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Re: Books--Early Christianity

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  • gerryhsp
    ... Muslim ... their ... Frankly, Edward, I feel that the topic I raised had little to do with current events. If you care to recommend a book by a
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 21, 2002
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      --- In gnosticism2@y..., proteus_08859 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      >
      > Pardon me, but could you tell me why you are discussing Jewish-
      > Christian relations, when a more timely topic would be Jewish-
      Muslim
      > relations? I'm getting really tired of hearing Jews cry about
      their
      > mistreatment at the hands of Christians ... How about Jewish
      > mistreatment of Palestinians? Now of course this has nothing to do
      > with Gnosticism, but neither did the previous post ...


      Frankly, Edward, I feel that the topic I raised had little to do with
      current events. If you care to recommend a book by a Palestinian
      author that gives a decent explanation of the origins of
      Christianity, I would most certainly appreciate your making me aware
      of it, and likewise of the author's background if you should find it
      interesting.

      My initial concern had to do with some folks I've talked to at other
      sites recently. For whatever reasons in their backgrounds, they have
      chosen to have NO religious affiliations. They believe
      that "religions are evil" and "believers are nuts." For many of
      them, these don't merely take the form of "general" beliefs,
      but "absolute," e.g., ALL religion is bad. I found many of these
      people fascinating, as they exhibited some very enlightened thought
      in other regards. I found it difficult, however, to grasp how such
      individuals could justify that sort of hatred… but then, how does one
      make "sense" of prejudice?

      During those discussions, I had hoped for a book or two I could
      recommend that would have helped them to understand the distorted
      nature of their "understanding" of some of these religions—
      Christianity specifically. I hesitated to throw out certain
      explicitly Gnostic concepts since I figured it represented such a
      contradiction to what they "knew" about Christianity that they would
      think I had made it all up, even though many of their own ideas
      seemed to me… quite gnostic. In short, I felt that their views more
      accurately represented merely counter-arguments against
      fundamentalist interpretation and fanatical practice, which they have
      mistaken for the actual religions. The points they kept repeating in
      their arguments make it clear that they viewed religion in exactly
      the same (perhaps worse), distorted manner as did those extremists.
      They correctly realized that the fundies had missed the point, but
      didn't bother to dig deep enough to see what they, also, had missed.

      Let's face it. After hundreds of years of bad PR and the systematic
      dissemination of misinformation, the task of breaking down these
      misconceptions doesn't come easily. I simply wondered if anyone here
      might recommend something that would prove helpful in that regard,
      and a conversation between members ensued.

      I don't believe I can explain the purpose of my query any better than
      that, and hope that you find it satisfactory.

      Gerry
    • gerryhsp
      ... I wish that I lived as close to the ARE as you. ... Be careful what you wish for! Don t envy my living near the A.R.E. too much, Dan. To get to that
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 21, 2002
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        --- In gnosticism2@y..., wherecar54 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        I wish that I lived as close to the ARE as you.
        > Other circomstances and priorities, keep me from moving to Virgina.
        >
        > Dan





        "Be careful what you wish for!"

        Don't envy my living near the A.R.E. too much, Dan. To get to that
        area, I need to pass by Pat Robertson's stomping grounds. Also,
        hidden somewhere in the woods along the way lies the headquarters of
        the radical, anti-choice group, the Army of God.

        It just goes to show you, wherever you find good neighbors, you'll
        likely find bad ones as well. ;-)

        Gerry
      • lady_caritas
        ... I ran across another title in a catalog tonight that appears to address the rise of fundamentalism among several religions… _The Battle for God_, by
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 21, 2002
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          --- In gnosticism2@y..., gerryhsp <no_reply@y...> wrote:

          "I ran across another title in a catalog tonight that appears to
          address the rise of fundamentalism among several religions… _The
          Battle for God_, by Karen Armstrong (have you read that one, too,
          Cari? Don't know how it compares to the other one). Looks
          interesting." (Message #5654)

          Gosh, no, Ger, I haven't read _The Battle for God_ yet, but a couple
          friends of mine do highly recommend it. I did read an excerpt
          offered at an online bookstore, and the book looks quite
          interesting.

          I'm definitely not in the business of selling the book (lol), but
          I'll go ahead and post the bookstore link that presents an excerpt
          from the introduction for those who would like to get a feel for the
          book.

          http://shop.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?
          userid=6A3FTZHJSB&mscssid=GKFFP3JQMQDV9NH64NSUBFSS38N64XS3&isbn=034539
          1691&displayonly=excerpt

          I certainly did enjoy reading Armstrong's _A History of God_, and,
          Gerry, whereas _The Battle for God_ offers a commentary on
          fundamentalism, the former book helps to provide a wonderful
          background for the roots and development of the three religions she
          addresses also in her second book, ~ Judaism, Christianity, and
          Islam. The historical information would be especially valuable for
          anyone who needs to see a broader background of these religions
          besides the highly publicized fundamentalism depicted in the media.
          And, hey, Armstrong even talks about Gnostics for a few pages in _A
          History of God_. Very cool. ;-)

          Cari
        • lady_caritas
          Well, sorry, gee, looks like I messed up posting the link. I ll try again, and if it doesn t work this time, you might want to copy and paste it on your own
          Message 4 of 16 , Mar 21, 2002
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            Well, sorry, gee, looks like I messed up posting the link. I'll try
            again, and if it doesn't work this time, you might want to copy
            and paste it on your own or just head on over to http://www.bn.com .
            It is a long one. :-)

            http://shop.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?
            userid=6A3FTZHJSB&mscssid=GKFFP3JQMQDV9NH64NSUBFSS38N64XS3&isbn=034539
            1691&displayonly=excerpt

            Cari
          • gerryhsp
            ... The historical information would be especially valuable for ... media. ... That DEFINITELY sounds like an appropriate choice for my needs. I see the fact
            Message 5 of 16 , Mar 22, 2002
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              --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > --- In gnosticism2@y..., gerryhsp <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              >
              The historical information would be especially valuable for
              > anyone who needs to see a broader background of these religions
              > besides the highly publicized fundamentalism depicted in the
              media.
              > And, hey, Armstrong even talks about Gnostics for a few pages in _A
              > History of God_. Very cool. ;-)
              >
              > Cari



              That DEFINITELY sounds like an appropriate choice for my needs. I
              see the fact that she covers several religions as a bonus in that
              those other people may not offhandedly dismiss Armstrong as merely
              propagandizing for one religion in particular. That she also
              introduces Gnostics into the mix... hey, even better.

              Thanks.

              Gerry
            • gerryhsp
              ... I still wonder that same thing. I long since gave up on that question I asked you some time ago, about differences between the modern version of the
              Message 6 of 16 , Mar 22, 2002
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                --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <no_reply@y...>
                wrote:
                >
                > From the other side Rabbinical source talks about "Minim"
                > usually reffered to as "heretic". Now, are these "Minim"
                > Christians or (Jewish) Gnostics? (or both?) That is the isssue
                > today.
                >
                >

                I still wonder that same thing. I long since gave up on that
                question I asked you some time ago, about differences between the
                modern version of the Amidah and an older one found in the fragments
                of the Cairo Genizah. I clearly see which is which in that book I
                had (My People's Prayer Book, Traditional Prayers, Modern
                Commentaries: vol. 2, The Amidah—Rabbi Lawrence A Hoffman, ed.), but
                I felt that the editor had written one line that virtually confounded
                his presentation.

                That question aside, I remain curious about the contextual meaning of
                not simply "minim," but more specifically of "notzrim." Just how far
                back do scholars find usage of this word? The aforementioned book
                presents somewhat vague references as to the dating of those
                fragments, such as 2,000 years old, or from the 1st century. Can one
                find instances of the term, however, occurring prior to the advent of
                Christianity, indicating that it also referred to those Jewish
                groups, Gnostic or not, which sought to set themselves apart from
                other Jews in an effort to "preserve" their religion?

                (Please forgive the following transliteration—my Hebrew often more
                closely resembles Yiddish!)

                "…vmalkut zadon mhayrah t`aqir byamaynu vhanotzrim vhaminim brega`
                yovaydu."

                "…and may You quickly uproot the insolent reign in our day, and may
                the Christians and heretics instantly perish."
                —from "Blessing" No. 12, The Amidah

                Given the milieu of that fragment's writing, and the occurrence of
                both sectarian names, I imagine that the scribe intended to weed out
                ALL detractors from Jewish orthodoxy. It would interest me, though,
                to find that "notzrim" had broader implications than
                merely "Christians."

                Gerry
              • wherecar54
                ... Virgina. ... of ... Ah! I had forgotten about Pat Roberson and I didn t realize that the Army of God was based near there.:o) Oh well! I still wouldn t
                Message 7 of 16 , Mar 22, 2002
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                  --- In gnosticism2@y..., gerryhsp <no_reply@y...> wrote
                  > --- In gnosticism2@y..., wherecar54 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > I wish that I lived as close to the ARE as you.
                  > > Other circomstances and priorities, keep me from moving to
                  Virgina.
                  > >
                  > > Dan

                  > "Be careful what you wish for!"
                  >
                  > Don't envy my living near the A.R.E. too much, Dan. To get to that
                  > area, I need to pass by Pat Robertson's stomping grounds. Also,
                  > hidden somewhere in the woods along the way lies the headquarters
                  of
                  > the radical, anti-choice group, the Army of God.
                  >
                  > It just goes to show you, wherever you find good neighbors, you'll
                  > likely find bad ones as well. ;-)
                  >
                  > Gerry

                  Ah! I had forgotten about Pat Roberson and I didn't realize that the
                  Army of God was based near there.:o) Oh well! I still wouldn't mind
                  being closer to there than I am now.

                  Dan
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