Monday, June 09, 2014

GKC Wrap-Up, Phase 1: Saul’s Difficulty

Messiah cults were nothing new. Stand in the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple and throw a rock in any direction: if you only hit one “Messiah,” you weren’t throwing hard enough.

Zealots, every last one of them. Inevitably some putz off the farm, with just enough Torah to cause trouble.

All of these jokers had at least a smidgen of charisma. A few had genuine oratory skills. They might whip up a handful of supporters; they might whip up a mob. Either way, the Empire knew how to deal with the situation, and it was best to clear out and leave them to their methods.

Let the Enemy thin your herd; hold focus on the Pharasaic imperative.

So why the personal furor over this bunch? What was different?

The resurrection element was admittedly odd, but not entirely unheard of. “Assumption into Heaven”? A common enough motif for even the Greeks and Romans.

But “Son of G_d”?

Such language, coming from people — his people — insisting on their right to say this filth while in Temple?

Now that was fucking pagan idolatry.

From Martyr's Mirror: The persecution of Stephen, the first
Christian martyr. Saul observes, to the right.

Nor was he entirely wrong on this point . . . .

1 comment:

Joel said...

It's funny how you can learn anything as a child, no matter how bizarre, and it always strikes you as perfectly normal. Sometimes even as an adult it's difficult to realize how bizarre these myths are that you grew up on until you are prompted to try to imagine it from the perspective of an outsider.

I was reading recently (don't remember where) about how confused the 1st Century Jews to the claim that God had a son, and I thought for the first time, "Actually, when you think about it, it is kind of ridiculous. Especially when you think of having offspring as a biological process, and "God" as an ethereal spiritual being. Really,how can God have a son? What would that even mean? Does God reproduce?
It gets even more complicated when you try and bring the doctrine of the trinity into it. If Jesus and God are the same being, and they've both existed since the beginning of time, then how can one be the son of the other?