Why Judaism and the Torah ?
Who do you mean by, "they" Crazyguy?
Are we talking about the writers of the NT? The early church fathers? The bishops at Nicea?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding but your question seems (To me) to imply an Architect behind the whole mess. :-)
James weren't the mistory schools also spreading thier teaching?
Crazyguy. I have never heard of the Mistory schools. I google it, I need to do some investigation.
You may be right "Mistory schools also spreading their teaching".
Was it called the Ancient Mystery school?
I believe these were attached to the library at Alexandria. I have read these were schools that taught the art of healing. I believe they worshipped Serapis and have read these schools were spread all over the levant and as far north as Britain. Some say these schools were the beginnings of Christianity.
also offer insights into what transpired back in the day.
These are some of the thing which I think were significant contributors:
1. There was a maelstrom of conflicting ideas among the various early Christianities. The Paulines (who owe their origin to the Apostle Paul) eventually won out and became the dominant force in Christianity; all other groups were branded as heretics.
The first followers of Jesus were Jews, as Jesus himself was, and these followers saw Jesus as a wise teacher, not as God. It is said that Paul embellished the Jesus story in order to undermine the Jewish Christians so as to take power away from them.
2. Of great importance is the fact that some of Paul's writings pandered to the Roman authorities e.g. Paul's writing in Romans 13 calls for submission to governmental authorities, although passages in 1 Corinthians may be said to contradict this. 2 Thessalonians, a pseudonymous letter, also preaches a politically conservative and accommodative message.
Given Paul's pandering to the Roman authorities, Constantine saw the political value of Pauline Christianity - Pauline Christianity was not just seen as a religion but as a political solution to bring about the unity and harmony and control of the populace which Constantine desired.
With this in mind, one can understand why Constantine and Theodosius promoted the Paulines out of all the other conflicting voices of early Christianity.
3. There were only a certain number of writings which were recognized as Christian writings by the Catholic Church. From that number, the books which comprise the NT were selected by the Catholic Church.
The Gospels, Pauline letters and other NT texts which were selected were a midrash on the OT scriptures and as such the OT and Torah came to be recognized as being relevant/important because of the NT writers.
So the Bible is about four different religions, OT, Jesus, Paul and Rev.
Crazyguy - The gospels came later in the 2nd century according to most experts.
The gospels? Which gospels? The gospels we have in the New Testament were most likely written before the end of the first century. There are scholars who propose later dates for those gospels, but this is a scarce minority. This is basic stuff...
Crazyguy - Some people think Jesus was modeled after Apollonius of tyanna and that even Paul was modeled after him.
People say that, but it makes no sense whatsoever. Stories about Apollonius were written down 150 years after Jesus. The gospels and Pauline epistles came way before the written sources for Apollonius. If anything, it'd make sense if Apollonius were modeled after Jesus. But we know that both Apollonius and Jesus were both likely historical figures.
Crazyguy - Other think Jesus was modeled after Simon Madgus.
That's more crackpot stuff. Simon Magus (not Magdus...) was a convert to Christianity.
Crazyguy - Most of the Christian teaching were copies of older Egyptian religious teachings and Jesus as the God seemed to be an algamation of several older Gods like Dionysus and Osiris.
Not true at all. There certainly are similarities between Egyptian religious teachings and Christian teachings (I'm not saying there aren't), but there isn't much of those similarities at all. And Jesus as an amalgamation of other gods? Completely not true. I advise you to study Egyptian mythology first before copying what other crackpot writers say. (Hell, I'm glad you didn't mention anything about Horus... That'd be embarrassing.) Read what actual Egyptologists have to say about those idiotic ideas. You'd be surprised.
deegee - Given Paul's pandering to the Roman authorities, Constantine saw the political value of Pauline Christianity - Pauline Christianity was not just seen as a religion but as a political solution to bring about the unity and harmony and control of the populace which Constantine desired.
Not at all. According to the sources we have, Constantine did not have a single clue what Christianity was before his conversion. His mother most likely was not a Christian in his youth, and his father was not one at all. After the visions—he probably had two visions—he had to have someone explain to him the teachings of Christianity etc. (How would he know that becoming Christian would bring peace and unity in the empire if he had no idea what this religion was?) Bart Ehrman puts it this way:
Constantine became a Christian convert. Possibly the most important point to make about the conversion is that Constantine – as is true of all converts – did not and could not understand everything there was to know about the Christian faith at the time. His faith, and his knowledge, may have been very rudimentary indeed. He may not have known that he needed to be baptized at some point. He may not have known that Christians not only refused to worship other gods but believed the pagan gods were demons and not gods at all. He may not have known that there were ethical requirements that went along with being Christian. He may not have known that there were refined theological views and serious debates among the Christians about the nature of God, the identity of Christ, the relationship of Christ and God. He may not have known … lots and lots of things [emphasis added].
Moreover, Eusebeius makes it very clear that what Constantine wanted was help from a divine in the Battle at the Milvian Bridge:
Knowing well that he would need more powerful aid than an army can supply because of the mischievous magical devices practiced by the tyrant, he sought a god to aid him. He regarded the resources of soldiers and military numbers as secondary, for he thought that without the aid of a god these could achieve nothing; and he said that what comes from a god’s assistance is irresistible and invincible. He therefore considered what kind of god he should adopt to aid him (Life of Constantine 1.27).
This battle was a very important one in his life; it paved the way for him to become the only emperor in the Roman Empire (the Rule of the Four/Tetrarchy...) You could study the historical context of Constantine's conversion. It's a very interesting read. When you study the fight for power amongst the six emperors of the Roman Empire (Constantine, Severus, Galerius, Maxentius, Maximian [Maxentius asked him for help in Rome], Licinius), it becomes clear that the reason Constantine became Christian was to seek divine help in his battle. He didn't think that becoming Christian would bring peace or unity in the empire. That's simply not true. If he became Christian, Maxentius would not care, and he was the problem. The solution was to kill Maxentius. Maxentius would not step down if Constantine became Christian. Maxentius had a problem with Constantine because Constantine became an Augustus after his father. Diocletian gave rise to the Tetrarchy so that people wouldn't become emperors after their fathers. Constantine ignored that. Maxentius didn't like that because he himself wasn't allowed to become Augustus or even Caesar after his father Maxentius... So, no, becoming Christian had nothing to do with bringing peace or unity. This is stuff that people say when they have no idea what was actually going on in the empire at that time.
My comment above was not about Constantine's pre-conversion status but about the likely reason why Constantine promoted the Paulines out of all the other conflicting voices of early Christianity, after his conversion.
Among the early Christianities were the Ebonites, Marcionites, Montanists, Gnostics, Docetists, Valentinians, Sabellianists and others who considered themselves to be true followers of Jesus. But the group that ultimately triumphed were the Paulines who became known as Orthodox - their opponents were branded as heretics.
The dominance of the Pauline sect was recognized and spread by Emperor Constantine and its beliefs were further influenced by Emperor Theodosius.
The Church Fathers and the churches that ultimately delivered a list (canon) of sacred Scriptures, could not be described to be in any way in complete harmony with one another. They added to the cacophony of conflicting ideas. The nation that consistently sought for harmony and unity imposed its will upon this babble of conflicting ideas. It became involved in the internal disharmonies that existed within the maelstrom of conflicting Christian ideas and drove them.
That nation was the city-state of Rome.
The division among the Christians grew until Emperor Constantine in 325 CE called a general Council, in order to heal the rifts.
The men who strove for harmony, even to the point of deciding doctrine, were Constantine and Theodosius. They promoted Christianity and they promoted only one of its many voices: the Paulines.
The outcome includes the rejection of Arianism (Theodosius in 381 CE) and ultimately the list of sacred Scriptures, the New Testament.
If Constantine had installed a different form of Christianity, then the list of sacred Scriptures, the teachings and the practices would have been completely different.
The Christianity which Constantine joined was that proposed by the successors of the Apostle Paul. Other forms existed, with at least Marcion operating from Rome for a while. Constantine caused the survival of Christianity, having made it the formally recognized state religion and the recognized format was Paul's religion. Constantine became closely involved in it, bringing with him the Roman desire for harmony and unity. For that reason, he instituted the church-wide Council at Nicea, its task being the setting of the date for Easter.
A few decades after Constantine instituted Christianity, the Roman desire for harmony and unity, this time within the Church, manifested itself in 381 CE when Emperor Theodosius instructed that Arianism was not acceptable - the long and detailed philosophical discussions within the church on the nature of Christ were resolved by imperial decree.
deegee, you completely misunderstood me. I wasn't talking about whether or not Constantine chose Pauline Christianity. I know this is what you were talking about, and I'm fine with that. What I was talking about is whether Constantine wanted to bring unity and peace to the Empire by converting to Christianity. This is wrong. This is what I was talking about. I was debunking this, not whether he chose Pauline Christianity. Constantine did not convert to Christianity in order to bring peace and unity to the Empire. Any critical scholar to my knowledge would tell you that.
By the way, since I'm already responding to your misunderstanding, I need to address two myths that you either stated as facts or implied in your post (which then I may have misunderstood):
1) You say that Constantine made Christianity the state religion. Here is a quote from your post:
Constantine caused the survival of Christianity, having made it the formally recognized state religion and the recognized format was Paul's religion.
This is completely wrong. Constantine did not establish Christianity as the state religion. This is a very persistent myth. Which is completely and utterly wrong. (Where do people get these ideas from...?)
2) In the below quote, you seem to be implying that Constantine instituted the Council of Nicea in order to bring harmony and unity to the Roman Empire. (This is how I at least understand it because of your use of the phrase "For that reason.")
Constantine became closely involved in it, bringing with him the Roman desire for harmony and unity. For that reason, he instituted the church-wide Council at Nicea, its task being the setting of the date for Easter.
If this is what you're implying, you need to know that the Council of Nicea was not about bringing "the Roman desire for harmony and unity." It was about establishing consensus on the nature of Jesus as Christ (which you yourself say in your post, so I'm not sure how you got the thing in the quote above so wrong...)
On a further note, you seem to be using Doug Mason as your source. Keep in mind that he is just an online blogger whose desire is to debunk the Watchtower (which is fine with me.) But if you're gonna use him as a source for actual history, then I don't know why I even bother to talk to you. If you said that Constantine established Christianity as the state religion (which is a myth and everybody who has ever studied history knows this) because this guy Doug Mason wrote so, then you should consider stop using him as a source. If someone thinks that Constantine established Christianity as the state religion, this is a big—and I mean a BIG—sign that he or she knows nothing about history. Literally nothing since this is basic stuff...
the Roman desire for harmony and unity, this time within the Church, manifested itself in 381 CE when Emperor Theodosius instructed that Arianism was not acceptable
Nope. Roman desire for harmony and unity...? Again...? Nope. It was only about establishing a united Christendom. (And saying that "Theodosius instructed that Arianism was not acceptable" is an understatement :D)
My desire is to show that the Watchtower lies. I am concerned at the human damage they cause through trashing families, risking lives because of their stance on the medical use of blood, and the mental damage they cause by forcing people to believe things they do not give full mental assent to. Apart from those factors, they can teach any doctrine they want to. It does not matter what a person believes, as long it causes no harm to themselves or others.
You have every right to disagree with my understanding of the 4th century experience of the Pauline Christians. I have no proof but I surmise that the power behind Constantine's selection of that group of Christians was deeply influenced by his mother, Helena.
While Constantine elevated the Paulines, the greater influence came with Theodosius in 381. But if you disagree, that is your right to do so, but when you disagree, please remain agreeable. And let me know what you believe.
I am fully aware that people do not agree with me and with likeminded people. I suspect that no two people agree 100% on every aspect of their belief system.
Later this week, I shall release my latest Study, "The Jesus-movements' First 200 Years". Being very conscious that reference to Bart Ehrman will colour the attitude of some to my Study, I make minimal reference to his work. Indeed, I provide some 800 direct quotations from about 50 books by several authors.
I genuinely look forward to seeing criticisms of that Study.
In the meantime, if you want an Ehrman-free analysis of the 4th century Christianity include the following, at least, in your analysis:
"AD 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Christian State", Charles Freeman.
"A New History of Early Christianity:, Charles Freeman.
"Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years", Philip Jenkins
"The Rise of Christianity", W.H.C. Frend.
The books by Geza Vermes are always enlightening.
For those who wonder why Christianity took the Hebrew Scriptures, ask the question: "Why did Christianity accept the New Testament Scriptures, when they are Jewish writings by Jews (apart from Luke-Acts, and Mark) about Jews?"