Author Topic: Dostoevsky's Paradox of Catholicism and the Gospel: The Grand Inquisitor  (Read 1341 times)

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
While being the leader of a charismatic movement is a powerful motivation, it doesn't seem to adequately explain Paul's steadfastness unto the end, his joy in withstanding many trials and tribulations or his aura of sanctity. There was ultimately no revenge for him to take on the Romans either: he was killed by them. Just like his master.

No, but that's just it: there was no revenge to be had.  At least not at the time.  It would be three hundred years yet until Constantine and Theodosius—and Paul neither predicted that kind of reversal of earthly fortune, nor did he expect to see it in his own time.  As said, the revenge would be had in the afterlife.  That much is clear from what Paul preached.  He was stoking the desire for revenge, and making it into an eschatology.

Having a policy of "rejoicing in your tribulations" is a very clever one to have for any nascent sectarian religious movement, which is naturally going to come across its share of adversity.  You have to see your own persecution as a sign of God's favor.  And the leader has to exemplify this quality above all.  If he can't convince himself, he is unlikely to convince many others.  David Koresh and his handful of followers in the beginning were homeless and indigent and living out of abandoned buses, having been expelled and shunned by the more mainstream Davidians.  Doubtless Koresh drew frequent spiritual nourishment from the Pauline well in those days.
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 
The following users thanked this post: TheReturnofLive

Offline Vetus Ordo

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3672
  • Thanked: 4056 times
  • Hopeful Fatalist
No, but that's just it: there was no revenge to be had.  At least not at the time.  It would be three hundred years yet until Constantine and Theodosius—and Paul neither predicted that kind of reversal of earthly fortune, nor did he expect to see it in his own time.  As said, the revenge would be had in the afterlife.  That much is clear from what Paul preached.  He was stoking the desire for revenge, and making it into an eschatology.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by revenge then. Can you point out a clear example of eschatological revenge in Paul?

Quote
Having a policy of "rejoicing in your tribulations" is a very clever one to have for any nascent sectarian religious movement, which is naturally going to come across its share of adversity.  You have to see your own persecution as a sign of God's favor.  And the leader has to exemplify this quality above all.  If he can't convince himself, he is unlikely to convince many others.  David Koresh and his handful of followers in the beginning were homeless and indigent and living out of abandoned buses, having been expelled and shunned by the more mainstream Davidians.  Doubtless Koresh drew frequent spiritual nourishment from the Pauline well in those days.

Adversity, grief, pain, etc., these are all part of human life to varying degrees. Accepting life's tribulations as God's will is what elevates man from this vale of tears. I don't see that as an indictment on Paul's theology or anyone else's for that matter. No authentic religious experience can ignore the necessity of accepting God's will in everything and relying on Divine Providence. The singularity of Paul's teaching is that these tribulations are ultimately redemptive when united by faith to Christ's sacrifice.

Be that as it may, there was no worldly gains to be had in his career. The apostle from Tarsus was in prison half the time being beaten or humiliated. He didn't fill houses and public squares or had much of a following during his life time. The early church was scattered and services were conducted in the privacy of homes or in catacombs. The least one can reasonably conclude is that Paul was profoundly changed by his religious experience in the road to Damascus and that he was absolutely convinced of the truth of his message. Was he suffering from a delusion? Considering the substance of his writings and, perhaps even more importantly, that the other Apostles ratified his mission, that is highly unlikely. Unless, of course, one is arguing for the utter corruption of the NT texts and the writings of the early church.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
The following users thanked this post: Xavier, Fleur-de-Lys

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by revenge then. Can you point out a clear example of eschatological revenge in Paul?

I should think it's the overarching concept of the Christians being the elect and the unbelievers being the damned.  In Romans I.16-32, this spirit of revenge is explicitly directed at the Romans and their sexy hedonism, and their Hellenistic admiration of line & form.  He gratuitously imputes to them a knowledge of God, which he says they willfully rejected in order to "worship the creature rather than the creator."  But, lo!—according to Paul, "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness."  In 1 Corinthians XI, he assures his hearers that they will get to sit in delicious judgement of their earthly enemies: "do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?"

The apostle from Tarsus was in prison half the time being beaten or humiliated. He didn't fill houses and public squares or had much of a following during his life time.

I'm conceding the tribulations, but I'm also noticing some real successes.  In his letters he often tells his communities how he desires or intends to come to them personally in order to strengthen them in their resolve.  It seems he had a profound effect on the faithful in his public sermons, so much so that without his charisma, they tended to backslide whenever competing sectarians came onto the scene, whether Gnostic magicians or Judaizing preachers: "O stupid Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?"  In 1 Corinthians III, he even has to caution his hearers against putting him on a pedestal.  It appears that Paul had a special quality of forging a spiritual intimacy and bond with the brethren he converted, which he sometimes has to tamp down with a bit of humble-bragging.  There are frequent instances of "I boast not in myself," and "it is purely by the grace of God," &c.

In Romans XV.24, he said he was looking to undertake a journey to Spain.  I wonder if he ever got there.


« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 02:19:34 PM by Pon de Replay »
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 

Offline Xavier

  • Eternal Father, through Mary's Immaculate Heart, We Offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for our sins and those of the Whole World.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Hauptmann
  • ****
  • Posts: 5784
  • Thanked: 4182 times
  • Slave of the Risen Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice.
    • Marian Apostolate Life Offering.
  • Religion: St. Thomas' Indian Traditional Roman Catholic.
Happy Easter, Everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying the Presence of the Risen Lord this Easter Season.

I think St. Paul's Life can only be explained by his earnest conviction of what he believed in: this is true even of his life in Judaism, when he was a persecutor of Christians and of St. Stephen. He sincerely believed, at first, that Christians were following a false Messiah. Remember following a false Messiah was almost like following a false God to a devout Jew. So he persecuted Christians having that conviction, as he explains in his epistle. He did it in ignorance, and by God's Goodness, he received Mercy in the fullness of time. Then he saw the Truth, that he was opposing the hope of Israel, the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. From that day on, he never looked back nor wavered in the Truth of his now Christian Faith.

St. Paul the Apostle converted around A.D. 34-35, according to many historians. The Council of Jerusalem was around 48 A.D. Most of the Pauline Epistles were written after this stage, in the 50s to 60s. He was martyred around 67 A.D. For the first fourteen years, St. Paul was mostly unknown, and lived evangelizing, praying, fasting, sacrificing etc as a monk and an Apostle. He labored diligently for the Cause of the Gospel. It was only much, much later, after many persecutions, much sorrow, and many tribulations, that his painful efforts bore great fruit. Hence one cannot really say that those fruits - which could hardly have been naturally foreseen, and only followed strenuous efforts - were the reason for his Ministry in the first place. It's much more reasonable to think St. Paul changed because he saw the Risen Christ - the reason he himself, as an eyewitness, gave.

Conservapedia has a decent chronology of St. Paul's Life, based on the Catholic Encyclopedia, here: https://conservapedia.com/Saint_Paul

Quote from: Pon
The point is, Paul may've converted, in part, out of regret and remorse for what he was doing in his Pharisaical zealotry.

Hi Pon. I disagree. St. Paul could not have undergone such a dramatic 180 degree transformation simply out of that. At best, he would have stopped expressly persecuting them if that was the case, and left it to his others. From his own perspective, he did nothing wrong. He was persecuting those who were leading Israel astray, so he thought. It was only when he realized that he, and the Pharisees, were really leading people astray, by leading them away from the Jewish Messiah, upon meeting the Risen Christ, that he converted to Christ. St. Paul's sincerity can hardly be doubted by anyone who studies his epistles and his Apostolic labors; he really believed in Jesus.

So the question is, why did he change so dramatically? The best explanation, imo, and in the opinion of many others, is he really saw Christ Risen from the dead. That, and as he explains, when he was blind, he was given visions and understanding of Christ's Mission. So in time he came to fully understand who Jesus Christ was.

As St. Paul later recounted, he persecuted the Church of God, and considered himself unworthy to be called an Apostle. Yet he labored more diligently than all the other Apostles, because so great was his love for Christ - and the letters he wrote etc bear this out - yet it was not he who labored, but the Grace of God given to him.

God Bless.
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
The following users thanked this post: Pon de Replay

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
St. Paul could not have undergone such a dramatic 180 degree transformation simply out of that. At best, he would have stopped expressly persecuting them if that was the case, and left it to his others. From his own perspective, he did nothing wrong. He was persecuting those who were leading Israel astray, so he thought. It was only when he realized that he, and the Pharisees, were really leading people astray, by leading them away from the Jewish Messiah, upon meeting the Risen Christ, that he converted to Christ.

Paul was unquestionably a devout believer in the God of the Hebrews.  When a Pharisee, he seems to have taken the law and his religious duties with the utmost seriosity, so much so that he was a zealot.  He was quite unlike those serene legalistic rabbis back in Jerusalem reclining on their pillows and fingering their jewelry, whom Jesus had called hypocrites and whited sepulchres, "who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel."  They were constantly finding loopholes in the law to benefit themselves.  These were the true cynics, not Paul. 

But like many a zealot, Paul burned out.  It happens often.  You see it frequently on these traditional Catholic forums.  White-hot converts come in on fire for the faith, condemning everyone and everything left and right, staking out the most militant and extreme positions, going on rabid heretic-hunts, &c.  And then after a while they're gone.  Zealotry is difficult to sustain over time.  Zealots are like Roy in Blade Runner: "the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long."

The question is what happened when Paul's zealotry came to the end of its tether.  He had struggled mightily under the burdens of the law, which he had taken so seriously.  And he had been killing people in its name.  That's got to hurt.  I think he found the answer (or rather, put the answer) in the very movement he had been opposing: he saw Christ as having come to fulfill the law so that he (Paul) wouldn't be oppressed by it any more.  "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."  Paul wanted to get rid of the law.  That's what he saw in Joshua Ha-Nostri: the ultimate fulfillment of the law, and consequently its end.

Quote from: Romans VII.22-25
I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It probably did seem like a blinding light and a mystical experience.  In Christ, Paul was able to get rid of the burdensome law that had made him a persecuting maniac and troubled his flesh.  He was finally unburdened: he was at last an antinomian Jew.  As Nietzsche well puts it, "the Christian is merely a Jew of 'more liberal' persuasion."  Paul had out-rabbi'd the rabbis.  Now he was answerable only to Jesus.  And, conveniently, Jesus was revealing things to him personally.

Quote from: F.W. Nietzsche
Luther may have had similar feelings when, in his monastery, he wanted to become the perfect man of the spiritual ideal: and just as Luther one day began to hate the spiritual ideal and the Pope and the saints and the whole clerisy with a true, deadly hatred—all the more the less he could own it to himself—so it was with Paul.  The law was the cross to which he felt himself nailed: how he hated it! how he resented it! how he searched for some means to annihilate it—not to fulfill it any more himself!

And finally the saving thought struck him, together with a vision—it could scarcely have happened otherwise to this epileptic.  Paul heard the words: "why dost thou persecute me?"  The essential occurrence, however, was this: his head had suddenly seen a light: "it is unreasonable," he had said to himself, "to persecute this Jesus!  Here after all is the way out; here is the perfect revenge; here and nowhere else I have and hold the annihilator of the law!"  Until then the ignominious death had seemed to him the chief argument against the Messianic claim of which the adherents of the new doctrine spoke: but what if it were necessary to get rid of the law?

The tremendous consequences of this idea, of this solution of the riddle, spin before his eyes; at one stroke he becomes the happiest man; the destiny of the Jews—no, of all men—seems to him to be tied to this idea, to this second of its sudden illumination; he has the thought of thoughts, the key of keys, the light of lights; it is around him that all history must revolve henceforth.  For he is from now on the teacher of the annihilation of the law ...

This is the first Christian, the inventor of Christianity.  Until then there were only a few Jewish sectarians.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 12:16:26 PM by Pon de Replay »
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 
The following users thanked this post: Xavier

Offline Vetus Ordo

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3672
  • Thanked: 4056 times
  • Hopeful Fatalist
I should think it's the overarching concept of the Christians being the elect and the unbelievers being the damned.

The concept of election is already present in Judaism.

If election and reprobation are manifestations of eschatological revenge, then the whole experience of monotheism is guilty of the same thing. Paul and Christ are of one mind.

Quote
In Romans I.16-32, this spirit of revenge is explicitly directed at the Romans and their sexy hedonism, and their Hellenistic admiration of line & form.  He gratuitously imputes to them a knowledge of God, which he says they willfully rejected in order to "worship the creature rather than the creator."  But, lo!—according to Paul, "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness."  In 1 Corinthians XI, he assures his hearers that they will get to sit in delicious judgement of their earthly enemies: "do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?"

Yes but this is nothing more than zealotry for God's truth. The same phenomenon happened with the prophets of the Old Testament or with Christ Himself who repeatedly condemned the wicked generation that lived in Israel in His day. What is especially Pauline about those passages? The very same things could have been said by Elijah or Isaiah.

Quote
In Romans XV.24, he said he was looking to undertake a journey to Spain.  I wonder if he ever got there.

No-one knows for sure but there are popular traditions associated with it.

Check Paul's Missionary Journey to Spain: Tradition and Folklore if you're interested.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
The following users thanked this post: Pon de Replay, Fleur-de-Lys

Offline TheReturnofLive

  • Ecce Homo
  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 1318
  • Thanked: 504 times
  • Abducted by aliens from Styx's "Come Sail Away"
  • Religion: Doubting Roman Catholic
I should think it's the overarching concept of the Christians being the elect and the unbelievers being the damned.

The concept of election is already present in Judaism.

If election and reprobation are manifestations of eschatological revenge, then the whole experience of monotheism is guilty of the same thing. Paul and Christ are of one mind.


For Nietzsche, yes. Christianity was Judaism par excellence, taking their entire moral system to a degree not ever seen before; In the way that Christians portrayed Christ, Jesus was the ultimate personage of the Jewish moral system -  the paradox of a divine entity suffering needlessly, a god dying on a cross.

Nietzsche interprets the history of the Judaism starting as a belief system no different than the Pagan Greeks, Romans, or other European / Near Eastern Pagan belief systems - in a similar way that the Roman Empire was a product of the divine (the Romans saw themselves as descendants of the Trojans, Caesar a descendent of Venus herself, and according to the Aeneid, the glory of the Roman Empire was the will of the gods, with Augustus Caesar being a foretold "son of a god") - the Israelites were a divine nation, God's "chosen people" from the seed of Abraham, God handpicking out the lineage of David, with a similar "civilizing" and "conquering" instinct no different than Rome. The first half of the Old Testament can be summed up as a worship of the nation of Israel, as in "Look how powerful and glorious our nation and God is! Our land is one of milk and honey, where beautiful women adorn themselves in ornaments and myrrh, marrying handsome men happily in drunken marriage with wine, where we can watch the beautiful Cedars of Lebanon unlike no other, where children run freely in the fields with the lambs" and "God is with us, our God has flooded the Earth, conquered that awful Pharaoh of Egypt, destroyed Philistine warriors with slingshots, burned down entire cities with fire and brimstone from the heavens, and conquered the Gentiles - don't even try to wage war against our glorious nation" - but with the Babylonian Exile, Greek pillages, and Roman Imperial conquest, the Jews, rather than let go of the illusion that God was really flourishing them, redirected the narrative from one of national, economic, and militaristic glory, into one of poverty in spirit, meekness, humility, hope and love.

It was a subversion, one from "our national prosperity is a sign of God's favor and influence" into "our lack of prosperity is a sign of God's favor and influence."

Christianity was a "final assault" on the national instinct of Israel, eliminating any final "remnant" of national glory. Indeed, the Messiah was not an earthly king who would restore the worldly kingdom of Israel, He was the one who sealed its fate as accursed ruins.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 11:21:33 PM by TheReturnofLive »
 
The following users thanked this post: Pon de Replay

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
"Soy judío de Tarso de Cilicia, una ciudad no sin importancia."
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2021, 09:43:56 AM »
The concept of election is already present in Judaism.

Yes, of course.  This is why Nietzsche considered the Jews "the most catastrophic people in world history"—because of their arrogance that they were God's chosen people, an idea which they refused to let go of.  TheReturnofLive has summed up the theological degeneration of the Hebrews in the above post.  (He appears to have read The Antichrist, peace be upon him).  When the Jews could no longer muster military successes, they began to devise fantasies of having revenge in the afterlife.  The afterworld was no longer just She'ol, the shadowy realm of the dead.  Instead there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth: "fiery Gehenna."  For Nietzsche, these notions of resentment and revenge were unclean and sickly, not the product of noble instincts or healthy minds.

Yes but this is nothing more than zealotry for God's truth. The same phenomenon happened with the prophets of the Old Testament or with Christ Himself who repeatedly condemned the wicked generation that lived in Israel in His day. What is especially Pauline about those passages? The very same things could have been said by Elijah or Isaiah.

Paul's transgression (and novelty) is twofold.  Hitherto the Jews' disgraceful ideas had been confined to the Jews.  There was an eruv, so to speak, delineating these things.  The Romans themselves had begrudged the Jews their eccentricities.  But with the citizen of Tarsus, the Hebrew theology was now being offered to the Gentiles, eagerly and urgently.  "To the Jew first, then to the Greek."  Proselytizing—Judaizing.  This was bad.  Although, de gustibus non est disputandum: you and I will disagree on the comparative merits of Athens and Jerusalem.

Secondly, there was the fact that Paul was limning the Jewish ideas of the afterlife and revenge more luridly than ever before.  A gooey heaven, and the faithful lording it over the damned, even over the angels.  The resentment quality had never been more pronounced.  It was the glorification of the dregs of society.  It was blessed are the meek, and blessed are you when they persecute you.  One way in which Paul (and Jesus, if they were of one mind) deviated from the Old Testament and the prophets was that in the Judaism of yore, God had used the enemies of the Jews in order to chastise them.  "The anger of the LORD flared up against Israel, and he delivered them into the power of plunderers who despoiled them" (Judges II.14).  "I now will strip away your skirts, so that your shame is visible.  Your adulteries, your neighings, your shameless prostitutions: on the hills, in the fields I see your detestable crimes" (Jeremiah XIII.26-27).  Whereas in Christianity, your debasement at the hands of your enemies was seen as a sign of God's favor.

Check Paul's Missionary Journey to Spain: Tradition and Folklore if you're interested.

Gracias.  Speaking of Spain, would you happen to know which Spanish translation of the bible is considered the most "arch" or King James-like in the quality of its prose?  I am looking to acquire a Spanish bible.  My preference at the moment is for the Félix Torres Amat version made in 1825.  The translator was a Barcelonan Jansenist, which commends him, but I do not know what his literary skills were like.


« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 09:53:05 AM by Pon de Replay »
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 
The following users thanked this post: TheReturnofLive

Offline Vetus Ordo

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3672
  • Thanked: 4056 times
  • Hopeful Fatalist
Re: "Soy judío de Tarso de Cilicia, una ciudad no sin importancia."
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2021, 12:24:13 PM »
Yes, of course.  This is why Nietzsche considered the Jews "the most catastrophic people in world history"—because of their arrogance that they were God's chosen people, an idea which they refused to let go of.  TheReturnofLive has summed up the theological degeneration of the Hebrews in the above post.  (He appears to have read The Antichrist, peace be upon him).  When the Jews could no longer muster military successes, they began to devise fantasies of having revenge in the afterlife.

What you, and Nietzche, call the "theological degeneration" of the Hebrews, I understand to be a perfectly reasonable unfolding of divine revelation and the maturing process of the religious experience of Israel. Theological development, or the blossoming of truth, is a concept that permeates the entire Bible. As for election, again, Paul is merely echoing the teaching of Christ and the Prophets before Him. Paul's take on the vessels of honor and dishonor in Romans, for instance, is the very same concept of the sheep and the goats that Christ speaks of in John.

Quote
Paul's transgression (and novelty) is twofold.  Hitherto the Jews' disgraceful ideas had been confined to the Jews.  There was an eruv, so to speak, delineating these things.  The Romans themselves had begrudged the Jews their eccentricities.  But with the citizen of Tarsus, the Hebrew theology was now being offered to the Gentiles, eagerly and urgently.  "To the Jew first, then to the Greek."  Proselytizing—Judaizing.  This was bad.  Although, de gustibus non est disputandum: you and I will disagree on the comparative merits of Athens and Jerusalem.

Secondly, there was the fact that Paul was limning the Jewish ideas of the afterlife and revenge more luridly than ever before. (...)

Paul preached to the gentiles with the knowledge and permission of the other apostles and in clear obedience to the great commission given by Christ: πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (Matt. 28:19). Be that as it may, the idea that the Graeco-Roman civilization, and by extension Europe, was irreparably tainted with the Jewish ethos brought by Christianity is, quite frankly, a boring subject that is reminiscent of the prejudices of 19th century German scholarship. To be honest with you, I don't see any intellectual merit in it. My main interest here was to understand what made Paul stand out from the rest in your view.

Quote
Gracias.  Speaking of Spain, would you happen to know which Spanish translation of the bible is considered the most "arch" or King James-like in the quality of its prose?  I am looking to acquire a Spanish bible. My preference at the moment is for the Félix Torres Amat version made in 1825. The translator was a Barcelonan Jansenist, which commends him, but I do not know what his literary skills were like.

The classical Spanish translation of the Bible is the famous Reina-Valera, originally published in 1602. Like the KJV, it's a Protestant version but it has its linguistic merits if you're fond of the eloquence brought about by some archaisms. The Torres Amat that you mentioned is the preferred Catholic version. It's probably your best shot. I've never read it, though, but it's a direct translation of the Vulgate, much like the Douay-Rheims in English. Pre-Vatican II, you also have the Nácar-Colunga version.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
The following users thanked this post: Pon de Replay, Fleur-de-Lys

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
Re: "Soy judío de Tarso de Cilicia, una ciudad no sin importancia."
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2021, 02:57:01 PM »
The idea that the Graeco-Roman civilization, and by extension Europe, was irreparably tainted with the Jewish ethos brought by Christianity is, quite frankly, a boring subject that is reminiscent of the prejudices of 19th century German scholarship. To be honest with you, I don't see any intellectual merit in it. My main interest here was to understand what made Paul stand out from the rest in your view.

Yes, we have strayed from the question posed in the OP, and in going so far afield, I may have indulged my some of my usual prejudices.  I thank you for the information on Spanish bible translations. 

Just to return finally to the OP, I should qualify my original response.  I referred to Dostoevsky's notion of a monastic Christianity as a "mistake," but to clarify: it was a mistake of the heart.  Dostoevsky seems to have believed that in the beginning there existed a pure Christianity, full of a beautiful contemptus mundi, and that it gradually became corrupted.  This used to be my own view as well.  I think it's wrong, but I also think it's an honest and well-intentioned mistake.  The question is, was Paul a Jansenist in spirit, or a Jesuit?  He can be interpreted both ways.  It's interesting that Dostoevsky failed to approach Paul or early Christianity more cynically.  He was certainly genuine in his doubts.  I don't think any ordinary believer could write a chapter like "Rebellion."
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 
The following users thanked this post: Vetus Ordo

Offline TheReturnofLive

  • Ecce Homo
  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 1318
  • Thanked: 504 times
  • Abducted by aliens from Styx's "Come Sail Away"
  • Religion: Doubting Roman Catholic
Re: "Soy judío de Tarso de Cilicia, una ciudad no sin importancia."
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2021, 07:33:46 PM »
Yes, of course.  This is why Nietzsche considered the Jews "the most catastrophic people in world history"—because of their arrogance that they were God's chosen people, an idea which they refused to let go of.  TheReturnofLive has summed up the theological degeneration of the Hebrews in the above post.  (He appears to have read The Antichrist, peace be upon him).  When the Jews could no longer muster military successes, they began to devise fantasies of having revenge in the afterlife.

That would be fine, but one issue that I personally have not resolved is the implication of a contradiction within the Judeo-Christian moral framework - that is, it decries dominance and validates such decrying through dominance.

The Christian moral framework embraces the importance of being anti-dominance - "poor in spirit", "detached from materialism", "being chaste / pure in heart", "being subservient", "detesting earthly and worldly glory", "loving thy enemies", "peacemakers"

And what is the justification behind this? Dominance.

Simply put, those who act in a submissive way will be rewarded with dominance - for being "non-materialistic" and "poor in spirit", they get crowns of gold and sit on royal thrones; for "loving thy enemies" and being "peacemakers", they rise above the angels and watch their enemies burn for eternity; for 'being subservient", and "detesting earthly and worldly glory," they inherit the New Earth and the New Jerusalem, the eternal kingdom which shall rule over all.

In fact, God Himself seems to justify His entire existence in the Old Testament, and the New Testament to some degree, by His omnipotence - that is, his power over all of creation. It's a contradiction to decry dominance as evil and worship an omnibenevolent God because of His dominance soliloqy in Job.

The only way to resolve this in my opinion is to admit that this is a mischaracterization of the ethos of Christianity - that Christianity does allow dominance. That earthly glory is good to some extent. That lust is good to some extent. That materialism is good to some extent. That war can be good to some extent.

But judging by Saint Paul's letters and Jesus's own words, it's hard to take away that conclusion with things like "Those who live by the sword die by the sword" and "If your right eye causes you to sin, cast it out and throw it away from you" and the command by Christ to have no possessions when the Apostles preached the Gospel.


And I think this goes back to the original point of my post as well - when I "monastic", I guess I should've clarified not "monastic" in the sense of any particular monastic Christian tradition from the time of Saint Benedict onwards, but rather the complete detesting of materialism that one finds in the Gospel when, it seems for Dostoevsky, materialism is necessary to function as a human being and to find happiness.

I associate monasticism with detachment from the world.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 07:39:10 PM by TheReturnofLive »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
Re: "Soy judío de Tarso de Cilicia, una ciudad no sin importancia."
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2021, 08:44:13 AM »
Yes, I had taken your "monasticism" to mean "asceticism" generally, so I read you correctly.  But I think there is a difference to be made between "dominance" and "materialism."  In spite of the ecclesiastical differences, Dostoevsky was an admirer of the Old Believers for their rustic piety.  A log cabin is a material possession, that can't be denied, but if your log cabin is out in the backwoods of Siberia and you and your family are living on mushrooms and berries and misshapen tubers and the occasional hare, with only the bible to read, you're not really dominating anybody. 

So individually, it's possible to be a Christian and happily take on voluntary poverty.  Such was also the charism of St. Francis and his brethren.  I suppose what could be argued is that a mendicant is merely parasitic on a civilization which indeed requires dominance and industry.  Which is what I read Dostoevsky's Inquisitor as arguing for: that a whole society of Christians with the spirit of meekness and poverty would scarcely be able to put on its socks in the morning, so to speak.  And yet, if you have a thriving society of dominance where Christianity is the religion, then Nietzsche's critique will scorch you, as I suspect you have already read:

Quote from: El Anticristo
Where has the last feeling of decency and self-respect gone when even our statesmen, an otherwise quite unembarrassed type of man, anti-Christians through and through in their deeds, still call themselves Christians today and attend communion?  A young prince at the head of his regiments, magnificent as an expression of the selfishness and conceit of his people—but, without any shame, confessing himself a Christian!  Whom then does Christianity negate?  What does it call "world"?

I think the only answer, for the Christian, is to live more or less as an Old Believer, or Jansenist, or Franciscan.  You can still evangelize in your clumsy way, since isn't that what Alyosha is trying to do, with his hesitant words and childlike innocence?—but the expectation shouldn't be to convert all of society.  That would be futile.  The wheat must grow alongside the chaff.  The lesson is in the Constantinian settlement: that when Christianity became the state religion, nominal pagans all of a sudden became nominal Christians, and the difference was negligible.  The spirit of poverty and humility lost all its bite.  Christianity requires a "world" and an "other" to oppose.  A dying to self: this is a hard saying, and few there are who can accept it.  The Grand Inquisitor notwithstanding, the epigraph for The Brothers Karamazov is John XII.24.

That said, now that it has persisted for so long, the bourgeois version of Christianity is always going to be the more popular.  That's why Christians tend to love Jordan Peterson and his "dominance hierarchy."  They can love it without any suggestion of shame.


« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 08:53:48 AM by Pon de Replay »
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 
The following users thanked this post: Lydia Purpuraria

Offline Arvinger

  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Korporal
  • **
  • Posts: 379
  • Thanked: 447 times
  • Religion: Catholic
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by revenge then. Can you point out a clear example of eschatological revenge in Paul?

I should think it's the overarching concept of the Christians being the elect and the unbelievers being the damned.  In Romans I.16-32, this spirit of revenge is explicitly directed at the Romans and their sexy hedonism, and their Hellenistic admiration of line & form.  He gratuitously imputes to them a knowledge of God, which he says they willfully rejected in order to "worship the creature rather than the creator."  But, lo!—according to Paul, "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness." 

That is clearly not a correct interpretation of Romans 1:16-32 in the context of the whole Epistle. St. Paul's point here is not to single out Romans or anyone else and demonstrate their wickedness (ironically, the so-called "LGBT Christians" use the same argumentation in attempt get around the clear condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27 - "you know, Paul was writing only about Roman temple prostitution here, not homosexuality in general!"). Rather, what St. Paul is talking about here is Creator - Creation relationship which is being twisted by human sin. In subsequent chapters (Romans 2 and 3) Paul applies the wickedness described in Romans 1:16-32 universally to everyone in the world in order to demonstrate everyone's sinful state in the eyes of God and, thus, universal necessity of faith in Christ for salvation. Moreover, his accusation is directed primarily towards his Jewish Christian believers, demonstrating their sinfulness described in Romans 1:16-32 in order to show them that possession of the Mosaic Law by them is useless, as the Law cannot save them from their miserable state - only Christ can. So, Paul's argument is quite opposite to your theory and your interpretation of Romans 1:16-32 is off the mark.
 
The following users thanked this post: Jayne

Offline Pon de Replay

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3969
  • Thanked: 2044 times
  • Religion: Agnostic
The phraseology Paul uses seems particularly directed at Roman pagans.  The scholars who footnoted Romans I.18-32 in the NABRE take this same view:

Quote from: New American Bible Revised Edition
In this passage Paul uses themes and rhetoric common in Jewish-Hellenistic mission proclamation to indict especially the non-Jewish world.  The close association of idolatry and immorality is basic, but the generalization needs in all fairness to be balanced against the fact that non-Jewish Christian society on many levels displayed moral attitudes and performance whose quality would challenge much of contemporary Christian culture.

The NABRE editors, of course, would probably be viewed by traditional Catholics as, if not precisely LGBT Christians, then certainly too modern to bother with.  But a citation in the 1859 Haydock commentary of the Douai-Rheims indicates the same thing:

Quote from: Haydock commentary
Paul begins to speak of the heathens, and of the wicked world, whose sins God punisheth from time to time with visible chastisements of plagues, famines, wars, &c. and that because they detain the truth of God in injustice, or in iniquity, that is, because they have not honoured God, even according to the knowledge which he has given them of him, especially their philosophers.

In his Third Homily on Romans, St. John Chrysostom essentially puts forth the same scheme I was speaking of.  San Juan: "Paul seems to me to be aiming against the Greeks" and "he silences the unbeliever and the Grecian, by what he says presently of the judgment of God, bringing an uncontrovertible demonstration from the things which were done by them."  The "them" being the "Greeks" or "Grecians," spiritually speaking—for the system of the Roman pagans was massively drawn from the pantheon, aesthetics, and philosophy of the Hellenes.  Which is merely what I had said, though admittedly without St. John's fondness for Paul:

This spirit of revenge is explicitly directed at the Romans and their sexy hedonism, and their Hellenistic admiration of line & form.  He gratuitously imputes to them a knowledge of God, which he says they willfully rejected in order to "worship the creature rather than the creator."  But, lo!—according to Paul, "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness."
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 02:52:29 PM by Pon de Replay »
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?
 

Offline Arvinger

  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Korporal
  • **
  • Posts: 379
  • Thanked: 447 times
  • Religion: Catholic
The phraseology Paul uses seems particularly directed at Roman pagans.  The scholars who footnoted Romans I.18-32 in the NABRE take this same view:

Quote from: New American Bible Revised Edition
In this passage Paul uses themes and rhetoric common in Jewish-Hellenistic mission proclamation to indict especially the non-Jewish world.  The close association of idolatry and immorality is basic, but the generalization needs in all fairness to be balanced against the fact that non-Jewish Christian society on many levels displayed moral attitudes and performance whose quality would challenge much of contemporary Christian culture.

The NABRE editors, of course, would probably be viewed by traditional Catholics as, if not precisely LGBT Christians, then certainly too modern to bother with.  But a citation in the 1859 Haydock commentary of the Douai-Rheims indicates the same thing:

Quote from: Haydock commentary
Paul begins to speak of the heathens, and of the wicked world, whose sins God punisheth from time to time with visible chastisements of plagues, famines, wars, &c. and that because they detain the truth of God in injustice, or in iniquity, that is, because they have not honoured God, even according to the knowledge which he has given them of him, especially their philosophers.

In his Third Homily on Romans, St. John Chrysostom essentially puts forth the same scheme I was speaking of.  San Juan: "Paul seems to me to be aiming against the Greeks" and "he silences the unbeliever and the Grecian, by what he says presently of the judgment of God, bringing an uncontrovertible demonstration from the things which were done by them."  The "them" being the "Greeks" or "Grecians," spiritually speaking—for the system of the Roman pagans was massively drawn from the pantheon, aesthetics, and philosophy of the Hellenes.  Which is merely what I had said, though admittedly without St. John's fondness for Paul:

There is no question that pagans are examples of what it means to twist Creator - Creation relationship which St. Paul describe in Romans 1 and Jewish Christians could have interpreted that way (the NAB commentary is not wrong here in regard to Romans 1), but it is a non-sequitur to claim that he limits this condemnation to pagan Romans in context of the whole letter. What does Paul say immediately afterwards, in Romans 2?

Romans 2:1: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  

Paul is setting a "trap" for his Jewish-Christian readers in Rome - they condemn the pagans for doing things described in Romans 1, but then Paul points out, that in the eyes of God they are exactly as sinful and guilty as pagans are, which leads to the universal necessity of faith in Christ for salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike, which Paul lays out in Romans 3. His whole point is that Jewish Christians, despite the fact that the Jews posess the Mosaic Law, are not in any way better then Gentiles and equally need redemption in Christ.

Therefore, what Jewish Christians could have recognized at being directed specifically towards pagans in Romans 1, in Romans 2 is revealed to apply to everyone, not just pagans. To imply that St. Paul is somehow creating a distinction here ignores the line of argument about universal sinfulness of mankind which Paul develops from Romans 1 through 3.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 03:24:04 PM by Arvinger »
 
The following users thanked this post: Jayne