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Re: "History vs. Theology": a sample application

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  • James Trimm
    ... That is not even good Judaism. RAMBAM s 12th principle of faith is: I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah. Though he tarry,
    Message 1 of 33 , Jun 6, 1998
      At 04:12 PM 6/6/98 -0400, Mike Grondin wrote:
      >James Trimm writes:
      >>The concept of the divinity of Messiah predates Christendom.
      >
      >Yeah, that's where this whole thing started. You write about some
      >fictional person who's supposed to come in the future, before you know
      >it someone (a lot of someone's, actually) wants to BE him, or thinks
      >they ARE him, or has followers who think he IS him. But there never was
      >any "him" to be in the first place. Pretty ironic, huh? Do you suppose
      >God's laughing at us? (Perhaps "he" created us for "his" amusement - or
      >was it the other way round?)
      >
      >Mike G.
      >
      >

      That is not even good Judaism. RAMBAM's 12th principle of faith is:

      I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah.
      Though he tarry, nonetheless I await him every day,
      that he will come.

      Question: What evidence do you have to prove your statement " there never
      was any 'him' [coming Messiah] to be in the first place"?

      That seem very subjective to me.

      James Trimm
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    • Antonio Jerez
      Glad to see you back on the list, Lewis. Your comments and expertise on jewish matters are always appreciated. ... Notice that I said that MOST jews believed
      Message 33 of 33 , Jun 9, 1998
        Glad to see you back on the list, Lewis. Your comments
        and expertise on jewish matters are always appreciated.
        You wrote:



        >On 8 Jun 98, at 22:48, Antonio Jerez wrote:
        >
        >> It may very well be the case that stories like the creation narrative and
        >> the Eden story were largely planned as theological stories by the original
        >> author. The problem is that myths or theological stories most often are
        >> taken as empirical stories after a while by later generations. In Jesus
        >> time I can bet that most Jews believed litteraly in the Genesis stories
        >> and the Exodus story.


        Lewis replied:
        >Perhaps I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that we tend to
        >conclude from the evidence of Philo that allegorical readings of the Bible were
        >rather common among Hellenistic Jews.

        Notice that I said that "MOST jews believed litteraly in the Genisis
        story...", I didn't say all. Yes, Philo is well known for his extremely
        allegorical readings of the Tanakh. But first of all Philo was a jewish
        aristocrat and intellectual - in the top rung of jewish society. Secondly
        he was a dedicated Platonist who simply had to read even the most
        straightforward stories in the Tanakh allegorally to find platonism in
        them. I haven't read enough of Philo to know if he took Moses to be
        an actual historical figure or just a metaphor for something. It is also
        the case that Philo was not alone in reading the Tanakh allegorically.
        He tells himself of other jewish intellectuals in Alexandria who allegorized
        the book because they found some of the stories abhorent as they
        stand or because they had problems with jewish hallakah and wanted
        to get rid of jewish customs by allegorical reading of the text.
        But the question is if most jews at the time read the major stories
        in the Tanakh allegorically? I doubt it. Specially not the common
        folks both inside and outside Palestine who made up the majority
        of the Jews. I believe that for every Philo there were a thousand
        common Jews who read the stories quite straight. I only have to
        point to prophets like Theudas and the unknown Egyptian prophet
        who had huge followings and promised to walk in the footsteps of
        the biblical heroes. This clearly shows that a lot of people at the time
        of Jesus believed litteraly in the biblical stories, if not Theudas would
        have had no following.

        >> Much of Jesus and Paul's reasoning
        >> rests on the idea that there actually existed once in a time an
        >> Eden and a Moses who received the commandments on Sinai.
        >
        >How can we tell this? And how can we tell that the attribution to Moses and
        >Sinai was not that culture's way of saying "these are the rules and customs that
        >have been effect since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary"?

        Well, in Paul's case by reading his own letters. Paul obviously didn't
        take Moses as just a metaphor. If he had done that his comparison
        of Moses with Jesus would not have worked. Or do you mean that
        Jesus was also a pure metaphor to Paul? I take it that Paul thaught
        that there were people of flesh and blood behind the names Moses
        and Jesus - the same with Adam and Eve.

        Best wishes

        Antonio
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