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

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Dave B
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May 28 2017 13:46

A Dating of Celsus Theory or Theories?

The multiple emperors?

BOOK VIII.

CHAP. LXXI.

Chadwick translation

Celsus

Quote:
“….It is quite intolerable of you to say that if those who now reign over us were persuaded by you and were taken prisoner, you would persuade those who reign after them, and then others, if they too are taken prisoner, and others after them until, when all who are persuaded by you are taken prisoner. There will be a ruler who, being a sensible man and foreseeing what is happening, will utterly destroy you all before you destroy him first. …”

As others have said, eg Chadwick, the context has to be about individual rulers and that there were at Celsum’s time, more than one.

EG

Orgen Contra Celsum

Henry Chadwick 1953

Page XXVI of Introduction.

Thus there are at two possible 2nd century dates for two rulers.

161 to 169. eg Marcus Aurelius + Lucius Verus

And

179-180 Marcus Aurelius + Commodus

.

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

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

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

There is a third and obviously somewhat ‘sensational’ first century candidate.

AD 69.

When Vitellius and Vespasian were vying for power.

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

And Actually at one point 4?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domitian#Year_of_the_Four_Emperors

Including Galba

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

Galba is clearly referred to in the revelation of John.

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

We also have a Celsus at that time.

Aulus Marius Celsus, Survivor.

https://www.strategypage.com/cic/docs/cic351b.asp

A lot also rests on Celsum’s; ‘very recently’.

BOOK VI.
CHAP. X.

Quote:
"Believe that he whom I introduce to thee is the Son of God, although he was shamefully bound, and disgracefully punished, and very recently was most contumeliously treated before the eyes of all men;"

And Origen says.

Quote:
For he knew that if he [….Celsum who seemed to Origen as if he might have been in fact a closet Epicurean… ] acknowledged himself an Epicurean, he would not obtain any credit when focusing those who, in any degree, introduce the doctrine of Providence, and who place a God over the world. ….

And we have heard that there were two individuals of the name of Celsus, both of whom were Epicureans; the earlier of the two having lived in the time of Nero…..

We also appear to have from Celsum a reference to persecution of Christians.

Contra Celsum Book VIII

Chapter 69

Quote:
“…..and as for you, if any of you transgresses even in secret, he is sought out and punished with death…..”

That is also Chadwick’s take on it.

So we have a date when JC was around ‘very recently’.

A Multiple emperors date.

Origen speculating about an Epicurean Celsum around Nero’s time being the author.

An Aulus Marius Celsus around Nero’s time (and multiple emperors just post Nero.)

And Nero like persecution of Christians.

And a date of 69AD???

Well out of the range of Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Origen and in fact of intellectual Christians in general.

Hence they didn’t know about it.

But a ‘feasible’ date for an anti Christian document????????

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May 30 2017 16:10
Rommon wrote:
Fleur wrote:
Believe what you will, I don't care, but comparing whether or not someone believes that some dude actually existed in first century Palestine actually existed to holocaust denial is really fucked up.

Not really, because the scholarly consensus is the same on both and those who oppose it resort to ignoring the evidence and making up conspiracy theories, while not at all understanding how history is done.

I'm not making a moral comparison, I'm making an intellectual one.

Oh, so you just happened to pick Holocaust denial as a random example of bad science? And it had nothing to do with making your opponents look bad by comparing them to Nazis and antisemites? Maybe I'm being cynical, but I can't say that I'm entirely convinced...

Your book looks interesting enough, though. I might pick up a copy for some light holiday reading this summer.

Rommon wrote:
There are followers of John the Baptist Down to this day, they're called Manechians, but they are more gnostics who appropriated John than actualy descendants of John's followers (much like the gnostics who appropraited Jesus).

I'm assuming you mean Mandeans here, and not Manechians.

Dave B
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May 30 2017 17:48

I think it is worth a read but expensive at £15 for 120 pages.

I think it does put all the early Christian communism material in one place.

Actually this early Christian communism, depending on the economic context, looks more syndicalist than communist.

It would appear from say contra celsum, talking about 170AD or before, that contains more detail on the economic position of the early christains, that at least a significant proportion of them were artisans.

Eg fullers, textile workers, cobblers and leather workers etc.

Although it also mentions slaves as well and seems to suggest that a lot of women were involved in it.

That is mentioned Celsum as a criticism, Celsum also says as a criticism that there are no upper class people in the movement.

Origen also says in 240AD, that they were careful not to elect people into office that ‘were not ambitious for power’.

Celsum also attacks them for scorning getting involved in the running of the state and public offices etc.

The problem might be that it was ‘just’ a model for the egalitarian redistribution of ‘income’ amongst the ‘poor’ etc.

A bit like the way these extended south East Asian families operate over here in the UK.

You can imagine how the ruling class might be ok with that kind of thing as the Russian rulling class were quite happy to let the ‘Mir’ feudal peasantry organise their own necessary labour time and consumption fund according to ability and need etc.

As long as the surplus value producing corvee labour etc was still performed etc.

However in the early Christianity stuff there is still hostility to the rich and what looks like a proto labour theory of value stuff.

That continues into the 4th century and there is some really radical stuff from people like John Chrysostom c. 349 – 407, Archbishop of Constantinople which would not be out of place in the centre left of the 2nd international.

I think the expropriation of the Palestine peasantry through the introduction of the cash tax nexus and usury leading agricultural wage labour and possibly as well renting expropriated land back to the former owners etc was probably a political stimulus.

On the historicity of JC there is also this;

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

I recently added the below, somebody tidied it up a bit for me shortly after.

a claim made by Apion (30-20 BC – c. AD 45-48):[21]
"Apion ought to have had a regard to these facts; unless he had himself had either an asse’s heart, or a dog’s impudence: of such a dog I mean as they worship. For he had no other external reason for the lies he tells of us. As for us Jews, we ascribe no honor, nor power to asses;"[22]
Origen reports in his treatise Contra Celsum that the pagan philosopher Celsus made the same claim against Christians and Jews:[23]
“For the sake of such a monstrous delusion, and in support of those wonderful advisers, and those wonderful words which you address to the lion, to the amphibious creature, to the creature in the form of an ass, and to others, for the sake of those divine doorkeepers.."[24]

There is some stuff below from Karl on Roman usury and small producers etc etc.

Eg

….completely ruined the Roman plebeians, the small peasants, this form of exploitation came to an end and a pure slave economy replaced the small-peasant economy…..

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch36.htm

I guess expropriated small farmers can be replaced by slaves or if not agricultural wage labourers and share croppers etc depending on the circumstances.

Or in the case of artisans piece workers etc.

Dave B
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May 30 2017 17:56

Origen also says in 240AD, that they were careful to elect people into office that ‘were not ambitious for power’.

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May 31 2017 09:10
Dave B wrote:
The problem might be that it was ‘just’ a model for the egalitarian redistribution of ‘income’ amongst the ‘poor’ etc.

Bogoraz's book which I linked earlier is also pretty unimpressed:

Bogoraz wrote:
It must be pointed out, however, that whenever and everywhere a group of people gathers together for some spiritual purpose, such a consumption commune is necessary. Each scientific expedition that leaves the field, from Nansen's polar expedition on the "Fram" to the one nowadays arranged by the Academy of Sciences of Research of the USSR, constitutes such a commune, has a treasurer, a common economy and a kitchen. This whole organization is aimed at keeping the members together during the work.
Even tea, which is poured into scientific societies, is also a communist agape. In bourgeois life there is more communism than is visible from the first sight.

see chapter 19 (search in text for: ГЛАВА 19 and copy-paste it into google-translate)

http://az.lib.ru/t/tanbogoraz_w_g/text_1928_hristianstvo.shtml

Bogoraz also points to some passages in the NT that indicate the authors praised money-changers and had extensive knowledge of money-related business:

Quote:
In regard to stories about tax collectors, critics generally emphasize how often in the gospels and epistles of the Apostles they talk about wealth, about treasures, about profits and so on.
Thus, immediately after Luke's above-mentioned story about Zacchaeus, the monstrous parable of Jesus about slaves and mines of silver follows, narrated so broadly and with such knowledge of commercial and interest business. In Matthew the parable is repeated less widely, but the mines are replaced by larger talents. The first two slaves haggled the owner hundred percent per hundred. The third slave did not want to trade, and said to the master: "You are a cruel man, reap where you did not sow, and collect where you did not scatter," which, of course, was quite true.
The lord cursed him and said: "Why did not you give my silver to the trapezites (money-changers), then I would get my interest."
And in conclusion the moral: "The poor have the last thing taken away, and the possessor is given and multiplied."
The same praise for the money changers (trapezites) we find in Eusebius, the first historian of the church.
Even in the apocalypse of John, which is imbued with such a revolutionary spirit and is associated with the Judeo-Christian sect of the poor, we encounter an unexpected exposition of the subtleties of the trade business, brilliant jewelry descriptions that could only be known to a person dealing with all 12 kinds of precious stones described by the author. Jewelers and trapezists at that time were people of the same profession.

Chapter 20 has a criticism of Kautsky.

Dave B
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May 31 2017 18:13

As to the various parables on money etc and even taking money or ‘treasure’ [as money capital] and using it wisely to make a profit and gain more etc.

Money was clearly a metaphor, and an ironic one at that, for good deeds etc and ‘personal’ moral growth etc.

Which should be obvious given the criticism of worshipping money etc.

Even without the following;

Matthew 6:19-21New International Version (NIV)

Quote:
Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6%3A19-21

Although what you are saying is very relevant I think because there is a lot of ‘economics’ in the gospel material eg wages which you would expect to be other wise anachronistic.

Of course the Calvinistic orientated modern Christians have been known to take the profit from your investments and money capital literally.

As to the cooperative ‘common economy’ stuff; agreed.

But that is the whole point of communism isn’t it?

It works better.

I think Roman in his book was talking about the glue or rationale or whatever that held these early Christian communists together, which is an important point.

And he drags Graeber into it on that point.

In 1844 Fuerbach, Karl and Fred thought that what held such communist things together was a human essence or what became later under Darwin a social instinct.

Fuerbach worked backwards from the Essence of Christianity to deduce a social instinct; by putting the early Christians on the psychoanalytical couch so to speak.

Then decided that the early Christians had ‘projected’ their own communist instinct or value systems on to their god.

So they would distil what they like about themselves into something idealised and attribute those perfected ideals on to their own God.

It is called anthropological projection.

Projection is one of the established four pillars in psychoanalysis and you have to gen up on it really to get it.

Thus;

To Ludwig Feuerbach
In Bruckberg
Paris, August 11 1844

Quote:

Since I just have the opportunity, I take the liberty of sending you an article of mine in which some elements of my critical philosophy of law [Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Introduction] are outlined. I had already finished it once but have since revised it in order to make it more generally comprehensible. I don't attribute any exceptional value to this essay but I am glad to have an opportunity of assuring you of the great respect and — if I may use the word — love, which I feel for you. Your Philosophie der Zukunft, and your Wesen des Glaubens, in spite of their small size, are certainly of greater weight than the whole of contemporary German literature put together.

In these writings you have provided — I don't know whether intentionally — a philosophical basis for socialism and the Communists have immediately understood them in this way. The unity of man with man, which is based on the real differences between men, the concept of the human species brought down from the heaven of abstraction to the real earth, what is this but the concept of society!

Two translations of your Wesen des Christenthums, one in English and one in French, are in preparation and almost ready for printing. The first will be published in Manchester (Engels has been supervising it) and the second in Paris (the Frenchman Dr. Guerrier and the German Communist Ewerbeck have translated it with the help of a French literary expert).

http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_08_11.htm

So this social instinct concept of the human species was represented metaphysically as religion and into the ‘heaven’ of metaphysical abstraction and Fuerbach brought it back down to materialist earth as a materialist and communistic human essence.

And then, communism in 1844, would be a return to and in harmony with a natural communistic frame of mind or human essence or human instinct or human nature as we would have it.

And a move away from human self-estrangement.

Thus;

Quote:
(3) Communism as the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement, and therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man; communism therefore as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e., human) being – a return accomplished consciously and embracing the entire wealth of previous development. This communism, as fully developed naturalism, equals humanism, and as fully developed humanism equals naturalism; it is the genuine resolution of the conflict between man and nature and between man and man – the true resolution of the strife between existence and essence, between objectification and self-confirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and the species. Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

In November 1844.

A gob-shite pseudo-Anarchist called Stirner wrote a book called Ego And His Own on materialism; ‘materialism’

What was materialism?

The striving for the optimal fulfilment of individual egotistical human needs.

And communism was good because it was first, and all importantly, good for me and I; the fact that it was also good for other collective I’s and me’s was philosophically ‘incidental’.

Fred didn’t like it at first and the residue of the recent position is made clear.

Letters of Marx and Engels 1844 Letter from Engels to Marx in Paris

Quote:
In the second place he must be told that in its egoism the human heart is of itself, from the very outset, unselfish and self-sacrificing, [..the erstwhile philosophical conscience……..] so that he finally ends up with what he is combating. These few platitudes will suffice to refute the one-sidedness. But we must also adopt such truth as there is in the principle.

And it is certainly true that we must first make a cause our own, egoistic cause, before we can do anything to further it – and hence that in this sense, irrespective of any eventual material aspirations, we are communists out of egoism also, and it is out of egoism that we wish to be human beings, not mere individuals.

Or to put it another way. Stirner is right in rejecting Feuerbach's ‘man’, or at least the ‘man’ of Das Wesen des Christentums. Feuerbach deduces his ‘man’ from God, it is from God that he arrives at ‘man’, and hence ‘man’ is crowned with a theological halo of abstraction. The true way to arrive at ‘man’ is the other way about. We must take our departure from the Ego, the empirical, flesh-and-blood individual, if we are not, like Stirner, to remain stuck at this point but rather proceed to raise ourselves to ‘man’. ‘man’ will always remain a wraith so long as his basis is not empirical man. In short we must take our departure from empiricism and materialism if our concepts, and notably our ‘man’, are to be something real; we must deduce the general from the particular, not from itself or, à la Hegel, from thin air. …blah blah

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_11_19.htm

Or to put it another way Fuerbach had arrived at a materialistic concept of man, or this co-operative social instinct from a load of non materialist religious mumbo jumbo and psychoanalytical mumbo jumbo to boot.

And that was the end of that for 30 odd years.

Then Darwin walks onto the stage.

Trashes the Stirner idea even though he had probably never heard of him or communism.

Validates Fuerbachs original cooperative human essence thesis, calling it this time a social instinct, even though he had probably never heard of Fuerbach either.

And validates the Fuerbachs idea that the essence of Christian and Kant like thing in itself “morality” could be an ‘theological intellectualisation’ of a communist instinct which had a materialist base etc.

Thus, read around it, I will keep the quote short;

Quote:
…………… its intellectual powers had become as well developed, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them. The services may be of a definite and evidently instinctive nature; or there may be only a wish and readiness, as with most of the higher social animals, to aid their fellows in certain general ways. But these feelings and services are by no means extended to all the individuals of the same species, only to those of the same association. Secondly, as soon as the mental faculties had become highly developed, images of all past actions and motives would be incessantly passing through the brain of each individual; and that feeling of dissatisfaction which invariably results, as we shall hereafter see, from any unsatisfied instinct, would arise, as often as it……………

http://darwin-online.org.uk/converted/published/1871_Descent_F937/1871_D...

Then the intervening Marxist thesis that communism and communist conciousness could only come about after the complete integration of all production with it being socialised leading to a defacto global inter dependence of everyone on everyone else albeit in capitalist etc.

And the majority being homogenised into a we are all in the same boat etc etc.

And the possibility of abundance with loads of etc etc’s etc.

Was now a load of bollocks again.

Hence it was safe to revisit Christian communism and the Fuerbachian position that Karl and Fred had held in 1844 before Stirner deflected them.

Communism as a social instinct also enters the fray from two ‘scientists’ like Kropotkin and Pannekoek.

If non scientist here don’t understand the implications of Darwin’s second book to communism at least they and I did.

Actually what Darwin said was more dangerous to modern Christianity than the ape stuff.

But that stuff went over their heads and they concentrated on the social Darwinism thing; which is exactly what Darwin didn’t say.

Or in other words you ‘are Christians’ because you are descended from communist apes.

Dave B
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May 31 2017 18:50

FYI

The perspective of modern anthropology towards religion is the projection idea, a methodological approach which assumes that every religion is created by the human community that worships it, that "creative activity ascribed to God is projected from man."[6][7][8] In 1841, Ludwig Feuerbach was the first to employ this concept as the basis for a systematic critique of religion.[9][10][11][12] A prominent precursor in the formulation of this projection principle was Giambattista Vico,[9][13] and an early formulation of it is found in ancient Greek writer Xenophanes, which observed that "the gods of Ethiopians were inevitably black with flat noses while those of the Thracians were blond with blue eyes."[9]

In 1912 Émile Durkheim, building on Feuerbach, considered religion "a projection of the social values of society," "a means of making symbolic statements about society," "a symbolic language that makes statements about the social order";[14][15] in short, "religion is society worshiping itself".[12][16]

In the 19th century, cultural anthropology was dominated by an interest in cultural evolution; most anthropologists assumed that there was a simple distinction between “primitive” and “modern” religion and tried to provide accounts of how the former evolved into the latter.[citation needed] In the 20th century most anthropologists rejected this approach. Today the anthropology of religion reflects the influence of, or an engagement with, such theorists as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Émile Durkheim, and Max Weber.[17] They are especially concerned with how religious beliefs and practices may reflect political or economic forces; or the social functions of religious beliefs and practices.[

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

Dave B
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May 31 2017 21:02

On the revelation of john

It may have been written by this guy.

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

ajjohnstone
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Jun 1 2017 05:15

I mentioned previously that i had written an article on Early Christianity's communism. I make no great claims other than it being a brief introduction to these events. It now has been published

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2017/no-135...

Dave B
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Jun 1 2017 17:39

That was good Alan

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Jun 3 2017 09:14
Felix Frost wrote:
Oh, so you just happened to pick Holocaust denial as a random example of bad science? And it had nothing to do with making your opponents look bad by comparing them to Nazis and antisemites? Maybe I'm being cynical, but I can't say that I'm entirely convinced...

Your book looks interesting enough, though. I might pick up a copy for some light holiday reading this summer..

I could have picked creationism as well. But my point was what I stated my point was.

Quote:
I'm assuming you mean Mandeans here, and not Manechians

Yes, my bad.

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Jun 3 2017 09:43

Dave B

Quote:
Either JC was inspired by a communist god.

And or early christianity was a just a inevitable spontaneous progressive ‘philosophical’ development of theology with its precedents in the old testament etc.

That's way too simplistic.

Jesus was a Jew, a religious Jew, so everything he did had that context; he believed that he was inspired by Yahweh. You simply cannot understand Jesus or the early Christian movement without the deuteronomic, prophetic l, apocalyptic, and eschatological Jewish traditions. Even if you can have a purely sociological narrative, it was still historically placed within a Jewish second temple context.

It wasn't spontaneous nor inevitable. I don't think Jesus would have happened without Judas of Galille earlier, I don't think Christianity would have happened without Pontius Pilate, but it could have easily not happened, had no one claimed that Jesus was ressurected there would have been no Christianity.

As for the James quote. I'm not sure but check the "pseudo-clementine" homilies and recognitions; there's a lot on James there.

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Jun 3 2017 09:53
Quote:
I think Roman in his book was talking about the glue or rationale or whatever that held these early Christian communists together, which is an important point.

And he drags Graeber into it on that point.

In 1844 Fuerbach, Karl and Fred thought that what held such communist things together was a human essence or what became later under Darwin a social instinct.

Fuerbach worked backwards from the Essence of Christianity to deduce a social instinct; by putting the early Christians on the psychoanalytical couch so to speak.

Then decided that the early Christians had ‘projected’ their own communist instinct or value systems on to their god.

I think communism is natural, but that given systems of domination and exploitation (imperial Rome or capitalist America) it very often takes mythical systems to be able to overcome them. Be it Marxist historical determinism, or Christianity, or revolutionary Judaism, or whatever. Of course not always, I would say the anarchists in the Spanish civil war didn't seem to have any mythical foundation.

But whether or not it was a projection I don't know. Their world was a supernatural world, secularist naturalism just wasn't even on anyone's table.

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Jun 3 2017 15:42

This wiki-entry on Arthur Drews' 1926 book is interesting. Drews gave a historical review of some 35 major deniers of Jesus historicity (radicals, mythicists) covering the period 1780 – 1926:

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

although it

Quote:
again, ignores the priority of Baron d'Holbach in publishing the first critical "Life of Jesus", with Ecce Homo! – The History of Jesus of Nazareth, Being a Rational Analysis of the Gospels, (1770)

More in depth links/overview of the literature here:

http://radikalkritik.de/sample-page/articles-reviews-and-books-in-englis...

and in this file:
http://www.mythicistpapers.com/arthurdrews.pdf

Engels in 1882 wrote:
And, if almost nothing from the whole content of the Gospels turns out to be historically provable — so that even the historical existence of a Jesus Christ can be questioned — Bauer has, thereby, only cleared the ground for the solution of the question: what is the origin of the ideas and thoughts that have been woven together into a sort of system in Christianity, and how came they to dominate the world?

Dave B
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Jun 3 2017 16:23

I was sort of saving that one for later Noa

All of it is an essential read for this topic so I won’t even clip from it.

Works of Frederick Engels 1882
Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1882/05/bauer.htm

The resurrection idea was not original thus.

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/Myth_of_Er/myth_of_er.htm...

Actually Origen raises the issue in Contra Calsum.

“…Erus the son of Armenius rose from the funeral pile twelve days after he had been laid upon it…”

I am presuming here Roman, that your are following the decent of JC into Hell thing and not just one of his more superior miracles.

as compared to The Raising of Lazarus John 11:1-44?

What made early Christianity almost if not totally unique, as Celsum pointed out, was that it claimed God appeared as and a champion of and for the working class, poor and oppressed.

And was executed for it.

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Jun 3 2017 20:14

Dave B

Quote:
I think it is worth a read but expensive at £15 for 120 pages.

I think it does put all the early Christian communism material in one place.

Actually this early Christian communism, depending on the economic context, looks more syndicalist than communist.

I ageee it is a bit pricy for such a short book, but that's how it is with those kind of publishers :/. I do apologize for that.

My goal was very modest, it was to lay out a case for/reconstruction of early Christian communism.

I included the main material, the strongest evidence (there were other lines I could have gone down, but I wanted to keep it short and concise), and I laid it out using the economic anthropology of David Graeber.

I actually agree with you that the communism of the Christians wasn't much of a problem for the ruling class, and your example of the Russian ruling class allowing peasant communism is a perfect parallel.

What got them in trouble was basically them telling gentiles they were not to sacrifice to the emperor or worship the local Gods, which was akin to sedition during that time. That was unacceptable.

As time went on however the Jamesian style bringing out of an anti-rich ideology become popular, and that became a problem in the later centuries, so when people like Augustine came along to make Christianity OK for the rich too, it was a god send for the ruling classes.

As for the parables like the land owner and the talents, no serios exegete would take it literally; there are also parables praising people who steal from their bosses, the point is almost always apocalyptic and escatalogical.

If you take the parables literally they are absolute nonsense, it's ridiculous to take them literally and no one ever did.

Yeah he forgives tax collectors and some of the rich, but look at the category they are in, they are among the sinners who must repent, but unlike the other sinners; they are to undo the economic damage they have done.

You don't defend tax collectors by saying they are in the same category as sinners.

Dave B
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Jun 3 2017 21:08

On Alan’s stuff on Munzer etc a very young Engels had this to say in 1843;

Articles for The New Moral World by Frederick Engels 1843
Progress of Social Reform On the Continent

Quote:
Luther always stated his object to be, to return to original Christianity in doctrine and practice; the peasantry took exactly the same standing, and demanded, therefore, not only the ecclesiastical, but also the social practice of primitive Christianity. They conceived a state of villainy and servitude, such as they lived under, to be inconsistent with the doctrines of the Bible; they were oppressed by a set of haughty barons and earls, robbed and treated like their cattle every day, they had no law to protect them, and if they had, they found nobody to enforce it. Such a state contrasted very much with the communities of early Christians and the doctrines of Christ, as laid down in the Bible.

Therefore they arose and began a war against their lords, which could only be a war of extermination. Thomas Münzer, a preacher, whom they placed at their head, issued a proclamation, full, of course, of the religious and superstitious nonsense of the age, but containing also among others, principles like these: That according to the Bible, no Christian is entitled to hold any property whatever exclusively for himself; that community of property is the only proper state for a society of Christians; that it is not allowed to any good Christian to have any authority or command over other Christians, nor to hold any office of government or hereditary power, but on the contrary, that, as all men are equal before God, so they ought to be on earth also. These doctrines were nothing but conclusions drawn from the Bible and from Luther’s own writings………………

………The report was drawn up by Dr. Bluntschli, a man of aristocratic and fanatically Christian opinions, and the whole of it therefore is written more like a party denunciation, than like a calm, official report. Communism is denounced as a doctrine dangerous in the extreme, subversive of all existing order, and destroying all the sacred bonds of society. The pious doctor, besides, is at a loss for words sufficiently strong to express his feelings as to the frivolous blasphemy with which these infamous and ignorant people try to justify their wicked and revolutionary doctrines, by passages from the Holy Scriptures. Weitling and his party are, in this respect, just like the Icarians in France, and contend that Christianity is Communism.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/11/18.htm

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Noa Rodman
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Jun 4 2017 09:18

Weitling's The gospel of the poor sinners online here (pdf 84 MB) http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3998723

Engels, as quoted by Dave B wrote:
Thomas Münzer, a preacher, whom they placed at their head, issued a proclamation, full, of course, of the religious and superstitious nonsense of the age, but containing also among others, principles like these: That according to the Bible, no Christian is entitled to hold any property whatever exclusively for himself; that community of property is the only proper state for a society of Christians; that it is not allowed to any good Christian to have any authority or command over other Christians, nor to hold any office of government or hereditary power, but on the contrary, that, as all men are equal before God, so they ought to be on earth also

Does that imply that the German peasants did not want to be/become simple commodity producers?

also this skeptical note from wikipedia on Müntzer:

Quote:
In his final confession under torture of May 1525, Müntzer stated that one of the primary aims of himself and his comrades was ‘omnia sunt communia’ – "all things are to be held in common and distribution should be to each according to his need".[38] This statement has often been cited as evidence of Müntzer’s ‘early communism’;[39] but it stands quite alone in all of his writings and letters. Thus, it is far more likely to have been a statement of what his captors feared than what Müntzer actually believed. Indeed, even at a very late stage, Müntzer still accepted some form of social hierarchy, based on functions bound up with the work of God, rather than inheritance.

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 10:09

I have actually read that gospel of sinners by Wietling thing and I think even for historical purposes as an early “Marxist” it is something that is begging for a transcription.

It might not OCR that well and it I might just need a fast typist which I am not.

It is available in German I believe and think there is a modern translation which is in itself rare and under copyright.

It is right up Roman’s street and there is interesting stuff for the rest of us in the second half from about page 70.

Wietling even uses one of Romans quotes on JC reading from a judiac tract in the synagogue or whatever.

I think these ‘communist peasants/artisans etc were more like Proudhonists in the sense that they wanted to be simple commodity producers and get out of the clutches of the merchant capitalists and I suppose the landed aristocracy.

So in that sense they were resisting the beginning of the capitalist systems economic attack on simple commodity production.

Just an opinion.

Merchant capitalists can squeeze artisans by ownership and control and economies of scale over the supply of raw material.

And by ownership and control over the distribution and sale of the finished product.

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 10:09

There is a modern take on that below?

http://www.dairyreporter.com/Markets/NFU-slams-supermarkets-in-UK-grocer...

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 10:14

He also I seem to remember talks about maybe John the Baptist and JC being linked to the communist Essenes etc from Josephus so it looks like they had that in the 1840's as well

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 10:28

Articles for The New Moral World by Frederick Engels

The Times on German Communism
Written: on January 13, 1844;
First published: The New Moral World, Third Series, No. 30, January 20, 1844.

Quote:
These extracts, however, are given in a very confused manner, showing that our correspondent did in several cases fail to hit upon the vital point of the question, and gave in its stead some rather insignificant details. Thus he omits to state the chief point in which Weitling is superior to Cabet, namely, the abolition of all government by force and by majority, and the establishment in its stead of a mere administration, organising the different branches of labour, and distributing its produce; he omits the proposal to nominate all officers of this administration, and in every particular Branch, not by a majority of the community at large, but by those only who have a knowledge of the particular kind of work the future officer has to perform; and, one of the most important features of the plan, that the nominators are to select the fittest person, by means of some kind of prize essays, without knowing the author of any of these essays; the names to be sealed up, and that paper only to be opened which contains the name of the successful competitor; obviating by this all personal motives which could bias the minds of the electors.

As to the remainder of the extracts from Weitling, I leave it to the readers of this periodical to judge, whether they contain such contemptible stuff as our correspondent thinks them to be; or whether they do not advocate in most, if not in all cases, the same principles and proposals, for the propagation of which this paper was established. At any rate, if the Times should wish to comment again on German. Communism, it would do well to provide another correspondent.

I am, Sir, yours truly,

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Jun 4 2017 10:49

I linked to the English translation available online of Weitling's gospel of sinners (click download, export as pdf), it's 84 MB, it's no problem to run it by OCR, just the resulting file size would still probably be too big to upload on libcom.

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 11:01

Well do it in bits!

send it to Marxist.org

they have a weitling site.

have you tried running it on OCR?

you might have a better one than we did for our gabrielle Deville stuff.

but we had to manually scan several hundred pages of that before we could even start.

and then the OCR completely screwed up 5% of it

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Jun 4 2017 14:59

OCR did not capture every page, but for most it worked fine. So here's the link to the upload of the OCR'd file (108 MB) of Weitling's The gospel of the poor sinners: https://www.mediafire.com/?k9u35h2l67jg4im

Seems copyrighted, so might be a waste of time to specially transcribe the remaining pages.

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 17:00

Na

I mean using something like this;

http://www.newocr.com/

which generates

Yale University Library
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
THE PRINCIPLE or CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. 77 i 1
tles’ -‘ 2" i
lean st
ll’l ' L
ce (R) ‘ my
self, ABOLITION or HERITAGES. 5
the L. 12: 13. And one of the company said unto him, Master, speakto f‘: T
i’ my brother, that he may divide the inheritance with me.-14. And he
OW' ‘ said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
It is to be se'en from this, how falsely the principles of j
ping Jesus were understood by the people. A man teaching the 1
community of goods was importuned to judge of the shar- A p
ts- i ing of an inheritance between two brothers, and to decide ‘ 1
riot _ "between them.
d to ’ ' 15. And he said unto them: Take heed and beware of covetousness, g" l
erly. ' for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he i
8de possesseth. ' 3.
sion, Even at the present time many do not understand this. ' a.
rye Thus the people have been dazzled by the cunning of the i A
money-sacks. but is it possible to live on money"! Aye,
mas- i indeed one can live on it! And how well one can live on
ldo ’ 1t! he needs not even to work. . This 1s strange! Money .;;; . y
idto ' and goods are dead things, which produce not, and yet
not Without productlon we cannot live. These things must ; l
previously be produced, produCed by men; consequently,
to‘be g. no one can live Oon his money or goods W1thout either t i}
feels working. or cheating others of the fruits of. their labor If
lank any one says he does so live, then he 1s either a fool oroa , f
tthi deceiver; a fool, If he does not understand that money_1s
f . , but a means of stealing by the exchange of products and
eust} labor, a part of the poor laborer’s strength, and thus of
that" making him work and hunger for others without being
f aware of it. A deceiver he is, if seeing and knowing this
imo . he yet strives to keep in blindness the poor, so that he may
forhe, ' spend the more comfortably and surely in useless occupa-
te tions, in lazy rest, or even in excess and debauchery, g
nest, the fruits of their hard toil. Nobody, therefore, lives upon
his goods, but through his labor or the labor of others.
in, Having much money and many goods, therefore, means

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 17:43

this was pretty good for something at originally 1845 and ahead of Karl and Proudhons 1847

System of Economical Contradictions: or, The Philosophy of Poverty

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Noa Rodman
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Jun 4 2017 19:05

huh? I told you I did ran it by OCR with overall good result and uploaded it. Here's an example (just select, copy-paste) of that page you picked:

ABOLITION OF HERITAGES.
L. 12: 13. And one of the company said unto hira, Master, speak to
my brother, that he may divide the inheritance with me.—14. And he
said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you ?
It is to be seen from this, how falsely the principles of
Jesus were understood by the people. A man teaching the
community of goods was importuned to judge of the shar­
ing of an inheritance between two brothers, and to decide
"between them.
15. And he said unto them : Take heed and beware of covetousness.
for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he
possesseth.
Even at the present time many do not understand this.
Thus Hie people have been dazzled by the cunning of the
money-sacks, but is it possible to live on money 1 Aye,
indeed one can live on it! And how well one can live on
it! he needs not even to work. This is strange ! Money
and goods are dead things, which produce not, and yet
without production we cannot live. These things must
previously be produced, produced by men ; consequently,
no one can live on his money nr goods without either
working, or cheating others of the fruits of their labor If
any one says he does so live, then he is either a fool or a
deceiver ; a fool, if he does not understand that money is
but a means of stealing by the exchange of products and
labor, a part of the poor laborer's strength, and thus of
making him work and hunger for others without being
aware of it. A deceiver he is, if seeing and knowing this
he yet strives to keep in blindness the poor, so that he may
spend the more comfortably and surely in useless occupa­
tions, in lazy rest, or even in excess and debauchery,
the fruits of their hard toil. Nobody, therefore, lives upon
his goods, but through his labor or the labor of others.
Having much money and many goods, therefore, means
one having many means through power, cunning, and
cheating, of making others work for him : thus, either to
work less than they, or not at all, to have better fare' than
they, or to have every thing better, and do nothing for it.

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Noa Rodman
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Jun 4 2017 19:33

Offering a leftwing interpretation ("hot take") of the bible – eg as I mentioned elsewhere Lincoln Steffens did it for the book of Exodus (Moses in Red: The Revolt of Israel as a Typical Revolution 1926) – perhaps is meant to win religious folks over to communism (or just liberalism), but it's fundamentally not a good approach (what Terry Eagleton, Badiou or Zizek do is even worse). And it's not a study of the origin/development of Christianity.

Lenin wrote:
The well-known German scientist, Arthur Drews, while refuting religious superstitions and fables in his book, Die Christusmythe (The Christ Myth), and while showing that Christ never existed, at the end of the book declares in favour of religion, albeit a renovated, purified and more subtle religion, one that would be capable of withstanding “the daily growing naturalist torrent” . ...

This does not mean that Drews should not be translated. It means that while in a certain measure effecting an alliance with the progressive section of the bourgeoisie, Communists and all consistent materialists should unflinchingly expose that section when it is guilty of reaction. It means that to shun an alliance with the representatives of the bourgeoisie of the eighteenth century, i.e., the period when it was revolutionary, would be to betray Marxism and materialism; for an “alliance” with the Drewses, in one form or another and in one degree or another, is essential for our struggle against the predominating religious obscurantists.

Dave B
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Jun 4 2017 22:06

that link and big green button 108.32 download button is just giving me an image of the original book