Quotable reflection

I wonder how many Christians would still count themselves as Christian if they really dove into the history of their belief system and its evolution. Mark D. Roberts manages it and still provides fascinating information on the early days of Christianity and how Jesus went from being an inspiring man to a figure of divinity.

The earliest Christians were, after all, monotheistic Jews who didn’t go around divinizing people. But as the Christian movement spread into the Roman Empire, it encountered a very different ethos and was transformed by that ethos. In the Greco-Roman world, unlike in the Jewish world, the line between humanity and divinity was frequently crossed, not only by mythological heroes like Hercules, but also by flesh-and-blood human beings like the Roman Caesars. So it was only natural that formerly pagan Christians, competing for religious allegiance against a slew of Greco-Roman cults, would divinize Jesus. Therefore, the one who was once only an inspired human redeemer and teacher became the One who was regarded as divine.

He also makes the point in there that it’s very hard to create a decent look backwards at that time of the world because there just isn’t enough written information to refer to beyond what was kept for the bible itself. Even the document fondly referred to as Q that supposedly holds key information doesn’t exist. It’s a scholarly invention based on wobbly assumptions about what document Matthew and Luke might have used to build their gospels and somehow work back from their work to recreate the “original.” And still they don’t agree with what could have been in it. If it existed at all.

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