4970RE: [sl] The Deductive Theology of Me
- Apr 1, 2005Dan,
I like that Deductive Theology - I think I see a parody! - and a good one at
Generally the best reason to create a parody is the ability of parody to
make its point in a powerful way. Writers have used parody to escape
persecution from time to time, but writers have also used parody when there
was no persecution to worry about. In the case of Revelation, the thesis is
that it is a parody of Greek Christianity as portrayed by the Gospels,
probably written by an Ebionite.
Whether or not the true author of Revelation needed to fear the authorities
is irrelevant to thesis.
The author used the method of adopting the same devices as the writing he
wishes to expose as false. He says - "Look here, anyone can do this sort of
thing - see how I can fool the ignorant into believing anything I want by
using tricks of gematria and twisted references to the Scriptures"
This was the opinion of the Gospels held by the Ebionites, the original
followers of Jesus, the ones who did not stop being Jewish. They are most
likely the ones referred to by Paul who sermonized against "Judasizing".
The Ebionites were in competition with the Greek Christians led by Paul. The
Ebionites felt that the Greek Christians had hijacked their beliefs and
ripped off Jesus by dressing him up in mystical Greek clothing, making
claims about his being the Son of God, born of a Virgin, etc, all totally
alien ideas to the Jews, but beloved of old by the Greeks. The Ebioinites
also realized that the Greek Christians were in fact anti-Semites who were
using the purported words of Jesus to slander the Jews. So they definitely
had an ax to grind with the competition.
Revelation is a *demonstration* of the methods used by the gospels - turned
on its head through the use of parody. Of course, like most parody it's done
in an "over the top" style of writing - overdone in fact - just to
demonstrate the point that much better. Thus we get the lurid visions and
dramatic devices, flaming swords, moon turning to blood, etc, etc. It's a
form of first century camp.
A possibility (my own favorite) is that the author intended to be taken
literally by one group (Greek Christians), all the while being obvious to
another (Jewish Christians). This would have allowed a great deal of
snickering to be done by the Ebionites at the expense of the Pauline
Of course the problem for such writing is its own success - taken literally
rather than as the intended parody. This is all the more likely when three
hundred years later the work has been translated and is read by people of a
totally different culture than that which the original author addressed.
Without cultural access to the allusions that make parody obvious in its own
time, the ability to recognize the parody is lost.
Then the "over the top" campy fun-making is taken at face value and the
writing takes on a wholly unintended life of its own, and morphs into a
weird new addition to a serious religious theology with consequent twisted
From: Daniel N. Washburn [mailto:danw@...]
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 5:21 AM
Subject: [sl] The Deductive Theology of Me
I was thinking about deductive theological systems because of the
discussion with Mike and this beauty came to me on the subway yesterday.
Starting from incontestable premises it uses a syllogism to reach
startling conclusions about God.
I call it, "Why you should worship me."
I cannot doubt that I doubt
if I doubt the proposition 'I doubt'
I immediately affirm it by doubting.
Therefore it is absolutely certain that
I am conscious
Truth and falsity exist
Everything else is uncertain
Whatever comes to me by way of the senses may be false.
God is defined as the consciousness containing absolute truth.
I am the one undoubtable consciousness containing absolute truth.
Therefore I am God.
Bow down and worship me all you possible illusions and pervasive
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