A book on first and second century Christian communism using David Graeber's work

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Rommon
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Apr 28 2017 20:27
A book on first and second century Christian communism using David Graeber's work

http://wipfandstock.com/all-things-in-common.html

And amazon pre order

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1532607938/

It's a book I wrote which is a historical reconstruction of the events described in acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 using all the textual data (from the Qumran documents to the early church fathers to pagan sources) and using frameworks from modern anthropology (mainly David Graeber).

Maybe some people here might be interested in looking through it smile. If you do buy it and have some comments or questions let me know.

By there way it's conning out for kindle in a couple weeks.

Dave B
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Apr 29 2017 22:33

On the community of goods and sharing etc

As well as the anti-christian because they were communists Lucian; did you include the anti Christian Celsus who said they were working class communists; probably AD 180

The Christian Justyn the Martry 130AD

Epistle of Barnabas internally accurately dated to 132-3 AD with original hard copy in codex sinaticus AD 390; with multiple 2nd century cross references.

And Didache, generally regarded as anything between 60 to 150 AD with early cross reference material attributing to Peter.

And written in Common ‘pidgeon’ Greek the Lingua Franca of the lower classes.

That is generally regarded as important as regard provenance as it is indicative that it hadn’t been polished up, to save embarrassment, by later intellectual Christians.

The revelation of John was also wtiten in common greek and the prick Engels took the piss out of it for it ‘bad grammar’, hopefully not realising it was the language of the masses.

Although he was an intellectual fascist when it came to language and no Chomsky, he trashed Yiddish as a bastard language as well.

I think what is politically important about probably major or at least large minority aspects of early Christianity is the idea that Satan and his ruling class spawn ruled the world.

That is actually scattered around in the JC gospel material itself as well as in the non Pauline New testament material.

It is clearly I think a theological expression of the political outlook of the oppressed.

Feuerbach and the trick cyclists would call it ‘projection’.

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Apr 30 2017 12:58

I included all of that, and some more. wow, you really know your stuff.

John was written in very simple Koine as well as the letters, and revelation was written in "bad" Koine. If it IS true that revelation was written by the same person who wrote John and the epistles of John, and that this John was Jewish peasant; then it totally makes sense that he wrote bad Greek, it was his second or third language and he likely didn't have access to a high education.

I actually think that Luke is (when understood in its context) one of the most revolutionary documents in the ancient world.

If you do end up reading my book, I'd be very interested in what you think about it.

Dave B
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Apr 30 2017 14:22

I think the critical idea is that the Judiac and thus Christian God was not omnipotent; which is a crucial part of modern Christianity.

Originated in strands of first century Jewish theology; as a rationalisation of why or how their God the only real one could allow Roman imperialism and colonisation of Judea etc.

Again it was an obvious theological response of and from the oppressed.

there is also in this potentially very early Christian document.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Isaiah

Quote:
Beliar the great ruler, the king of this world, will descend, who hath ruled it since it came into being; yea, he will descent from his firmament in the likeness of a man, a lawless king, the slayer of his mother: who himself (even) this king.
3. Will persecute the plant which the Twelve Apostles of the Beloved have planted. Of the Twelve one will be delivered into his hands.
4. This ruler in the form of that king will come and there will come and there will come with him all the powers of this world, and they will hearken unto him in all that he desires.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ascension.html

It is probably interesting in that it also has Nero as the antichrist as does revelation according to John.

Eg

Quote:
Hence, Nero is already fallen and Galba is. Galba ruled from June 9, 68 to January 15, 69. But immediately after he ascended the throne the legions of the Rhine revolted under Vitellius while other generals prepared military risings in other provinces. In Rome itself the praetorians rose, killed Galba and proclaimed Otho emperor.
From this we see that our Revelation was written under Galba. Probably towards the end of his rule. Or, at the latest, during the three months (up to April 15, 69) of the rule of Otho, "the seventh." But who is the eighth, who was and is not? That we learn from the number 666.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/early-christianity/index.htm

I think there is a bit of a problem in that there were several later rounds of rumours that Nero would come back so it could have been written later.

I am one of those not convinced that Gospel of John revelation and letters of John were all written by the same person.

I assume you are also familiar with this.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1908/christ/ch09.htm

And then there are the Marcions and Marcion circa AD150.

I think will read it.

You will make few friends; it hard to work out who hates you more for delving into this kind of thing the modern communists, anti communists and/ or the modern christians

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Apr 30 2017 14:48

I have no idea, I really hope I can get some conservative Christians (of which there are many good and sincere people) to begin to question capitalism.

The whole idea of God being omnipotent is more a platonic/Aristotelian import, there in Philo before Christianity, than it is native to Palestinian Judaism, they didn't really think in those terms. Of course it depends what you mean by omnipotent.

One big difference was that the Judaic God was one of Justice, I.e. One who grounded morality and justice, unlike the Gods of the nations who didn't care about justice (that was for the philosophers) just power. So the Jews needed to come up with theodicies, you had the zealot response, the Pharisaic response, the Essence responce, the plaronizers response, and then the Christian responce.

I'm familiar with Karl Kauskey and his work, I am very careful, however, in applying 19th and 20th century categories on the 1rst century; there isn't by any means a 1:1 equivalence, things are more complicated.

Marcion I'm not a big fan of, he basically completely missed the point of Jewish biblical theology (it's narrative, not normative) and thus didn't understand Jesus' story. I prefer the Ebionites who threw out Paul than the Marcionites who threw out Yahweh and the Hebrew Scriptures.

About the authorship of revelation, the author of John was very familiar with neo-platonic concepts and wrote for an educated gentile audience, whereas the author of revelation basically pulled from Jewish apocalyptic literature (think Daniel, Ezekiel, 1 Enoch) and christianized it.

Almost all apocalytic literature is thinly veiled political literature, but also (of course) spiritual, the 2 were completely intertwined. As you said, Satan being the ruler of the world was not seperare from the empire and its ruling classes being the rulers.

The ancients didn't divide the world into "material" and "spiritual" the two were fully intertwined.

Dave B
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Apr 30 2017 19:45

Well when I said omnipotent I meant mainly as a geopolitical and socio economic intercessionist as in the book of Joshua.

And I think Marcion objected to that kind of divine ‘justice’ as irreconcilable with the philosophical context of the gospel material.

Or in other words the old testament god was hypocritical, vindictive, sadistic violent and murderous bastard all in the name of tough love.

[Aside I think Marcion is important as Tertullian’s attack on him gives one of the best pieces of evidence that the gospel of Luke pretty much as we have it now was extant and established in the early part of the first century.]

I think it is politically and philosophically important as the Judiac tradition had that suffering was gods punishment or wrath for wrong doing eg Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers?

And that was used as a general explanation for when things went pear shaped for the Jews as they often did when they were repeatedly invaded and subjugated; before the Romans even which was the last straw for some of them.

The blessed are the poor thing etc was turning things on its head.

As you might expect there were several early Christian schisms cutting across several directions.

So Marcion wanted to reject the gobshite intercessionist god of the old testament but kept Paul who was OK with the rich really.

Whereas the Ebionites, "the poor" or "poor ones, wanted to retain Judiac religious practices and traditions etc etc and thus dump Paul.

They may have been some kind of splinter from the communistic Essenes;

Who;

Well when I said omnipotent I meant mainly as a geopolitical and socio economic intercessionist as in the book of Joshua.

And I think Marcion objected to that kind of divine ‘justice’ as irreconcilable with the philosophical context of the gospel material.

Or in other words the old testament god was hypocritical, vindictive, sadistic violent and murderous bastard all in the name of tough love.

[Aside I think Marcion is important as Tertullian’s attack on him gives one of the best pieces of evidence that the gospel of Luke pretty much as we have it now was extant and established in the early part of the first century.]

I think it is politically and philosophically important as the Judiac tradition had that suffering was gods punishment or wrath for wrong doing eg Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers?

And that was used as a general explanation for when things went pear shaped for the Jews as they often did when they were repeatedly invaded and subjugated; before the Romans even which was the last straw for some of them.

The blessed are the poor etc was turning things on its head.

As you might expect there were several schisms cutting across several directions.

So Marcion wanted to reject the gobshite intercessionist god of the old testament but keep Paul who was OK with the rich really.

Whereas the Ebionites, "the poor" or "poor ones, wanted to retain Judiac religious practices and traditions etc etc

They may have been some kind of splinter from the communistic Essenes;

Who;

Quote:
'And their mode of life is an evidence of this liberty: none ventures to acquire any private property at all, no house, nor slave, nor farm, nor cattle, nor any of the other things which procure or minister to wealth; but they deposit them all in public together, and enjoy the benefit of all in common.
'And they dwell together in one place, forming clubs and messes in companies, and they pass their whole time in managing every kind of business for the common good.
'But different members have different occupations, to which they strenuously devote themselves, and toil on with unwearied patience, making no excuses of cold or heat or any changes of weather: but before the sun is up they turn to their usual employments, and hardly give up at its setting, delighting in. work no less than those who are being trained in gymnastic contests.
'For whatever occupation they follow, they imagine that these exercises are more beneficial to life, and more pleasant to soul and body, and more permanent than athletics, because they do not become unseasonable as the vigour of the body declines.
'For some of them labour in the fields, being skilled in matters relating to sowing and tillage, and others are herdsmen, being masters of all kinds of cattle; and some attend to swarms of bees.
'Others again are craftsmen in various arts, who, in order to avoid any of the sufferings which the wants of the necessaries of life impose, reject none of the innocent ways of gaining a livelihood.
'Of the men then who thus differ in occupation every one on receiving his wages gives them to one person who is the appointed steward: and he, on receiving them, immediately purchases the necessary provisions, and supplies abundance of food, and all other things of which man's life is in need.
'And they who live together and share the same table are content with the same things every day, being lovers of frugality, and abhorring prodigality as a disease of soul and body.
'Not only have they a common table, but also common raiment: for there are set out in winter thick cloaks, and in summer cheap tunics, so that any one who will may easily take'whichever he likes, since what belongs to one is considered to belong to all, and the property of all to be on the other hand the property of each one.
'Moreover if any of them should fall sick, he is medically treated out of the common resources, and attended by the care and anxiety of all.

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_pe_08_book8.htm

Dave B
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Apr 30 2017 19:47

eg Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers?

as in the sins of the fathers thing

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Apr 30 2017 20:36

When we look at the Hebrew bible, it's not one portrait of God, in the Pentateuch there's the priestly tradition, the deuteronomist tradition, the Yahwehish tradition and (for some) the Elohist, they all understand God differently according to most modern scholars. Even people who (like me) take a more conservative approach can see many different strands in the OT.

Then you also have different interpretive frameworks, philo for example, took almost everything as symbolic.

But in the end, I think the dominant biblical narrative (captivity and redemption, The god of justice undoing oppression) is absolutely necessary to understand what Jesus was doing. Luke (and the Mark/Q material behind it) is meaningless without the Hebrew bible and the Jewish tradition, Marcionism reduces it to gnostic nonsense.

For example the Jubilee and Sabbatical year laws we're central in the theology of Christian communism early on, the whole Gosel of Luke is basically (partially) a working out of the theology of the eschatological Jubilee.

When it comes to Paul I think zizek said it correctly, if Jesus was Marx then Paul was Lenin. What many apologists for capitalism say is Paul opposing communism (those who do not work should not eat, just to take one example) is really Paul just trying to keep the church functioning under difficult times. Paul was kind of a dick, and he did have a chip on his shoulder, but without him Christianity would have ended up probably dying out in the second century along with other Jewish messianic movements.

My theory is (and there is evidence to back it up) that many of the essence joined the Christians early on, due to the striking similarity of their ideologies; and that they influenced Christianity a lot, I think for example that agood case can be made that John the baprist was some type of essene.

The ebionites I think were probable Jamesian holdouts post 130ce, after which it was more or less clear that most of Christianity was going the Pauline way.

Btw it's awesome that someone else here is into this kind of thing smile.

Dave B
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May 1 2017 08:23

Well good luck with those conservative Christians.

I got nowhere with them and kept getting kicked of their forums

The “Marxists” were little bit better once you broke the ice and it is probably helped by the fact their idols had dipped into it themselves 100 years ago.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1905/misc/socialism-churches.htm

I don’t suppose you know where this first quote comes from.

Quote:
these do not believe in fortunes, but they preach collective property and no one among them possesses more than the others. He who wishes to enter their order is obliged to put his fortune into their common property. That is why there is amoung them neither poverty nor luxury – all possessing all in common like brothers. They do not live in a city apart, but in each they have houses for themselves. If any stangers belonging to their religion come there, they share their property with them, and they can benefit from it as if it their own. Those people, even if previously unknown to each other, welcome one another, and their relations are very friendly. When travelling they carry nothing but a weapon for defence against robbers. In each city they have their steward, who distributes clothing and food to the travellers. Trade does not exist among them. However, if one of the members offers to another some object which he needs, he receives some other objects in exchange. But each can demand what he needs even if he can give nothing in exchange.”

I think we are going to have agree to disagree on somethings and should not test libcomer's patience by getting into a more detailed theological debate.

However I do think there is a categorical discontinuity between the old testament and the gospel material

Marcion of AD 140 said that factions in the Christianity had already set about tampering with the gospels to Judiaze it and introduce more of an old testament gospel continuity.

It looks like Marcions Luke was missing the opening Nativity stuff which linked JC to old testament prophecy.

For me the whole of the old testament is just a repugnant and disgusting piece of literature.

If you start preaching Early Christian communism to the conservatives they won’t waste anytime before throwing ‘obey the emperor because God put him there and be a good slave’ Paul (member of the ruling class) in your face.

I think Zizek had a point but I would not interpret that point in the same way thus;

Quote:
Lenin’s originality and importance as a revolutionary leader is most often associated with the seizure of power in 1917. But, Žižek argues in this new study and collection of original texts, Lenin’s true greatness can be better grasped in the very last couple of years of his political life. Russia had survived foreign invasion, embargo and a terrifying civil war, as well as internal revolts such as at Kronstadt in 1921. But the new state was exhausted, isolated and disorientated in the face of the world revolution that seemed to be receding. New paths had to be sought, almost from scratch, for the Soviet state to survive and imagine some alternative route to the future. With his characteristic brio and provocative insight, Žižek suggests that Lenin’s courage as a thinker can be found in his willingness to face this reality of retreat lucidly and frontally.

Lenin spent sometime successfully crushing authentic libertarian communism as did the Comintern later in revising and distorting Marxism etc.

But I suppose ironically if it hadn’t been for Stalinism etc we may not have had such an extensive collection of Marx’s material translated and made easily available to us.

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May 1 2017 10:22

I actually have gotten places with conservative Christians, (in Europe conservative Christians are more open to being anti-capitalism since they don't have the decades of Cold War propaganda that US conservative Christians have, but I even have gotten places with US conservative Christians), perhaps that is because I am rather conservative theologically myself, I am a sola/tota scriptura Christian.

You're quote is Josephus describing the Essenes, Josephus, along with Philo and some others give us a good picture of the Essenes, but we have to remember they are writing for educated gentiles, not Jews, so you're gonna get a somewhat distorted view (panta koina, all things in common is a Greek philosophical idiom, not from the Hebrew tradition). We get an inside view from the DDS. The similarities between the Essenes and the early Christians are striking.

Which brings us to our disagreement, I think the OT is vital in understanding Jesus, even if we take the birth narrative out of Luke, the OT is still the context, despite what Marcion thought, Luke is a thoroughly Jewish text that relies heavily on Hebrew tradition and scripture.

Romans 13 is a favorite one of right wing Christians, but they ignore its context Romans 12 ... that's why I say they aren't conservative enough, they should adhere MORE to scripture but all of it and it it's context, not cherry pick. Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder did very good work on Romans 13.

I'm not saying they early Christians were revolutionaries, they weren't, they were (like the Essenes) building parallel communities within the larger society that opposed the world (that is the Roman system).

My point with comparing Paul to Lenin is just that he was dealing with actual communities trying to stick together dispite persecution, Jesus was more a traveling agitator.

I agree about this forum not being the best to go down theological rabbit holes, but I do think the key to understanding early Christian communism is the eschatological theology of the Jubilee in early Judaism.

Dave B
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May 1 2017 10:55

many thanks for the source of the quote.

I have read large chunks of josephus but not all it.

can you identify where it is etc to save me the time looking for it.

Lenin used the "those who do not work shall not eat" and so did Trotsky I think but it was in reference to the capitalist class

Dave B
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May 1 2017 10:58

DDS is dead sea scrolls ?

potrokin
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May 1 2017 11:40

In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.

The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” Luke 12:47-48

potrokin
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May 1 2017 11:48

What would Jesus Do? Advocate child abuse, murder, and other cruelties.

Christians are always claiming, “he’s the lamb”, “our savior”, “the king of peace”, “the embodiment of love”, and many other names they associate with a loving, merciful nature. Jesus a nice guy? Not in my book. Nor in any other person’s who is capable of compassion and rationality. Let’s examine who the hell the Jesus character really is. These verses will show not only that Jesus’ loving nature a joke but so are the Christians who worship him.

Jesus’ real mission to come to earth

Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has “come not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

Jesus says, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace on earth! No, rather a sword lf you love your father, mother, sister, brother, more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. “The real beauty of this verse is that Jesus demands people truly love him more then they love their own family. I ask you how can we love someone that we can not see or interact with? Love is an emotion pertaining to physical existence not to faithful ideologies, yet God threatens you with death just because your love for your mother maybe stronger than your love for him. (Matthew 10:34)

Families will be torn apart because of Jesus. “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” (Matthew 10:21)

Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn’t the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament. (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus advocates murder and death

Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. (Matthew 11:20)

Jesus, whose clothes are dipped in blood, has a sharp sword sticking out of his mouth. Thus attired, he treads the winepress of the wrath of God. (The winepress is the actual press that humans shall be put into so that we may be ground up.) (Revelations 19:13-15)

The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into a lake of fire. The rest of us, the unchosen, will be killed with the sword of Jesus. “An all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelations (19:20-21)

Jesus says he is the only way to salvation yet he purposely disillusions us so that we will go to hell

Jesus explains that the reason he speaks in parables is so that no one will understand him, lest . . . they . . . should understand . . . and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:10-15)

Jesus explains why he speaks in parables to confuse people so they will go to hell. (Mark 4:11-12)

Jesus advocates child abuse

Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. (Matthew 15:4-7)

Abandon your wife and children for Jesus and he’ll give your a big reward. Jesus asks that his followers abandon their children to follow him. To leave your child is abuse, it’s called neglect, pure and simple. (Matthew 19:29)

Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law. (Mark 7:9)

A few other things about Jesus

Jesus says that those who have been less fortunate in this life will have it even worse in the life to come. (Mark 4:25)

Jesus sends the devils into 2000 pigs, causing them to jump off a cliff and be drowned in the sea. Clearly Jesus could have simply sent the devils out, yet he chose instead to place them into pigs and kill them. This is called animal abuse. (Mark 5:12-13)

Jesus kills a fig tree for not bearing figs, even though it was out of season. Jesus must not be as smart as Christians would have us believe, for he was dumb enough to do something this silly. You’d think the son of god (god incarnate) would know that trees don’t bear fruit in dry season. (Mark 11:13)

Jesus okays beating slaves. (Luke 12:47)

Dave B
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May 1 2017 12:25
Quote:
Jesus kills a fig tree for not bearing figs, even though it was out of season. Jesus must not be as smart as Christians would have us believe, for he was dumb enough to do something this silly. You’d think the son of god (god incarnate) would know that trees don’t bear fruit in dry season. (Mark 11:13

A lot of these things were allegorical.

The fig tree was an metaphor for the nation state of Israel or the ‘Jews’ or whatever.

As from Jeremiah; one of the ‘better’ old testament tracks.

Plants bearing fruit was about people doing good deeds etc etc

This one pops up again Mark 13 wrapped around the second coming prophecy and the all things will happen before all the people of this generation are dead.

We can do the others as well if you want?

The miracle stuff is much more of a problem for the likes of myself.

Somewhat alarmingly for me the 2nd century anti Christian Celsus; if that was one person and it wasn’t written by a committee from the Celsum think tank at Ephesus.

Seemed to believe that JC had done a lot of this kind of thing attributing to the kind of magic ( of the Darren Brown type ) one could see done in the Alexandria market place.

Hypnotism was mentioned as one technique.

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May 1 2017 13:08
Dave B wrote:
DDS is dead sea scrolls ?

Yeah

It's Josephus war of the Jews 2.8

That Paul quote only makes sense if there was free food available for all, I.e. Communism or an extensive welfare system. That verse and others like it is proof of the early Christian communism.

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May 1 2017 13:12

Potrokin

The point of parables is exactly that they are NOT to be taken literally.

Your interpretations are not ones that any New Testament scholar, atheist, Christian, liberal or conservative would recognize as making any sense given the historical context of the text.

Those sort of cheap anti-Christian arguments where you read passages outside of the larger context and historical context and outside of recognizing its point or it's place within the larger narrative just display ignorance of the subject. It's akin to fundamentalists arguing against evolution by saying "well if we came from monkeys why are there still monkeys around" it reveals a lack of knowledge of the subject and a lack of curiosity to understand the subject.

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May 1 2017 13:39

Just to take one example:

The entire point of Luke 12 is the opposite of what you're making it out to be, the "slave" is the rulers of the world, "the belongings" are the people, as the master is God or the messiah, the whole point is that God will punish the oppressors. It's escataloical, the entire gospel of Luke is defined in like 4:18-19 which references the Jubilee in which land is redistributed, debts are canceled and slaves are freed.

whoever gave you the exegesis you espoused either is an idiot who hasn't got a clue what he's talking about, or he's purposefully lying about the meaning of the text to make a cheap ideological quip.

potrokin
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May 1 2017 13:42
Rommon wrote:
Just to take one example:

The entire point of Luke 12 is the opposite of what you're making it out to be, the "slave" is the rulers of the world, "the belongings" are the people, as the master is God or the messiah, the whole point is that God will punish the oppressors. It's escataloical, the entire gospel of Luke is defined in like 4:18-19 which references the Jubilee in which land is redistributed, debts are canceled and slaves are freed.

whoever gave you the exegesis you espoused either is an idiot who hasn't got a clue what he's talking about, or he's purposefully lying about the meaning of the text to make a cheap ideological quip.

It's a load of mystical nonsense then basically.

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May 1 2017 13:45

If you're not willing to actually try and understand theology or the text, that's fine. But if you try and then criticize it you're gonna end up looking silly, since you'd be taking our of complete ignorance.

You can't call it "mystical nonsense" if you want, but that's really just you saying "I don't like it".

potrokin
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May 1 2017 13:48

It's clearly a load of claptrap, no doubt for the 'enlightened' initiated few who have time for it.

Dave B
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May 1 2017 14:06

Thanks Rommon.

http://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/war-2.htm

I had read that section how I forgot it I will never know.

I was thrown off by Rosa implying it was Christians; so she was dissembling a bit or was misinformed by some other.

You should send that to Marxist.org for a footnote as it has been passed around quite a bit and is in books and stuff.

It looked to me very similar to the Eusebius-Tertullian-Philo thing.

Do you think Josephus plagiarised it from philo?

Bart D. Ehrman looked at what the JC thing was all about re influences etc.

Essenes and proto Marxism was on his list; he is no communist.

I think as well that JC was to much of a liberal to be a pure Essene; mixing with barkeeps and prostitutes and chatting to promiscuous Samaritan women around the well.

I agree that he and the early Christians were more “anarcho syndicalists” than Marxist revolutionaries but that would be too anachronistic.

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May 1 2017 15:13

Whereas I'd generally agree with Potrokin's "claptrap" conclusion, his method of analysis and "evidence" for that conclusion (however correct it may be coincidentally) is frankly claptrap.

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May 1 2017 15:17
Quote:
If you're not willing to actually try and understand theology or the text, that's fine. But if you try and then criticize it you're gonna end up looking silly, since you'd be taking our of complete ignorance.

And that's precisely how s/he looks especially when compared to the erudition of you and Dave B. To his/her defence, however, I think potrokin is relatively young and did come out of what seems to be a pretty horrible christian-fundamentalist family.

Dave B
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May 1 2017 17:49

There are two Lenin shall not eat quotes as below.

The second one is more famous and in a slightly different context.

I am more of a Leninologist (although I despise him) and a Marxist.

Than a historian of Christianity and theology; which just a bit of a hobby to enable to knock the modern christians around a bit.

Quote:
….we are feeding many extra people, former government officials who have crept into Soviet agencies, bourgeois lying low, profiteers, etc. There must be a determined drive to sift out these superfluous mouths who are breaking the fundamental law: He who does not work shall not eat.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/may/21.htm

Quote:
However, it persists as far as its other part is concerned; it persists in the capacity of regulator (determining factor) in the distribution of products and the allotment of labor among the members of society. The socialist principle, "He who does not work shall not eat", is already realized; the other socialist principle, "An equal amount of products for an equal amount of labor", is also already realized. But this is not yet communism, and it does not yet abolish "bourgeois law", which gives unequal individuals, in return for unequal (really unequal) amounts of labor, equal amounts of products.

This is a “defect”, says Marx, but it is unavoidable in the first phase of communism; for if we are not to indulge in utopianism, we must not think that having overthrown capitalism people will at once learn to work for society without any rules of law. Besides, the abolition of capitalism does not immediately create the economic prerequisites for such a change.
Now, there are no other rules than those of "bourgeois law". To this extent, therefore, there still remains the need for a state, which, while safeguarding the common ownership of the means of production, would safeguard equality in labor and in the distribution of products.
The state withers away insofar as there are no longer any capitalists, any classes, and, consequently, no class can be suppressed.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch05.htm

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May 1 2017 18:10

I don't think Tertullian wrote about the essenes ... I may be wrong though, and Eusebius wrote about them only in quoting Philo, Epiphanius wrote about them, but to be honest I think he was confused, I think he thought that the ancient Essenes, and the later Jamesian jewish Christians were part of the same group, understandable.

I don't think Josephus plagarized from Philo because their descriptions differed in ways that wouldn't make sense for Josephus to change. For example Josephus desribes them as being armed, Philo describes them as extreme pacifists ... Josephus was (in his books) trying to convince the Romans that the Jews were nice safe good subjects and that they shouldn't do to them what they ended up doing to them after the Bar Kochba revolt 50 years later. It wouldn't make sense for Josephus to describe them as armed if he was (as he was) trying to put them in a good light.

The places where they are similar are better explained by the fact that they were educated Jews writing to an educated hellenistic audience, and thus they used similar language (case in point the "Panta Koina" (all thing in common) idiom, which was common in hellenistic moral philosophy).

I think Josephus gives us the most accurate account when we compare what he writes to what the Essenes themselves wrote in the DDS, (assuming, as most scholars do, that the DDS were written by the Essenes).

Bart Emrhan is a mixed bag, he's a good textual critic, a decent historian but absolutely terrible when it comes to theology. But I think he's right about a lot of things, one being the fact that Zealots were attracted to Jesus, and that his betrayal to the authorities could have been due to the fact that the Zealots wanted him to be more revolutionary, and I think he's certainly right about the Essenes being influential, at least on John the Baptist (who I think may have been an Essene himself), who in turn was extremely influential on Jesus.

I don't think we can use modern political terms for 1rst century Jewish movements. In my book I use the word "communist" in the most broad sense. Jesus wasn't a liberal either, he was liberal on somethings, conservative on other things. Using John as a source for the historical Jesus is quite problematic, but his spending time wit prostitutes and the such in the synoptics had to do with the idea of a social reversal. But he was very strict on the torah, he wanted to undo the pharisaic loopholes.

The early Christians were waiting for the big day of Gods judgement on the nations, and in the meantime they were building communities that applied the jubilee ethic (amounting to small C communism), but rejecting revolution (which is why they didn't get wiped out in 70 or 130 CE); they were pacifists and basically rejected the Roman system.

Of course I'm talking very broadly, there were different strands, early on you had the Pauline and jamesian christians, in the second century you had proto-gnostics and then gnostics, and Docetism, marcianism, and the contiuing of the Jewish Christian Church, then you had the proto-orthodox and so on.

But the mainstream consensus among the (non-gnostic) Christians, was more or less small c communism, pacifism and escatology.

What killed it, and I hate to seem cliche about this, was the taking in of Christianity into the Imperial mainstream ... post constantine you started to get all kinds of theologians trying desperately to either explain away or "spiritualize" the traditions and passages that seemed to fly in the face of wealth an power ... the worst of these (in my opinion) was Augustine, he tried so hard to make Christianity fit with the ruling class ideologies. There were others post-constantine, but Augustine really cemented it.

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May 1 2017 18:35
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To his/her defence, however, I think potrokin is relatively young and did come out of what seems to be a pretty horrible christian-fundamentalist family.

Fair enough, I hope he didn't take offense to my response, I in no way intended to imply he was an idiot or anything like that. I understand issues surrounding religion can get emotional.

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May 1 2017 18:37

btw, if anyone here writes for libcom or some other website/publication, you could probably get a review copy of the book for free from the publisher.

Dave B
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May 1 2017 19:34

Ok it was

Eusebius wrote about them only in quoting Philo.

This is more your area than mine and I am learning stuff from someone on Libcom and that is new.

I think it looks like Josephus was correct from archaeological evidence of a massive battle at Essene Qumran around it was abandoned.

I think.

Although in this whole subject area of antiquity I think you have to be careful about making generalisations based fragmentary evidence.

Thus you had the black panthers, Malcolm x and Martin Luther king all operating relatively ‘contemporaneously’ alongside each other with different perspectives.

We can’t be sure that the essenes weren’t also split into different strands.

I think Josephus is justifiable regarded as a pretty rock solid historian, by the standards of the time.

Possibly the first modern historian.

But he was an imperial roman collaborator, stooge, turncoat and apologist.

He was at the end of the day an Iraqi Fox news and CNN journalist or Richard Pipes like Harvard University historian of the Russian revolution.

Bart Emrhan (at least a learned agnostic for everyone else) is a mixed bag but his books do bounce along and are entertaining and reassured myself that I wasn’t making a complete tit of myself over the whole thing.

In the middle of my researches I got quite a lot from the erudite Richard Carrier (it is all a load of bollocks) versus Bart Ehrman (JC existed but it is probably all so scrambled who knows what it was about) debate.

You say that;

I don't think we can use modern political terms for 1rst century Jewish.

I agree but you are coming from another end of the analysis.

Marxist would say something like socio economic bases lead to and are connected ideology or what we call superstructure.

And thus we can join the dots.

So for instance, with my theory, with your Jubilee debt forgiveness enshrined in Judaic Law.

Am I on the right page here?

After 6AD when Judea came under more direct Roman financial Law particularly on debt.

The Jewish peasants had to pay cash or money taxes rather than in kind payments as fractions of their total product or surplus product.

Even my German Marxist professors wouldn’t understand the difference.

The stupid Judiac peasants sold their crop for cash at harvest time for cash when prices were low.

The sensible ones with a cash reserve held onto it and sold later.

After several iterations and by AD 20 the sensible peasants were safely loaning cash at interest to the stupid peasants to make the end of year Roman tax cash payment.

Got into trouble were foreclosed on under Roman debt Law which was antithetical to Jewish law; you could do that to gentiles but not fellow ‘Jews’ according to Deuteronomy.

And then the foreclosed ‘Jewish’ peasants end up working on their own former farms as day wage labourers.

So I can see slow down here this is just a story tale.

But.

It is well documented as an economic theory; Re

Adam Smith with ‘corn factors’ in English 18th century

Volume three das capital re small Roman peasants.

From Lenin (spit) the reform of the serf laws circa 1860.

And the agricultural day labour wage labour system in the gospels and the stuff bout paying filthy money taxes to the emperor,

I really want to pick your brains on other stuff later on.

Bollocks to mutual back slapping, I am impressed.

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May 1 2017 20:12
Quote:
I think it looks like Josephus was correct from archaeological evidence of a massive battle at Essene Qumran around it was abandoned.

Not only that, but there are also many documents (manuals and the such) among the DDS that corroborate Josephus's descriptions.

Quote:
We can’t be sure that the essenes weren’t also split into different strands.

I think they alsmost certainly were, both Josephus, Philo, and Epiphaneus describe different groups of Essenes; and the DDS documents corroborate this as well (different manuals, different texts for different groups).

What makes me skeptical about Philo is he, in general, seems to idealize and exagurate everything, his description of the Essenes would basically mean they were all monks, very unlikely given the rest of the evidence.

Quote:
Possibly the first modern historian.

But he was an imperial roman collaborator, stooge, turncoat and apologist.

He was at the end of the day an Iraqi Fox news and CNN journalist or Richard Pipes like Harvard University historian of the Russian revolution.

Absolutely, you can tell his from how he has this rosy view of the Pharisees, and this claim that the messiah was actually the emperor. That being said he was a good historian and as long as you know where he's coming from, you can learn a lot.

he is most unrealible when it comes to his descriptions of the Zealot and Sacarii revolutionaries, he basically make's them out as savages.

Quote:
In the middle of my researches I got quite a lot from the erudite Richard Carrier (it is all a load of bollocks) versus Bart Ehrman (JC existed but it is probably all so scrambled who knows what it was about) debate.

Richard Carrier is really off the deep end there, his denial of the historical jesus is just so implausable and requires so much fiddling with the evidence it becomes silly. He's a good classicist, but he really get's lost in his dealing with early Christianity/second temple Judaism.

Robert M Price (unlike Richard Carrier an actual new testament scholar) had a debate with Bart Ehrman over the historicity of Jesus, and I actually think that Robert Price is a much better scholar than Bart Ehrman; but Ehrman wiped the floor with him basically because Price's position is just so weak..

If I were to point you to a historical Jesus guy I would say N.T. Wright, he'll be too conservative for your tastes definately; but he's probably the best scholar alive, Richard Horsely and James Crossley are 2 more liberal scholars who are also very good.

John P. Meier is a Catholic scholar, but he's also very good on historical Jesus stuff.

Quote:
Marxist would say something like socio economic bases lead to and are connected ideology or what we call superstructure.

And thus we can join the dots.

So for instance, with my theory, with your Jubilee debt forgiveness enshrined in Judaic Law.

Am I on the right page here?

Yeah, I am probably less of a Marxist than you, I think it goes both ways, ideology influences socio-economic structures and vice versa. The Jubilee law was always a pain for the ruling class, and a hope for the oppressed.

You basically have the story right ... taxes lead to the use of money, which lead to huge increases in monied debt which destroyed traditional village economies, anytime harvests didn't go great, or the market was wonky peasants would go further into debt for the sake of taxes and rents, eventually getting forclosed on and becoming day laborers.

Huge construction projects increased the rents an taxes but also wage labor, but when those ended you had landless unemployed peasants, still in debt and desperate ... and they were pissed.

Most of the source of the debt came from the high priesthood and herodian aristocracy, who also were the growing land owners (from forclosures and other means).

The Ironic thing is some historians will say the Herodian period had huge economic growth ... which it did, huge urbanization and building projects, yet at the same time you have evidence of huge dispossesion, hell they even privitized the fishing waters (by charging fees), the two are intertwined, the growth of the cash economy through taxation and cash debt lead to the destruction of village life and the making of formerly independant peasant villages into retners, debt peons, wage workers, and eventually unemployed peasants.

The FIRST thing the zealots do is burn the debt records ... Debt was the huge problem.

Read the gospel of Luke and notice how often he refers to debt, many modern exegetes like to pretend Jesus really meant sin, and by sin he meant personal moral wrongdoing ... he actually meant debt, the greek word for "sin" is "harmatia", when Jesus says "debt" he means debt, not sin.

The entire point of the Lords prayer in Luke 10 is a Jubilary prayer ... it's debt calling for debt cancelation. "return cesars things to cesar but God's things to God" when asked about the tax, when he said God's things, he was refereing to the Levitical Jubilee law where God says the LAND belongs to God and thus ought to be redestributed with the Jubilee, he's basically saying "Cesar can have his coins, we don't need them; But this land is Gods."

Dave B
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May 1 2017 20:23

thanks

I am not completely off my head then.

but I did prefer the gospel of John I think it more depth.