Sunday, March 8, 2015

Why Carrier Misreads Where Jesus was Found in the OT (and Why Those Who Attack Him Do Not Defeat the Pre-Existence of a Supernatural Jesus)

When Joseph arrived at Shechem, Eesh found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?” [Genesis 37:15 - 16]
He went, but he would just as soon not find his brothers. The Torah says an eesh found him wandering around. The Torah says an eesh found him wandering around. The word eesh means person. Whenever a person is mentioned without a name, the rabbis say the eesh is an angel. [Mitchell Chefitz The Thirty Third Hour p. 56]

Eesh. The Samaritan Sages in their tradition always consider the "man" to be an angel [Benny Tsedaka, The Israelite Samaritan Pentateuch Commentary on Genesis 37:15 p. 88]

"And a little afterwards the true man will find you wandering in the Way,"[Gen 37:15 the actual LXX reading known to Philo Alexandria in Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat 10]

Seeing therefore that Joseph has wholly entered into the hollow valleys of the body and of the outward senses, he invites him to come forth out of his holes, and to bring forward the free air of perseverance, going as a pupil to those who were formerly practisers of it themselves, and who are now become teachers of it; but he who appears to himself to have made progress in this, is found to be in error; "For a man," says the holy scripture, "found him wandering in the Plain," [Gen 37:15] showing that it is not labour by itself, intrinsically considered, but labour with skill, that is good. [Quod deterius 17]

But some say that the proper name of the man who found him wandering in the plain is not mentioned, and they themselves are in some degree mistaken here, because they are unable clearly to discover the true way of this business, for if they had not been mutilated as to the eye of the soul, they would have known that of one who is truly a man, the most proper, and appropriate, and felicitous name is this very name of man, being the most appropriate appelation of a well regulated and rational mind. This man, dwelling in the soul of each individual, is found at one time to be a ruler and monarch, and at another time to be a judge and umpire of the contest which take place in life. At times also he takes the place of a witness and accuser, and without being seen he corrects us from within, not suffering us to open our mouths, but taking up, and restraining, and birdling, with the reins of conscience the self-satisfied and restive course of the tongue. [Quod deterius 19 - 23]

If only Carrier actually knew where Philo ACTUALLY references Jesus. If only Carrier understood Hebrew. If only Carrier knew Jewish tradition. If only the world actually asked questions to find real answers rather than affirm their inherited presuppositions this whole 'mythicist' debate would have ended a long time ago. The actual person of 'Jesus' (always pronounced Eesu in ecclesiastical Greek) would have been recognized a long time ago.

Already the fact that the Jews, Philo and Samaritans agree on Eesh being an angel points to a pre-Christian origin for the understanding.  But do most scholars even know how Greeks pronounce Jesus's name?  Does Carrier? Do many of them notice that the earliest historical Christian exegete (sorry Clement of Rome does not count) Justin of Neapolis explicitly identifies Jesus as Eesh? And what of Ephrem's reports about Marcion? And Tertullian of Apelles? Alas, most of scholarship is utterly narcissistic.

It's such a wasteland in this field, all skill but no actual ability for the most part.  Some take pride in defeating Doherty or Carrier and think they have 'proved' the existence of a mortal Jesus.  But it is silly.  Have they been to a Catholic service?  Whom do they think is the 'man' Jesus who improves those gathered in the Church?  A mortal man who was created through an ordinary human birth?  This is supposed to be Paul's 'Jesus'?  Really?  Have they read what European scholars like Geurt Hendrik van Kooten have concluded about the anthropology of Paul? Of course not they just read the two-dimensional scholarship of Anglo-American scholars in books that never say anything new or interesting but are nevertheless produced ad nauseum. Let's hear what a non-English speaker has to say on the subject of Paul's 'man' Jesus:

And Seth had a son, and he called his name Enos: he hoped to call on the name of the Lord God.(Gen 4.25-26 LXX) It is because of this characterization of Enos as the first man who 'hoped to call on the name of the Lord God', that Philo regards him as (an example of) the true man: For what could be found more in keeping with one who is truly a man (anthrwpw gar tw ge pros alethian) than a hope and expectation of obtaining good things from the only bountiful God? This is, to tell the truth, men's only birth in the strict sense, since those who do not set their hope on God have no part in a rational nature (Philo Quod Deterius 127)
Again, the true man is closely connected with rational nature (because, as we have seen in previous passages, the true man is identical with the mind), but now also identified with a specific figure, that of Enos, because of his specific qualities. In another treatise, Philo returns to this figure and repeats that 'Moses called the first lover of hope "man'" Enos now also appears to represent all humankind because, according to Philo, 'Enos' is the Chaldean name for 'man' (Philo, De Abrahamo 7-8). This passage also shows that Philo is familiar with the imagery of the man who comprises a beast, a lion and a man within from Plato's Republic (IX 588b-589d): Philo contrasts Enos, the true man, with an anthrwpoeides therion, a beast in human shape (De Abrahamo 8). Philo's reference to the true man in this context seems to be an allusion to Plato's notion of the inner man. Commenting on the figure of Enos mentioned in Gen 4.25-26 LXX, Philo believes this passage continues with Gen 5.1 which reads: "this is the genesis of men" Aute he biblos genesews anthrwpwn. hilo understands this genesis as the genesis of the true man. Although this line is actually the introduction to a new section, Philo connects it with the preceding passage on Enos, and concludes:
He [i.e. Moses] did well, too, in speaking of the coming into being of the true man [alethian antrwpou] (Philo, De Abrahamo 1 1) Interestingly, this seems to imply that Philo believes that man can develop into a true man if, following the example of Enos, he fully employs his rational nature, sets his hope on God, and expects to receive from Him good things (cf. Philo, Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat 138). This is, as Philo states in Quod detenus, 'men's only birth in the strict sense. For this reason, the book of Genesis is actually about the birth of the true man. Philo not only identifies the true man with Enos, the symbolic representative of the human race, but also with the Israelites in general. According to Philo, out of the whole human race He chose as of special merit and judged worthy of preeminence over all, those who are in a true sense men, and called them to the service of Himself [I have neglected to recopy the Greek because only a fucking moron can't get the point he is trying to make]
Remarkably, all Israelites, as a chosen race, represent the 'true men'. Anthropologically speaking, 'the true man' is the mind. This also shines through in the identification of the true man with Enos, as this name symbolizes all of humankind. Yet in a very concrete way, 'the true man' is also represented by the Jewish race, or, as we saw in De somniis 1.21 5, by the Jewish (high) priest in the Jerusalem temple. All these passages show clearly that Plato's notion of the true inner man was known to Philo, and that he reflected upon it quite extensively and tried to read it back into Moses's Pentateuch. This is immediately relevant to our study of the notion of inner man in Paul because if Philo could be acquainted with the Platonic notion of the inner man in the 1 st cent. AD, it is very likely that Paul would have known it, too. In the next section I shall argue that Paul's use of the notion of the inner man is indeed philosophical. Paul's use of this term in 2 Cor 4.16 already conveys this impression, as the term is applied in a philosophical, anti-sophistic context, as we have seen in chapter 6. This impression will be further confirmed with regard to its occurrence in Rom 7.22. To this end, I shall also draw a comparison between Paul and Plotinus. [Geurt Hendrik van Kooten Paul's Anthropology in Context p. 369 - 370]
Can the chosen opponents of Carrier recognize that the fact that they have defeated his ridiculous notions of mythicism does not mean that they have proven that Paul really believed that Jesus was a mortal human being? Is that possible? Or it is enough for them to victimize the hopelessly inept and feel pride in their victory? I think that for many this is 'good scholarship.' I however have always been interested in seeking out only the truth and the truth is quite clearly, that Paul's man is the Jewish/Samaritan Eesh. But who is going to champion the truth? I am after all not a scholar. I am only one who knows.

But what explains what Christianity really is?  Why do these 'historical Jesus' clods feel it is better model to imagine that all that we know Christianity to be had a two stage development - i.e. that the mysteries and liturgy were a 'secondary development' developed after a 'historical Jesus' - a mortal man - established a worthless community that quickly disappeared from the face of the earth?  Why is this 'historical man' even necessary know that we know that Jews and Samaritans long before Christianity venerated a 'stranger' man - the 'true man' of Philo's Alexandrian community - who's 'job' throughout the Pentateuch was to raise humanity into recreations of his perfection?  How can they argue that Paul believed in a 'historical man' or 'actual man' when Judaism was centrally focused on the historical existence of God's man - i.e. his man Eeshu?  

But what's the point ...

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