A few months ago, in fact a few months after my book was published—this article was released on the Stream called “After Pentecost, was the Church Communist?” Of course, being a right wing Christian website the answer is “no”—but what I find interesting is how they arrive at that answer. The author of the article, Jay Richards defines communism this way:
Communism is based on Marx’s theory of class warfare. Under capitalism, Marx predicted, the workers are exploited and at some point, revolt against the capitalists — the owners of the means of production. The workers take control of private property by force and then the state owns it on behalf of the people. Then, after a while, Marx claimed, the socialist state would wither away and you’d get a communist utopia in which everyone lived in peace, harmony and preternatural freedom.
Continue reading “Jay gets Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37 wrong”
I recently wrote up an article for the website Libcom. The article is basically a teaser for my book, as well as a very little history of early Christianity and its social framework.
Over the last few months I haven’t been posting that regularly, there’s a few reasons for that; one reason is that I’ve been working on a book. The book I’ve been working on is called All Things in Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians, which has just been published by Wipf and Stock.
Continue reading “All Things in Common: a book”
I’ve made the connection earlier in this blog between Jesus and early Christianity and the Jubilee, especially in Jesus’ Mission statement. Christianity wasn’t the only form of Judaism that made the connection between messianism and the Jubilee; the idea had been around in Judaism for a while.
To demonstrate various views of the Messiah and his connection to the Jubilee, I want to look at some documents from the Dead Sea Scroll first of all the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521). The Messianic Apocalypse is dated to the early first century B.C.E. and is made up of 2 fragments, the first one reads:
Continue reading “Qumran and the Messiah – Part One, The Messianic Apocalypse”
Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν· οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν.
And in the NRSV:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
This scripture is used over and over again, by Reza Aslan types who want to prove that the New Testament and Christianity is just as potentially violent as the Koran, the Old Testament, or any other religious text, or to show that Christianity is entirely open to any and every potential interpretation. The argument goes something like this usually, the first person says “Such and Such religious text is problematic because of what it teaches,” and the Reza Aslan type responds with “well, the new Testament says I came not to bring peace but a sword” and Christians choose to ignore than, or interpret it away, so we can do the same with other religious texts. I is not legitimate to simply isolate a text in any religious tradition that may be violent and think that this in and of itself shows anything, for Christianity or any other tradition, you need to do exegesis and theology, and think the whole tradition through. So can this scripture be legitimately used to defend violence? Well let’s examine it.
Continue reading “Not Peace But a Sword”
God, the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of a pair, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity. This is referred to in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4): “Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”
Maimonides, from his 13 principles of faith.
“The three words ‘El,’ ‘Elohim,’ and ‘Yhwh’ connote one and the same person, as one might say, ‘King, Emperor, Augustus'”
Talmudic Rabbi Simlai, Yer. Berakhot 9:12d, a Rabbi who in fact argued against Origen on the Trinity.
“if a man claims to be God, he is a liar.”
Talmud Yer. Ta’anit 2:1
Continue reading “The God of Islam, the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity – Part 1”