RE: [XTalk] Anne Rice and the scholars
- Loren Rosson III
>>"When Jewish and Christian scholars begin to take this war seriously, when they begin to really study what happened during the terrible years of the siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple, and the revolts that continued in Palestine right up through Bar Kokhba...Bible studies will change." (p 316)No comment necessary. But what happened to the scholars she recommended with such enthusaism?<<
Sounds like she has also read S G F Brandon (_The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church; a study of the effects of
the Jewish overthrow of AD 70 on Christianity_)* or Hugh Schonfield (_Those Incredible Christians_, _Passover Plot_, _Jesus Party_ aka _The Pentecost Revolution_). Both of these are accredited scholars, although the books in question are all popularly oriented). Brandon shot too much from the hip, and Schonfield was mainly a popular writer (I think he had one article published in a peer-reviewed journal). I believe even the late Bishop Pike had published books with similar ideas before he wandered into the desert to die of exposure.
The idea that the Destruction of the Jewish temple was the development that created Gnosticism (and if you want, by analogy, Christianity) was first proposed seriously by Moriz Friedländer in _Der vorchristliche jüdische Gnosticismus_ ("The Pre-Christian Jewish Gnosticism", Farnborough, Gregg, P., 1972, a reprint of the 1898 ed. published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen). He later abandoned this idea, but Birger Pearson recently revived it as a hypothesis deserving more study in _Gnosticism, Judaism and Egyptian Christianity_ (Fortress, 1990).
To be honest, the concept that the Jewish war fundamentally changed Judaism but not Christianity, a Jewish sect, seems strange, so I am inclined to agree with Rice here.
Cleveland, Ohio USA
* Reviewer: A reader
Brandon is the first I've read who widened the possibilities concerning Jesus and his immediate survivors in regard to the oppression experienced by the Jews in the first century. That the man of love portrayed in the Gospels - and his followers - could even tacitly support the Romans and their reckless, rapacious cruelty is impossible. Brandon's work showed that these men not only had to be deeply aware of the Jews' cause against Rome, they were likely part of the opposition to Rome's presence and influence. This work and Brandon's earlier "Jesus and the Zealots" made this very clear.
Brandon's conclusions are sometimes supported only by theory. Despite this occassionally lack of factual information, I found the conjecture he makes in these cases possible and even likely. You have to be willing to understand this stuff over a period of years unless you're already steeped in the jargon of the historians. But check it out.
I assume you mean the url for the journal which I posted this am
Xtalk member, Lisbeth S. Fried's, new book is now available, The Priest and
the Great King: Temple-Palace Relations in the Persian Empire, together with
this review in Denver Journal.
Richard H. Anderson