At 04:02 AM 12/21/00 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 12/20/00 9:21:04 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>[log in to unmask] writes:
> > 2) where Gow holds that the identification of the Antichrist with the one
> > who many Jews would accept as their Christ as opposed to Jesus Christ
> was a
> > Medieval, largely anti-semitic invention (pp. 2-3). I guess he has never
> > read Scripture (John 5:43; Mt 24:24; 2 Thes 2:1ff.) or St. Chrysostom, St.
> > Augustine, St. Cyrill, who are hardly described as medievals.
>Messianic expectations originate in the OT, which of course lays the
>foundation for the Christian claim that Christ is the fulfullment of the OT
>prophecies. Emphasis is often put on the point that Jews don't believe Christ
>was divine, and don't believe he was the messiah. But it's not always made
>clear that this is essentially a mistaken identity argument. It's perfectly
>possible to be a devout Jew and believe that the messiah, as predicted, will
> appear in due time (but Christ was not that messiah).
according to Maimonides 13 principles of the faith, it is questionable to
be a devout jew and not believe in the coming of the messiah and the
resurrection of the dead.
>Some (not all) of the
>Lubavicher Hasidim believe that their
now 7 years dead
>rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, was the
>messiah. Although this may sound odd from a Christian perspective,
why? it follows a very similar pattern to the beliefs of the early
disciples of jesus
>doesn't require that the messiah be superhuman or an incarnation of God. He
>might be just a great leader, another King David.
deification of messianic figures tends to happen after they are dead
(jesus, schneerson), and compensate in the imagination for their failure to
transform the world into the messianic era (ie. millennial failure)
>Whether he'll appear in the
>near future or far future is left a mystery, at least in the OT.
and even more explicitly left a mystery in the NT. actually the HB (OT is
such a religiously invidious term), being a far less coherent collection of
texts written over almost half a millennium, has far less coherent ideas
about the messiah than the NT. the closest thing to a discussion of when
the messiah will come is in the talmud -- Sanhedrin 97-99 and other
scattered discussions -- and there you find dozens of wildly disparate
opinions, including the classic owl to the classic rooster "Akiva [who
supported Bar Kochba as the messiah], grass will grow btwn your cheeks [ie
you'll be dead and decomposed] before the messiah comes."
>point is that Jews are not alone in understandings of Christ that are
>non-trinitarian or deviant from a catholic perspective. In Islam, Christ is
>regarded as one of the prophets, not divine. Unitarians too regard him as
>human, not divine, and not a member of a trinity.
the real problem here is not the variety of options, it's how xns (those
committed to the deity of jesus) felt about these options. somewhere in
the 12th cn, xn theologians began to claim that the jews rejected jesus not
because they were blind and didn't know that he was god (unintentional
deicide) but because they knew perfectly well that he was god and the
messiah of mankind and they wanted to kill him (intentional and
malicious). as we all know, whether you think someone has harmed you
intentionally or unintentionally has a great deal to do with how angry and
vindictive you get. nothing quite gets the vengeful juices flowing like
attributing vindictive malice to your opponent.
>In any case, I agree with you, Br. Alexis, on the point that the idea of a
>messiah for the Jews was not invented during the middle ages or by
that's not the point gow is making. it's that that jewish messiah is none
other than the xn antichrist, or rather that the antichrist is the jewish
messiah. this means that, as opposed to modern ecumenical attitudes (when
the messiah comes we'll ask him if this is his first or second visit), any
jewish belief that redemption was at hand automatically triggered xn fears
of annihilation... not a bad seedbed for the worst kind of anti-jewish
virulence. indeed, for the authors of the protocols of the elders of zion
and for hitler, modernity was a jewish messianic movt that had to be crushed.
>It's from the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible. Certainly,
>though, anyone can play with this idea in an adversarial manner by filtering
>it through the mistaken identity argument, as in "my messiah is the right
>messiah and your messiah is the wrong messiah, and--furthermore--your messiah
>is actually satan."
anyone can play, for medieval xn commentators and preachers, it was the
rules of the game.
>Anatole France wrote a novel somewhat along this line, in
>which God turns out to be wicked and the devil is mankind's true friend.
classic gnostic twist.
>To see what was actually done with these ideas at any particular time, we'd
>have to look to artifacts and documents. A Hieronymus Bosch painting of the
>nativity includes not only the three magi but also a sceptre-carrying figure
>who wears a jeweled crown and a loincloth and has a bandage on his leg. The
>art historian Lotte Brand Philips feels that this is the Jewish messiah, and
>points to a story in the Babylonian Talmud that says the messiah will appear
>as a leper (hence the bandage). It's an interesting reading, though I still
>don't understand what he's doing in a painting of the nativity.
maybe by his presence acknowledging the superiority of the xn messianic claim.
>As in the
>story of Saint Martin and the beggar, the messiah-as-leper seems designed to
>test the faith of those who encounter him. But it's also an example of what I
>mean by possible Christianizing elements in the Talmud. For the Jewish
>messiah to come from even more humble circumstances than the Christian
>messiah (who was born in a stable) is a relatively new idea. I see no
>precedent for it in the OT, where the messiah sounds more as if he'll be a
>great king or leader, a David.
possibly. possibly also a response to the catastrophic losses of the two
failed messianic revolts (70 and 135) and the degraded condition of the
jews in exile. the tradition of the messiah as humble (eg on a donkey
rather than a horse) predates xnty.
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