Friday, August 18, 2006

Formation (part 1)

The usual (non-scholarly Christian) conception of formative Christianity is that you have this monolithic ancient Judaism until after the second temple was built, then in the 'intertestamental period' the once 'faithful,' or nearly faithful, people of god digress into a lumpy mass of legalism, lifting the Torah up in such a manner as to replace the god of the Torah. Out of this mess the Jesus movement started, and Christianity was born, and is seen as getting back to 'true' religion, with the focus back upon god.

The more complex conception of formative Christianity recognizes that even the texts that make up the Hebrew Scriptures are not monolithic and thus contain various groups competing and perhaps with differing ideologies. The Second Temple Period only differs in fact that we have an actual collection of diverse texts, and perhaps evidence of more 'sects' which seem to be competing to be recognized as the true people of god. The Jesus movement arises from this context and is best described as a 'sect' within Judaism seeking to reform the separate groups into accepting their ideology. As the Jesus movement gained in acceptance, at some point in its history (this is the debated aspect) there was a 'parting of the ways' between Judaism(s) and between Christianity. Much of the scholarly debate focuses upon when this split or fissure happened.

In this model Ancient Judaism birthed Christianity (along with what would come to be known as Rabbinical Judaism). And graphically we can view this either as a family tree of sorts or as a vend diagram. While this conception is much more plausible then the popular one I described at first it does have its problems...

1 comment:

Sean Dietrich said...

I love your blog,
I just did an interview with Duane Pederson from the 70's Jesus Movement on our podcast. It was my favorite podcast we have done so far. He had so many cool things to say! He is still a Jesus Freak! That is all I want to be!

"All my music is free."