At 01:32 AM 7/31/98 I wrote:
>> 3. Would you agree that Jesus drew a distinction between being "here on
>> earth" and being "of this world"?
Nope. That distinction is unique to GJohn. But I would agree that HJ had
>a quite different view of this world than most people, a view that set
>ordinary social hierarchies & values on their heads.
The distinction between the earth and the world is inherent in much of what
The earth, of course, is a physical place. But the world is a drama, and
also a point of view. Yes, as you put it, the trump is played out now in
this world rather than in some heaven by & by. [ This is what the Buddhists
call the bodhisattva path.] Yeshu called it the path of the son of man, or
if you prefer, the son of Adam.
Yes, you may say, as you do, that Yeshu turned the world on its head. But
this comes back to saying that the world is a false point of view. Thus
Yeshu says that the first shall be last, the hungry shall be filled, blessed
are you when men hate you for my sake, and woeful are the rich who have
received their consolation, etc.
Thomas is more explicit, as befits him on this subject.
"If you do not fast as regards the world, you will not find the Kingdom." 73
Orthodox Jews still practice this teaching, as do some Christians (and
Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims as well). Thus in certain Orthodox
neighborhoods, on the Sabbath, the people walk down the center of their
streets, stopping the world along with the automobile traffic.
By way of further example, the Gospel of Philip provides an ancient metaphor
of the "rat race":
"An ass which turns a millstone did a hundred miles walking. When it was
loosed it found that it was still at the same place. There are men who make
many journeys, but make no progress towards a destination. When evening
comes upon them, they see neither city, nor village, neither creation nor
nature, power nor angel. In vain have the wretched labored."
Thus, according to these Yeshuine and early Christian views, when the wheel
stops, when we fast from the world, we see what is really here on earth, and
have power and angel as well.
The latter view is also found in the synoptics. Yeshu taught that the KofG
is on earth, only we do not see it. We have a beam in our eye. Matt. 7:5.
How according to Yeshu, is ignorance dispelled? Did he not teach his
disciples that the path of perfection was achieved by leaving the world
behind and following him? Is this not what Crossan calls the early Christian
path of "radical itinerancy?" Thus, when Yeshu sent his disciples out, he
told them to take nothing with them. This is fasting as regards the world.
He also told them to heal the sick and cast out demons. He told them too
that they could drink any deadly poison and pick up any snake. The power and
the angels. The son of man at the right hand of God, which is to say, a man
or woman who follows the path of perfection, Crossan's "radical itinerancy,"
the path referred to by the Buddhists as the bodhisattva path, shall have
the powers of God. Thus, just as you say, Mahlon, the trump is played out
here and now rather than in some heaven by & by.
>> > To
>> >claim that HJ was totally innocent of provoking Jews to envision some
>> >power other than the emperor's as in control of their destiny is to
>> >trivialize his message of the KofG & to rob his death of any heroic
>> >meaning. Then he might just as well have been run over by a Mack truck.
>> >If HJ's death was not in some way the result of defiance of the
>> >totalitarian claims of the Roman emperor, then he was not fit to be made
>> >the model for Christian martyrs who did just that.
But I don't feel any need to make his death heroic.
>You have only three options. J's death was either heroic, or tragic or
>1. It would be justified IF he was promoting violent insurrection. I
>don't think he meant to do that even if sometimes he said things that
>gave this impression.
>2. It would be tragic IF he did not do or say anything to question Roman
>authority. But IF Jesus told Jews to submit to Rome & pay their taxes
>then it is highly doubtful that any Roman governor would have crucified
>him as a royal pretender.
>3. HJ's death was heroic because like Martin L. KIng he risked his own
>life to convince the poor & oppressed that they had the support of a
>power that was greater than any institution or tyrant.
Actually there are other options. It could also be senseless, as much
You might say that a senseless death is somewhat akin to your tragic option.
But if he was truly resurrected, there is no tragedy in his death because he
has introduced something beyond death.
By pointing this out, I do not mean to suggest that his death may not also
have been heroic. Certainly there is evidence that he was willing to risk
his life for the poor and the oppressed. I am only saying that, as for
myself, I am not left with an empty feeling when I think of his death as
senseless, because for me his moral dimension was such that he was far
beyond the shores of death. Thus for me, the resurrection is an appropriate
mark of the man.
>> If I may suggest, Mahlon, because you reject the resurrection, you find it
>> necessary to make his death heroic. Hmmm.
>I forgive you, because you don't know what you're saying. I have never
>rejected the resurrection of Jesus, even though I have spent much of my
>life trying to correct popular misimpressions that resurrection meant
>resuscitation of a corpse. On the contrary, acc. to Paul (1 Cor 15) the
>resurrection of J is the triumph of his spirit (not his flesh) over the
>terror of death or any other power in the universe (Rom 8). It is the
>resurrection that confirms J's death as heroic. Because it shows he
>wasn't defeated by the imperial cross. Instead he inspired other
>commoners to face any force that threatened them with confidence &
Let me ask you Mahlon, if you could explain what you mean by resurrection of
the spirit, as opposed to resurrection of the flesh. Do you mean that he was
an immortal spirit and thus never died? And if that is all you mean, how is
that special? Do you not beleive that we all share this trait?
Or are you suggesting his resurrection occurs whenever one recognizes his
presence in others, in the faces of the poor and the oppressed, in a rock or
a tree, in your children, or your wife, or even in your enemies? Or when you
find him inside yourself?
If the above represents your view, I respect it, but it is somewhat unkind
to suggest that the traditional view is characterizable as resuscitaion of a
corpse. Let's face it. If something like the resurrection occured in more
than the spirit, the *how* of the event is totally mysterious. And we should
Consider, for example, the fact that, according to some reports, those to
whom he appeared did not recognize him at first. The body seemed different.
These reports seem credible. If I was making up a resurrection story from
whole cloth I certainly wouldn't include such details since they tend to
impeach the veracity of the appearance. If these stories are true it could
mean that the body of the person who appeared was not a warmed over corpse.
Of course, it could also support the view that the experience was a vision.
But we are too far along in Physics nowadays to necessarily distinguish
vision from materiality. Indeed matter and energy are now seem as one and
the same thing.
I do not mean to belabor a discussion of whether the resurrection was
physical versus spiritual. You apparently accept as rock solid that Mary
Magdalen saw Yeshu after his death on the cross. Unless you have had that
experience yourself, why not leave the psycho-physical explanation to
mystery? Unless a person has had the experience himself, or herself, how
can the person so knowingly say it was a vision, or attribute it, as I
beleieve Jim West does, to "bad beans." If you can accept the Yeshuine and
early Christian view that when the wheel stops, when we fast from the world,
we see what is really here on earth, and have "power and angel" as well, you
should at least accept as possible that something remarkable may have occured.
To view HJ's resurrection as an escape from this world created
by God is to be a gnostic, whether one realizes it or not.
I don't follow you here, Mahlon. Who views HJ's resurrection as an escape
from this world created by God? What, Lector, is this "world created by God"
stuff? From my view, at least, man has created the world. If you are
referring to the earth, and believe in a God (since you have invoked his
name) as a power that exists, as opposed to a useless old man who created
the scene and left, I accept your view. But if we take your view one step
further, and add your other point that "the trump is played out now in this
world rather than in some heaven by & by," what do we say about a man or a
woman who is one with God? What kind of trump does that person have? Can
you accept the possibility that he might have a little bit of that power? Do
you accept the view that this is what is implied in the son of man (Adam)
As for your comment about Gnosticism, in addition to the fact that I don't
understand it, how does your comment add to the discussion. Is it supposed
to be bad to be gnostic? Given some of the weirdness of their later
scriptural output, I also view them somewhat at a distance. Still, some of
what they have produced concerning Yeshu is truly divine. For me at least,
this is a form of authenticity.
As for the Valentian gnostics at least, their view of the resurrection is
best exemplified in the Gospel of Philip. For them, the resurrection occurs
before death. Thus while you and I debate the physicality of the
resurrection of a man who lived 2000 years ago, the gnostics trump the
entire dispute, and take us into far more profound territory of rebirth,
right here, right now.
>> >That is why I maintain that HJ was a *real* social revolutionary, not a
>> >mere power-grabber, & hence a real threat to any system of totalitarian
>> >power, political or religious.
>> Are you suggesting here that he was, say, like Mahatma Gandhi?
>Rather that Gandhi & M.L.King & Francis of Assisi, etc. were something
>like him. Without the story of Jesus' social revolution it is highly
>doubtful that they would have been inspired to lead theirs.
These are certainly inspirational figures. And I agree with you, there is a
Mars quality to HJ. Still, Gandhi, and, as far as I know, Martin Luther
King, were fairly pointedly focussed on social and political revolution. I
don't think they produced a lot of original religious thinking outside of
their social and political contributions to that field. Yeshu, in this
respect, is quite different. He was pointedly focussed on a non-political
inner revolution, and we have no recorded words encouraging resistance to
political authorities, except for his religious politics. To sugggest that
he held such an attitude, but the early church, for self-survival reasons,
never recorded them, is totally speculative. Indeed, if the early church was
concerned about the survival of its memebers, why wouldn't Yeshu have had
the same concerns, for pragmatic and compassionate reasons? Why would he
have incited his followers to engage in confrontational situations that
would have only resulted in their being crushed by Roman authorities? The
era was not like Gandhi's India or King's United States. Thus Yeshu's
"Render unto Caesar . . ." deftly avoids a confrontational posture. Being a
true egalitarian, he would have treated individual Roman soldiers in the
same way he treated his Jewish brethren.
In the same way, his teaching that the world is a false view, that one
should fast as regards the world, that one should "resist not evil,"
doesn't suggest a lot of interest in stirring up the drama. His one apparent
sore point was religious hypocrisy. That bothered him the most because
religious hypocrites stood directly in the doorway he sought to open. Thus
it is likely that these individuals felt most threatened by him.