Thursday, June 01, 2006

slaveofone v Metacrock final

Metacrock responded to my posts by writing his own called “Rebuttal to Slaveofone” (scroll down a bit). Unfortunately, it is far too dense to pick through and spell out my answers and arguments for each point. So I will respond to a few main things only and hopefully this will take care of several others in the process.

Metacrock gets horribly confused both about myself and about my position at numerous points, which clouds and confuses his arguments against me and results in numerous false accusations. It would benefit him to know that I believe in salvation by grace alone through faith, that Christianity is about following Yeshua instead of following law (which is why I follow Yeshua instead of law), and I definitely do not think that Cynicism is Modern. What is bad or what is Modern is saying that Yeshua or Paul were Greek Philosophers or Cynics—not that Cynicism itself is bad or Modern. Since Metacrock's Yeshua and Paul are interpreted in ways that make them Greek philosophers and Cynics, it is obvious that he is following the Modern viewpoint which interprets them this way. But thanks to some New Testament scholars in the past couple decades, this Modern belief is being challenged and destroyed.

In terms of Paul, I think that Metacrock and I can agree that if Paul is not following Christ, he is not a Christian. Thus, we must ask what type of person Yeshua was and what he advocated. Was Yeshua a Cynic or Greek Philosopher telling others to be likewise? If Paul is drastically different than Yeshua, then either our interpretation of him is wrong or he is not a follower of Christ. So we turn first to Yeshua and hopefully this will take care of the rest.

Metacrock sees Yeshua, looks at Rabbinic tradition several centuries removed from Yeshua's time and context, and interprets the former in the way the later understood and looked at things and according to the Cynicism and Hellenism in ancient times. I stated before that this is anachronistic and bad historical analysis...even if most Modern scholars are to thank for giving us this way of looking at it.

Metacrock's Yeshua is like aspects of later Rabbinical tradition or like Hellenism or Cynicism--an expounder of moral principles and verities and advocator of a kind of spiritual law that transcends or is higher than the written one. I contest that Yeshua (and consequently Paul) were nothing like this. But why rewrite what has been said better by someone else?

“What is new (Modern times) the suggestion that Jesus himself, in some important sense, actually was a Cynic: that he deliberately chose a style of life and teaching which embodied Cynic ideals”

“The world view (of Yeshua and Paul) is Cynic, the incidentals Jewish. In my reading, this is to say the least the wrong way round...Paul was able to evoke Cynic echoes, but the drift of his thought and argument remains within the Jewish and apocalyptic world of early Christianity”(which Wright says other places was throughly Jewish despite Hellenism).

“If Christianity shares some features with Cynicism, which seems to be the case, I submit that this is essentially superficial.”

“If we really mean business in attempting to plot trajectories within early Christianity, we cannot possibly get away with lumping together Cynics, Thomas, and Q as though they were all saying more or less the same thing.”
--Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God

“The Q material studied so far has brought to light a community whose faith was personally centered on Jesus as Son of man, but whose commitment to the message proclaimed by Jesus was intense...The Q Christians held on to and indeed proclaimed the imminence of the kingdom of God...We have a picture [in Q] of a community whose outlook was essentially Jerusalem-centered, whose theology was Torah-centered, whose worship was temple-centered, and which saw no incompatibility between all of that and commitment to Jesus.”
--Catchpole (one of the current world authorities on Q), The Quest for Q

“Gone is the firm support, in Q, for an early, non-apocalyptic, largely non-Jewish, non-prophetic form of Christianity (in other words, Hellenistic)...Gone is the Cynic-like community (in Q)”
--Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God
But I'm afraid that Metacrock doesn't know any other way of seeing Yeshua, Paul, Q, or early Christianity other than from his Modern perspective in which the attributes and traits of Cynicism, Hellenism, and later Rabbinicism are applied to Yeshua, Paul, and Christianity. There are many books which will turn his entire world of interpretation upside-down---books by leading authorities giving damning evidence and arguments against this Modern idea and showing alternate, better ways to go. One of these is Jesus and the Victory of God by NT Wright. I suggest his read the entire series to begin his voyage towards a new and true Yeshua, a new and true Paul, and a new and true Christianity. The arguments and evidences are available but I will only start Metacrock on the path. He must chose to invisgate it himself.


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