Christology debate (low and high)
- Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote on January 21:
"I'd better summarize my point since it may have been misunderstood.
Frides [Lameris] cited Mark 14:61-62 as evidence for why Jesus was
crucified, namely, Jesus's own high Christology. I thought that Frides's
view needed argumentative support, not just citation."
I find this clarification besides the point I was making, when I quoted
Jeffery's following remark: "Frides Lameris makes a strong statement." I
realize now that my text was not clear enough. I apologize for this. So let
me clarify in my turn my position. I was not interested in debating the real
reason why Jesus's enemies decided to crucify him, but in the link made by
Frides Lameris between Jesus's declaration before the high priest (Mark
14:61-62) and his presentation of Jesus as a mystic who, like a few other
mystics, identified himself with God.
To see in Jesus a spiritual master and a mystic is a view that makes sense
to me. But even then, I find it highly improbable that he would have made
the declaration attributed to him in Mark 14:61-62. As a mystic, his
intimate relation to God must have remained applicable to other men and
transferable to them. This is not the case of the high Christology of verses
61-62. In my view, our high Christology finds its origin in the disciples,
in their capacity of bearing witness to the resurrection. I understand the
Easter experience as a mystical event, in which the disciples lived an
intimate encounter with the resurrected Jesus whom God had elevated, in
their eyes, to the rank of Lord and Christ.
Christianity is based, according to this view, on two distinct mystical
experiences. Jesus had his own. After his catastrophic death, the disciples
had their Easter experience. Quite naturally their Easter experience had a
retroactive effect on the way they viewed the historical Jesus. Quite
naturally also, they bridged the gap between the historical Jesus and the
resurrected Christ. For them the resurrected Christ was as real as the
historical Jesus. The fact that their faith was based on a highly subjective
and therefore illusory experience can make sense only to some of us today.
Faith is a formidable act by which the human mind creates the object of its
belief. Decartes declared: "I think, therefore I am." In the same manner,
the believer declares: "I believe in God, therefore God exists." Both
statements are true, but they are considered as absurd by those who are not
aware of what goes on in their own mind, on the unconscious level.
David Trapero wrote on January 20:
"Everybody's nibbling around the edges. We need something that accounts for
all the data, something with explanatory power, something like a unified
field theory of early Christianity that avoids the usual clichés."
The theory I have just formulated can serve as a unifying guide for our
research. Unfortunately many of us must reject it for reasons of faith. This
is why it is much safer to nibble around the edges, and to publish scholarly
books on secondary questions.
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