AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome you once again to our focus.
Today’s program is shala who the our 55th on our series Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah and our 22nd on sin, atonement and birth sacrifice. I’m your host sharpy mission here once again from St. Mary’s University is Dr. Jamal Reza Aslan like him. Dr. Mani
could we have a summary of the last week’s program? Sure. We continued last week to refer to the studio the the passion of band after the archeological discovery in the cipher, the ancient past shows very beginning of this century,
and again indicated that if you go through the story, there is a striking similarity about the sun guard band, and what the New Testament life has attributed to Jesus peace be upon him. The address imprisonment trials, scourging being led to the mountains, that other people were condemned, went with him, some were left, some were killed with him, appointing guards coming back to life again or resurrecting. And taking this as a victory of on the forces of darkness.
question was raised as to whether there were other parts in the world where the mist existed? And the answer was yes, that some scholars have held to ancient Mexico, that there was a very similar type of sun god, believed to be born Savior, born unnaturally buried on the cross for redemption of mankind, and resurrected agreement, and then returned to the ancient Eastern religions. We started first with India. And we said that the myths of Krishna upholds that Krishna was the miraculous incarnation of the second person of the Hindu Trinity, Vishnu and that he has lots of Americans, including curing the diseased transfiguration, that he was killed and went to the hell and then what
he ascended again unto heaven, and that he was delivered of his followers from sin. Likewise, we continue to examine the offsprings, you might say, of Hinduism, that is Buddhism. And again, with the first one of the differences that discusses the Buddha myth, which was equally interesting also, that he was born miraculously that at the time of his birth, it was announced by a star in heavens, he was born 25th of December, people recognized his divine qualities, the gifts of expensive things to him, considered him to be Savior, the Spirit of God was present at the time of his baptism, that he rose up again and ascended to heaven, and that he’s coming back again to restore happiness. And
the conclusion from that is that, obviously, the notion of Gods incarnate who dies to carry away the sins of humanity was not really a new notion.
It has really preceded the writings of the New Testament literature, was part of the ancient mythology.
In the last two programs, you spoke about the notions of Sun God and God incarnate, in incarnate as it existed in many parts of the world. Now, how about the immediate environments of early Christianity? Was there any belief which came out to the idea of God incarnate?
glossina, I say yes.
Perhaps in this we can refer to modern biblical scholarship and there’s more than one difference. I chose two differences that might be of interest is for one reason that the writers are not people simply who are critical of Christianity are unsympathetic or atheists. They are people who are believers. They are prominent theologians and some has also been clergy In fact, the first one is Mike and Coulter, who teaches theology at Birmingham University and United Kingdom
And the other one is Francis young, who is a lecturer in New Testament studies in the same university. Also,
the first author
contributed a chapter to the volume edited by john Heck, under the title, the two roots of the Christian net.
And the second contributes another chapter, which is more or less like a critique or continuation of the first one,
the title of his article, two routes, or a tangled mess.
While good, there’s the first article, the first author’s
seem to speak more about two specific rules that you could see of the notion of God incarnate in the immediate environment in which early Christianity was formulated.
Whereas young does not really contradict him, but he sees more rules than to extends back to cover some additional sources as well.
Now do what did golden mean
by the tools of Christian beliefs? I’m just referring to what you mentioned a few minutes earlier. And I’d be interested to know how he arrived at that.
Let me take you the second part of your question first, how he arrived, okay, because that’s an interesting, interesting story, I would say, of what I sometimes see as a conflict between faith and reason in the minds of many scholars, people from different backgrounds. And the beginning, he says that as a minister, as an administrator, God Himself was a minister.
He says, I continued to uphold that trembling belief, as he called the term Billings belief in the Caledonian orthodoxy, that’s the orthodoxy decided in the the council at Caledon, which basically says, Jesus peace be upon him as the god son, who is the same substance with the Father, who came to earth.
And he continues to say that this kind of beliefs seem to be reinforced daily, by the sheer repetition and lethargy.
And he said that the basic plank at that time, upon which his face rested, was the famous statement in the first chapter of the Gospel According to john, the Word became flesh, referring to Jesus peace be upon him. And he said, I started to wonder, where did john, the writer of that gospel,
come up with this idea? How did he come up with this idea of the Word became flesh.
And then he said, I examined some of the explanations given by some biblical scholars, including, for example, the very famous Boltzmann, bu Lt. And one of the very famous theologians
who believed that it must have come from a gnostic Redeemer type of myth,
or other scholars who connected
the idea with the Iranian myth, probably referring to the notion of Mithra ism, God Mithra, that I talked about before.
Others said that it probably has come from the Old Testament idea of the pre existence of wisdom.
And then, good bad continues to say that, at that time, I felt that these three explanations do not necessarily appears to him. He said, as convincing and he said, many scholars have criticized these kinds of interpretations.
And then he arrived, again, His earthly ministry,
to the conclusion that john must have got this idea by inspiration. But he seemed to be using inspiration in a different meaning. It would mean for example, Revelation coming directly from God, he says, inspiration and a sense that, john,
as a person who’s trying to resolve a problem, a very difficult problem that has driven was already in circulation, things of the nature of Jesus and so on. He said, john, trying to address this very difficult problem, simply had that insight or inspiration to give some sort of plausible hypothesis and the closest answer that seemed to have answered
this issue is the notion of the the incarnation of the Word of God in a physical form.
But he said that there is a problem even with this kind of early understanding that he had. He said, doctrine and developments of john seem to be misty how the idea develop
In his mind, is rather mystery. And he says that mistiness seem to foster the mystery itself.
And he said that if you start studying things Historically, the moment you start analyzing things, historically, then you’re really not very much in favor of the theory of inspiration, at least for the time you’re making your analysis. And he said, If you conclude, probably means from your historical analysis,
that that list might be the circuit dissipated, but you can remove that mystery and really get to the origin of things. He said that this also would remove the mystery itself, because the mystery is based on that mistiness, or lack of clarity.
But in any case, he said, after a long search and study,
he concluded that in all likelihood, the notion that we find in the New Testament literature about the nature of Jesus peace be upon him, seem to have two basic rules, he says, one is a Galilean eschatology, or eschatological myth,
which goes back to some of the early followers of Jesus peace be upon him. And the second route is basically a Samaritan gnostic myth, which is less much less known than the first kind of route. And he says that even though some of his colleagues, that is other biblical scholars, including even those who contributed to the volume by edited by john Heck, said, even some of my colleagues might have a different view about how history can be reconstructed. He said, they still agree with me in the same conclusions. In other words, somebody might tell right, there is more than two routes. We cannot restrict it to that, but they seem to agree with the basic idea that this ideas that were
presented in the New Testament literature does not just come from thin air, they have had already some kinds of routes or some basis, not even only from other nations, but even within the boundaries of Palestine itself.
Before, before going any further, maybe you can clarify some terms, again, for the benefit of our viewers.
first, maybe you could define eschatology, and gnostic, and
because these are terms that are not comfortable, right, I know, it’s not very much in common use, and perhaps, I think it’s one sticking point to, to, to clarify, I actually did have some information in that case. Well, first of all, if you refer to some dictionaries, standard ones that say like Webster’s dictionary,
eschatology is defined as a branch of theology, which deals essentially with the last things that things will happen later. Things like death,
judgment, in mortality. This is what eschatology refers to the end of things.
Gnosticism is a movement which started in the beginning, or at least has its genesis among some of the early Christian group called Samaritan Christian in the very first century, and then it grew more and more in the second century of the Christian era. It was basically a movement which combined the mystical, religious and philosophical, both religious and philosophical doctrine, but the mystical part of it, trying somehow to combine Christianity with Greek and Oriental philosophy. I know whether that makes it more difficult or less difficult, but this is essentially what the term is really refers to. clarifies it to some degree. Well, when you are defining Narcissus, you
mentioned the early
Samaritans. Well, who are they?
When this word that people have scenario, which is part of the land of Palestine, just like we talked about today also being another part.
And these people were among the followers of Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. But gradually, they seem to have separated themselves from Jerusalem
and gradually became somewhat different from the other followers of Moses, people who are known as Jews, again, probably connected with Judea.
These people that the Samaritans took the Torah
center to the first five books of the Bible. They made only limited changes in this Torah, but they differ from other Jews, in a sense that they did not accept any more books in a holy book, after Moses and Joshua. So all other books like Isaiah, Daniel and others, they they didn’t accept the rejected that
in the opinion of goldrush.
He says that, in spite of the fact that
the Samaritans are mentioned very sparsely in the New Testament literature, not not very extensively. He says that the bear mentioned is not really proportionate with their importance, he said they will very important people will be very sufficient evidence to show that the Samaritans did, in fact, has had a very important influence on the development of the early Christian doctrines. Why did go there feel that dimension of the Samaritans in the New Testament is not proportionate to their importance? Well, he knows that, for example, in his detailed study of the book of Acts, that when the book of Acts, for example to speak about that’s an all likelihood
written by Look, when speaks about the early Christian missions.
It speaks, for example, about missions to Jerusalem, to the Gentile world, to Judea, and Samaria.
But he noted that, in many of these, the coverage is very extensive is important. There are so many chapters, for example, that deal with the Christian missionaries in the Gentile world.
Jerusalem, there are, I think, six chapters that deals with that even Judah, there is two complete chapters on the earth more or less. But he said, The strange thing is that the Samaritan mission is covered only in one part of one chapter of the book of Acts, namely in chapter eight, verses four through 28. So that led good does To conclude,
as we say that the Samaritan mission seems to have been an embarrassment, to look that I can have the book of Acts. And but because of their importance, he could not totally ignore him or ignore them. So he’s just trying to write something, but he cannot fully ignore them. But he doesn’t want to really describe them fully.
But despite all of that, he says, he said, we can find that in the writing not only of the Act, but in the Gospel according to Luke, and then john, gospel of john also, that there seemed to be
some indication of the influence they played in early Christianity. In fact, according to gunda, he says that the Samaritan Christians were a powerful sex and the first century and when their movement grew up, in the second century, into a movement of Gnosticism. And we described the term Gnosticism. before it became really a strong competitor, you might say, to the Galilean Christianity, and they were actually predominant that the Gnostics were very predominant in Egypt and the eastern part of Syria, that in the very first period, there was some evidence of conflict and influence the same time between the two interpretations of Christianity, Galilean and Samaritan. But he says, after
all, that, their theology, that is the Samaritan theology was quite influential in the development of early Christian documents. You mentioned Samaritan theology, what is the nature of just feels good about himself suggests some answer to that question. And he identifies five basic, you might say, characteristics,
salient characteristics of that Samaritan theology, one of them that, according he says, according to Jews, and Christians being fair because maybe he’s not too certain, he said, according to some writings of Jews and Christians, they say that the Samaritans does not believe in the resurrection of the dead.
He identifies also as another characteristic that the Samaritans said that since it is possible to experience God in history, he must be experienced then through revelation. That is scripture.
And he says that this is quite evident because the Samaritans used to begin their service religious service by reciting the first chapter of the book of Genesis, which speaks mainly in the beginning about the relationship between God and the universe being the ultimate life and the source of all life.
And also by reading the 34th chapter of the book of Exodus, when God revealed his means to Moses and to keep praying to God, to forgive them and to remove his displeasure, and return back again, become more involved in their lives.
Another or third characteristic of American theology is that the
see revelation or God’s revelation, in terms of secret or mystery. That’s why they speak too much about God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge.
Another fourth characteristic is that they believe that after Prophet Moses peace be upon him,
God sees to be active in history. And that’s different from the belief of Jews and others for that matter. And as such, they keep speaking about God in abstract terms like power, through mercy.
The interesting observation that golden makes is that they started also using apparently dualistic language is speaking about God. For example, they speak about the two of them, Christian God, and the glory before God, and glorious capital G seems to indicate a sort of duality in God’s words.
That reminds me again, with john statements, the Word became flesh, the Word was with God, and the Word was God seems to be some similarity there in terms of this duality.
A fifth point which God does so as perhaps the most important
characteristics of this theology is that there was a Sumerian man by the name of Simon Magus in a US, Simon niggaz, who claimed
to be the incarnation of one of these two persons in God’s word.
All right, and that he said that he himself was, quote, unquote, the power of God. That was reported also in the book of Acts, especially in chapter eight, verse nine.
And some contemporaries of Simon actually wrote and they said that some people actually believe that Simon was God, in that sense, God incarnate, and they actually worshipped him.
Now, professional good, very negates the possibility that Simon might have heard Paul’s idea about incarnation and just apply this to himself because he said, He’s using different terminology to refer to himself, he said, he refers to himself as the standing one, you know, definite claim of divinity, but not exactly the same as the condition of the word.
From that good. That concludes and I quote him on that he says, So, dualism and the doctrine of reincarnation, were accepted features of belief among some Samaritans, who actually became Christians in the first decade of the church life. So this is basically what he explains in terms of
the characteristics of this theology, we seem to have had some influence on later development of Christian doctrines. How the girls will relate to all of this theology in influencing the early development of Christian doctrines, when he emphasized in the text is evidence, at least partly starts from the the New Testament literature itself. And he describes, for example, some of the early Christian missionaries.
It says, For example, when Philip
went to sumeria, in the early 30s.
And then he started Of course, or brought with him the story of the crucifixion, resurrection of Jesus peace be upon him, he faced a major problem.
For Sumerians, the notion of the cross was a difficult issue really, and as called once quality It is, it is an obstacle to faith, the notion of the cross. Why? Because the the the Greek term kristus means the anointed king, who’s supposed to rule and who come from the descendant of David.
Now, if he speaks about Jesus as Messiah, who was crucified, that might present a paradox in the minds of people because the notion of a crucified Messiah rather than one who rules is rather paradoxical in the minds of many.
However, he says that Peter and Paul tried to justify this crucified Messiah, you might say
that he is not really someone who’s just been to leave Israel to victory as
They used to think, but he appealed to the description given in the book of Daniel. That’s in chapter seven, which speaks about the Son of man who must suffer, and then be killed, and then he will be raised again and exalted on the right hand of the gods.
And as such, he says, well, it still is an important Messiah, because after all, he is going to be given universal dominion. So he is going to rule but not in a sense of, you know, leaving aside, but he will have universal dominion.
Now, the difficulty here of trying to relate that, to the backgrounds of the people that he was trying to, to crystallize, you might say,
is that a number of these things could be said to have happened in the life of Jesus, he suffered, yes. And the story, of course, he brought with him that he was killed, and then He resurrected again. Now there is one missing link. And that whole story is second coming. And as such, in the initial or early periods of Christianity, the belief was that Jesus is coming again. And as was caught in some places, in the life of this generation, people were staying there. And that’s such a good comeback, and rule among all mankind.
God that says that, it seems that Paul’s
alongside with Mark, and Matthew, and to some extent, even possibly new, seem to Riven with the paradox, with this particular paradox, and think, in terms of the wisdom of God and the knowledge of God. And the way they try to explain it, is that Jesus,
as Paul, for example, said, If redeemed us from the curse of the Lord, Jesus became a curse for us that his sacrifice was a symbol of the removal of the bondage under which we were living the bondage of sin, you might say,
this is the guy that he became sin for us, as Paul, for example, refer to Jesus peace be upon him. So in only this was the sorts of justification they want to give, to avoid the paradox, you might say, of a crucified Messiah that many people would have not easily bought.
But the point here is that this kind of explanations would not necessarily appeal to the Samaritans.
There are a number of important reasons.
You remember I mentioned earlier that good bear says that one of the main characteristics of center Samaritan theology is that they actually do not accept or did not accept any books, or writings after Moses and Joshua is Right, right. And now when you speak about, for example, or appeal to Jesus being the descendant of David, they don’t believe in David, they don’t take him seriously. In fact, some of them consider him to be an apostate even. Now, if you appeal to them by saying, All right, the what happened to Jesus by way of suffering, death and resurrection is what has already been
prophesied in the book of Daniel. Again, the book of Daniel comes after news afterwards, so they don’t accept that either. Now, the idea of Messiah was a Jewish idea, more common in Judea, but it was not really a seminarian type of idea. Finally, the idea of resurrection of the dead, as we mentioned earlier, is believed to have been exchanged or you know, not a very familiar idea. Now, how could you then, if we put ourselves in Philips shoes, how could Philips
in a society which is basically seminarians society, who believe in some kind of second person and godhood that has appeared in human form like the story of Simon, for example? How would they succeed with with with this kind of people?
Good. That concludes then that the Christian mission is sooner or later would have to show or claim that all of these notions and predictions has already been realized in Jesus or Institute filled with the Samaritans. So he knows that Philip, for example, begins by speaking about Jesus as a prophet like unto Moses, no longer descent, a descendant
of David because he can speak to you know about Jesus as the Son of David because there is an exception. And he speaks about him as the greatest power, that the great powers of the Lord’s Kingdom in the form of Jesus and give us information about the divine one.
A survey of
just two topics that I think many of us are not normally familiar with, confused with
taking different sources. Well, thank you very much tactically. And thank you all for joining us here once again, this time in focus. As always, our phone number and their address will be appearing on your screen. We appreciate your comments
and hope to see you next week.