||Triumph in Defeat:Lost Origins of Jesus’ Sayings
Mark N . ZION
29 , 2018-03-01
John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed the arrival of a new kingdom for first-century Palestine. Both turned away from the violence of Zealots (resistance fighters) and preached a higher way, creating in the process universal ideals. Working together, they launched a transformative moment in human history that is still shaping the world. John offered repentance to enter this newly forming kingdom and Jesus gave the lifestyle injunctions for how to live in it, for both believed that an age of peace and justice was about to begin. As Christianity developed early in the second-century CE, with Paul of Tarsus’ message of a completely spiritual kingdom, it appropriated John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth’s vision into its own framework and so severely contextualized it. Yet, the teachings of John and Jesus were too dynamic to keep under wraps for long and have tumbled out again and again in new ways. Studies of these origins have significant applications for our time: how words and symbols have the power to inspire throughout the ages, how to sift through a mythology for core truths, the horrors of prejudice when combined with religious ideologies, even of how to approach ancient cultures for a greater understanding. Here I will consider a little of how these teachings originated and a few of those at the center of it.