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Overview of Christian Scriptures: Judaism and Christianity go separate ways

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Major points:

  1. Shift of power from Temple priesthood to Rabbis.
  2. Oral traditions in the Jesus movement before the revolt, Gospel writing after the revolt.
  3. Q (“Quelle” or source): pre-revolt, apocalyptic, compilation of complex sayings of Jesus.
  4. Gospel of Mark: post-revolt, Greek speaking audience; multiple sources; persecuted community; mysterious, messianic secret; dark but hopeful.
  5. Gospel of Matthew: 15 years after Mark. Jewish audience, reflects broken relationship between Jewish Christians and Pharisees.
  6. Gospel of Luke: Powerful, anointed Jesus; Greek audience, reflects animosity with Judaism. Distance from Judaism, toward Roman agenda. Two-part story.
  7. Tension with Judaism reaches breaking point: development of theology abhorrent to Jews (Jesus as Word of God, Jesus as passover sacrifice, drinking blood of Jesus); Jesus followers expelled from Synagogue.
  8. Gospel of John: Spiritual gospel comforting ostracized Christians; anti-Semitic, “Jews killed Jesus”.
  9. Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136) and complete separation of Judaism and Christianity.

Learning objectives covered:

For each of the four canonical Gospels, describe the view of Jesus the writer presents.

  • Gospel of Mark: 8:35 to 17:27. A mysterious messiah, secretive and ambiguous.
  • Gospel of Matthew: 21.32 to 28:00. An extension of Abraham.
  • Gospel of Luke: 29:47 to 37:15. A powerful, anointed messiah.
  • Gospel of John: 37:20 to 42:20. A messiah fully in control.

Examine the emergence of the Christian church as an organization separate from Judaism. The emergence can be seen in the discussions of the the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. From the discussion of Matthew's Gospel we learn of the "broken relationship" between Jewish Christians and the Pharisees. This is taken further in the discussion of Luke's Gospel which reflects "animosity" among Christians toward Judaism. The final breaking point is discussed in depth about John's Gospel which has anti-Semitic, hateful language about the Jews. The final separation can be placed at the point where the Christians refused to support the second revolt from 132-136.

Although it is not listed in the learning objectives, the question of how scripture should be interpreted is covered in the Marcus Borg book and several handouts. This topic is covered in the video from 28:10 to 29:42.

Major concepts:

Source Criticism of the Bible. Two-source hypothesis. Matthew and Luke primarily draw from two sources: Mark and Q.

Metaphorical/Metaphysical Bible interpretation. What is a Gospel? Literal or symbolic?

Church-sect theory. Why being a sect is always an unstable condition. Shift from Jewish concerns to Graeco-roman concerns. Separation of Jesus movement from being a Jewish sect to an independent Christian religion.