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6/04/2018 1:23 pm  #1


Questions about the New Testament

For those of you who consider themselves Christians, I need help with two questions asked by a Jewish friend of mine:

1) How much did Paul know about Jesus? Why does he leave out many of the things that are prominent in the Gospels?

2) Why does no other ancient writers talk about the miracles of Jesus?

I already have a few possible responses, but I thought that asking for assistance would be wise.

Thanks!

 

6/04/2018 1:52 pm  #2


Re: Questions about the New Testament

Just some quick answers:

We know from Galatians and Acts that Paul met with Peter and the other disciples and remained in contact with them in order to preserve doctrinal truth. So he most likely held the Jerusalem church (the disciples) as an authority to be looked to in cases of doctrine. After his excursion to Arabia he also went to Jerusalem to question the disciples about Jesus--I believe in Galatians he met with James and Peter for two weeks. So he probably had some first hand accounts of Jesus and his ministry.

One reason why Paul would leave out things prominent in the gospels is because he was never attempting to write an account of Christ's life. His letters are purely evangelical. Plus Paul didn't need to lecture the other Christian churches of the truths of Christ's life seeing how they were already convinced of them and were already were circulating the early forms of the gospels. However, Paul does reiterate an ancient apostolic creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. So we know he was committed to the most fundamental beliefs that Christians today regard as necessary.

I'm assuming that miracle claims of some itinerary Jewish peasant who was leading a controversial religious movement wouldn't concern many historians outside of the gospel writers. I do recall, though, that the Jewish historian Josephus did mention something along the lines of Jesus being a doer of amazing things. His more embellished passage on Jesus is disputed though many historians believe he did mention something along the lines of Jesus being a religious leader who garnered large crowds and did amazing acts.

Last edited by RomanJoe (6/04/2018 7:01 pm)

 

6/05/2018 2:25 pm  #3


Re: Questions about the New Testament

It can be helpful to remember how the two positions represent radically different conceptual paradigms. There is no "Judaeo-Christian tradition" for Jews or Noachides, anymore than a Judaeo-Zen Buddhist tradition. 

A Noachide's Response To Christianity frames the fundamental meta-differences that are often overlooked. This is why "interfaith dialogues" accomplish so little. They're starting from incompatible frameworks.

This follow-up covers a lot of ground. And this. The SHOCK of how completely unlike Torah Judaism is from Christianity doesn't go away.  

Last edited by 119 (6/06/2018 10:43 am)

 

6/05/2018 3:35 pm  #4


Re: Questions about the New Testament

@RomanJoe

Thanks for your response. I already had in mind much of what you wrote, but it assured me of my response.

@119

Just out of curiosity, how was the Tanakh (I hope that’s not offensive how i wrote it) formed? By that I mean, we’re there councils of some sort that decided which books belong?

     Thread Starter
 

6/06/2018 1:29 am  #5


Re: Questions about the New Testament

The Torah was dictated one Hebrew consonant at a time to the Prophet Moses by G-d. It's Divine origin is one of Judaism's 13 Principles. It was never canonized by human beings. Every single letter in the Torah was written by G-d and loaded with meaning, including its name, size, shape, and numerical value. Even the crowns attached to the letters in the Sacred Calligraphy and the spaces between the letters are loaded with meaning. The Torah is more like DNA than a a conventional book. It's the only Revelation written directly by G-d. (To feel the Vibe of how the Children of Israel study Torah, this can't be recommended too highly.)

The Prophets & Writings were canonized. They are only in the Bible temporarily until Moshiach comes. The Prophets were human beings who received messages from G-d and put them into their own words. None of them were greater than Moses. The Writings are a step lower than the Prophets, written under Divine inspiration (Ruach HaQodesh). Many Christians think this latter category characterizes all of the "Old Testament" when it's actually the lowest level in the TaNaKh.

The Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (The Men of The Great Assembly) "was the greatest scholarly assembly in the history of the Jewish people. Membership was composed of prophets and non-prophets: among its more prominent members were Mordecai, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi, and Shimon HaTzadik." They determined which books to include. Not all prophecies were relevant to future generations. Unlike Genesis --> Deuteronomy, human beings debated and determined the Truth and relevance of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, whether Daniel belongs with the Prophets or Writings, and whether Ecclesiastes should even make the cut ("It inclines toward skepticism.") The main criterion for inclusion was compliance with the Torah. Consequently, any interpretation of the Prophets or Writings that seems incompatible with the Torah is a false interpretation. Period. If any prophet had said the Torah will be fulfilled and replaced with a new one he would have been put to death as a false prophet. 

EDIT: I should have just pasted this:

The Torah Oral and Written (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) was given by G-d to Israel at Mt. Sinai. Of all the books of the Bible, only the Torah was written directly by G-d Himself. It was not written by any human being (not even Moses) under Divine inspiration. Moses was merely a stenographer. The five books of the Torah are therefore also the only Biblical books that were never canonized by a human authority. No canonization was ever necessary, because it was the direct revelation of G-d.

The Prophets and Hagiographa, however, were written by men (under Divine inspiration) and had to be canonized by competent Torah authority. The Nevi'im (Prophets) were written under the spirit of Prophecy (Nevi'ah), which is a step below the direct Divine authorship of the Torah. The Ketuvim (Hagiographa) were written under Ruach HaQodesh (the Holy Spirit, Divine inspiration) which is a step lower still. So as the Bible "progresses" the level of inspiration does not increase, but rather decreases. This is so because the first Revelation--the Torah--is simultaneously the ultimate, definitive Revelation. This goes contrary to the notion of progressive revelation held by other religions, but other religions must adopt progressive revelation in order to make the Torah temporary or low-level revelation.

Who was the authority that canonized the Na"KH (Prophets and Hagiographa)? The 'Anshei-HaKenesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly). They had no authority to pass judgment on the Torah but rather debated on which of the writings not only were the work of Divine inspiration, but which would be necessary to comfort Israel throughout its Exile until its final regathering. There were many, many prophets and prophecies which were written under the Spirit of Prophecy but were useful only for their own time. The books that are in the "old testament" are there because these ancient Jewish Sages ruled that they were inspired and carried a multigenerational message. And there were arguments about almost every book (I believe the only one over which there was no argument was 'Ekhah, Lamentations). The reason the Books of the Maccabbees are not included in the TaNa"KH (even though they tell the story of the institution of the festival of Chanukkah) is that the Sages had already closed the canon. And in canonizing these books what was their rule and guide? The Torah. The books written by G-d Himself were the supreme and ultimate rule by which to judge all other scripture (which illustrates its supreme authority over all later scriptures or writings claiming to be scripture). Any writing that was contrary to the Torah would never have been canonized.

While it is true that one method of testing the prophets is whether or not their predictions come true, I cannot stress enough that this is not the foundation on which Revelation rests. Two very important points:

1) All prophecy, even by true Prophets, contains an element of contingency. G-d always has the option of "repenting" and withholding a promished chastisement (or blessing) depending on how the prophecy is received. Jonah's prediction that Nineveh would be overthrown in forty days (which G-d didn't do because the Ninevites repented) is one example.

2) False prophets may very well make predictions that come true--even though this would seem to supernaturally confirm their authority. This is spelled out very clearly in Parashat Re'eh (Deuteronomy 13). There it explicitly states that "if a prophet or dreamer of dreams arises from your midst and gives you a sign or wonder ['ot; mofet]; and the sign or wonder comes to pass of which he spoke to you saying 'come and let us walk after other 'gxds' whom you have not known and follow them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams because HaShem your G-d is testing you to know whether you truly love HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul." The very next verse states "after HaShem your G-d you will walk and Him shall you fear, and his commandments shall you keep, to His Voice you will hearken, Him you will serve, and to Him you shall cling."

Here we have a case of a genuine "prophet" who gives "signs and wonders," the "signs and wonders" actually come to pass, and this is a genuine supernatural phenomenon brought about by G-d Himself. And how are the people to react? They are to completely ignore the prophet and his supernatural phenomena and keep following the Torah. I don't know how much more plainly this could be laid out. This is a commandment in the Torah by which each and every prophecy, sign, and miracle must be judged, even if they come to pass. In fact, their coming to pass is the work of G-d Himself to test His people, and His commandment is that they ignore this prophet and his genuine supernatural signs and wonders and stick with the Torah. (This post covers a lot)  

 

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