Evan posts to my FB: “Jesus sort of wrote his own commentary on the Torah. Do you agree?”
Luke: “I don’t agree with anything Jesus said that was new. Anything he said that was true, was not new.”
Evan: “That’s absolutely correct. Him saying to do mitzvot in secret is nothing new. So how do you see him? I see him as the Gentile Messiah.”
Luke: “I see him as a carpenter from Nazareth. He has no religious significance to me. I figure he was a Pharisee and an Orthodox Jew and would be aghast to find out that the goyim worshiped him as g-d and founded a new religion on him.”
Evan: “It’s clear he’s not G-d. He says himself “I am going to the Father who is Greater Than I.” But Given how the world has embraced monothesim because of his actions, I see him as a Messiah to the Gentiles. As for being a Pharisee, he hated the Pharisees, so I don’t know about that. Do you mean a rebel Pharisee?”
Luke: “He was a rebel in some things. I agree with the analysis of Hyam Maccoby. I don’t know about messiah to the goyim, Judaism has no such category and neither do I. Christianity has more in common with Hellenic paganism than with Judaism.”
Evan: “I am Jewish, but I search for G-d in all religions, and hope to find him there. All I know is, when Elijah and Moshiach ben Dovid comes, we will have all the answers!”
Greg Leake emails: Hi Luke,
Oddly enough, Evan’s conjecture about Jesus as a messiah to Gentiles (you’ll excuse me if I reject the word ‘goyim’ — while I would insist that Jews have the right to define themselves, I also demand the right to define myself, and as Goyim is somewhat perjoritive, I think Gentile serves as well.) is not too far away from Protestant theology.
Quoting from A Handbook of Theological Terms by Van R. Harvey:
Protestant principle … a name for a universal principle that while embodied in the Protestant Reformation, is effective in all periods of history and is implicit in all great religions. The Protestant Principle may be negatively expressed as the protest against any absolute claim made for a finite reality, whether it be church, a book, a symbol, or a person, or an event. Positively it may be expressed as a confession that grace is not bound to any finite form, that God is the inexhaustible power and all ground of being, and that the truest faith is just one which has an element of self-negation in it because it points beyond itself to that which is really ultimate. It is the embodiment of this Protestant Principle that makes the cross the center of true Christian faith, Tillich argues, for Jesus is the Christ just because he “sacrificed himself as Jesus to himself as the Christ,” because he did not draw men to himself, but pointed men beyond himself to God.”
My view is that the idea of the messianic role as it is considered in Judaism may not apply to Jesus bin Joseph. However, I also think that this does not diminish his teaching and subsequent religion on the world stage.
You know, Fra Bede Griffiths was a very famous Benedictine monk who studied in India for 37 years. He eventually came to the conclusion that Christianity shared more with some Eastern exponents of religion than with Judaism. The reason simply being that there a tradition existed that allowed one to see important religious figures from the point of view of higher states of consciousness. And if this were in fact the case, then Jesus bin Joseph would have been one of these extraordinary figures that come along in history, whose vision and comprehension of divinity is extraordinary in a very profound way.
I am not a theologian, although I have been exposed to a dab of theology here and there, and I do not feel competitive about religions. I regard many of the world’s great religions as various ways of trying to understand, relate, and participate with the truth. And to the best of my experience, almost every world religion has something of value to add to the conversation.
Luke says: Where do you get the idea that “goyim” is pejorative? There is no basis for that. Israel is called a “goy kadosh” in the Bible, aka a holy people.