Quick question for jews…
Posted: 30 January 2007 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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do jews believe in an after-life?

thank you, was just curious.  smile

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Posted: 30 January 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“huskerjokerblitz”]do jews believe in an after-life?

thank you, was just curious.  smile

As a general matter, no.  Obviously Judaism, like other religions is not monolithic and you’ll definitely find varying views, but generally speaking, Judaism is overwhelmingly concerned with the here and now and leading a successful and fulfilling life.

We don’t have a heaven and hell.  We’re not a salvationist religion.  We don’t think anyone needs to be Jewish.

The english term usually used is “the world to come” which refers to the coming of the messiah.  Jewish eschatology (the theology of the end of times), like Christianity and Shia Islam (but not Sunni) has a messianic idea.  But it’s radically different from the Christian idea.  There are at least two key differences.  First, the messiah is/will be a mere mortal.  Unlike Christian views about Jesus Christ, Jews do not believe the messiah will either be part of or partake of the divine.  (That btw is why we don’t “believe” in Jesus.  It would be idolatry.  It is the sin of “shittuf”:  association of things with God).  Second, while there’s some hoaky stuff out there in the Jewish tradition, there’s nothing quite like the ideas found in the Christian Bible in the Book of Revelation about a preceding war, nor is there any theology analogous to the ideas of the rapture and the tribulation, where only an elect few are “saved”.  When the messiah comes, he’s supposed to usher in a 1000 years of peace.

Cheers

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Posted: 30 January 2007 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thanks, Publius.  So did the Christians get the messiah concept wrong when they gave Jesus divinty?  That sort of blows their whole religion out of the water.  Can you support your explanations of the messiah?

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Posted: 03 April 2007 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“Skipshot”]Thanks, Publius.  So did the Christians get the messiah concept wrong when they gave Jesus divinty?  That sort of blows their whole religion out of the water.  Can you support your explanations of the messiah?

Here is what I think happened.  Christianity is essentially a Jewish Mystery cult.  The mysteries came out of Egypt and then spread around the Mediterranean region.  The mysteries would take a minor deity from the pantheon of each culture, and endow it with the character of the Mythic Hero of antiquity—like Dionysus in Greece.  The liberal Jews of the first century CE were exposed to the mysteries.  They fashioned their own, Jewish, version of the mysteries.  But Judaism, being monotheistic, does not have minor deities.  So what the founders of Christianity did was take the figure of the Messiah, the Jewish Hero, and then endowed it with the attributes of the Mythic Hero of the mysteries—born of a virgin, fathered by a god, raised the dead, healed the sick, crucified, resurrected, ascended, etc… 

The idea that the messiah was divine is, of course, very un-Jewish.  It comes straight out of the mysteries, where the central deity was a demigod, the son of a god and an earthly mother, a virgin. 

Furthermore, I think there is a psychological reason as to why the Christian messiah is not a mere mortal.  The Jewish-Roman War of 66-70 CE was a catastrophic event in Jewish history.  A million Jews were killed and 100,000 were sold into slavery.  The Temple was destroyed.  The business of “I’ll take care of you if you worship me” was clearly not working.  God did not send his liberator, the messiah, to save his children, not even at the moment when the Jews needed him the most!  So, the founders of the Christian religion decided that the messiah was not just some warrior who would liberate the Jews from oppression, but a *spiritual* savior, who was going to liberate ALL people from their eternal oppressor—the Devil.  Matters on earth were clearly not going well, what with the Jewish nation being totally shattered by the war.  So God’s justice would reign in the afterlife!

So, it is not as if the Christians got the concept of the messiah wrong.  This was not a misunderstanding.  It was a deliberate alteration.  They deliberately fashioned the Jewish messiah to conform to the Archetype of the Mythic Hero.  Rather, they needed a Jewish character to take on the role of the Mythic Hero at the center of this new Jewish version of the Mysteries, and they decided to use the character of the Messiah, the liberator, whose job now was to liberate mankind from sin.

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Posted: 07 April 2007 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“Skipshot”]Thanks, Publius.  So did the Christians get the messiah concept wrong when they gave Jesus divinty?  That sort of blows their whole religion out of the water.  Can you support your explanations of the messiah?

Such a good question. YES THEY DID. Exactly what happened. Christianity is a religion that got it completely wrong from the get go. But it is now far too late in human history to go backwards. Here we are. Christmas is not really Christmas, Easter is not really Easter. You got that right. But too late now. And most modern Jews don’t know this either.

The Middle East gave us three very very wrong religious cults, and we are now paying the price. Maybe forever. Or as long as forever is on this rock…

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Posted: 10 April 2007 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“taiwan”]

The Middle East gave us three very very wrong religious cults, and we are now paying the price. Maybe forever. Or as long as forever is on this rock…

Forever is a long time.

Look at how fast the power of christianity spread in its first 400 years and much power the Diocese of Rome has lost in the last 400 years. Then throw all of that out the window… because the last 10-15 years have seen a revolution in the exchange of information that will change society faster than you can imagine and in ways we’ll never be able to predict.

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Posted: 12 April 2007 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Furthermore, I think there is a psychological reason as to why the Christian messiah is not a mere mortal. The Jewish-Roman War of 66-70 CE was a catastrophic event in Jewish history. A million Jews were killed and 100,000 were sold into slavery. The Temple was destroyed. The business of “I’ll take care of you if you worship me” was clearly not working.

I think this is the clue to understanding the “why” in which the gospels were born. I would argue that the Jesus of Mark and Matthew was Jewish or reformed, with all the miracle embellishments.  Many of the statements that come from the mouth of Jesus are not about his divinity as much as his relationship to God ( a subtle, but large difference).  Paul’s Christ was superimposed on the story of the gospels to make Jesus and the Divine Son the same…. essentially you have a collision of two movements.  The kingdom of god movement (Jesus) and the Pauline (Christ) movement.

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Posted: 11 June 2007 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“nomad”]

Furthermore, I think there is a psychological reason as to why the Christian messiah is not a mere mortal. The Jewish-Roman War of 66-70 CE was a catastrophic event in Jewish history. A million Jews were killed and 100,000 were sold into slavery. The Temple was destroyed. The business of “I’ll take care of you if you worship me” was clearly not working.

I think this is the clue to understanding the “why” in which the gospels were born. I would argue that the Jesus of Mark and Matthew was Jewish or reformed, with all the miracle embellishments.  Many of the statements that come from the mouth of Jesus are not about his divinity as much as his relationship to God ( a subtle, but large difference).  Paul’s Christ was superimposed on the story of the gospels to make Jesus and the Divine Son the same…. essentially you have a collision of two movements.  The kingdom of god movement (Jesus) and the Pauline (Christ) movement.

Oh, it’s sounds like you have been reading The Birth of Christianity by Joel Carmichael.  Have you, Nomad?  The author talks about the “Jesists”, the original followers of Jesus, the man who led the Kingdom of God political (politico-religious) movement. 

I honestly cannot make up my mind on what happened.  Sometimes I think Jesus was tken straight out of the mysteries, made Jewish by Paul, and then historicied in the gospels, and more and more with each consequtive gospel.  Sometimes I think Jesus was a real man whose execution was mythologized and made to fit the story of the Hellenic hero, which itself was awkwardly made to fit the concept of the Jewish messiah.

So, anyway, my idea is that after the First Revolt, it was clear that God was not helping the Jews much.  The messiah, a human military leader who would liberate the Jews—did not come.  The Romans got away with everything and the Jews were unamiguously defeated.  Justice was not served (from the point of view of the defeated Jews).  And this is when the idea that justice would be achieved AFTER life became especially attractive, especially in a Hellenized region where cults with belief in the afterlife were all over the place.  Tarsus, Paul’s birthplace, was a major center of the mystery cult of Mithraism.  So, anyway, I envision the Jews thinking to themselves, “Well, God did not help us against the Romans.  But he has not abandoned us.  He will make it all right in the after life, when the wicked unbelievers and evildoers will be punished and we will be in heaven forever”.

And there you have it.

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