Friday, December 09, 2005

Quest for the Historical Jesus

I just have to spend a few minutes talking about Phil and his quest for the historical Jesus. Phil is a freshman at Curie and he's buddies with Dawn's big brother. Phil read "The DaVinci Code" and got really interested in what we know about Jesus and whether Dan Brown was on to something or just making it all up.

I found this out one night on the front porch of Dawn's new apartment. Julian and Phil were hanging on the stoop and Julian wanted me to argue theology with Phil. Since I go to church regularly, Julian thought I would present a more conservative counterpoint to Phil's "God doesn't exist" and "Jesus was just a regular guy" perspective. Imagine his surprise when I started egging Phil on! How fun to out myself as not the religious nutcase for a change.

Anyway, Phil told me he wanted to read more about what experts say about Jesus's life and history, whether it agreed with Dan Brown or not. So I got on the Internet at work (how do I ever do my job???) and found an article debunking Brown written by a Presbyterian minister with a doctorate from Harvard Div and gave it to Phil a week later. Another week later, we were all hanging on the front porch and I asked Phil if he had read the article and how he liked it. "It was great," he said.

A couple of nights ago, an envelope arrived from a high school pal who also squeezes in his avocations during work time. It contained an essay from the December issue of Harpers Magazine, about Jefferson's redaction of the gospels and how similar his condensed version is to the noncanonical Gospel of Thomas. I can't wait to pass this one on to Phil, especially since he was at Dawn's house when she was polling people about why we study history. Way to combine two intellectual questions simultaneously.

I heard a lot about Phil from Dawn and her buddies last night. This is the same trio who used my kitchen to study in for their exhibitions a few weeks ago. Charlie's Angels showed up at my office at 5 p.m., despite the snowstorm, ready for their trip to the Harold Washington Library. We got Dawn some material on graffiti art for her research project. Gloria, the academic perfectionist, found three books but didn't check them out before closing, so she had to put them on hold. Guess who just went to pick them up? Two were for school--one on the Maya, another by or about Rigoberta Menchu--I'm not sure if it's the original Spanish version of "I, Rigoberta Menchu" or if it's a different bookd The third was a diet book in Spanish--at least it looks like it's a health plan not a fad diet, but my Spanish is probably not up to judging. Meanwhile, Angel number three, Janice, tried to find some books on Marilyn Manson, but they were all checked out.

Janice was surprised when I suggested she could look for some books on her musical idol. "How did you know I like Marilyn Manson?" she asked.

"Because I saw your exhibition project at my house, remember?" The light dawned on her face. Then I laughed and said, "No, really, Janice, I'm psychic."

Anyway, on the way home, while we were in the Orange Line station waiting for the bus, Phil and his book project came up as a topic of discussion. Dawn says Phil is writing a romance novel, I believe that is romance in the old sense, like wizards and witches and all that jazz. I'd copy-edit it for him if he wants. They were also interested in his personal style--he wears a long capelike, old-fashioned coat that rumor says cost three hundred bucks, and he's experimented with eyeliner.

Phil is thinking he would like to transfer from Curie to Big Picture. He says he is an average student at Curie (so, Cs) and is bored with his classes. He might be a good fit. I'm sure he'd be an asset to the school and I think the school would be an asset to him in ways Curie probably won't be about college, etc.

1 comment:

Anders Branderud said...

"Historical Jesus"?!?

Just using this contra-historical oxymoron (demonstrated by the eminent late Oxford historian, James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue) exposes your Christian-blinkered agenda--dependent upon 4th-century, gentile, Hellenist sources.

While scholars debate the provenance of the original accounts upon which the earliest extant (4th century, even fragments are post-135 C.E.), Roman gentile, Hellenist-redacted versions were based, there is not one fragment, not even one letter of the NT that derives DIRECTLY from the 1st-century Pharisee Jews who followed the Pharisee Ribi Yehoshua.

Historians like Parkes, et al., have demonstrated incontestably that 4th-century Roman Christianity was the 180° polar antithesis of 1st-century Judaism of ALL Pharisee Ribis. The earliest (post-135 C.E.) true Christians were viciously antinomian (ANTI-Torah), claiming to supersede and displace Torah, Judaism and ("spiritual) Israel and Jews. In soberest terms, ORIGINAL Christianity was anti-Torah from the start while DSS (viz., 4Q MMT) and ALL other Judaic documentation PROVE that ALL 1st-century Pharisees were PRO-Torah.

There is a mountain of historical Judaic information Christians have refused to deal with, at: (see, especially, their History Museum pages beginning with "30-99 C.E.").

Original Christianity = ANTI-Torah. Ribi Yehoshua and his Netzarim, like all other Pharisees, were PRO-Torah. Intractable contradiction.

Building a Roman image from Hellenist hearsay accounts, decades after the death of the 1st-century Pharisee Ribi, and after a forcible ouster, by Hellenist Roman gentiles, of his original Jewish followers (135 C.E., documented by Eusebius), based on writings of a Hellenist Jew excised as an apostate by the original Jewish followers (documented by Eusebius) is circular reasoning through gentile-Roman Hellenist lenses.

What the historical Pharisee Ribi taught is found not in the hearsay accounts of post-135 C.E. Hellenist Romans but, rather, in the Judaic descriptions of Pharisees and Pharisee Ribis of the period... in Dead Sea Scroll 4Q MMT (see Prof. Elisha Qimron), inter alia.

The question is, now that you've been informed, will you follow the authentic historical Pharisee Ribi? Or continue following the post-135 C.E. Roman-redacted antithesis—an idol?

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