Tuesday, January 27, 2009

(Κατά Ματθαίον) עיונים בספר הבשורה על פי מתי

Ever since I put up that YouTube post, I've been doing more and more research during my spare time on early Judean Christianity (partly as a result of my thinking about the scene from the "Passion of the Christ" film I linked to, and how anti-Semitic it is. I thought; if a movie about it in 21st century Hollywood could be so anti-Semitic, I wonder how bad the Gospels themselves are!).

Well, after reading through "The Gospel according to Matthew" (the very first book in the "New Testament", for the first time! ..the tardiness of which I'm somewhat ashamed of..), I must say, it definitely seems like the author did not advocate or believe in the divinity of Jesus (nor does he represent Jesus as advocating or believing such. Though it does imply he did not have a father, and makes a reference to the "father son and holy spirit", both which do not necessarily represent his belief in the divinity of Jesus), and in regards to "the law" as well, he makes it quite clear that in his opinion Jesus came only to put greater stress on commandments dealing with social justice, and although he represents Jesus as having a great distaste for over-ritualism, he stresses that Jesus himself followed all the "Mosaic laws".

What I think is really funny though, is that so little study has been done on early Jewish-Christianity based on these assumptions, although almost every opinion today agrees with these conclusions about Mathew which seemed clear to me upon a first, basic reading!

Obviously, in this scenario, a very different early Jewish-Christianity emerges compared to what was once thought; it is a very slight break away from Talmudism and "Essenism", and is rivaled with "Ebionism" and "Nazarenism" for right of "orthodoxy" in Christianity. It is a religion that puts much less emphasis on the man Jesus himself, but rather on his teachings of social justice, and it of course, is just one of many slight break-offs from "ritual-observing" Judaism.

Something I wanted to mention in the beginning is that for me it's very hard to disassociate the very western images that come to my mind when I see the word "Jesus" from the obvious reality of how a person of that nature might have appeared at that time. ..I mean, even the Syrian-orthodox clergy which I've lived in such close proximity to in Jerusalem had a Christianity that looked far different than even Mediterranean Catholicism, and unrecognizably different from western European Christianity. Yet the Syrian-orthodox church itself is very far removed from those times, which is why the portrait of Jesus I've had in my mind since my youth is so important to discard when reading these texts!

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