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  • Timothy E. Kennelly
    All, On a different list someone raised a question about the possible historic influence of Buddhism or Buddhist teaching on the teaching of Jesus or the
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 15 9:54 AM
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      All,

      On a different list someone raised a question about the possible
      historic influence of Buddhism or Buddhist teaching on the teaching of
      Jesus or the teaching attributed to Jesus. I dismissed this as
      essentially unworthy of serious consideration. My question: Do in any
      of the scholars on this list know of any serious scholarly work that
      takes this supposed influence seriously? Or does anyone know where such
      an idea might have come from besides the superficial similarities
      between some of the teachings?

      Thanks,

      Timothy E. Kennelly
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Timothy E. Kennelly To: Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:54 AM Subject: [XTalk] Question
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 15 12:09 PM
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Timothy E. Kennelly" <timothykennelly@...>
        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:54 AM
        Subject: [XTalk] Question


        > All,
        >
        > On a different list someone raised a question about the possible
        > historic influence of Buddhism or Buddhist teaching on the teaching of
        > Jesus or the teaching attributed to Jesus. I dismissed this as
        > essentially unworthy of serious consideration. My question: Do in any
        > of the scholars on this list know of any serious scholarly work that
        > takes this supposed influence seriously? Or does anyone know where such
        > an idea might have come from besides the superficial similarities
        > between some of the teachings?
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > Timothy E. Kennelly


        Marcus Borg discusses the similarity between Buddha and Jesus at
        http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/buddhist-christian_studies/v019/19.1borg.html in
        the journal Buddhist-Christian Studies, probably a good resource at a
        library near you. We are all aware of the fringe that claims Jesus spent
        his "missing years" in India which is highly unlikely. That Jesus could
        have been influenced by a religion that had existed for half a millennium
        before his time...just as he could have been influenced by Persion and
        Hellenistic thought...is very possible. There is a book by Dwight Goddard
        (I don't know about his credentials as a scholar) called "Was Jesus
        Influenced by Buddhism?: A Comparative Study of the Lives and Thoughts of
        Gautama and Jesus."

        India was on a trade route to Palestine for centuries before Jesus and K'far
        Nahum, which plays a big role in Jesus' life, was a point of entrance for
        goods from the east. Religious thought and philosophies followed trade
        routes. Judaism was certainly known in India for several centuries before
        Jesus on the Malabar Coast...also a trade center... and Aramaic had a big
        influence on the scripts and language of the East before Jesus' time. The
        Cochin Jews speak a form of Judeo-Malayalam which contains many Hebrew loan
        words as well as Hebrew syntactic, lexical archaisms.

        As you know, the Christians of Kerala claim descent from the disciple Thomas
        who is supposed, according to tradition and the Acts of Thomas, to have
        evangelized the area. Eusebius supports it in Book 3 of HE. The legend
        gives an account of the interaction between Thomas and a Parthian-Indian
        king named Gondaphares. Scholars had no record of this king and up to the
        19th century believed him to be mythical...until caches of coins of King
        Gondaphares were found in the Punjaband Afghanistan. We need to ask
        ourselves if the Acts of Thomas records unattested names and places later
        confirmed by coins and archaeology, shouldn't we consider an historical
        kernel?. This confirms a 1st century West to East contact and may suggest a
        previous east to west communication that may have reached Jesus.

        I have always found this issue difficult to sort out from the loony stuff
        such as manuscript hoaxes and fringe books. At the end of the day, I do not
        believe Jesus went to India but he had to have had some knowledge of
        Buddhist ideals.

        Jack

        Jack Kilmon
        San Antonio, TX
      • Jim West
        We agree completely on sentence one (except I would say it IS impossible to sort out this from the loony stuff, because it is loony). And with sentence two,
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 15 12:15 PM
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          We agree completely on sentence one (except I would say it IS impossible
          to sort out this from the loony stuff, because it is loony). And with
          sentence two, first half. But exactly how is it that you know that
          Jesus 'had to have had some knowledge of Buddhist ideals"???

          This is historically unsubstantiated.
          >
          >
          >
          > I have always found this issue difficult to sort out from the loony stuff
          > such as manuscript hoaxes and fringe books. At the end of the day, I
          > do not
          > believe Jesus went to India but he had to have had some knowledge of
          > Buddhist ideals.
          >
          > Jack
          >
          > Jack Kilmon
          >












          ++++++

          Jim West, ThD

          http://jwest.wordpress.com -- Blog
          http://drjewest.googlepages.com - Biblical Studies Resources
        • Jack Kilmon
          Of course it is unsubstantiated, Jim, but Jesus scholarship seems, to me, to assume Jesus lived in a cave or a society similar to some of the deep bush tribes
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 15 1:34 PM
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            Of course it is unsubstantiated, Jim, but Jesus scholarship seems, to me, to
            assume Jesus lived in a cave or a society similar to some of the deep bush
            tribes I have visited. By the first century BCE, Buddhism had spread
            throughout China and to the Middle East. It was established in Arabia in
            the 1st century BCE. Buddhism, like later Christianity, followed the
            merchants and the trade routes and Jesus lived in those crossroads. It
            seems to me that there are some assumptions we can make from the social and
            cross-cultural anthropology of the 1st century Levant. I don't think Jesus'
            intellectual stimulation and exchanges came from supernatural sources.
            Jewish trade arrived in the Galilee from the silk road and from Kerala to
            Ezion-Geber. This trade had exiated since the Phoenicians in the 3rd
            millennium BCE.

            Buddhism had already accomplished in the East what Christianity would also
            accomplish in the West 500 years after Jesus' death. Both shared a common
            theme and a common societal audience. IMO, if Jesus was an intellectual
            (and I think he was) and talked to all kinds of people from all walks of
            life (and I think he did) instead of spending his first 30 years of life
            under a rock, he knew about Buddhism.

            Did he go to India and chant with a guru? Naaaaah!

            Jack

            Jack Kilmon
            San Antonio, TX


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Jim West" <jwest@...>
            To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:15 PM
            Subject: Re: [XTalk] Question


            > We agree completely on sentence one (except I would say it IS impossible
            > to sort out this from the loony stuff, because it is loony). And with
            > sentence two, first half. But exactly how is it that you know that
            > Jesus 'had to have had some knowledge of Buddhist ideals"???
            >
            > This is historically unsubstantiated.
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >> I have always found this issue difficult to sort out from the loony stuff
            >> such as manuscript hoaxes and fringe books. At the end of the day, I
            >> do not
            >> believe Jesus went to India but he had to have had some knowledge of
            >> Buddhist ideals.
            >>
            >> Jack
            >>
            >> Jack Kilmon
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ++++++
            >
            > Jim West, ThD
            >
            > http://jwest.wordpress.com -- Blog
            > http://drjewest.googlepages.com - Biblical Studies Resources
            >
            >
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