Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NO, THIS WAY. . . .

How the Jews came to be the fall guys or here are some more paragraphs from the book pictured below:

Modern scholars are unanimous in concurring that the Gospels do not date from Jesus' lifetime. For the most part they date from the period between the two major revolts in Judaea—66 to 74 and 132 to l35—although they are almost certainly based on earlier accounts. 
These earlier accounts may have included written documents since lost—for there was a wholesale destruction of records in the wake of the first rebellion. But there would certainly have been oral traditions as well. Some of these were undoubtedly grossly exaggerated and/or distorted, received and transmitted at second, third or fourth hand. Others, however, may have derived from individuals who were alive in Jesus' lifetime and may even have known him personally. A young man at the time of the Crucifixion might well have 
been alive when the Gospels were composed [doubtful].

The earliest of the Gospels is generally considered to be Mark's, composed sometime during the revolt of 66-74 or shortly thereafter—except for its treatment of the Resurrection, which is a later and spurious addition. Although not himself one of Jesus' original disciples, Mark seems to have come from Jerusalem. He seems to have been a companion of Saint Paul, and his Gospel bears an unmistakable stamp of Pauline thought. But if Mark was a native of Jerusalem, his Gospel—as Clement of Alexandria states—was composed in Rome and addressed to a Greco-Roman audience. This in itself explains a great deal. At the time that Mark's Gospel was composed, Judaea was, or had recently been, in open revolt, and thousands of Jews were being crucified for rebellion against the Roman regime. If Mark wished his Gospel to survive and impress itself on a Roman audience, he could not possibly present Jesus as anti-Roman. Indeed, he could not feasibly present Jesus as politically oriented at all. In order to ensure the survival of his message he would have been obliged to exonerate the Romans of all guilt for Jesus' death—to whitewash the existing and entrenched regime and blame
 the death of the Messiah on certain Jews. This device was adopted, not
 only by the authors of the other Gospels, but by the early Christian Church as well. Without such a device neither Gospels nor Church 
would have survived.

The Gospel of Luke is dated by scholars at around A.D, 80. Luke 
himself appears to have been a Greek doctor who composed his 
work for a high-ranking Roman official at Caesarea, the Roman 
capital of Palestine. For Luke, too, therefore, it would have been necessary to placate and appease the Romans and transfer the blame
 elsewhere. [colors mine] By the time the Gospel of Matthew was composed—approximately A.D. 85—such a transference seems to have been 
accepted as an established fact and gone unquestioned. More than
 half of Matthew's Gospel, in fact, is derived directly from Mark's, 
although it was composed originally in Greek and reflects specifically Greek characteristics. The author seems to have been a Jew, 
quite possibly a refugee from Palestine. He is not to be confused 
with the disciple named Matthew, who would have lived much 
earlier and would probably have known only Aramaic.

The Gospels of Mark, Luke, and Matthew are known collectively 
as the Synoptic Gospels, implying that they see "eye to eye" or
" with one eye"—which, of course, they do not [colors mine]. Nevertheless, there 
is enough overlap between them to suggest that they derived from a 
single common source—either an oral tradition or some other document subsequently lost. This distinguishes them from the Gospel of 
John, which betrays significantly different origins.

Nothing whatever is known about the author of the Fourth Gospel. Indeed there is no reason to assume his name was John. Except for
 John the Baptist, the name John is mentioned at no point in the 
Gospel itself, and its attribution to a man called John is generally 
accepted as later tradition. The Fourth Gospel is the latest of those in 
the New Testament—composed around A.D. 100 in the vicinity of the Greek city of Ephesus. It displays a number of quite distinctive features. There is no Nativity scene, for example, no description whatever of Jesus' birth, and the opening is almost Gnostic in character. The text is of a decidedly more mystical nature than the other Gospels, and the content differs as well. The other Gospels, for instance, concentrate primarily on Jesus' activities in the northern province of Galilee and reflect what appears to be only a second- or third-hand knowledge of events to the south in Judaea and Jerusalem—including the Crucifixion. The Fourth Gospel, in contrast, says relatively little about Galilee. It dwells exhaustively on the events in Judaea and Jerusalem that concluded Jesus' career, and its account of the Crucifixion may well rest ultimately on some first-hand eyewitness testimony. It also contains a number of episodes and incidents that do not figure in the other Gospels at all—the wedding at Cana, the roles of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, and the raising of Lazarus (although the last of these was once included in Mark's Gospel). On the basis of such factors modern scholars have suggested that the Gospel of John, despite its late composition, may well be the most reliable and historically accurate of the four. More than the other Gospels it seems to draw upon traditions current among contemporaries of Jesus, as well as other 
material unavailable to Mark, Luke, and Matthew. One modern researcher points out that it reflects an apparently first-hand topographical knowledge of Jerusalem prior to the revolt of A.D. 66. The same author concludes, "'Behind the Fourth Gospel lies an ancient 
tradition independent of the other Gospels.” This is not an isolated opinion. In fact, it is the most prevalent in modern biblical scholarship. According to another writer, "The Gospel of John, though not adhering to the Markian chronological framework and being much later in date, appears to know a tradition concerning Jesus that must be primitive and authentic."

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