What were Jesus's actual words ?

by aligot ripounsous 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Narkissos

    Very good quote Leolaia.


    but what should we put in place when we dismantle this dualism? A buffet belief system?

    Maybe, a certain consciousness of our poverty (aka modesty) -- which, incidentally, is rather close to some of the Synoptic Jesus' teaching (e.g. the Sermon on the Mount).

    The buffet is here already whether we like it or not: the Internet, in particular, brings to almost everyone everywhere bits of myth and wisdom from the whole world and history which we all can feed on according to our own needs and tastes of the moment. We can only appropriate them from where and when we are, hence out of "original" context. But it is a happy feast to all those who do not approach it in a dogmatical and judgemental way -- those who don't feel the need to spoil what they don't like (which reminds me of GThomas 102: "Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat.")

    Even more than the objects of belief, the way of believing is constantly changing. Even the most hardcore modern Western fundamentalist cannot believe exactly like a European villager in the middle ages did. The "believing mode" s/he switches on while s/he attends a church service or reads the Bible has much in common with the "suspension of disbelief" his/her agnostic neighbours experience when they read a novel or watch a movie. And this, in turn, might not be so far from the way ancient readers/hearers once received "Bible stories" -- even though not exactly the same either. Différance.

    Maybe dogmatism, as the idea of a permanent and universally valid belief system, was nothing but a huge misunderstanding?

  • aligot ripounsous
    aligot ripounsous

    Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat.")

    In my native region we put it this gallic way : he's like the old dog which is not able to copulate anymore and wants to keep young dogs from doing it.

    As for the real nature of the character Jesus, and events, as we know them from the gospels, I'm afraid each reader is bound to operate his own personal selection between what he consisiders as legendary or historical, to follow on Leolaia's example. For instance, the two reports of what Judas did after he had betrayed Jesus and how he killed himself are not compatible and there is no way to know which one is closest to what really happened. Still, with that material, imperfect as it is, the believer has to construct his religion, the best possible way he can.

  • DeusMauzzim
    inasmuch as we can trust the gospel record (and if we don't, what other sources shall we discuss ?).

    Aligot - I think we are reasoning from two different sets of axioms here (well at least it's not from the Scriptures) :). You are talking about trust that something happened so-and-so while there is no way to verify this totally and objectively. This is the essence of classical belief (fides - 'est autem fides sperandarum substantia rerum, argumentum non apparentium').

    I'm not saying this is wrong at all, just that it doesn't work for me. I can not put my trust in a selected set of 'holy' scriptures to convey a transparent truth while at the same time accepting that any other book I know has massive problems doing just that. Your arguments about crowds following Jesus and the pharisees being afraid of him come from the gospels themselves, written by followers of Christ. They surely had an interest in picturing the events like this. What about the historians of that time?

    Narkissos - Modesty and such fully agreed.. But just wondering... how would you reconcile Derrida's interpretive feast with Christ's exclusive (dogmatic?) claim? (John 14:6). I think this claim is fairly consistent with all the Christs I know of (forgive me the paradox :)

    Deus Mauzzim

  • aligot ripounsous
    aligot ripounsous

    Your arguments ....come from the gospels themselves,


    Of course, I agree that this approach is not flawless and, even, it amounts to a circular reasoning since the argument is drawn from within what it aims at proving. I will sum up my point by saying that, as in so many instances in life, you have, at one given stage, to put your trust in someone, and, very empirically, you just try to gather enough garanties beforehand so as to limit the risk of being deceived. We are here out of the scope of pure reasoning, rather in the domain of personal experience making room for a measure of rationality.

    I don't know much about the possible other sources you mention concerning the existence and character of Jesus. I went through Thomas's gospel , which I didn't find convincing because it smacks of philosophy, as if the writer wanted to associate Jesus in his own gnostic search, whereas what we expect from a revealed religion is a supernatural ring. From what I read, Judas gospel is in the same vein a Thomas's. As for secular historian sources about Jesus, there is hardly any, as far as I know. So, back to the gospels to prove the gospels, no escape !

  • Narkissos
    how would you reconcile Derrida's interpretive feast with Christ's exclusive (dogmatic?) claim? (John 14:6). I think this claim is fairly consistent with all the Christs I know of (forgive me the paradox :)

    Hi DM,

    I don't think they need to be reconciled but I'm not sure they can't either. In particular, the Johannine Christ's "exclusivity" is very inclusive (e.g. "As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me").

    It is quite noteworthy that the fourth Gospel which provides the highest NT Christology also points in many ways to the necessity of surpassing "Jesus" (Aufhebung before the Hegelian letter?). The Johannine passages which have given fuel to Arianism and Unitarism may be read from this perspective (e.g. 14:12,28; 20:17); also the "Greek" episode of chapter 12 (v. 20ff): "Christ" (or "the Son of Man") exceeds the earthly Jesus -- totus Christus ac non totum Christi...

    Who is the one saying "I am the truth" really? Who IS before Abraham came to be? Is it a separate "individual," whether heavenly or earthly?

    Or, stepping back to the perspective of comparative religion: when the Johannine Jesus and Mansur Al-Hallaj both say, "I am the truth," do they agree or disagree?

    Oddly enough, this afternoon I was reading a paper by a friend of mine (who is also a huge Derrida fan) which portrayed the Johannine Jesus as "in a way, the incarnation of the undecidable".

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