself a female lawyer who told her 'under no circumstances leave the house, and get a job.' So she got a job as a kind of office manager and was so well liked that young men gathered all around her desk, treating her as if she were some kind of favorite aunt, joking and appreciating her -- i.e., she was a popular, successful, much appreciated and much affirmed addition to the business!

    Sometime later her husband came back and told her to leave the house and she told him to see her lawyer --and wow, did that guy get fleeced! :smiley:

    So I ain't into tellin' women not to resist one who is evil
  • @Bishops Finger
    I didn't realize that you're a woman.
    A woman in Bishop's clothing? ... Hmmm... I almost think that could sorta turn me on...
  • @Bishops Finger
    I didn't realize that you're a woman.
    A woman in Bishop's clothing? ... Hmmm... I almost think that could sorta turn me on...

    I made no statement. You may think what you will - I couldn't possibly comment.

    But I do apologise for introducing a potentially offensive tangent.

  • I omitted to add - don't forget that Shipmates may be in different time zones (quite apart from having more important things to do!).
    :wink:
  • I'm now going to insert some long text here. You can simply skip it if you prefer. This is from something I wrote that has never been published.

    @Enoch
    @PDR
    @others

    Why, when I was young, and started reading the gospels, I'm glad nobody told me, Don't question anything; it's all there exactly as it happened and you must believe it all equally.
    It's all equally historically true.


    FOR me, it has been a long, sometimes difficult process, a process of “growing up,” a process that began when I was a young teenager. In those days I was not much of a Christian. Then one Easter I saw two films on television that caused me to become intrigued by Jesus. I began attending church and reading the gospels, and was particularly impressed by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. In a strange and wonderful way, it grasped me.

    Carefully, studiously, I read on through the rest of Matthew, and then I read the gospels of Mark and Luke. As I read, I noticed some differences among those gospels, but the differences didn’t seem all that important. To me, Matthew, Mark, and Luke seemed fairly similar (“synoptic” or “alike in viewpoint” as the scholars say).

    Along the way, I learned that the Gospel of Mark was probably the first gospel to be written, so I paid particular attention to that gospel.

    Finally I began reading what was probably the last gospel to have been written, the Gospel of John – and immediately I encountered difficulties.
    The picture of Jesus in that gospel is so different.

  • LET me share with you some of the differences between the earliest gospel, Mark, on the one hand, and the latest gospel, John, on the other.

    In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples of Jesus have trouble recognizing who Jesus is. Only slowly and with difficulty do they come to believe, late in Jesus’ ministry, that he is the expected Messiah. This is partly because Mark’s Jesus is usually reticent, even secretive, about his messianic identity. But in the Gospel of John, from the first moment Jesus appears he is quite open and explicit about his identity, and his disciples begin calling him the Messiah (“the Christ”) almost as soon as they meet him!

    In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus seems very human. He can sometimes be surprised or uncertain; once he even admits ignorance; frequently he is agitated, angered, upset, or troubled – indeed, in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross he seems very troubled. But in the Gospel of John, Jesus never appears ignorant of anything, nor does he ever seem surprised or really troubled – not even in Gethsemane, not even on the cross, though once he does weep.

    In Mark, Jesus talks primarily about the Kingdom of God, and frequently goes out of his way to direct attention away from himself by “playing down” or de-emphasizing his miracles. In John, Jesus talks about himself almost all the time and does not hesitate to center attention on himself by emphasizing his miracles and by making highly exalted “I am” claims.

    In Mark, when a wealthy man kneels before Jesus and hails him “Good teacher,” Jesus says, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” In John, when one of the disciples calls Jesus “My Lord and my God,” he accepts the homage.

    Then too there is Jesus’ style of speaking: In the Gospel of Mark he speaks simply and directly, but in John he speaks in a circular, exalted, rather mystical style. There are even moments in John when it is impossible to tell whether it is Jesus who is speaking or the gospel’s narrator.

    IN Mark, Jesus begins his ministry after John the Baptizer has been arrested. In John, he begins his ministry before the Baptizer’s arrest.

    In Mark, Jesus’ mother and brothers reject his early ministry. In John, they participate in his early ministry.

    In Mark, Jesus travels to Jerusalem only once near the end of his ministry, and while there he drives the moneychangers out of the Temple, the very act that leads to his execution. In John, Jesus drives out the money-changers near the beginning of his ministry and journeys to Jerusalem several times.

    In Mark, Jesus’ last supper with his disciples is a Passover meal, during which he speaks about his body and his blood. In John, the meal takes place a day before the Passover and Jesus makes long speeches and does not even mention his body and blood.

    In Mark, Jesus is crucified at nine in the morning. In John, he is still standing before Pontius Pilate at noon.
    –As a young teenager, I was puzzled and upset by such differences.
  • AND it got worse. The Gospel of John presents John the Baptizer as one who, from the first moment he sees Jesus, knows exactly who he is. But the Gospel of Mark reveals no such knowledge on the part of the Baptizer, and the gospels of Matthew and Luke both relate a story in which the Baptizer sends messengers to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the expected one, or must we wait for someone else?”

    Now it can’t be both ways (I told myself). Either the Baptizer and Jesus’ disciples knew from the first who he was, or they didn’t. It can’t be both ways!
    --I was disturbed by these gospel inconsistencies.

    AND it got even worse. My initial impression that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are fairly similar (synoptic) began to fall apart under closer examination. As I made careful comparisons, it became clear that the authors of Matthew and Luke, both of whom drew much of their information from Mark, did not hesitate to alter, change, delete, or exaggerate that information whenever it served their purpose, which was to present a more religiously satisfying portrait of Jesus and his disciples. In order to do that, they were quite willing to change or get rid of anything in the Markan text which they found unhelpful, embarrassing, or problematic. [Examples: See what Matthew's author does to Mark's story of Jesus' rejection at Nazareth, or the opening of the story of the rich young ruler, or Mark's tomb story!]

    Clearly, the authors of Matthew and Luke, like the author of John, were more interested in presenting an edifying religious portrait of Jesus than in presenting an objective, historical account of what Jesus actually said and did.

    “But if this is true of the authors of Matthew, Luke, and John,” I told myself, “why couldn’t it also be true of the author of Mark? Isn’t it possible that he, too, greatly altered the Jesus information he received? How can we be sure that any of the gospels gives us any information about Jesus that has even the least degree of historical accuracy?”

    *I'm particularly glad nobody told me I HAD to believe it all equally! And by employing good scholarship I found much clarity that I still value.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    LET me share with you some of the differences between the earliest gospel, Mark, on the one hand, and the latest gospel, John, on the other.
    Ummm, why do you assume we don’t not already know most of not all of this?

    You’re veering back into selling encyclopedias. :wink:

  • Maybe you do know all that, but I aimed it primarily at Nick Tamen and PDR and what they said.

    Don't worry. That was that. I am back to dialogue.
  • Ho ho. Wait a minute. Nick Tamen was you! So I aimed it at what you said.
  • ERROR.
    I meant to say I aimed it ENOCH and PDR and what THEY said. Not you.
    Apologies.
    Another senior moment.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    LET me share with you some of the differences between the earliest gospel, Mark, on the one hand, and the latest gospel, John, on the other.
    Ummm, why do you assume we don’t not already know most of not all of this?

    You’re veering back into selling encyclopedias. :wink:
    My thoughts as well. A less bible, a lot more humanity. As Antonio says:
    "Mark you this, Bassanio,
    the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
    An evil soul producing holy witness
    is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
    a goodly apple rotten at the heart.
    Oh, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!"
    (Merchant of Venice , Wm Shakespeare)

  • @NOprophet_NØprofit

    Comparing a relatively innocent teenager excitedly looking for and expecting simple consistences in scripture, to the devil looking for scriptures to use for evil purposes strikes me as somewhat of a stretch.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    I have come to believe that what is chiefly wrong with the arguments about the atonement is that they claim to be theories and literal descriptions of what was going on. Whereas I see that they are analogies or metahpors. Which can be turned into similes with the addition of "like" along the following lines:

    The atonement is kinda like paying a ransom.
    The atonement is kinda like dying in our place to fulfill righteousness.
    The atonement is kinda like a victory over personified powers of evil.
    The atonement is ..... and so forth.

    But it's not any one of those things. They are metaphors only, trying to describe a great and, if you'll excuse me, weird thing that happened.

    Thank you, @mousethief, this sums up what I’ve been struggling to verbalise!
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    @James Boswell II - hey James, we coo-ell. And no, errant Jesus was no waste of time. As I said on June 26th: 'He was mistaken about His mission of course, how could He not be? And His belief in the God of the TaNaKh.'. If He wasn't errant He wasn't human. And this is the arena for adversariality. Like parliament, court. As adversarial without ad hominem as we can make it.

    PSA is a Western tradition since Augustine at least, Eastern since Paul and, of course, Jesus Himself. I'm alone here in saying that Jesus Himself believed in PSA, not just ransom, which itself was not necessary either. All atonement theories are stories we make up. The fact of at-one-ment with God is in the fact of the Incarnation. Orthodox recapitulation theory as a basis of kenosis is far better than traditional Western 'theories', but still seems predicated on the Fall?
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