thread: 2007-01-04 : Self-identification vs. Membership

On 2007-01-12, valamir wrote:

Setting aside discussions of the relative accuracy of oral tradition over generations, the key point here is that when they finally did get written down...who did the writing?

Literacy in ancient times was strictly in the hands of the elite or those sponsored by the elite, which basically means everything that got written down (or not) was subject to the personal, political, and theological agendas of the people doing the writing or the sponsors they were catering to.

One can pretty much trace the increasing repression of women in ancient society by the disappearing and revising of their place in early Christian texts.  Texts that were cornerstone texts in one era were considered heretical and eliminated from canon in the next because of the high position they gave women in the church.  One can trace the denegration of Mary Magdeline from independently wealthy high status business woman (which she most likely was) to prostitute in the same way.

Point being there's a lot of things in the New Testament that are attributed to Jesus and the disciples that represent more the state of affairs centuries later and the agenda church leaders wanted to pursue than anything Jesus or the disciples actually said or did.

Once Jesus's divinity became church doctrine, many oral traditions of what Jesus and the disciples actually did were altered and reimagined to place added emphasis on Jesus as the Christ.

The whole "In the beginning was the Word" text was almost certainly a very late addition to John written in a time where there was some debate over whether the father, son and holy ghost were seperate or 3 in 1.  Someone wanting to lock down the 3 in 1 interpretation then inserted this text so that going forward there would be gospel support for the new church doctrine.

Similarly the whole "Take and Eat in Rememberance of Me" part was added in much later when there was arguement over which church rituals should be encoded as high sacraments.  They needed a scriptural basis for making Mass the centerpoint of church ritual, and so text was conveniently added to support this position.

Today, when its so easy to simply cross check one version with another to realize that changes have been made its hard to believe, but back then when only a handful of people could even read it didn't take long before folks accepted that the scriptures had ALWAYS said that.

That's why I say that the New Testament tells us more about what the early church fathers wanted us to believe about Jesus than it actually says about who Jesus was really.


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