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Archive for the ‘Divine Intermediaries’ Category

I Have Risen!

Posted by NT Wrong on October 23, 2008

Yes, after three days and three nights* fighting Evil in the depths of Hades, I have arisen. I am pleased to announce that I have defeated Sin and Death and killed the Devil outright (I mean to say, why piss around with holding him captive for thousands of years, when I have the power to kill him now and end all the Evil and Suffering in the world?).

Now things will be much better here on Earth. Anybody who believes My Word (that there will be no more Evil and no more Death on Earth) gets eternal life! Just believe that all Evil and Death has ended. That’s all you have to do. Just believe it!! Do you have faith in what might otherwise appear to be a patently ridiculous proposition? Of course you do!

In order to confirm your faith (and salvation), please complete this quick poll:

* the three days and three nights were calculated using Hades Time, which — as every chthonic descender knows — is much quicker than Earth Time. You see, everything in My Word may be completely harmonized if you have enough faith and ingenuity.

Posted in Death, Divine Intermediaries, Evil, Faith | 1 Comment »

April DeConick answers my question: Early Jewish and Christian polytheism?

Posted by NT Wrong on October 15, 2008

The prolific and discerning April DeConick has kindly provided an answer to my question concerning the nature of Jewish and Christian belief in the divine in the early centuries of the Common Era.

“My point is this. Early Judaism and Christianity were not monotheistic religions, but were at best monolatrous (=worshiped one god but allowed for the existence of other gods). It was because of this that Christianity was able to be born out of Judaism as a Jewish expression of a new form of Yahwehism, and Gnosticism could become the fancy of Jewish intellectuals living in first-century Alexandria.”
– April DeConick, ‘Early Jewish and Christian polytheism?’

Have a read of her whole response here. I’m largely in agreement with her. But I like the distinctive way she has expressed it.

Is this how you have been led to understand early Jewish and Christian religions?

Posted in Divine Intermediaries, Early Christian literature, Early Jewish literature, God, Jesus & Christ | Comments Off on April DeConick answers my question: Early Jewish and Christian polytheism?

Similitudes – Their Binitarian Nature – Visions and Cultural Context – Steven Richard Scott

Posted by NT Wrong on October 9, 2008

The Book of Similitudes, now found in 1 Enoch 37-71, was written in ca. 20 B.C. Various contributors to Boccaccini’s Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man (2007) provide about half a dozen reasons for this dating. This makes the work a very important one for understanding the influences on the early Jesus Movement, including Jesus’ self-understanding, and his followers’ understandings of Jesus.

Steven Richard Scott has written a good article entitled ‘The Binitarian Nature of the Book of Similitudes’ in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha (18: 55-78). He looks at the distinction made between the Lord of Spirits and the Name of the Lord of Spirits, and concludes that the Similitudes evidence binitarian — not monotheistic — worship of God. God is worshipped in two different persons, in Judaism, before Christianity. Moreover, the ‘other power in Heaven’ is to be identified with the Son of Man or Chosen One — the very figure that Jesus self-identifies with in the canonical Gospels.

The article is well worth reading. But I just want to draw attention to one comment he makes which, I think, is quite correct. In discussing the prominent role of visionary experiences of the heavenly exalted Jesus for his worship alongside the Most High God, Scott notes that it is not enough for there to be visions of Jesus alone. Visions don’t come out of nowhere. Visions come from people’s heads. And in order for the information to be in those heads, they must have already been a part of the person’s cultural beliefs. What is needed in order to make the argument of the origin of Jesus’ worship as God as derived from visions is both (1) proof of the belief in a second power in heaven, and (2) proof of visions. And in fact, there is significant proof for both.

“Hurtado is correct in pointing to the extensive literature on mystics and how their visions and experience lead to changes within religions, and the formation of new religions… However, the change is too great to be accounted for primarily by mystical experience, because of [the] inherently contextual nature of mystical experiences. The study of mystical experiences shows that almost all the content of mystical experience can be explained by the religious tradition that the mystic belongs to: by and large, the mystic experiences what his tradition says she or he should experience.”
– Steven Richard Scott, ‘The Binitarian Nature of the Book of Similitudes’ Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 18 (2008): 55-78, 58.

And did I note his firm disagreement with Crossley (2005)?

Posted in Apocalyptic, Divine Intermediaries, Early Jewish literature, Gospels, Jesus & Christ, Judeo-Christian Practices | 1 Comment »

The Beer of Death: Samael’s Ale

Posted by NT Wrong on September 28, 2008

From June 2008, Avery Brewing, of Boulder Colorado, have offered a strong ale by the name of “Samael’s Ale”. Samael is the angel of death in early Judaism, the Demiurge according to the Gnostic Apocryphon of John, and one of the seven archangels according to Pope Gregory the Great (ca. AD 540 – 604). At 14.5% alcohol, Samael’s Ale may well live up to its name.

Samael’s Ale is one of the ales in Avery Brewing’s ‘Demons of Ale’ series, which also includes ‘The Beast’ and ‘Mephistopheles’ Stout’.

Posted in Divine Intermediaries, Early Christian literature, Early Jewish literature | 2 Comments »