Talk:Cultural and historical background of Jesus/Archive 3

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Archive created for Talk:Cultural and historical background of Jesus - Amgine 00:14, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)


FT2's comments

  • Reads article and considers comments....

The way I find myself approaching this is, this is the cultural and historic background. Suppose I knew nothing about Jesus, was not religious, but wanted to assess the man in the context of the world he lived in, what would I need to know about that world. Thats where I come from, and that's my gut feel as to the test of what belongs here. With that in mind:

  • Specific asides about things that happened to Jesus - mention only if they are part of the context of life in that part of the world at that time and are necessary or helpful to understand Jesus' life. For example, if some information about Galilean villages or information on different views of the temple and priesthood were relevant to understand something in Jesus' life, then an aside to comment "this is relevant when considering X" may be valid.
But wholesale linking "this is the context and thats how it relates to Jesus", or POV'ing the background to omit things not mentioned in the gospels and include things not relevant to an overall understanding of the times, no, that's off topic. What would a neutral historian need to know of the 1st century world to place and assess Jesus's life in its context?
  • Other messiahs - yes, Jesus' was far from the only one, and it's important to see him in the context of many groups such as the Essens, and a society which believed in the last times and desired a messiah to save them from Rome.
  • Rabbinic Pharasees - don't know enough to comment, sorry
  • "Palestine" - see my comment above, in summary I'd say to call it "Roman Palestine", because its important to make very clear it bears little ancestral relationship or connection to the modern day state except the name. No point avoiding it: thats what the area was called. The key issue to avoid is confusion over what is referred to, given there is a modern state of the same name.
  • The opening sentence quoted isn't one I like. Try this: "Jesus is placed by Christian writers in 1st century Roman Palestine (an area comprising modern Israel, Palestine and Jordan), and within that region, principally in the Galilee, Jerusalem, and the wilderness and desert areas surrounding them." Then, go straight into a discussion of the cultural and historic background. Additional "link" sentences are unnecessary, and would just cause problems of wording.
  • No, in general pharisees were not living saints. They were simply one of several schools of teaching, a bit like different lines of Buddhism. Occasionally a specific rabbi would have been considered a holy man or a great man, but Judaism (splinter cults aside perhaps) did not revere any of these as living saints.
There should also be a wiki-link to Pharisee or Schools of Jewish Teaching or some such, which would help.
  • Son of Man - its not apocalyptic to me, but whats the context its in? Unless it is being discussed as a phrase which was part of the cultural context, I don't yet see it being a relevant item to the article.
  • "Qualify Jesus may not have been real?" See above - its sufficient that the writers placed Jesus in this context. That is why the context matters. The suggested opening sentence above handles the "was he real" issue by simply sidestepping it. What matters for this article isn't "was he real or not?" What matters is that those who believe he was, place him in a very specific 40 year period, which this article provides cultural and historic background on. So no opinion or qualifier is needed, his existence or otherwise actually isn't relevant to an article which when all said and done, describes selected cultural and political features of early 1st Century Roman Palestine. Saying "writers place him in..." is enough, and implies a degree of uncertainty.
  • "At this time". Neutral. We've specified the relationship of "the time" to Jesus' life already so its clear.
  • "A or B" - There's elements of truth in both, but more to the point, it's pretty off-topic. It is neither cultural context nor historic context for his life. It needs some fairly heavy justification to be in this article, and to my mind is misplaced. The question there is more to do with how Christianity grew after Jesus' death, its not relevant to understanding the cultural and historic context within which he lived. I think this is one of those items that has been kept here because its place here has not yet been seen as mistaken.
(Note: It may be worth reviewing the article for matters which are not in fact the context of Jesus' life, but actually the story of what happened to him, in connection with him, or after his death. To my mind these things don't belong in an article about the cultural and historic context of Jesus' life, they belongs in a different article about his life itself, or about the development of Christianity after his death)

Thats my RFC comments. FT2 02:15, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

Side notes:

1) The "Pharisees" (their nature, place in society, viewpoint, political/religious agenda and role in Jesus' life) is greatly misunderstood by most people. Well worth being aware of if commenting on Jesus' life.
2) A more accurate combination of A+B for the curious: Originally the intent was to preach to the Jews. Some but not all requirements were removed, as it was felt that the new emphasis was on faith and not detailed laws. Thus there were 'Jewish Christians', Jews who believed in Christ Messiah. When the Jews as a community rejected this, the Christian message was taken to the gentiles instead. To make it palatable, and draw a line separating them from the Jews (who were by now becoming politically dangerous associates) many more of the restrictive laws were removed and the emphasis was shifted. The mesage that reached the gentiles was therefore a more universal one, in the sense that it was easier to digest, its appeal was more emotional than legalistic, and it did not contain many of the practices beliefs and rituals by which the Jews kept themselves separate from others. FT2 02:44, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

Thoughts on article

It seems that the question has moved from ""comments on how to represent specific points NPOV" to "what should the article be about". This leaves me with 2 comments:

1) Either way there are specific points about the cultural and historic context which can probably be agreed and wrapped up now. So perhaps we ought to vote on the original queries and suggestions above, identify the edits necessary to make the article as it currently stands NPOV at least, and at least that way the PROTECT tag can be removed.
2) If there's then a separate question as to "what this article on Jesus ought to be about" or "how articles on Jesus should be organised", then thats a separate debate, and someone might like to list the main articles, their current titles, and a line or 2 about what they cover. That way we can see what content might fit where and solve the other discussion going on.

My $0.02 is that whatever articles there may be, there ought to be some article on the historic and cultural context that is not about the life of Jesus or things that are said to have happened to him, but are from a historic and cultural perspective as background on 1st century roman palestine. Whatever happens I can't see a way that such an article is going to be unnecessary. So we might as well make this article it, no matter what its original intent was.

Strongly disagree, that's like saying we ought to rewrite the Hobbit because we really need an article on Life in middle earth. The article was written to specifically be about one thing. If you want to write an article on 1st century palestine, but not about jesus, don't you get that this is not that article?Pedant 02:46, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)

Possible articles as I see them (suggestions for dividing the subject up, dont take too literally):

  • The teachings of Jesus (religious oriented)
  • Assessment of the impact of Jesus' life on history (history and culture, worldwide)
  • Historical and cultural context (this article, background to the 1st century AD)
  • Historicity of Jesus (evidence of existence)
  • History of Christianity (development of the religion following the life of Jesus)
  • Jesus' life in the context of 1st century roman palestine (information in a christian perspective tied back to its historic context)
  • Christianity (the religion)
  • Different perspectives on the life of Jesus (if we need a catch-all to capture any other views)

FT2 14:05, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)

whatever other articles we need protecting this page does not have anything at all to do with that, and other articles get discussed on their pages. go write the other articles, and stop locking up this one, this article was doing fine until people decided it should be about something it never was about, that isn't described by the title Forgive me, but it seems as ignorant as it could be to take a good article, add the wrong stuff to it, then say it's about the wrong thing and needs to be rewritten and retitled. If you want to plan a bunch of daughter articles to Jesus you arte welcome to, but go to the hub article Jesus and discuss them there. this is not about that.Pedant 02:46, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)
Those articles-
  • Historicity of Jesus as you can see already exists.
  • Christianity already exists.
  • The teachings of Jesus would have to take into account debates on what the teachings actually were, considering debate on whether certain parts of the bible are true. In addition it would have to take into account different views on how to interpret/translate/describe them. This would produce quite an unweildy document, which would have to be further broken up into The teachings of Jesus according to religion X, which would still be a difficult issue to settle, as religion X would still vary.
  • Assessment of the impact of Jesus' life on history is a POV title, and should actually be more along the lines of Assessment of the impact of the development of Christianity on history, or just The influence of Christianity on history.
I agree FT2 21:42, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)
  • Jesus' life in the context of 1st century Roman Palestine (from a Christian perspective). Which Christian perspective in particular? There are many covering the whole range of views. To choose just one or two would be POV.
  • Different perspectives on the life of Jesus. Again, different to whom in particular? To choose just one or two would be POV.
CheeseDreams 19:35, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Uh, no. I can accept having a general article on the history and culture of first century Roman Palestine, as well as one that focuses on Jesus in that historical and cultural context. This article began as the latter one, and should not be hijacked to be the former one. If you want to have a more general one, go right ahead and start one, but this one is not and should not be it. Go write Culture and history of first century Roman Palestine or whatever title seems most fitting. Borrow as much or as little from this one as you like. Maybe once it has been developed, this article could summarize and link to it, and then sharpen its focus on how Jesus related to his historical context (or how the historical context shaped the "Jesus mythos" or whatever). Wesley 18:26, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My reply and comment on Wesley's point - see below FT2 21:42, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)
It seems to me that Slrubenstein is trying to change the question from "comments on how to represent specific points NPOV" to "what should the article be about". I think this is an attempt to avoid the outcome of the debate on the first question. Therefore
  • I think the first question should be settled FIRST, and acted on before answering the second.
CheeseDreams 19:26, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This is a talk page in which all people are allowed to present their views. You are welcome to your view, but I don't understand what you mean that I am "trying to change" the question. Talk pages are not regulated, there is no fixed agenda. I made changes to the article that you reverted. I explained why I made those changes, and the question of "what this article is about" is central to my explanation for those changes. There is no "first" question and "second" question" -- as in all discussions there are various questions and which one gets settled first depends on how this discussion goes. You have every right to ignore my arguments, but if other people want to consider them, they have every right to. Slrubenstein

The main principle guiding what is discussed on Talk pages in general is that they be about the best way to improve the associated article, rather than (for instance) us trying to persuade each other to change our opinions. As far as I can tell, all the discussion here has concerned what the nature and content of the article should be, so I think we're all on topic. Wesley 22:27, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • The "first" question is the set of questions that were listed above, that are the subject of the dispute that caused this page to become protected.
  • The "second" question is the one that Slrubenstein created about "The historical Jesus".
I think the first one should be answered first. The reasons should be self evident.
In addition, I think the creation of the second is an attempt to avoid answers to the first. CheeseDreams 00:22, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I explain above why I think the "second" question should be answered first. It amounts to my disagreeing with FT2 over how to go about resolving the dispute here -- I respect FT2 but certainly have a right to present an alternate approach to improving the article. In fact, you will see that after going over the various questions FT2 raises, and extensive discussion, down below, Mpolo (in what is now section 14 in the index for the talk page) makes essentially the same point I made -- that we need to resolve the question over whether this article includes Jesus or not. You have no basis for saying that the "second" question is a way to avoid answering the first one (really, first set of questions). I consider the issue of Jesus to be logically prior to FT2's set of questions. A consensus on whether Jesus is or is not to be included, or even central, to this article will make it easier to answer FT2s questions. Slrubenstein

I consider FT2 to be a better more neutral person to guide the discussion, and choose the quetions to answer first than either you or I since we are parties to the edit war that brought this page protection. CheeseDreams 19:42, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Argue against my reasons, not against me personally. Otherwise this verges on "personal attack." Obviously you and I disagree and I have always expressed my disagreement with what you say but I have never suggested that because you disagree with me your points are not valid, or not worth considering. My point is as worthy of consideration as anyone elses. Slrubenstein

Remember the no personal research rule. CheeseDreams 20:11, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yeah? So what? I have never proposed content for this article based on original research; I have always specified my sources at one point or another. Slrubenstein

Summary 04-11-11

Comment to Wesley

A discussion regarding the focus of the article being on "cultural and historic background", and the separation of "historical background" and "Jesus-related to-background". General agreement is expressed for an article which is not about Jesus, but not without reference to him.

Inclusion/Exclusion of Jesus

This is a historical article about a time and place, not about a person. There is no reason to mention Jesus at all. The article could even be renamed to make it more neutral.

2 support, 2 reject

This is a historical article intended to provide background about a specific historical figure, not a general article about a time and place. As such comments about how this figure interacted with his culture are appropriate. If a general article about the time and place is needed, it can be written in another place.

4 support, 1 reject, 1 qualified support if none support first

This article should be tracing Jesus' life as it appears in historical sources, leaving aside matters of faith for another article. This description of his life will necessarily add details from the current content of the page, describing how life in Judea, Galilee and surrounding areas was at the time.

3 support, 2 reject

Discussion notes an advertisement of the vote was placed in an effort to "pack the house".

Bible and other Apocrypha

Discussion/explanation of what is meant by the term Apocrypha by participants in the discussion.

Below are later comments in the discussion:

Apocrypha=Books not permitted for church use by Council of Laodicea, despite their existence.81.157.11.245 19:13, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think id agree with that. Anyway, the list is a definition. In the same way that the list of biblical canon is the definition of what is biblical canon. My definition of X, is whatever I define it to be. And my grammer was excellent, it's just that your comprehension of it is poor. CheeseDreams 19:17, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Well, a definition that includes "etc." is a piss-poor definition. In any event, it sounds like this is the specifically Catholic apocrypha. There is a Jewish apocrypha that includes books the Catholic Church does not consider apocryphal. It is important to maintain NPOV. Slrubenstein
I wouldn't say that "piss-poor" was a civil or NPOV way to express an argument. CheeseDreams 20:03, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'd prefer to have scriptural references minimised and focus on actual history and culture, again, this isn't about religion, isn't about Jesus, but is about the environment Jesus lived in if he lived. Why do we need to mention the Apocrypha for cultural and historical context? (not saying we shouldn't mention them, just I think they should be mentioned only to the extent that they bear on Cultural and historical background of Jesus I'd also like to note that I have not ever edited one word of this article, I have only offered advice. I don't do the edit war thing.Pedant 02:56, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)
I wasn't wanting scriptural references. Glad you agree. CheeseDreams 11:26, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Meaning of "Messiah" and a short note on the jewish Priesthood

Translation

Important uncontested statement: In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed". It was the symbol of high office. There were two officers routinely annointed this way - a priest messiah, and a king messiah. The hope of a "messiah" to save them would usually have meant simply, some king or priest who would stand up to the romans or whoever was felt oppressing them at the time. The meaning of "Messiah" in christianity, that of a godhead, a unique being who would save them in the sense of salvation, was not part of Judaism, though it may have formed part of the hopes or mystic beliefs of some cults or splinter groups.

Additional discussion about other contemporary messianic beliefs with the general consensus their inclusion, as releveant, was not contested.

Priesthood

Discussion regarding the role of priests in the context being more administrative than all-powerful. Disagreement over generalization of their antecedents.

Saducees vs. Pharisees

A discussion regarding some of the relative differences, especially as seen by the culture at large, between these two groups in the context. A question regarding the nominal control of synagogues degenerated into irrelevancy, which colored many further sections. The net discussion found no disagreement with the concepts that Saducess had more political power, while Pharisees were more popular, and there was probably more than a little overlap between the two groups.

I think the above is an accurate representation of the discussion. CheeseDreams 20:52, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This summary mischaracterizes the discussion. There is little historical evidence that the Pharisees were more popular during this time (this is a view held by older historians but disputed by more recent historians). There was practically no overlap between the two groups as they did not intermarry. However, most Jews belonged to neither party, and all Jews shared many beliefs and practices. Slrubenstein

Comments added recently towards the end of the debate are below:

To say something verges on racism is to IMPLY it is racist. So, I ask you again, are you going to apologise?
And, as I have said before, I am not going to justify myself to you. CheeseDreams 20:14, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Lacking any explanation on your point, your comment was racist. I have given you an opportunity to explain the statement and clarify your position, and you refuse to do so, which reenforces my sense that what you wrote was racist. Slrubenstein

So you are stating that you are in willingly in violation of the Wikipedia:Civility policy? CheeseDreams 20:16, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Messianic Hopes

(4) When discussing the messiah, messianic hopes images beliefs or ages, its crucial to be aware of the following and similar issues:

  • (a) Whether there were other jewish (and non-jewish??) cults, splinter groups or cultural myth which said god would eventually send some kind of saviour. Probably yes
  • (b) Whether those beliefs groups and popular stories envisaged this (by whatever name) in the form that some king or priest who would free them, or whether they envisaged it in the sense of some spiritual being who would come to right all wrongs or usher in worlds end or a new age. In this context, note that some groups and popular legend believed the prophet Elijah would return to put wrong to right, but this was not envisaged as "Elijah made divine" or the end of the world, just that the prophet would return and somehow "all wrongs would be righted", much as the legendary British King Arthur is going to return according to some British legends.
  • (c) Whether those who believed (b) if any, believed that such a new age would simply be the same world but characterised by peaceful coexistence not hitherto known, or whether they envisaged some form of discontinuity in existence, in which god once more would be made manifest or making himself somehow known to all earth and such.


These are some of the subtle twists that arise in analysing a messiancic era or saviour. They might be worth an article on their own, "Christian and Jewish (or 'Different Religions'] perspectives on the Messiah and Messianic era". The bottom line is, it's important to recognise that the Jews thought about such things in a fundamentally different way from the new christians, and so words borrowed from Judaism such as "Messiah", "Saviour", "Messianic Era", "Apocalypse", "Apocalyptric Era" or "End of the World" probably had very different meanings to the Jews of the time, than they did to the later Christians. Other groups may (probably will) have had Messiah-type figures beliefs or legends too, as pointed out above. The cultural-religious legend of "someone special who will come at some unknown time to put everything right" is very widespread. So its very important in describing and comparing them to research what eaxact kind of being, mission, role, origin nature this figure would be, and what exactly would happen to the world as a result. An article on this subject which included a side by side comparison of these beliefs across different religions (including 'Jewish Christianity' and 'Pauline Christianity' since they did differ) would be a good start, and mean that all that discussion could be offloaded from this article. FT2 20:27, Nov 6, 2004 (UTC)

I think the article you are looking for is Messiah CheeseDreams 01:09, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I can't believe I didn't check that! FT2 02:16, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

consensus building section

Please sign the following, where appropriate or make notes or what seems most useful:

current protected version lacks

In the context of the current controversy,

Make a note as to what you think is missing from the protected version, that should be included (might be helpful to just cut and paste from some version of the article, and to mostly stick to what has already been written but edited out or removed or is just not part of the current version:


Pedant: I think the following is a better form for the intro:

Jesus is traditionally held to have lived in the first century in Judea. Without addressing Jesus' existence or nonexistence as an actual historic figure, this article discusses the cultural and political forces active at that time. see: Historicity of Jesus for information relating to the existence of Jesus as a historical figure.

According to Christian tradition, Jesus lived in the first century in Judea, and was, at least in part, shaped by the cultural and political forces active at that time. To understand Jesus properly it is generally agreed (by secular scholars and Christians alike) that it is necessary to understand the world in which he lived. This was a volatile period marked by cultural and political dilemmas.

Pedant 01:28, 2004 Nov 8 (UTC)

To which I'd add for NPOV and the non Christians, something like, "Even those without a specific religious belief about Jesus often have an interest in this time and place, as it forms the context for a significant change in human history and the source of many changes and new beliefs which continue to shape the world and many of its beliefs, laws and cultural norms for believers and non-believers alike." FT2 03:16, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)
How about this:
The main record of the life of Jesus are the Gospels, in the Christian New Testament. These sources place Jesus in what became Roman Palestine (modern Israel and Palestine) during the early 1st century. If this was the case (the article Historicity of Jesus covers these debates), then it is generally agreed that it is necessary to understand the cultural and historical background in which Jesus lived.
This was a volatile period marked by cultural and political dilemmas. Out of the Roman occupation of Palestine sprang two of the modern world's religions: Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.
--G Rutter 17:16, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Not bad. I like it. Mpolo 20:43, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)
Agree. A couple nits -
  • "If this was the case" should be gotten rid of or reworded. Perhaps "If so" or "If this were so"?
  • "...in which Jesus lived" should be altered (to fit the sentence which raises doubt of this) to "in which Jesus would have lived" depending on the tense of the previous nit?
Extremely minor nits, good job Grutter. Amgine 21:44, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think we should go with this, but with Amgine's caveat. CheeseDreams 00:40, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I really like what you did, Grutter, with one exception: "It is generally agreed" is okay but the more you think about it, the more vague it seems. Critical historians like Sanders, Fredriksen, Vermes certainly agree with this point. But because of this agreement, they end up with a portrait of Jesus that is fundamentally different from that held by most religious Christians. I wonder whether we need to be clear that using such cultural and historical context, some historians have presented a view of Jesus that is at odds with the NT and most Christian accounts? Slrubenstein
I think the statement is fine. Everyone (apart from Slrubenstein) agree? CheeseDreams 00:40, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As a general rule, phrases like "it is generally agreed" should have some kind of attribution, if not by name then by group. Without it, there's a higher chance that someone will see a need to note the notable exceptions to that agreement, if not question the agreement entirely. Wesley 02:24, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Since the phrase is already inside questioned reality of the sentence ("If so"), the beliefs of those in agreement are already implied. Oppose further clarification as unnecessary. - Amgine 03:25, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Thanks very much. Is this version of the contested sentence better: "If so (the article Historicity of Jesus covers these debates), then it is agreed by most Christians and by academics who hold this view that it is necessary to understand the cultural and historical background in which Jesus is thought to have lived."
It's a bit more long winded, but "it is generally agreed" is probably a bit too vague. Slrubenstein, I agree with your point about critical historians, and I think that it's worth making, but in the article, not in the introduction. Many people, including academics, also use the background to help understand the Gospel accounts better. I've heard many sermons where the preacher uses the cultural background to explain part of the reading. --G Rutter 09:15, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I like thatPedantI think it's pretty close, but maybe we pick all the nits off before we stop? How would this strike us?:

The main record of the life of Jesus are the Gospels, in the Christian New Testament. These sources place Jesus in what became Roman Palestine (modern Israel and Palestine) during the early 1st century. Historicity of Jesus addresses his existence/non-existence as an actual historic person. This article discusses the cultural and historical background in which Jesus is said to have lived, regardless of his historicity.

I prefer the 17:16, 8 Nov 2004 version by G Rutter.CheeseDreams 11:28, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

the next version

After protection is lifted, what do you intend to add to the Cultural and historical background of Jesus article?, where?, be as thorough as if you were actually writing the article, so that you may cut-and-paste it in when the time comes. Sign your contribution. Do not edit anything in this section.:

The messianic bit that Slrubenstein kept cutting. CheeseDreams 00:41, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Will you respond to my comments about what is deficient in that passage? Slrubenstein
Since you continuously refuse to comply with the Wikipedia:Civility policy and apologise for accusing me of racism, I regard you as a non-person (the quote from the Civility policy being Ignore incivility. Operate as if the offender does not exist. Set up a "wall" between the offender and the community.. CheeseDreams 20:18, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
you are an intellectual coward. You use this policy merely to save yourself from having to respond to valid, well-reasoned and researched points that help improve the article. Slrubenstein
At this juncture I should like to point out to the reader what the article Personal attack says about the position of those who make personal attacks. CheeseDreams 20:38, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Grutter's overview:

The main record of the life of Jesus are the Gospels, in the Christian New Testament. These sources place Jesus in what became Roman Palestine (modern Israel and Palestine) during the early 1st century. If so (the article Historicity of Jesus covers these debates), then it is agreed by most Christians and by academics who hold this view that it is necessary to understand the 'cultural and historical background in which Jesus is thought to have lived.



This was a volatile period marked by cultural and political dilemmas. Out of the Roman occupation of Palestine sprang two of the modern world's religions: Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.

(understanding there may be a modification to the first sentence if there are Islamic resources about Isa al-Masih)- Amgine 19:15, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

objections to content in the previous section

To keep this easy to read, don't use this section to discuss anything except your objections to anything in the above "I intend to add " section please. Stay civil. Stay on topic. (only discuss Cultural and historical background of Jesus article here.

I suggest rewriting this sentence, "If so (the article Historicity of Jesus covers these debates), then it is agreed by most Christians and by academics who hold this view that it is necessary to understand the 'cultural and historical background in which Jesus is thought to have lived." thus:
Although many skeptics question whether Jesus ever existed (see Historicity of Jesus, those Christians and academics who accept his existence often seek to understand his life and teachings in terms of the cultural and historical background in which he lived. Some scholars have argued that such an understanding suggests an account of Jesus' life that is different from that provided in the Gospels.

I believe the first sentence of my version keeps the substance of Grutter's, but is just a little smoother in style. The second sentence is new -- but factually accurate and important. Slrubenstein [moved according to section guidelines above Amgine 19:31, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)]

There are at least 3 modern religions from the region, Mandaeanism being the third. I think the number should be removed and replaced with "sprang some modern religions such as ..." CheeseDreams 19:41, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

If so, followed by the paranthetical, is pretty awkward. I wasn't trying to add content, I was trying for a more direct and cleaner style. Slrubenstein

discussion of comments above

this is the section to discuss the above comments

I prefer the original version of the second sentence. CheeseDreams 19:41, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
In addition the use of the term skeptics seeks to denegrate the position. I think Amgine's version is much more neutral. CheeseDreams 19:41, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think everyone shares your bias about skeptics. Where I come from, skeptics are superior to non-skeptics. Be that as it may, I am sure we could come up with another word. I used the word only because it is broadly inclusive (of skeptical Christians, skeptical scholars, skeptical laypeople). Slrubenstein

Mandeanism is not a major religion today. Judaism and Christianity both are. Slrubenstein

[moved according to section guidelines above - Amgine 19:58, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)]

I agree the number should likely be removed and substituted with a more vague phrasing, perhaps implying that some/many have not survived to current times. Propose: From the time of the Roman occupation of Palestine sprang many religious movements, some of which continue today. ?

I disagree with altering the second sentence as above. Although (arguably) more precise, this is the introductory/overview section and such detail is better reserved for the body of the article. - Amgine 19:55, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Proposed 2nd sentence recast:
The article Historicity of Jesus covers debates regarding the existence of Jesus, but if so then it is agreed by most Christians and academics who hold this view that it is necessary to understand the cultural and historical background in which Jesus is thought to have lived.
  1. - Amgine 20:25, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  2. support CheeseDreams 20:17, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  3. reject. It is poor style and poor grammar.Slrubenstein
(would the above please identify themselves so that there are no accusations of voting multiple times)

General discussion

Cultural and historical background of Jesus discussion not fitting the above sections:

merge with: Jesus and textual evidence

merge with: Historicity of Jesus


I disagree with the above. The addition of these tags was an attempt by Slrubenstein to change the nature of the article (as seen above in the nature of this article section) and move it away from its title to The Historical Jesus.

I do not think there is anything on those articles that belongs here, except perhaps a few cross referential links (i.e. links to those articles or subsections thereof). CheeseDreams 00:44, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The three articles have pretty different focuses. Historicity is arguments as to whether Jesus existed, and whether this existence conforms to the information we have in the Gospels (or if it was mythologized, for instance). Sources is the specific source material mentioning Jesus, plus arguments for its strength or weakness as material. This page, ignoring the issue of historicity, seeks to provide a view of the political, cultural and historical background, and Jesus' relation to it, when that seems appropriate. Or at least that's how I see it. Mpolo 20:09, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
only the stuff that really belongs here should overlap, overlap is fine if it firs the artucle its in.Pedant 03:10, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)

WikiProject Jesus

In order to try to work out the relationship between all the various pages and hopefully get some consensus, I have opened a WikiProject to centralize discussion and debate. We've got several "conflicted" pages at the moment, and without centralizing discussion, it's going to get very confusing. Please join the project, if you're interested in the topic, and start discussions on the talk page. (We need to create a to-do list, but I think the current state is too conflicted to decide even that.) Mpolo 10:49, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)

discussion Slrubenstein and CheeseDreams

I am not at all satisfied by a discussion above. In response to a question posed by Mpolo, I wrote:

I'll have to do some more research, to answer your first question, but I think the answer is no. The history of synagogues is complex; before "synagogue" (in Hebrew, bet-kneset) became dominant they coexisted with proseuchai (Greek, but the Hebrew would have been Bet Tefillah, house of prayer) in the Diaspora which were during the Hasmonean period outside of Phariseic influence. Practices in synagogues was based on and paralleled practices in the Temple (and, as others have noted, priests were more closely alligned to the Saducees, although not exclusively). For example, The "Shema" was recited twice daily in the Temple and people who lived far from the Temple assmebled in proseuchai to recite the Shema twice daily. As to your second question concerning day-to-day religious life, the answer is a qualified no. It is true that the Pharisees, like the Essenes, did nore than any other group to establish a "day-today" religious life by developing ritual practices that could be done outside of the Temple. But most Jews prior to the destruction of the Temple didn't belong to any party -- Pharisees, Essenes, etc. -- and would have had a minimal daily religious life. Pharisees were more closely alligned with scribes (again, not exclusively) who read the Torah in marketplaces during the week, if this is what you mean by "daily religious life" but the Pharisees as a party did not control this practice. Legal decisions were ultimately made by the Sanhedrin which had, as members, both Pharisees and Saducees (again, until 70) Slrubenstein

To which CheeseDream commented that it would better to ask a Jew questions about this material. This seems to me to be a personal attack that dismisses what I wrote in response to Mpolo. Why does CheeseDream reject my answer, what I wrote above? He does not give a single reason for rejecting it. Instead, he justs suggests that Mpolo should aska Jew. I believe it is flat out racist to claim that members of some races can answer questions that other races cannot. Note, the issue is not "how does it feel to be Jewish," or "what is it like being Jewish," the question had to do with Jewish movements two thousand years ago. Believe it or not, many Jews have not done historical research on this period. Believe it or not, many non-Jews have done research on this. Whether someone has done good or poor research on this should be judged on the merits of the research and not on the race of the author. Wesley suggests that most people know Jews to whom they can turn and ask these questions, but although I appreciate Wesley's attempts he misses my point and I really disagree with his comment. One will not find the answer to these questions by asking a Jew, one will find the answer to these questions by doing historical research. It doesn't matter whether the research was done by a Jew, a Black, a Native American, or whatever -- if it is good research it is good research. Non-Jews should not be exluded from research Jewish-related topics.

I asked CheeseDream to explain himself and aside from saying i have libeled him he provides no explanation. WHY odes he reject my answer to Mpolo? WHY does he feel a Jew's answer will be better than mine? If he is saying, as he seems to, that my answer is invalid because I am not Jewish, then this is racist and a personal attack -- as well as bad policy for Wikipedia, because my answer is good and valuable. Slrubenstein

I believe this section is a gratuitous digression from discussing the article in question. "Assume good faith" - Wikiquette Amgine

I am not going to Justify myself to you, Slrubenstein. It should be self evident who the bigoted fanatic is here. CheeseDreams 00:48, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Slrubenstein, I apologize for my misunderstanding; you are quite correct in saying that historical research is historical research. The same logic that allows non-Christians to research Christian history also allows non-Jews to research Jewish history. Wesley 02:29, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Can we all please drop the finger pointing and name calling and move on with discussing the article? At the same time, of course we need to take responsibility for our own words and actions. Wesley 02:36, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If this much text is going to be added to the talk page, and this much effort spent typing it, it would be better if it would be text that furthers the agreement on the article, not text that when all said and done is complaining about a comment. It should have been clear that CheeseDreams was not intending to be offensive but was an honest question trying to ensure the source was the most likely to be accurate, and it should have been taken that way.
CheeseDreams - you could have recognised this was an attempt to give quality information, and acknowledged the work involved rather than just stating a different source might be better. Thats not an answer that you or I or anyone likes when they put work in. "Lots of good information there, Slrubenstein, are you sure of it or does any of it need checking with a Jewish source?" would have been a gentler response and got you what you wanted.
(And a sidenote: Slrubenstein, your comment could also have been said in 3 lines instead of 55(!): "I wrote a long and careful chunk on synagogues, and many non-Jews have studied synagogues too. I don't think that only Jewish sources should be used on synnagogues, as research should be looked at from all sources. Are you okay with that?")


Now, it isn't clear to me whether CheeseDreams felt this because Jews might have some extra insight, or because he wasn't totally sure about Slrubenstein's information or wanted reassurance it wasn't biased. Perhaps CheeseDreams could have explained what was missing for him and suggested it might be worth checking with Jewish or other sources as well. Perhaps Slrubenstein could have asked which exact facts he wanted confirmation of and why he was worried. That way the debate would have stayed on the synagogue, not on the collaborators.
Anyhow, CheeseDreams has now apologised and agreed, and there's good lessons here for everyone: Don't get distracted into self justification. Keep "I said/you said" rebuttals to a line or so (no need to quote it all). Ask what is missing. Stay on topic. FT2 04:41, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)


Note - personal attack titles removed, I hope we have now moved beyond the need for those! You both get the idea, don't you :) Do we set past personal stuff aside, try for peace, put our work into moving the article forward? FT2 04:41, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

I can't find CheeseDream's apology; indeed, he seems to be refusing to apologize. Has CheeseDream apologized for saying that he rejects what I write because I "have a vested interest in the answer?" I fear FT2 may be missing the point: is it right to reject good research because we don't like the researcher? My big problem is that Cheese seems to be saying that he will reject everything I write because he doesn't like who I am. I can't believe this is in line with Wikipedia policy! Slrubenstein

In any event, I must thank Wesley and FT2 for their attempts to mediate. So, to follow your reasonable suggestion, I ask CheeseDreams: Which exact facts do you want confirmation of? What is missing? Why Are you worried? I appreciate your answers, Slrubenstein

I dont seem to remember apologising either, but then again, I dont seem to remember Slrubenstein apologising for calling me a racist. CheeseDreams 19:45, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I never called you a racist. I said that what you wrote verges on racism, and asked for clarification. Specifically:

This verges on racism. Are you suggesting that a non-Jew cannot do serious historical research? Don't you know that some top scholars on Ancient and Hellenistic Jewish history are non-Jews?

Please answer the two questions. If your answer to the first is "no" and your answer to the second is "I recognize there are such non-Jewish scholars," then clearly I misunderstood your remark and it does not verge on racism. I still ask, what was wrong with what I wrote, though. Slrubenstein

(again) To state that something verges on racism is to imply that it is racist. I ask you again, are you going to apologise?
And as I have stated before, I am not going to justify myself to you. CheeseDreams 20:19, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No. Not so long as you refuse to answer the two questions above. Your refusal reenforces my sense that what you wrote is racist. I wasn't so sure before, but now that you have had the opportunity to explain and refuse to, I am sure. Slrubenstein

Guys, I'm going to suggest you either skip it, or find a way to focus on the issues at hand rather than irritating erach other this way. Answer the questions, if they relate to the article, and ignore them if they are personal. If you each stop scratching the itch, it may stop itching.
And it would be very disrespectful to give a reply that said anything along the lines of "but he..." or the like. I put this time in for an article you honestly both want to see move on, not to witness a personal upset. Arrange a meeting on IRC or something via each others talk pages, and meet with the aim of moving past this stage, thanks, or let others edit the article and both let it go for now. FT2 20:35, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)

Sounds fair to me. Looking at the current protected version, I suggest for now only two changes. First, the last sentence of the second paragraph on the Pharisees suggests describes Phariseic beliefs taken to the extreme. This sentence is POV and an NPOV version that conveys the content is in the following paragraph. I suggest cutting this sentence. Second, the sections on both the Pharisees and Essenes begin by referring to "the Bible." I think it is important in this context to change that to "Christian Bible" or to "New Testament." Slrubenstein

I note that Slrubenstein refuses to apologise. I further note that some way above he has today reiterated and made more explicit the accusation. I also note that the Wikipedia:Civility policy contains the instruction Ignore incivility. Operate as if the offender does not exist. Set up a "wall" between the offender and the community. I therefore regard Slrubenstein as a non-person. CheeseDreams 20:27, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Proposed Changes to Protected Version: Relations Among Jewish parties

Looking at the current protected version, I suggest for now only two changes. First, the last sentence of the second paragraph on the Pharisees suggests describes Phariseic beliefs taken to the extreme. This sentence is POV and an NPOV version that conveys the content is in the following paragraph. I suggest cutting this sentence. Second, the sections on both the Pharisees and Essenes begin by referring to "the Bible." I think it is important in this context to change that to "Christian Bible" or to "New Testament." Slrubenstein

Proposed Changes to Protected Version: early relations between Jews and Christianity

Above, FT2 suggests:

Originally the intent was to preach to the Jews. Some but not all requirements were removed, as it was felt that the new emphasis was on faith and not detailed laws. Thus there were 'Jewish Christians', Jews who believed in Christ Messiah. When the Jews as a community rejected this, the Christian message was taken to the gentiles instead. To make it palatable, and draw a line separating them from the Jews (who were by now becoming politically dangerous associates) many more of the restrictive laws were removed and the emphasis was shifted. The mesage that reached the gentiles was therefore a more universal one, in the sense that it was easier to digest, its appeal was more emotional than legalistic, and it did not contain many of the practices beliefs and rituals by which the Jews kept themselves separate from others.

I have a few problems with this paragraph. First, I'd remove the word "intent" -- certainly Christian Jews preached in synagogues and elsewhere. However, it is absolutely crucial to note that gentiles often attended synagogues -- some, perhaps, were considering conversion to Judaism; others may have liked Jewish services without wanting to become Jewish; others may have been merely curious. The point is, in preaching to Jews Christians inevitably also preached to centiles at the same time. Slrubenstein

Important points well expressed. FT2 19:23, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

Second, it is not clear what Jews were rejecting. It is not certain that, in the decades immediately following Jesus' death, his followers were preaching that he was divine, had been resurrected, and would return. It is certainly very likely that those Christians who preached these ideas would have been rejected by Jews. But there were probably other Christians who preached other ideas who might not have been rejected. Also, some Christians may have preached Jesus' divinity and resurrection, but also reaffirmed the need to obey Jewish law. It is possible that many Jews had no problem with that. In any event, simply to say "Jews rejected Christianity" is too simplistic, and vague.Slrubenstein

Likewise, thats actually subtle but very relevant!! How did I miss it! FT2 19:23, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

Third, many historians -- Paula Fredrickson is the best example -- have argued that Jews would have rejected Christians preaching in synagobues for political and not theological reasons. If Christians were preaching that Jesus was about to return and establish his kingdon, they were in effect preaching the end of Roman rule. This was politically dangerous at this period, and intolerable after 70 CE. Given that gentiles attended synagogues, Jews may have been scared that word would get back to Roman authorities. These Jews would ban (or even, as Paul said, persecute) Christians not for theological reasons but for the political reason of desperately establishing themselves as loyal Romans.Slrubenstein

Would need more different views or substantiation as it stands? No replies needed but worth checking - did they do this to other cults or groups? And granted the main point, wouldnt most Jews have just ignored or said "no thanks", rather than more extreme measures? Try this instead:
"The period AD 30 - AD 70 was a historically tense period in Roman Palestine. Jews were being torn between the demands of their religious loyalty and identity as Jews, and the political risks they as a group faced in being Roman citizens whose countrymen were formenting rebellion against the Empire. Some Jews may have been scared of the consequences of even a slight appearance of disloyalty, which hypothetically could have lead to groups that appeared to preach provocatively (such as Christians) being negatively perceived or even persecuted by some - less for theological reasons than for the sheer potential devastation and slaughter in human terms that renewed provocation could bring down upon them and their community." FT2 19:23, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
I like this suggestion! Slrubenstein

Fourth, the claim that the new Christian message was made more "palatable" for gentiles by removing restrictive laws to make it easier to digest, is POV and has been questioned by historians. It is POV because it represents a view that Christians (especially Protestants) have held about what makes them different from Jews -- not an objective analysis of the difference. Berkeley professor Daniel Boyarin (who is Jewish) argues that in the Hellenic and Roman world many gentiles tearned to physically demanding, difficult, even painful rituals of new religions and that Jewish law -- even circumcision -- is not likely to have turned away people attracted to the new religion. He argues that Pauline Christianity was a creative response to complex cultural and political dynamics in the Hellenic world. What characterizes Pauline Christianity is its acceptance of One Universal Abstract God (taken from Jewish mythology), and claiming that access to this God would not be through flesh (Greek philosophers from Parmenides to Plato had argued that material forms are not "real" but deceptive) but rather through faith (something abstract and ideal). What made Pauline Christianity so appealing to gentiles was not that it was "easier" but rather that it made "more sense" in the Hellenic world. Not obeying Jewish law was a byproduct of this philosophical argument. Slrubenstein

I'd like to think about that. The last part makes sense. One main Hellenistic reason for disapproval of the jews was for sure that they did not admire the human form as Greeks did - athletics were naked, more traditional Jews saw this as verging between scandalous and immoral, more hellenised ones were quite interested, there was a bit of a mini-split with Jews taking both sides. But to the Greeks the circumcision was a wanton disfigurement of a divine form (see Circumcision) so much so that Jews competing in the Olympics would have likely had to have primitive surgery to reinstate a fake foreskin I believe, which of course would cut them off from their people. But yes, circumcision was a definite aesthetic issue to the Greeks, so the main line of reasoning looks plausible to me.
A lot more than circumcision was removed - huge parts of the entire old law were selectively ignored too (broadly if it was an Old testament item that predicted jesus or was easy to convey, it was valid, if it was a law that was troublesome it was set aside by the new covenant! Christianity is very ambivalent as regards the OT, on the one hand its gods word, on the other huge parts are selectively used and at other times not. Sorry!!!). Also mythology and a whole new theology was introduced which had been absent from Judaism, leading credence to the likelihood that it was reworked to suit a more hellenistic or pagan audience.
So I'm pretty sure this change happened for some combination of these 4 motives: to make it easier to accept (or match gentile values), religious belief that these were not needed, to mark a divide from jews who had rejected the new beliefs, or anger at being rejected (to reject back). FT2 19:23, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
You may be right. However, I was not merely presenting my own views. My understanding is that encyclopedia articles should represent the views of others, espcially scholars doing primary research in various fields. I was summing up (very crudely) the argument of one major scholar. I do not claim that he is right or that all scholars agree with him. But he is a well-recognized and frequently published and cited scholar and who has researched these issues, and I think his view should be presented at least as one among many. Paul called a lot of attention to circumcision. Boyarin is not interested in why Greeks may not have wanted to be circumcised, but rather what metaphorical work Paul was doing in how he talked (or wrote) about circumcision. Paul emphasize spirit over flesh, and Boyarin argues that for Jews circumcision is important because it marks a covenant of the flesh -- people who belong not because of their beliefs but because of something about their bodies (being descended from Abraham). Slrubenstein
Good point. I hope then that the above adds some other points of view on why that might have been, which can be worked in if appropriate. For sure, a key differentiator between Christianity and Judaism is that as you say, one emphasises the spirit over the flesh, salvation by faith over this world. The other focusses on how a person should live a holy life (life of sanctity, live properly) in this world alone.
Tongue in cheek, so to speak (do not take this as too serious a point!!), Christians worried about heaven and hell, Jews worried about whether asking a strong and weak animal to plough together was a sin (of disrespect or abuse to animals). Christians worried whether Jesus was Son of Man or Son of God, Jews worried about how often a court might convict in a capital crime before it was doing wrong (one rabbi said a court that convicted once in 7 years should be described as "murderous", another disagreed saying once in 70 years was more than enough). FT2 00:04, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

Jews (specifically, the Rabbis) rejected not only this turn away from Jewish law, but this turn away from cultural difference and multiculturalism -- Paul preached that in Christ there is no Jew and there is no Greek, but Jews wanted to hold onto their identity as unique. That is, what Jews rejected was not merely a rejection of the law, but a rejection of Jewish identity Slrubenstein

It would have been the Jewish law denial that was rejected more though, Jews have always been protective of their law as well as national identity. However in those times Jewish identity was a big issue because jews were drawing together and polarising into hellenised and jewish sides, so to speak, a sort of "for us or against us" from those who felt under threat from Rome. Christian jews who preached all sides were equal and you didnt need to believe in the laws and jesus (or paul) says you're saved if you believe in jesus and etc etc, would not have been kindly received most likely in that climate. Judaism's always been more focussed on this world than the next, and never more so than when its religion or identity is under perceived threat. Christians just weren't that big back then, in laymans terms my informal impression is it wouldnt be "you're changing us!", more "you're believing this new guy and you wanna go hug a roman, well, Im sorry, that sucks."
This is certainly the views that Rabbis take. Since the Rabbis are our main source of knowledge about the Pharisees, it seems that this is a view the Pharisees would have taken. But is it a view most Jews would have taken during the first century? It is difficult to say. Boyarin points out that as the Mishnah was edited in 200, and the Talmud in 4-500, it is worth considering how Rabbis may have developed their attention to the law (and to bodies regulated by law) as a reaction to Christianity; that after the destruction of the Temple in 70 Pharisees and Christians -- both Jews -- were the two groups left competing for legitimacy. Just as Christians may have argued against the Pharisees and many Christians may have strengthened those elements of Christian belief that served arguments against the Rabiis, so Rabis may have argued against Christians (though there is no record in the Mishnah, it seems reasonable that it happened) and many Rabbis may have strangthened those elements of Phariseic belief that served their arguments against Christians. Whether I believe this or not, it is an argument made by a respected professor published by a university press. Slrubenstein
Seems unlikely (personal POV) for 2 main reasons. 1) christians went from a small band to how many in the period 30 - 100 AD? It cant have been enough to be a serious issue to the Jews. "Irritating that this new cult is trying to seduce our community away but not a huge deal", is my guess. Do we have numbers for the roman palestinian christian and jewish communities for 30 - 150 AD? 2) The other reason is, 50 - 80 AD the Jews went from "run up to rebellion" to war to decimation. I doubt they were doing any angling against christians in the period 30 - 100 AD. Before 50 AD or so there were too few christians to be more than a small cult, 50 - 80 AD they were being crucified and killed by warfare, 80 AD onwards they had been decimated and were probably in no shape to complain about anyone. besides Jews have rarely listened to rabbis (tongue in cheek). Given what we know of hellenistic and traditional Jews, and of writings by other sources, i think we can (POV) suspect that it was how most Jews would have seen it. Other views would be interesting. FT2 00:04, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)
As you say, this is your personal POV. ALthough I am sure it is shared by many, we are supposed to keep our own POVs and even our own original researchout of Wikipedia. I am just summarizing an important scholar's view. However, I think I didn't explain it clearly. After 70 NO specific religious community or movement was very large -- neither the Christians nor the Pharisees. But these were the only two groups within Judaism that presented a compelling vision of what to do next. It would not surprise me that at the time they were competing (not competing for gentile converts but rather competing among the majority of Jews, who really weren't sure what to do after the Temple was destroyed) against one another. By the way, most historians would say that all Jews at this time were "hellenistic;" there is no meaningful opposition between "hellenistic" and "traditional" as if there were two discreet groups. For example, many of the Rabbis had Greek names. Slrubenstein
By the way, let's be clear about one thing: no Jewish authority ever suggested that Gentiles should observe Jewish law (circumcision, kashrut, shabbat, etc.) When Jesus was considered a universal savior (which probably didn't take too much time -- after all, Jews believed at the time that their God was a universal God, the God of all), and Christians began preaching to Gentiles, there is no reason to believe they would have even thought to suggest that Gentiles be circumcised or obey Jewish law. I don't see how any Jewish Christian would have had a problem with circumcised Jews endeavoring to follow Jesus' teachings while uncircumcised Gentiles also endeavored to follow Jesus' teachings. The debate was never whether Gentiles had to follow the law; the debate was whether Jews had to continue following the law. Paul was arguing that since Jesus could save even the uncircumcized, Jews no longer had to be circumcized. He further argued against Jewish circumcision because it suggested that the body was more important than the spirit. Slrubenstein

I find Boyarin's arguments compelling -- they are based on a close reading of historical texts from the Talmud ant the NT, as well as much comparative data from the Hellenic world. I admit it is just one interpretation of events. FT2 certainly has a right to keep his interpretation -- which, as best I can tell, comes from Luther. All I ask is that if FT2 is committed to his interpretation, he attribute it correctly (if not to Luther than to whichever scholars are most closely identified with it), and allow room for other interpretations. Slrubenstein

Its no specific christian or scholastic influence, its just a period that's always interests me. "Informed layman" mostly. For sure Ive never read Luther though, that I know. FT2 19:23, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

Excuse me, I refused to comment on this section previously becuase it did not follow the consensus building guidelines outlined above, and presented only a single contributor's opinion which has been repeatedly unwilling to reach compromise. However, if this is being considered as a potential framework I would like to add my critiques:

The period AD 30 - AD 70 was a historically tense period in Roman Palestine. Jews were being torn between the demands of their religious loyalty and identity as Jews, and the political risks they as a group faced in being Roman citizens whose countrymen were formenting rebellion against the Empire. Some Jews may have been scared of the consequences of even a slight appearance of disloyalty, which hypothetically could have lead to groups that appeared to preach provocatively (such as Christians) being negatively perceived or even persecuted by some - less for theological reasons than for the sheer potential devastation and slaughter in human terms that renewed provocation could bring down upon them and their community.

In what way does this paragraph directly relate to the "Culture and historical background of Jesus"? The primary topic of this paragraph is christian jews, necessarily post- the period of this article. - Amgine 20:26, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thats already a question on the table. As a mediator and helper on this article, the background is, Slrubenstein and CheeseDreams and others have had a hard time coming to consensus on some aspects of this article. If they feel that to be able to move on, they want agreement on some matters which strictly relate to early Christian history, and they feel its relevant, I'm all for supporting them in their feeling that to them it matters. They are both strong contributors to Wikipedia, and if the material doesn't ultimately end up here I am sure they will find a place for it, so it wont be wasted. FT2 00:04, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

I agree that this is a minor part of the article that, as Amgine says, should focus on Jesus' life and times. However, one of the main points historians make is that our views of Jesus (if he existed) are seriously distorted by views that came to be established long after he crucifiction. If Jesus's acts and teachings -- and the meanings of these acts and teachings -- were really rather different thatn what most people, at least most Christians, think, it makes sense to try to explain what happened (e.g., why was Jesus not remembered as a profound healer and miracle worker by Jews? Why did he instead become the center of a religion that considered him divine?) I don't think that answering these questions should be a major task of this article, but I think it makes sense to end with a few suggestions as a transition to other, linked articles that can explore these questions in greater detail. "Context" refers to what surrounds a "text" -- what comes before and after. It makes sense to begin with some background about what things were like before Jesus was born, and end with some information about what things were like after he died. Slrubenstein

Note to the avid reader. There exists an article for discussing the Historicity of Jesus. There also exists an article for Jewish views on Jesus, and an article about Jesus an miracles, and an article about the resurrection, and an article about Jesus' life and ministry (currently embedded in the body of the Jesus article). CheeseDreams 17:38, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

moving ahead

I think the majority have reached a consensus on the issues raised in the dispute. Would FT2 state whether he is of this opinion (that there exists a consensus (although not supported by a single contributer))? CheeseDreams 20:30, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Although I believe a consensus has been reached, I think at least another day should be allowed for others to have an opportunity to review the progress. - Amgine 07:31, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My job's to facilitate the framework of a consensus, so I tend to hold back. What I've done is from a "knowledge of subject" basis added what I can under each point, hope it helps. FT2 19:23, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
Give it a day *nods* FT2 19:26, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

(A concern was expressed by other contributors that personal attacks might be going on. I've commented these 2 notes out without deleting them as I feel that they actually draw attention back to conflict whereas I want to see if we now have a near consensus in this area. I see Slrubenstein making clear suggestions above, not rhetoric, and they seem thought out. I see CheeseDreams seeming to say he feels its close to consensus and asking if I agree. If it stays calm as they discuss the next section, I dont see any need to discuss personal attacks right now) FT2 00:16, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

New Messiah paragraph

(part 1)

I tried to go back and find the original disputed paragraph, but it was hard to sort out in all the edit history. Here's one version from the history of this Talk page, not sure if it was copied from earlier.

In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed". It was the symbol of high office. There were two officers routinely annointed this way - a priest messiah, and a king messiah. The hopetenet of a "messiah" to save them would usually have meant simply, some king or priest who would stand up to the romans or whoever was felt oppressing them at the time. The meaning of "Messiah" in christianity, that of a godhead, a unique being who would save them in the sense of salvation, was not part of Judaism, though it may have formed part of the hopes or mystic beliefs of some cults or splinter groups.

Also, I think one "pre-protected" version of the page said something about there being other messiahs during this time period, including John the Baptist and something about his connection to the Mandaeans. I'll try to go back and find that paragraph later, but maybe this will get the ball rolling. At this point I'm not endorsing either paragraph, mind you. Wesley 23:42, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

One link on other messiahs is information in the Messiah article FT2 00:04, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

I have a couple of the disputed paragraphs on my user page, but am distracted by another project for the next couple hours. Will give this my attention soonest. - Amgine 00:43, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I remember the above paragraph as something brought up by FT2 which was not specifically opposed. I have the other two paragraphs from the edits on the article as well, let me see if I can come up with something here...

=== Recast tentative title: "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. Two officers were annointed this way - a priest messiah and a king messiah. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A tenet of faith for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, many messianic groups developed around individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being who would save them in the sense of salvation, into their use of the term "Messiah". Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67.

This is only a first attempt, so go ahead and rip on it. - Amgine 02:10, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Taking you at your word, I've edited it in place. Hope we're getting closer. Wesley 02:50, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Hmm... hadn't thought of it that way. I'm not entirely sure it is generalizable among the messianic groups (Gnostics, for example) to say they combined all three roles. Heh, even some of the Christians may take issue. As far as I can tell (with the minor edit I added) this works for me if we can generalize the three role issue.

Down here! - Amgine 03:14, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC) OK, this is my (Pedant) massage of that paragraph:

In this environment, many messianic groups developed around individuals claiming to speak for God -- in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah; or claiming to be able to heal people -- in the prophetic tradition of Elisha. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being -- and by Messiah, it was this combined role to which they referred. In their use of the word, these groups associated the concept of "a Messiah" with some parts of Jewish prophecies not traditionally held to apply to "the Messiah". see: Messiah

note that I am not addressing the factuality of the above paragraph, just re-sorted it to make more sense to me... does that get you any further? In order to really do this justice I would have to fact-check this, and I think most of you who actually are writing on the article are more qualified than I. But I'm always happy to look at anything you'd like some extra eyes on.Pedant 03:48, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)

I generally like these paragraphs that several of you are working on. I have two comments, one minor, one major. Minor: in the first paragraph second sentence I would just say "priest" and "King," and delete the repetition of "messiah" The sentence already explains that "messiah" simply means "annointed" so it is redundant. It also gives the impression that "messiah" was a title. If it was, it was seldome used in this way. Priests were annointed but not commonly refered to as "priests messiahs." Ditto, kings. I would however add that priests come from the line of Aaron, and kings from the line of David. This is important to understanding the local politics. The legitimacy of the Hasmonean kings was always in question because they were not of the line of David. Matthiew and I think Luke make a big deal of Joseph being of the line of David. Slrubenstein
My major problem has to do with the second paragraph. It is absolutely true that the region was populated by a number of people caliming to speak for God in the prohetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and that there were also many folk healers and miracle workers. But I know of no evidence that these people became centers of messianic groups. Vermes explicitly states that they were distinct groups. These prophets and healers neither claimed to be the messiah nor claimed special knowledge about the messiah nor claimed to be specifically preparing the way for a specific messiah. I don't see how they can be identified with messianic groups. (John the Baptist may be one exception, but he wasn't really a healer or prophet -- not in the sense Vermes is talking about). Vermes suggests that Jesus was unique in uniting these different roles (prohet, healer, messiah -- but definitely NOT priest!!). If we have historical evidence of someone else from this time who combined being a potential king, prophet, and healer -- well, who is he? What is the historical evidence? Unless we have some serious research to back up this claim, I say we should stick with the serious research that has been published, like Vermes. Slrubenstein

(part 2)

=== Restating the current version w/edits, tentative title: "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. Two officers were annointed this way - a priest messiah and a king messiah. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A tenet of faith for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being, and by "Messiah", it was this combined role to which they referred. Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67.

Addressing Slrubenstein's concerns:

  1. In the first paragraph, the use of the lower case in "priest messiah" and "king messiah" is specific in english to indicate a role, rather than a title. I'm sure you'll agree the roles of priest messiah and king messiah are different, and deserving of mention. I'm working on sentences to add your information regarding geneology/tribal affiliation... can you tell me when the Hasmonean kings ruled? It may be relevant for me.
Do you misunderstand me? The role of priest and king are indeed different. But the role of "priest messiah" is not different from the role of "priest," and the role of "king messiah" is no different fromn the role of "king" -- that is my point. Slrubenstein
And here is why I urge cutting the words "messiah" in these two cases. I think the word messiah, in English, has come to take on such a specific meaning that it is virtually impossible to use it without evoking that meaning. I am very concerned that if people read "priest messiah" or "king messiah" they will think that this is some special kind of priest or king when in fact it is just that priests were annointed with oil and kings were annointed with oil. I strongly feel we should just say "priest" and "king." The whole point of the preceding sentence (and "messiah" should not be capitalized in this context) is to explain that at that time "messiah" didn't mean what it means today. The second sentence (the one in question) provides two concrete examples. I believe using the words messiah in the second sentence is unnecessary, robs these examples of their force (that messiah could refer just to an ordinary priest or king), and is potentially misleading. Slrubenstein
P.S. Hasmonean kings reigned from 152 BCE until Pompey came in and established Roman rule (around 56 BCE) Slrubenstein
Request for clarification: is an unannointed priest the same as an annointed priest? is an unannointed king the same as an annointed one? If the answer to both these questions is yes, the roles are the same and the use of the specific term is redundant, and I would then encourage its removal. - Amgine 19:59, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Good question. I believe priests as such were not anointed, only the High Priest was anointed. Thus, we should change the first sentence to specify "High Priest" and then change "priest messiah" to "High Priest." Aside from the time of the two kingdoms (Judea and Israel) there was only one king, and that one king was anointed as part of becoming king. Put another way, each kingdom had only one king. There is no "unanointed" king. Being anointed is part of the ritual of becoming king. Slrubenstein
I do not find your reasoning re: King convincing. I recall various stories regarding rebellions, fights between potential heirs over the throne, sons deposing fathers, etc. It would seem to me none of these could occur if a single event (annointing) seals the issue. Therefore, either annointing was not singular (anyone could become annointed) or it was not necessarily relevant to rulership and likely there would be kings who were not annointed (presumably due to politics with priesthoods.) - Amgine 21:05, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. Your statement "I know of no evidence that these people became centers of messianic groups" is not true; at least the Christians centered their organization on the figure Jesus, and they are a messianic group, and you know of evidence of this.
You really misunderstand my point here. I am not talking about Jesus or his followers. But the paragraph is refering to "many" other groups besides Jesus. This is what I question. Other groups at that time. Especially other groups where messiah is combined with the role of prophet and healer (which I agree is how Jesus is presented). Slrubenstein

In addition, others have presented information regarding this particular fact which is at least as valid as your own information (that is, we rely on you and your reports just as we rely on others and their reports.) If you can present specific evidence to the contrary, that is, published peer-reviewed (preferably blind reviewed) documentation that no other groups formed messianic organizations, I would accept this critique. Until such time, I feel I cannot accept your input on this specific issue as you have repeatedly contradicted another contributor without presenting justification. Amgine

This is an unacceptable response. For example, I say there is no such thing as a flying pig. You ask me for proof. I can provide you with mounds and mounds of articles and books by biologists specifying all sorts of life-forms, none of which include flying pigs. But I don't know of any peer-reviewed articles that argue that flying pigs don't exist. Historians are usually as empirical as biologists -- they interpret texts and artefacts that indicate something did happen. Slrubenstein
What I can do is provide citations for books that analyze first century Jews, and that discuss Jesus. Slrubenstein
I think I have the same right to ask for citations to support empirical claims others make. I do not believe I have the major burden of proof here. Other contributors have a burden of proof, and whoever makes a positive claim in writing an encyclopedia has an obligation to provide supporting evidence or citations. I honestly do not understand why you do not agree with this standard. Slrubenstein
After I deleted the paragraph in question from the article, I provided my reasons. CheeseDreams never responded with any support for his claims. If you are making these claims too, now, you have an obligation to provide support if asked for. Slrubenstein
To repeat -- It is absolutely true that the region was populated by a number of people caliming to speak for God in the prohetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and that there were also many folk healers and miracle workers. But I know of no evidence that these people became centers of messianic groups. Vermes explicitly states that they were distinct groups. These prophets and healers neither claimed to be the messiah nor claimed special knowledge about the messiah nor claimed to be specifically preparing the way for a specific messiah. I don't see how they can be identified with messianic groups. (John the Baptist may be one exception, but he wasn't really a healer or prophet -- not in the sense Vermes is talking about). Vermes suggests that Jesus was unique in uniting these different roles (prohet, healer, messiah -- but definitely NOT priest!!). If we have historical evidence of someone else from this time who combined being a potential king, prophet, and healer -- well, who is he? What is the historical evidence? Unless we have some serious research to back up this claim, I say we should stick with the serious research that has been published, like Vermes. Slrubenstein
let me add, that there were certainly civil uprisings against the Romans. A man named Theudas around this time called for a peaceful uprising; there was also someone refered to only as "the Egyptian." But from the evidence we have, these men did not claim to be "messiah" (descendent of David who would restore the monarchy and establish God's kingdom) -- in other words, not all of the Jews' hopes for freedom from the Romans was technically "messianic" (the Hasmoneans had a monarchy but never claimed to be messiahs, they were not of the line of David and definitely did not claim to be establishing God's kingdom). In other words, if Jesus claimed to be messiah, he was very different from these other people. Slrubenstein
When I write "I know of no evidence" it is really because I know of no evidence. You know of evidence? You have read it here? Please tell me where? Please remind me! You write "others have presented information regarding this particular fact which is at least as valid as your own information." I honestly have never seen on this or another page such information. I have yet to see any evidence brought by any contributor concerning these different claims. Slrubenstein
Allow me to explain simply. Your justification for requiring the removal is that you, personally, have never seen evidence arguing for this position. And if someone else suggests it you will demand citations and references. This is an obstructionist method of forcing a POV on an article which could be immediately reversed, with calls for specific and multiple citations for every element you would wish included. Progress on this or any other contended article would grind to a halt.
As an example: I have personally read two research articles regarding the non-existence of (or biological impossibility of) flying pigs, one in bio-engineering/genetics and the other in biology. Do I have those citations handy, if you decided to include flying pigs somewhere? hardly. But if you were to assume good faith, that I was not arguing against their inclusion on whim, you would agree the flying pigs should be removed until contrary research was cited. Research can be found which exclusively rules out an existence of a refuted point. But to discard the good faith additions of another because you have personally not viewed the evidence would make the process much more vulnerable to manipulation. For example, I have personally not seen 99% of the evidence here as Christianity, et al., impinges in my life only slightly; I have to trust in your evidence and arguments, just like the readers of Wikipedia will.
I seem to recall a mention of a "Simon", zealot, described as a priest-annointed rebel who could reasonably be described as a Messiah, but I do not have the specific citation. I also visited the Mandaen article and would reasonably describe John the Baptist as meeting the criteria described. On the basis of these, and trust in the good faith exemplified by other contributors to this article, I believe the use of the phrase "messianic groups" to be justified. But, in deference to your opinions which I also value, I had already modified the second paragraph above and am planning to modify it further to "who may have believed their leaders to be messiahs" assuming there is consensus on this point. - Amgine 20:49, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's Simon Magus or possibly Simon bar Kockba (who may be the same, I haven't checked the second). Anyway,

HUH? What possible reason could you have for believing Simun bar Kocba was Simon Magus? Who is Simun Magus, anyway? Is there any historical evidence for his existence, besides his being a foil for St. Peter? Slrubenstein

Agree, the two are different individuals. Simon Magus was a Samaritan Gnostic figure in the first century, found in several texts including the New Testament. I don't know of other evidence, or if he figures in the Nag Hamadi.
Magus is not a name. It's a description. See Magi (which is NOT the article about 3 wise men). Simon Magus is a gnostic Samaritan figure called Simon in the first century, wheras, Simon bar Kocba is a gnostic Samaritan figure called Simon in the first century. Absolutely no idea why that should be considered similar. CheeseDreams 21:23, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

HUH? Simon Bar Kocba was most definitely not a gnostic Samaritan figure. Slrubenstein

From the Hebrew Wikipedia:

Simon Bar-Kockba is Simon Ben Kusiba (so named for his mother), the military leader which stood at the head of a Jewish rebellion against the Romans [132-135 BCE], a rebellion named after him the Bar-Kockba rebellion.

Let me know if you need more of that article translated for our purposes here. El_C

  1. Support Amgine's tentative paragraph. CheeseDreams 12:07, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(part 3)

=== Restating the current version w/edits, tentative title: "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. (See: Messiah) Two officers were annointed this way - a priest messiah and a king messiah. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A tenet of faith for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being, and by "Messiah", it was this combined role to which they referred. Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67. - Amgine 21:05, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Uh, this is what I wrote before you rewrote your comment:

"Good faith" in this situation doesn't cut it. I have read considerably about this period, and feel confident when I say that there were few if any who claimed to be messiah at this time. I understand that I may be wrong, but will admit I am wrong only when someone provides evidence. I repeat -- this is crucial when people are writing encyclopedia articles. I also know that many people falsely identify certain people as "messiahs." For example, Wikipedia has an article on people Josephus identified as "messiahs" (I have no idea who wrote the article, I didn't check). One of the people neamed as "messiah" is Menachem ben Judah, another was Theudus. This is just plain wrong. Menachem was a zealot -- a soldier (or guerilla or terrorist, take your pick) who tried to lead an uprising against Rome. This does not make him a messiah. Josephus explicitly identifies Theudus as a "prophet," not as a messiah. These words (well, their Hebrew and Aramaic equivalents) had precise meanings back then. Historians are aware of this, and study this. Like I said, I may be wrong and if you provide a historical source identifying someone else as "messiah," fine, I will have learned something. But if you say "Theudus" and I know that Josephus identifies him as a prophet, not a messiah -- I have reason to question your sources. I believe you that there was a Simon who was a zealots. The zealots were not messiahs, did not claim to follow messiahs, and were not awaiting messiahs. This is a serious scholarly work. We shouldn't take these matters so lightly. You yourself just switched terms of your argument, and I wonder why. Before, you said that others had "presented information" on this fact, and I asked you who and what information. Now, instead of giving me the information, you simply say we must take things on faith. Well, you were right the first time -- we need information. I am still waiting for it. Slrubenstein
About John the Baptist and the Mandeans, just because John fits the criteria does not mean he was a Mandean, or that the Mandeans were founded by him. This is sloppy historical research and an encyclopedia needs higher standards. Was he a Mandean, or a founder of Mandeanism? What is the evidence? Slrubenstein

I will go over your new suggestion and give it serious consideration, Slrubenstein

"Assume Good Faith" does cut it; it is the policy of Wikipedia. The rest of your addition is not specifically relevant to this article, but to the article about Josephus. - Amgine 21:28, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Amgine, Mandaeans were not founded by John the Baptist (it goes back to about the 2nd century BC), but he was a particularly charismatic leader, who may have been the reason it developed into a major religion (which has since dissappeared, predominantly due to the formation of Islam). CheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Assume good faith is one thing, but you misunderstand my point. I stop assuming good faith when I have read considerable scholarship that contradicts an assertion, without evidence, made by someone else. What do you mean "the rest of my addition?" I was not "adding" anything. I was explaining why I am suspicious of what you wrote, that there were many other messiahs at the time. Josephus is often used as a source and I was explaining why he really doesn't support this claim? Even if I take what you say in good faith, why should I accept your claim that there were many other messiahs at that time when none of the histories I have read make this claim, and in fact the one example you provide is of a zealot? Good faith does NOT trump wikipedia: verifiability Slrubenstein

Wikipedia:Assume good faithCheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(part 4)

Now, here is what I suggest for this part of the article:

== Prophet, Healer, and Messiah ==
The Gospel accounts of Jesus suggest that he combined many roles that were otherwise distinct and separate during the Second Temple period. One was that of “prophet” – a person who, in the tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, claimed to speak with and for God. Another was that of faith-healer and miracle worker, in the tradition of Elisha. Another was “messiah.”
The Hebrew word “messiah” means “anointed one” and was used to refer to High Priests and Kings, who were elevated to office by being anointed with oil. The Mishnah, edited in 200 CE, uses the term mainly to refer to the High Priest. Many Jews also used the term to refer to a descendent of King David who would restore God’s kingdom. Thus, not all kings were considered messianic – the Hasmonean kings (162 BCE - 56 BCE) were not descended from David, and did not claim to have established God’s Kingdom. After the Roman occupation and the fall of the Hasmoneans, many Jews hoped that the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish king. However, Jews were divided over how this might occur. Some, especially the Sicarii and the Zealots, believed that the kingdom should be restored immediately, through violent human action. Most Jews however believed that their history was governed by God, meaning that even the conquest of Judea by the Romans was a divine act. Therefore the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish king only through divine intervention; thus, the majority of Jews accepted Roman rule.
There is no record of an organized violent uprising against the Romans during the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. Nevertheless, there is considerable evidence that many yearned for a messiah. John the Baptist is one example (in the second century, a Gnostic group called Mandeans suggested that he was the messiah). The hint in Matthew and Luke that Jesus was descended from David, that he was the “son of God” (a phrase which was used to signify a righteous person, and which had been applied to King David), and his preaching about the kingdom of God, suggests that Jesus or his followers believed him to be the Messiah.

If you have any objections to this, please tell me what they are. I am happy to provide evidence/sources for any claim here. Slrubenstein

My primary objection to this text is it discards the work of all previous contributors in favor of a text created exclusively by you which does not address the topics raised by other contributors. It does not include the elements of consensus which we have been working on, and includes elements which have been excluded by vote. See above summaries of votes.
The text, repeated below, includes elements from your previous submissions as well as that of other contributors, and exists as a compromise covering topics which are in dispute. It has been regarded as reasonably NPOV, is readily understandable by non-academics, and is not complexly justified or overly precise as is appropriate for a non-scholarly work, which, in fact, is what articles in Wikipedia are supposed to be. - Amgine 22:00, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Amgine, I think your version is the best, and actually has the decency and lack of arrogance to consider the discussion here. CheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(part 5)

=== Restating the current version w/edits, tentative title: "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. (See: Messiah) Two officers were annointed this way - a priest messiah and a king messiah. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A tenet of faith for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being, and by "Messiah", it was this combined role to which they referred. Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67. - Amgine 21:05, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

For what it is worth, the version I came up with was based on the first version of the article (by Mpolo). I did nindeed try to respond to what other people had suggested, and mentioned John and the Mandeans. I still object to "priest messiah and king messiah" for reasons I gave above, which you did not respond to. I also take issue with the phrase "tenet of faith" -- surely you know that "faith" is an important issue for Christians. Jews do not consider their religion "faith-based" and the use of the word "faith" here sets off POV alarm-bells. A belief in the coming of the messiah became an explicit "tenet of faith" much later in Jewish history. But was belief in divine guidance of history a tenet of "faith?" I think it was a common belief but did not have the status of a tenet of faith at that time. The following sentence is flat out wrong: "In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs." What is your source or evidence that any of these prophets or healers were considered messiahs? I have done considerable research and know of no evidence whatsoever. If you have any evidence, provide it -- or cut this sentence (verifiability is a basic value at wikipedia). The following sentence is also flat out wrong: "Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being, and by "Messiah", it was this combined role to which they referred." I agree that this was the case with Jesus, or at least might have been. But I know of no evidence for any other groups with this character. Please provide your evidence (verifiability!) or cut it. The sentence "A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah" is wrong or highly misleading. It is true that Mandeans believed that John was the messiah -- this is verifiable. But what is the evidence that Mandeanism grew out of a messianic movement in the first century? I know of no evidence. Please verify -- or delete. A final word: I happen to think that my version is better written -- this is a matter of style and I understand others may disagree with me, and I may have to compromise. But editors of an encyclopedia do not compromise by accepting unverified assertions. This is flat out against wikipedia policy. Slrubenstein

  • Copied from above - response to your response to my query:
Good question. I believe priests as such were not anointed, only the High Priest was anointed. Thus, we should change the first sentence to specify "High Priest" and then change "priest messiah" to "High Priest." Aside from the time of the two kingdoms (Judea and Israel) there was only one king, and that one king was anointed as part of becoming king. Put another way, each kingdom had only one king. There is no "unanointed" king. Being anointed is part of the ritual of becoming king. Slrubenstein
I do not find your reasoning re: King convincing. I recall various stories regarding rebellions, fights between potential heirs over the throne, sons deposing fathers, etc. It would seem to me none of these could occur if a single event (annointing) seals the issue. Therefore, either annointing was not singular (anyone could become annointed) or it was not necessarily relevant to rulership and likely there would be kings who were not annointed (presumably due to politics with priesthoods.) - Amgine 21:05, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • I also take issue with the phrase "tenet of faith" Good! I can agree with that. In the version (below) I have added that edit. Constructive criticism!
  • Please verify -- or delete. I do not accept the imperative voice well. It is a personal failing, I understand, and one which I am attempting to overcome. In the mean time, would you be so kind as to cite published peer reviewed justification for saying it is "wrong"? If you can do so then I would accept your statement is not merely your opinion that it is "wrong".

(part 6)

=== Restating the current version w/edits, tentative title: "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. (See: Messiah) Two officers were annointed this way - a priest messiah and a king messiah. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A common belief for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being, and by "Messiah", it was this combined role to which they referred. Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67. - Amgine 21:05, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

You don't need to apologize or justify your issue with the imperative, I will try to avoid it. Nevertheless, the burden of proof is still yours according to our verifiability principle. If you assert a fact in an article, you have to be prepared to back it up. In the version I put together, which you seemed not to like, I said I could verify every sentence. You have to be willing to verify every sentence in your version (I hope this "have to" is not the imperative). First, a comment about kings. Of course people could contest the throne. I think you misunderstand me -- I didn't mean being anointed automatically made someone king, of course there are false kings and pretenders. When a king is coronated in the UK, they put a crown on his head; kings are crowned; to be a king is to be crowned. That doesn't mean that just because I put a crown on my head it makes me king. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition, if you prefer philosophical terms. The same is true for anointing. When you write "king messiah" you mkae it sound like there are other kinds of kings. There aren't, not in this technical sense. My point is that there are never two legitimate "anointed" kings for one kingdom. All legitimate kings are anointed. You don't need to say king anointed, it is redundant and strange usage. "King" or "High Priest" is enough -- if the person really is' King or High Priest, then they are also anointed.

here are the sources for my claims

  • Shaye J.D. Cohen 1988 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah ISBN 0-664-25017-3
  • Shaye J.D. Cohen 2001 The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties
  • Paula Fredriksen 1988 From Jesus to Christ ISBN 0-300-04864-5
  • Schwartz, Leo, ed. Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People ISBN 0-394-60413-X
  • Sanders, E.P. 1993 The Historical Figure of Jesus
  • Vermes, Geza 1981 Jesus the Jew

I cannot give you a specific page where they say that there were no other groups of messiahs -- they just never mention it. But they all mention other prophets, other faith healers, and zealots without ever suggesting that there was one person (besides Jesus) who claimed, or who people claimed, was all three plus messiah to boot, and they do not mention anyone else at this time period who anyone claimed was messiah. Slrubenstein

So we are still left with several claims in your version that I cannot verify even though I have tried by going back to some of the major works of scholarship on Jews and Jesus. I can't verify it -- can you? If no one can verify it, and I don't want to irritate it by using the imperative, but I just don't see why you keep including it in every version. I ask you -- with respect, and out of good faith, to go back to the version I wrote and tell me what you really think is wrong with it. I know it excludes things others have said but really, I believe in good faith I excluded only those things that just cannot be verified. Is there some other reason you don't like it? I take it in good faith that your notion of compromise doesn't mean that we have to work with your version and can't work with mine. I have tried to be clear about reasonable objections I have to your version. I am not trying to force my version down your throat, I am asking you what your objections are. So far, all it seems is that you don't like it because I haven't included things I don't think are true -- and which even you haven't been able to authenticate at least so far. I ask you to take a second look Slrubenstein

== Prophet, Healer, and Messiah ==
The Gospel accounts of Jesus suggest that he combined many roles that were otherwise distinct and separate during the Second Temple period. One was that of “prophet” – a person who, in the tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, claimed to speak with and for God. Another was that of faith-healer and miracle worker, in the tradition of Elisha. Another was “messiah.”
The Hebrew word “messiah” means “anointed one” and was used to refer to High Priests and kings, who were elevated to office by being anointed with oil. The Mishnah, edited in 200 CE, uses the term mainly to refer to the High Priest. Many Jews also used the term to refer to a descendent of King David who would restore God’s kingdom. Thus, not all kings were considered messianic – the Hasmonean kings (162 BCE - 56 BCE) were not descended from David, and did not claim to have established God’s Kingdom. After the Roman occupation and the fall of the Hasmoneans, many Jews hoped that the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish king. However, Jews were divided over how this might occur. Some, especially the Sicarii and the Zealots, believed that the kingdom should be restored immediately, through violent human action. Most Jews however believed that their history was governed by God, meaning that even the conquest of Judea by the Romans was a divine act. Therefore the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish king only through divine intervention; thus, the majority of Jews accepted Roman rule.
There is no record of an organized violent uprising against the Romans during the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. Nevertheless, there is considerable evidence that many yearned for a messiah. John the Baptist is one example (in the second century, a Gnostic group called Mandeans suggested that he was the messiah). The hint in Matthew and Luke that Jesus was descended from David, that he was the “son of God” (a phrase which was used to signify a righteous person, and which had been applied to King David), and his preaching about the kingdom of God, suggests that Jesus or his followers believed him to be the Messiah.

Do you see a need to write "king messiah" instead of just king? Is this POV or unbalanced? Doesn't it do just what the title of the article suggests -- put Jesus in his historical context? Slrubenstein

It's an excellent summary. Jayjg 03:34, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(part 7)

  • I'll address the king issue first. If any king is, by definition, annointed, then what happens when there are competing claims to the throne? a son deposes a father? etc. Your argument suggests a messiah king has a better claim to the throne. Yet you suggest we needn't use the phrase because it is redundant. Can you explain what appears to me to be a (minor) contradiction?

I assume the unsigned remark above is by Amgine. Whoever wrote it -- you really simply do not understand Hebrew usage in the Bible or Second Temple period. I have patiently been trying to explain that there is no such thing as a "king messiah" or "priest messiah," that there was simply a practice of annointing kings and high priests. It is beyond me, at this point, how you cannot understand unless you are being deliberately obstructionist. In any event, I cannot see how you could make this point if you have done any research on the topic. And with all due respect, if you have not done any research, you are in no position to argue such a point. Slrubenstein

The whole idea of "king messiah" and "priest messiah" is nonsense. There was a High Priest, descendant of Aaron, who was annointed, and a King, desendant of David, who as also annointed. That is what Messiah meant, annointed. Very rarely a pretender attempted to usurp the throne, and was also annointed; see, for example, David's sons. Jayjg 03:34, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am hopeful of being convinced on this argument. From my (brief) digging into the subject I have not found specific corroborating statements the High Priest must be descended of Aaron, only that he must be a Levite (but other statements that Levites other than descendents of Aaron primarily were involved in "lesser duties", so...) As for the King, there were Kings who were not descended of David, and non-Jewish Kings, as well as various figures who acted as kings (Simon who was called Prince, etc.) who were annointed. Amgine 05:31, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Amgine, if you have found no corroborating statements that the high priest must be descended from Aaron, then you simply are not qualified to participate in a discussion of Jewish priests. It is stated plainly in the Torah (Numbers, Leviticus, etc) and in the Talmud (esp M. Horayot) -- these are the basic texts in Judaism and most research would start here. What kind of research did you do? And I have stated several times that there were kings not of the line of David. That is besides the point. Those kings were anointed too -- that's just what you did with kings!. The significance of the line of David is not that all kings had to be of the line of David (Judea and Israel divided into separate kingdoms; the Hasmoneans later had their own line). But by Roman times -- after the end of the Kingdom of Israel and the Hasmonean dynasty people believed that the Kingdom of God -- a kingdom sanctified by God -- would be established by someone of the house of David. What made that person "messiah" was not that they were descended from David (there are lots of people descended from David and none of them are kings) -- but rather, that when that person of the house of David became king, he would be anointed like all kings. You are confusing "messiah" as a title that entered into usage during the Roman period -- after the end of the various Jewish monarchis -- with "anointed" as a simple verb describing an act done to all kings. Slrubenstein

All priests (Koheins) are descendants of Aaron; Levites are descendants of Levi, not Aaron. The Kings who were not descendants of David were the Hasmoneans, as discussed above, or others appointed by Rome; they not were "Messiahs". Jayjg 06:18, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Despite these probable inconsistencies with characterization, I agree with removing the phrases "priest messiah" and "king messiah", and possibly other uses of the term - 10 times in three short paragraphs is too much! I propose to replace these phrases with "High Priest and King of the Jews", which should exclude the non-Jewish kings and the non-king figures. Do you agree? - Amgine 05:31, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Start with Slrubenstein's factual and knowledgeable version, and suggest edits to that. Jayjg 06:18, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't believe you addressed the question. - Amgine 07:41, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I did address the question; start with a factual version of Slrubenstein and work from there. There's not point in starting from your version, since it is riddled with falsehoods, inaccuracies, and unsupported POV claims. Jayjg 01:14, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As per our discussion at User talk:Jayjg#help? and User talk:Amgine#Removal of Talk: page comments, I will not respond to this personal challenge at this time - Amgine 17:17, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Three of the 6 sources you cite are not peer reviewed, and the other half cannot be determined. That is, all of your sources as listed are unable to be determined if they are scholarly. I do not, however, doubt the veracity of the information you've provided. You do, in fact, specifically support my argument in that you say they do not report it. Additionally, you will I am sure be aware that the suggested text below does not claim the three roles, but only the term "messiah"s.
If you can't determine whether people like Vermes or Fredricksen are "scholarly" in regards to Jesus, then you need to acquaint yourself with the scholarship on the subject. The people listed are some of the pre-eminent historians of Jesus. Jayjg 03:34, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It's not a question of whether I consider the authors scholarly. The works in question have not been reviewed by a committee of peer researchers for publication in an appropriate recognized research journal. This is the widely accepted premise for scholarly works and citations. - Amgine 05:31, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The authors are widely recognized as the pre-eminent historians of Jesus; this isn't a science journal we're talking about. Do a little study of them before responding. Jayjg 06:18, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I believe cultural and historic studies are sciences, although I could be mistaken. We are writing about veracity, so I would have to insist on standards of citation if we're going to get into such arguements at all. - Amgine 07:41, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Amgine is simply revealing his ignorance. Most books are not peer-reviewed (not in history or the social science), peer-review is a process used usually for journal articles. This does not mean books have no scholarly status. Each of these authors have published in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, these scholars are well-recognized and frequently cited authorities. As Jayg suggests, if Amgine doesn't know who they are, it just shows two things: first, he is ignorant; second, he has not tried to overcome his ignorance with serious research. Some time ago, Amgine rebuked me for not working in good faith. I believe I have treated Amgine with good faith up until now. At this point, however, Amgine has amply demonstrated that this good faith is ill-deserved. Good faith means I start out assuming that if you are working on an article it is becuase you have done some serious research. But Amgine has now demonstrated that he has not done any serious research, nor does he even know how to do serious research, at least on the topics discussed in this section. Amgine, you simply don't know what you are talking about and are in no poisition to judge content. Slrubenstein

On this non-topic issue I contest, and will bring it to your talk page. - Amgine 17:14, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Dear reader, you may or may not have noticed a pattern emerging - anyone who seriously contests Slrubenstein and actually has valid points is slandered by him. You must ask yourselves is this civil behaviour? Is it failing to assume good faith? Is it resorting to personal attacks because his argument fails to stand up to the counter? CheeseDreams 19:00, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC) On my talk page, Amgine admits he did not do much if any researchSlrubenstein

Darling reader, On the mediation request page, Slrubenstein admits his research is uncited and only from 5 or 6 books. CheeseDreams 20:11, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Anyone who does not know that Priests are descended from Aaron is woefully ignorant on the entire subject of Messiahs. Jayjg 01:14, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As Amgine pointed out (somewhere, not sure where). Not all of them did. CheeseDreams 20:11, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As per our discussion at User talk:Jayjg#help? and User talk:Amgine#Removal of Talk: page comments, I will not respond to this personal challenge at this time - Amgine 17:17, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Theology is the Queen of the Sciences" is an oft used quote. CheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Peer reviewed journals are fundamentally necessary for respect for sources. If the sources do not use peer review journals, then one must wonder what they are afraid of? Perhaps their arguments being rejected by the journals as unsubstantiated rubbish. This is why medical research is only even remotely trusted amongst the NHS once it has at least been published in something like The Lancet. CheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • I am not interested in examining your text for veracity. I am interested in accomplishing a compromise among the contributors to this article, which your article does not lead toward. This is the item which I have identified as why "I don't like it". I would be most pleased if you would work *with* other contributors toward a text.
A compromise that is non-factual is worthless. Jayjg 03:34, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. CheeseDream, like Amgine, fundamentally misunderstands the Wikipedia process. Verifiability is fundamental. This is an encyclopedia. Knowledgeable contributors ought to compromise on matters of style. But when it comes to facts, Cheese's notion of compromise is just silly. Example: I say "the distance from the earth to the sun is 93 million miles. Someone says "well, it is more complicated than that because the earth's distance depends on where it is in its orbit." Someone suggests "the average distance of the earth from the sun is 93 million miles." Someone else suggests "the distance of the earth from the son varies between 91 and 94.5 million miles" and we keep discussing the phrasing until we reach a compromise. Great! But if someone says "the distance of the earth from the sun is 50 million miles," we DO NOT compromise by saying "Some believe the distance of the earth from the sun is 93 million miles, but others believe it to be 50 million" and we MOST DEFINITELY do not compromise by saying "The distance of the earth from the sun is 71.5 million miles." The 50 million mile figure is simply wrong, and the person who argues it doesn't know what they are talking about. I have researched this topic extensively and have written a version (that relies on earlier versions and adds material brought up in this discussion) that is verifiable. I have listed as sources people that any expert in first century Judean history would recognize as an expert. I know from my research that many statements by Amgine and CheeseDreams are wrong, ...Slrubenstein

(Dear reader, please note the dictionary defines arrogance as assuming ones own opinion or actions are fundamentally correct despite protestations to the contrary by others). CheeseDreams 19:00, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

but in good faith I have asked them to provide their sources and evidence. And they simply refuse. This is not how Wikipedia is supposed to work. Slrubenstein

Darling reader, Slrubenstein admits on the Mediation request page to not providing citeable sources, and only using 5 or 6 books. CheeseDreams 20:11, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You are, I believe, mistaken. It is worth infinitely more than no article.
BTW, may I congratulate you as the first of the 5-6 people to whom Msr. Rubenstein appealed for "Help?". I look forward to further collaboration with you. - Amgine 05:31, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
We had the Gerrymandering discussion earlier. Its in an archive now. CheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, a non-factual article is worth less than no article. No article does no harm, a non-factual article actually misleads. Jayjg 06:18, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There are many assumptions in those two short sentences. But I submit only to evidences to the contrary; Louis Pasteur's refutation of abiogenisis and Jonas Salk's polio vaccine and work in antiretrovirals. In the former, Louis Pasteur was actually wrong in his statement, and had his opponent actually done his experiment with the hay broths he would have refuted Pasteur's claim (because hay hosts a series of microbes which can survive boiling.) In the latter, although Salk's vaccine worked as projected, he later disproved the theory on which it was based. In both cases the world in general is much improved, despite the non-factual articles these researchers wrote.

This is not on point. We question your so-called facts concerning first century Jewish history, and ask for evidence. An analogy concerning Pasteur and Salk is no substitute for research on first century Jewish history. Slrubenstein

Although this article may not have the exact facts according to some or even most academics, it is undoubtedly improved by the active discussion which leads to further research. There will come a point when this article will be too complex for the average layperson to understand if the drive for exactitude and precision of language is carried too far. As that average layperson on this topic, I feel we've reached a point in the language which is accessible and accurate. Further precision tends to become POV; you must accept X group's interpretation to then report Y. This is a good thing, but for another article and not a "background" article. - Amgine 07:41, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Again, not on point. Your virsion has what I believe are untrue statements in it. I have specified which statements and, since I may be wrong and you may be right, I have asked you for your sources. You have yet to provide any. This is BS. Slrubenstein

The compromise version has points you believe to be untrue. You have failed to present reasonable justification for their excision, but have instead reported your sources do not address the question directly. Furthermore, you have confirmed that at least the Mandaens, Christians, and the followers of Simon meet the criteria and/or described their leader as "messiah". I will happily agree with your viewpoint that the recast sentence should be edited further, and encourage you to work toward a compromise which does so. - Amgine 17:14, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I believe they are untrue because I have researched the period and these claims are inconsistant with the evidence. I have asked you repeatedly for evidence to support your claims and you have provided none. You misrepresent me: I said that Mandeans in the second century believed John to be the messiah, but I had thought it was clear that, as is the case with Christians, what they mean by messiah is fundamentally different from what Jews meant by "messiah" during Jesus' life. And I said Bar Kochba was thought by some to be the messiah (in the Jewish, not Christian or Mandean sense) but that he lived a hundred years after Jesus. In anything, his career demonstrates the persistence of the Jewish understanding of "messiah." It certainly is not evidence that while Jesus was alive there were others claiming to be messiahs. Slrubenstein

Until such time as the mediation you have requested between us is completed, it would be inappropriate and potentially harmful to that process to debate issues which are in that question. - Amgine 00:48, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Your version is filled with dubious claims that you cannot or will not back up with evidence; this makes it fundamentally flawed. Jayjg 01:14, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree. Slrubenstein's version is fatally flawedCheeseDreams 20:11, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As per our discussion at User talk:Jayjg#help? and User talk:Amgine#Removal of Talk: page comments, I will not respond to this personal challenge at this time - Amgine 17:17, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(part 8)

=== Restating the current version w/edits, tentative title: "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. (See: Messiah) Two officers were annointed this way - a priest messiah and a king messiah. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A common belief for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being, and by "Messiah", it was this combined role to which they referred. Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67. - Amgine 21:05, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Which groups "combined the roles of prophet, priest and king into one unique being"? Can you name them? Jayjg 03:34, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, missed this on the first pass. I would say the Mandaens did, but that is an opinion based on my understanding of social roles and might not be accepted generally. I should probably have questioned this more carefully when I was splicing this together. Since you did not offer a suggested re-wording, allow me to borrow from Wesley's intro:
Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, added the concept of a godhead, a unique being who would save them in the sense of salvation, and by "Messiah" it was this role to which they referred.
This avoids the particular disagreement to which you referred, although it opens another potential point of contention. Part of this concept also developed later in the rabbinical school of judaism, but not at the time addressed in this article. - Amgine 05:50, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Again, name the groups. "Some of these groups" implies more than just the followers of Jesus and the Mandaens. Also, what information do you have about the provenance of the Mandaens. Jayjg 06:18, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Simon bar Kokhba, Yeshua ben Ananais, and possibly Yehoshua ben Gamala were all referred to as saviors of the Jews, two at least were annointed - one as a prince and the other as a high priest. Simon bar Kokhba does not belong in this particular article, but would be covered by the sentence out of context. See the edit below. And please, could you suggest edits rather than argue beliefs - I haven't many regarding this topic. - Amgine 07:41, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Who refered to them as saviors of the Jews? Josephus? I don't think so, but I addressed this matter above, and you dismissed me saying that such facts belong in an article on Josephus (part 3). First of all, the three people you mention lived after Jesus' death. The passage in question claims that there were other messiah's at the time of Jesus, and these three examples simply do not prove that as they lived much later. I understand that events that happened fourty or a hundred years afte Jesus' death may still shed light on Jesus, but we need to be careful about context. Some, like Akiba, did believe that Simon bar Kochba was "messiah" meaning the heir of David. I would not use the word "savior" which today, especially in the context of this discussion, has a different meaning. Bar Kochba was a general and potential monarch. He most definitely was NOT a prophet or healer, as Jesus seemed to be, and cannot be compared to Jesus. What is your evidence for ben Gamala? Yes, as High Priest he was annointed, and in the Mishnah highpriests are refered to as messiahs. But when this article describes Jesus as messiah (or possibly claimed to be messiah) we mean it in a very different way -- as h heir of David. To compare ben Gamala and Jesus as messiahs is like comparing Chicago and Bush as both "vote-earners" -- yes, people voted for Chicago at the Oscars, and people voted for Bush in a presidential election, but they are still apples and oranges. Who claims ben Gamala was a "savior" of Israel? I have no idea what you mean, but it is true that in Baba Batra Judah praises him for having preserved knowledge when the Temple was destroyed. A good thing, yes, but not what people today mean by "savior" and certainly not "messianic." As for Ananias, there are indeed parallels with Jesus but I am not sure that anyone anointed him or considered him messiah -- what is your evidence? In any event, he lived after Jesus (62 CE). The Romans executed Jesus for claiming to be "king of the Jews" (the messianic claim), but they freed Ananias because they considered him a nut -- doesn't really suggest anyone took him seriously as a claimant to the throne of David. Slrubenstein

As Slrubenstien points out, you don't have any evidence that they were "referred to as saviors of the Jews". Jayjg 00:56, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As per our discussion at User talk:Jayjg#help? and User talk:Amgine#Removal of Talk: page comments, I will not respond to this personal challenge at this time - Amgine 17:18, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(part 9)

=== Prophet, Healer, and Messiah (Slrubenstein's proposal) ===
The Gospel accounts of Jesus suggest that he combined many roles that were otherwise distinct and separate during the Second Temple period. One was that of “prophet” – a person who, in the tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, claimed to speak with and for God. Another was that of faith-healer and miracle worker, in the tradition of Elisha. Another was “messiah.”
The Hebrew word “messiah” means “anointed one” and was used to refer to High Priests and kings, who were elevated to office by being anointed with oil. The Mishnah, edited in 200 CE, uses the term mainly to refer to the High Priest. Many Jews also used the term to refer to a descendent of King David who would restore God’s kingdom. Thus, not all kings were considered messianic – the Hasmonean kings (162 BCE - 56 BCE) were not descended from David, and did not claim to have established God’s Kingdom. After the Roman occupation and the fall of the Hasmoneans, many Jews hoped that the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish king. However, Jews were divided over how this might occur. Some, especially the Sicarii and the Zealots, believed that the kingdom should be restored immediately, through violent human action. Most Jews however believed that their history was governed by God, meaning that even the conquest of Judea by the Romans was a divine act. Therefore the Romans would be replaced by a Jewish king only through divine intervention; thus, the majority of Jews accepted Roman rule.
There is no record of an organized violent uprising against the Romans during the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. Nevertheless, there is considerable evidence that many yearned for a messiah. John the Baptist is one example (in the second century, a Gnostic group called Mandeans suggested that he was the messiah). The hint in Matthew and Luke that Jesus was descended from David, that he was the “son of God” (a phrase which was used to signify a righteous person, and which had been applied to King David), and his preaching about the kingdom of God, suggests that Jesus or his followers believed him to be the Messiah.
Support. This makes things clearer, I believe, while covering the same bases. Mpolo 17:08, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)
Oppose Has not been edited by anyone else, single POV. - Amgine 17:27, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oppose Totally POV. CheeseDreams 19:08, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Support. Clearer, and there are no specific objections to the text. Jayjg 01:02, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
when I first proposed this, I specifically asked Amgine what part of it was wrong. He had no specific objections. Obviously people can co-edit this, or make suggestions, if they think there is anything important that is missing, or anything that is wrong and must be changed or deleted Slrubenstein
My specific objection was you chose to discard an extent compromise text without attempting to improve it, and instead substitute your own. - Amgine 18:17, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Support Substituting a new version isn't always a bad thing, especially if the first is seriously flawed. Any objections besides the "procedure", or the person who proposed this version? Wesley 04:40, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, Wesley, I do. I will gladly discuss those objections after the mediation is completed. - Amgine 17:23, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Support I don't see what the issue is here. Slrubenstein and Jayjg have provided specific reasons why the other version doesn't work. Amgine and CheeseDreams have stated nothing which is wrong with this version, except procedural complaints. Procedure certainly shouldn't trump content, and in this case I see no problems with the procedure either. john k 17:56, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Restating the current version w/edits, tentative titles:

=== Compromise text "Messiahs" ===
In Judaism, "Messiah" means "annointed one", the symbol of high office. (See: Messiah) Two officers were annointed this way - the High Priest and King of the Jews. Under the Roman occupation many Jews hoped for a messiah who would replace the Romans. A common belief for many Jews was that God governed their destiny, and the Roman conquest was a divine act which would only be changed by further divine intervention.
In this environment, individuals claiming to speak for God, in the prophetic tradition of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or claiming to be able to heal people, in the prophetic tradition of Elisha, developed followings who believed their leaders to be messiahs. Some of these groups, including those following Jesus, added the concept of a godhead, a unique being who would save them in the sense of salvation, and by "Messiah" it was this role to which they referred. Even though this was not a part of the Judaic tradition of the time, they connected some Jewish prophecies with their "Messiah" which were not generally associated with the term in Jewish thought at that time.
A few of the messianic organizations would develop into religions which continue to this day such as the Mandaeans, who believe John the Baptist is the single messiah, and most faiths of Christianity, who believe Jesus is the single messiah. But the majority of the messianic groups disappeared quickly, or were obliterated after the uprising of 67. - Amgine 07:41, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. support CheeseDreams 12:19, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. oppose -- it makes false unsubstantiated claims. I objected to these claims several times and asked for sources and evidence, and no one has offered any. I asked that two sentences be removed because they were wrong and unsubstantiated and unverifiable, but they are still here. In short, Amgine has ignored my edits. - User:Slrubenstein
    You were asked for justification for you request. Your response was exclusively they were unverifiable (partially refuted above). Also, from the Verifiability, second sentence: However, don't be too keen to remove unverified information at the cost of completeness. - Amgine 18:17, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  2. oppose -- confuses the issues. Not every priest is "Messiah" in the sense that we are discussing here, is he? Nor is every king a Messiah. (Catholic tradition mentions Prophets who are anointed as well, with Elisha being the princeps analogatum.) - User:Mpolo
    I don't believe this particular issue is present in this current version of the compromise text - it has been edited after due discussion with Slrubenstein and Jayjg. - Amgine 17:27, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    The remaining objections of the other voters remain. A list of the Messiahs who claimed to be part of the Godhead in the first century AD would be helpful. "Save them in the sense of salvation" is awkward. The other form still has loads more information. Mpolo 14:58, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
  3. support -- as it continues to be edited. - Amgine 17:27, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  4. oppose; makes false and unsubstantiated claims, as outlined about. Edits still work from the premise that a historically incorrect version that everyone has "worked on" is better than a version that is historically correct and actually supported from sources. Jayjg 01:05, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  5. oppose this seems to suggest that many people at the time were expecting a divine Incarnation. I'm not sure even the Gospels suggest such a thing. Wesley 04:40, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Urm, yes. That is because they were. (note that Many is not Most). That the Gospels do not suggest such a thing is hardly surprising - they have a POV to support. The Gospels are not free from serious issues of historiography. As historical witness they are not 100% reliable, and many scholars consider them significantly less. Relying on just Biblical evidence is an appalling lack of judgement. CheeseDreams 20:27, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. oppose. The reasons everybody else has said. Also, the only supposed advantage that I can see to this version is that it was reached through some more proper procedure. But this seems ridiculous to me - people knowledgeable about the topic have repeatedly pointed out problems with this version, and been completely ignored by the people promoting it. If that's a better procedure, this whole project is ridiculous. john k 17:56, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oooh, someone who supports Slrubenstein and is new to the debate. I wonder if that has anything to do with Slrubenstein's request on his talk page to enter the debate? Gerrymandering again. So unethical.
Indeed, I looked at this page due to Slrubenstein's request. Does that make my viewpoint invalid? We should assess people on the basis of the quality of arguments they make, not the thing which called their attention to the page. If you think my arguments are bad, and want to argue with me, fine, but the fact that I made comments after he told me about the page does not invalidate my thoughts. john k 06:50, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am stating that Slrubenstein is Gerrymandering the voting process. This I regard as an abhorrance. CheeseDreams 08:45, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)