Take a look over my shoulder

by Doug Mason 20 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I have assigned myself a probably impossible task: I want to see if I can pick out the highlights of the evolution of Judaeo/Christian soteriology (doctrine of salvation).

    I am making available the First Draft very rough ideas of two chapters at:


    My purpose in providing this material is to seek your criticisms, comments and advice.



  • Crazyguy

    What's your end game or hope to achieve? So much of what the bible stories say is the belief of the Jews is actually originally from Egypt. The Hebrew word for anointed is borrowed as an example from the Egyptian word. The temple which you show in your document is a copy of how the Egyptians made thier temples including the inner sanctuary being called the holy of holies. So if your wanting a more accurate idea of what the Jews were getting at with the idea of salvation maybe you should consider looking into the Egyptian religion.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Hi Crazyguy,

    I genuinely thank you for the question. I need to hear thoughts like yours.

    My purpose is to understand. The discipline of writing forces me to think, to argue with myself, and to rethink. I suspect that my desire is for people to see that today's soteriology is just one of a series of ideas that have undergone marked changes over time. How many are aware of the roles that Augustine and Anselm have played in shaping contemporary soteriology?

    Perhaps this will cause some ask why they accept any version. So I see this as having a potentially practical outcome and ask: Why accept mythology?

    The Egyptians were not the only source for the Hebrews. The Hebrews borrowed their ideas, myths, and even their gods -- including Yahweh -- from all of their surroundng neighbours. All those nations believed everything they saw was directly linked to their gods, and the Hebrews' stories reflect this.

    The Hebrews were the hill-dwelling Canaanites; the poor cousins of their more prosperous Canaanites of the plains. The stories they wrote are not historical records in the sense that we understand. Writing history at that time had no precedent. Their purpose in writing -- and subsequent editing and re-editing -- was to influence their own contemporary community.

    Thank you,


  • Perry
    Perhaps this will cause some ask why they accept any version. So I see this as having a potentially practical outcome

    So your objective is to introduce as much doubt as possible so that people would reject the concept of Salvation in general? I would think that you would need to start with Judgement first and show why that concept is false.

    But, if God doesn't judge, wouldn't that make him an enabler of sin? Also, If we say that God shouldn't judge, isn't that an "ought" statement? On what basis or by what authority should God do or not do anything.

    Where does that moral judgement come from.... random chance?

  • TerryWalstrom

    Doug is an intellectual Detective. His honesty is as capacious as his appetite for historicity.
    He has a passion for syncretism.
    He collates, sifts, integrates, and forensically deconstructs all things JW to get to an 'essence.'
    Whatever that essence turns out to be will be revelatory, informative, and inevitably damning for the Watchtower organization.
    There is no greater obstacle to understanding the motivation behind pseudo-Christianity than the formal soteriology of the sects and cults promotional salesmanship vis-a-vis the historic/folkloric mainstream definitions and explanations by comparison.
    I look forward to reading what Doug has written.

  • never a jw
    never a jw

    Perry: So your objective is to introduce as much doubt as possible so that people would reject the concept of Salvation

    I thing Doug just wants to learn as much as he can and share that with as many people as possible. If the readers decide to reject the concept of salvation, then Doug unintentionally is doing a great service to humanity. It would be a step forward in the direction of maturing and leaving behind belief in fairy tales and myths.

  • Perry
    If the readers decide to reject the concept of salvation, Doug unintentionally is doing a great service to humanity

    I am sure Doug is a very fine researcher. But he as much as says that this is his intentional purpose or at least a "practical" outcome in his estimation. That is what I questioned.

    The vast majority of mankind believes in a Creator. Not wanting to make this about evolution, but millions of scientists and highly educated professionals do not believe that materialism can account for the biodiversity we observe. This does not even begin to address the necessity of life appearing from non life, the problem of irreducible complexity etc, etc, etc.

    I only bring this up to establish the fact that most people don't see the evidence to prove a self existing universe, spontaneous generation of life from non life. To them, these concepts ALSO appear like "fairy tales and myths" as you state.

    To believers in an intelligent creator, it is unimaginable that a Creator would create the possibility of evil, and not have some mechanism to deal with it. This would make him the actual foment-er of evil, its purveyor and enabler. This doesn't jive with our own PROVABLE posession of morality.

    Since we globally have certain notions on morality, right and wrong, ought and ought not etc. that are unique to humans only, then the issue of Salvation is important to humanity, because the issue of evil and judgement is important to humanity as well.

  • Crazyguy

    I just think it important to point out that all these books people think are holy are plagerized. The Book of Mormon stole some of it material from another author the Bible and a Egyptian manuscript. The Quran stole some of it stuff from the Torah some Indian and Iranian writings etc. the Bible stole its writings from Sumerian, Egypt, Babylon, Syria and Greece. So my point is if we're going to try to understand the Bible we need to look at these earlier works why they were written and why the Bible writers chose to put these verses in the Bible etc.. Keep up the good work Doug you've done a lot in the passed!

  • never a jw
    never a jw


    The origin of life? We don't know... yet. We may never now

    Morality? That's an easy one. Humans created it because it was a good set of rules to make cooperation within the group run smoothly. The morality we find in the Bible came from the neighbors of the Israelites, not an invisible entity in the sky, and today we only preserve very little of it. Christians can't bring themselves to follow all the horrible moral rules found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, just to mention the main ones.

    The biggest problem I have with Christians is their arrogance: If humans don't know something, or it's a bit controversial, therefore God exist, God is good, God saves...oh I almost forgot... It's THE GOD OF THE BIBLE. The others are not real.

    Up until 5 years ago I used to be indifferent to religious zealots. Today, after lots of research on the Bible, Judaism and Christianity, I find Christians quite annoying. Their arrogance, supported by ignorance and credulity, is the main problem

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Crazyguy, You made a very valid point when you asked me why am I pursuing this. You forced me to consider the model sitting in the rear recesses of my mind.

    My intention is to start with the earliest writings (J, E, and P) then move forwards to the neo-Babylonian era (D, DH, Jer, Eze, Second Isaiah), and so on, moving towards the present day through Paul, etc., etc. With that in mind, and with your question, I have drafted a very rough preliminary outline of the model in my mind.

    So, for you: http://www.jwstudies.com/Preliminary_conceptual_model.png

    You pointed me back to the sources of the Hebrew's sanctuary, suggesting Egyptian influences. There is merit in showing the way that the Hebrews borrowed their ideas from their neighbours, and I shall keep that in mind.

    There are so many paths I could tread, but I want to steer as simplistic and objective pathway as possible. I want to see "what" and "how", but very little of "why".

    I am hoping that the quotations I provide stimulate people to purchase these books and see what other ideas can be gained.

    There are many doubts about the origins of these writings. Apart from Paul's letters, we do not know who any of the writers were (and I am including the OT and the NT), nor do we know who the editors (redactors) were. I shall briefly touch on this.

    As with everything else I hope to include, I wish to stimulate personal research and that each person develops their own ideas, whether they agree with me or not.

    I hope that another outcome will be a recognition of the power that mythology and legend holds.


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