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Author Topic:   The evolution of the Great Commission over time.
jar
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Posts: 29426
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Message 1 of 49 (572896)
08-08-2010 12:04 PM


Actually living the Great Commission is a bummer. Trying to do what Jesus charged us to do was a hard sell in his day and near impossible today. So shortly after his death the various folk trying to market the franchise started making the product more attractive, selling the sizzle instead of the steak.

That is not just a new tactic, by the time the author of John's Gospel was writing the advertising it was pretty obvious. Look at the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:

quote:
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

"19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

Obey what I have commanded you.

If you read all of Matthew, you will find that what we are commanded to do is "try to do our best for others."

There is nothing in there about salvation, nothing in there about an afterlife, nothing in there about any benefits that the disciples would get. It is about going and doing, about feeding and clothing and seeing that folk have clean water and shelter and jobs.

By the time the advertiser came back and revised Mark adding the "Long Ending", the Great Commission had begun to change.

quote:
14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.


Originally Mark ended with just an empty tomb and the women running away afraid, but that was a really hard sell. So at sometime someone came back and added the parts from Mark 16:10-20.

This version is much different. It now has some real benefits, salvation just for believing and getting baptized and the chance to do some really neat tricks. It is a much easier sale, all you need to do is go profess the "Good News" rather than just doing little stuff like feeding and clothing and shelter. AND it offers a real reward.

Then along came the author of John, and he makes the deal even sweeter.

quote:
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."


Now the doors are locked and Jesus still shows up and for the first time, the disciples are given the power to even override GOD. If they forgive sins the sins are forgiven but if they don't forgive sins then the person is damned.

Now that is real power.

This trend of marketing Christianity has continued on down until today.

You gotta admit that telling someone all they need to do is believe and get baptized is a whole lot easier to sell then telling them they gotta do for the least of these with no guarantee of reward. And you gotta admit telling folk "I have the power to damn you" is a pretty strong incentive.

So was the evolution of the post resurrection story and the Great Commission driven by marketing pressure?

suggested forum Faith & Belief


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Message 2 of 49 (572908)
08-08-2010 1:30 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The evolution of the Great Commission over time. thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Bailey
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Posts: 574
From: Earth
Joined: 08-24-2003


Message 3 of 49 (572917)
08-08-2010 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jar
08-08-2010 12:04 PM


Regarding Bells, Whistles, Smoke and Mirrors ..
Hope you are all well ...

So was the evolution of the post resurrection story and the Great Commission driven by marketing pressure?

As you note, the plain testimony disclosed in the booklet of Mark does not provide a clear basis for proselytizing heathens, much less instruction in doing so.

However, the seeds of many later doctrines utilized for such a purpose appear to have been planted and produced by the redactor who was responsible for creating the Matisyahu's booklet and its more fictitiously slanted narrative. That booklet, as you've suggested, shows a good number of symptoms - which when diagnosed, point towards being a severe case of 'redactitis' ... that is, of being a redacted version of the accounts given in Mark's booklet.

Matisyahu adds on a new beginning to the account given in Mark; then, while following the Mark account from about the sixth chapter onwards, begins introducing small edits and little changes here and there - with the result being, such loose editing revealing the ideological agenda of the redactor. Now, you ask, was this devolution driven by marketing pressure ?? You see, the thing is, the redactor did not likely edit Mark's good news without a reason.

The redactor appears quite offended by a relentless criticism of the ToRaH laws (and the pharisaical tendency to misapply, and indeed subvert, justice among them), and the overall hostile attitude taken towards the Yuhdeans (more specifically the Levite priests/pharisees) in general found in Mark's disclosure. Within that account, Joshua does not set foot in Yuhdean territory until the very end, only to be promptly murdered for having done so.

As you've shown, the original ending contained within the older manuscript evidence related to Mark lacks the shiny bells and fancy whistles (a factor that is highly suggestive of a definitively later insertion) that often accompany the smoke and mirrors of a very apologetic pharisaical phunhouse ...

Another of the small editorial revisions typical of the Matisyahu account is the use of the word immediately' (meaning instantly') which is tacked onto the Mark account whenever a miracle story was to be found. Certain miracle stories where the addition of this word instant' might increase the propensity to yield an improper ideological framework were then simply deleted from the edited version being produced by the author of Matisyahu.

This seems to go a certain length towards explaining why one finds a hole in the Mark account, which then picks up at a point following that missing miracle, which could not have happened instantly' as far as the editor was concerned, and therefore was simply tossed to the wayside.

It is important to understand that gospels are not explicit historical documents but rather they are agenda driven documents produced by ideological evangelists who are attempting to interpret events and push a certain point of view. It is only by disposing of the agenda of the evangelist, which requires us to recognize it for what it is, that we have any hope of finding the historicity of Joshua as the Anointed One which lies buried somewhere down below.

The reader here may recall an interesting parable which compares the Kingdom of God' to a buried pearl' which someone had buried in a hole out in the middle of a field somewhere. This was a pearl of great price' which, according to this prediction, would wind up buried out in a field; a seemingly strange way to treat such a valuable pearl, matching the equally strange local that one may find such a valuable item in.

This parable appears to me as a commentary of sorts upon religion, and the way in which the truth is made subservient to the requirements of dogmatic ideology (perhaps through selective marketing and nullification). The pearl' in this case could then be the Joshua who actually existed within history and the field in which this pearl of great price is found hidden within is what today is referred to as sacred scripture'.

The edited version of the Good News of Mark which was then called Matisyahu' is one interesting example of just how such a burial of a pearl takes place over time, with both Matisyahu and Mark then being subject to further editing to produce Luke'; the result being that the pearl winds up buried even deeper in that hole in the ground as part of this ideologically driven process.

Great topic jar.

One Love


I'm not here to mock or condemn what you believe, tho my intentions are no less than to tickle your thinker.
If those in first century CE had known what these words mean ... 'I want and desire mercy, not sacrifice'
They surely would not have murdered the innocent; why trust what I say, when you can learn for yourself?
Think for yourself.

Mercy Trumps Judgement,
Love Weary


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jar
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Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
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Message 4 of 49 (572925)
08-08-2010 5:28 PM


Ah, Matisyahu. Nothing like a nice Jewish Reggae singer.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
  
iano
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 5 of 49 (572928)
08-08-2010 5:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jar
08-08-2010 12:04 PM


If at first..
Jar writes:

If you read all of Matthew, you will find that what we are commanded to do is "try to do our best for others."

Hi Jar..

Welcome back to EvC.

You've been pushing this "try the best you can" doctrine for as long as I've been here. You say it's contained in Matthew but when I do a search for the word "try" in the NIV version of Matthew I find but 3 references - none connected to the notion of 'doing your best'.

Given that there is a world of difference between being instructed to do something and being instructed to try your best to do something, could you give some examples of places in Matthew where you think the trying element of your idea is suggested?

Or is this just something you're laying onto the text?


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jar
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Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 6 of 49 (572929)
08-08-2010 5:48 PM


The post resurrection story and Great Commission is covered again in Luke and once again, it is entirely different than the others.

In the Luke tale the emphasis on doing work is entirely gone and the story takes place at various locations and Jesus comes off much closer to the Greek God visiting mankind tradition than the Jewish tradition in the earlier Matthew version.

Luke 24 writes:

13And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

14And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

33And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

35And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

36And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

40And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

41And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43And he took it, and did eat before them.

44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

48And ye are witnesses of these things.

49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

50And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

And instead of feeding and clothing and sheltering and comforting and teaching, all that is needed is for the apostle to preach repentance and remission of sin.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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jar
Member
Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 7 of 49 (572933)
08-08-2010 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by iano
08-08-2010 5:45 PM


Re: If at first..
Well I doubt you will find the word try so that doesn't surprise me much, but I also know that reality says that all we can do is try. We are commanded to run the race, not win the race, fight the good fight, not win the good fight.

iano writes:

Given that there is a world of difference between being instructed to do something and being instructed to try your best to do something, could you give some examples of places in Matthew where you think the trying element of your idea is suggested?

If you are instructed to do something don't you think it would be a good idea to try to do your best?

BUT...none of that has anything to do with the topic which is how the post resurrection story and the Great Commission changed over time.

Perhaps the god you worship is satisfied with folk not trying to do their best.

Edited by jar, : add last line


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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iano
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 8 of 49 (572934)
08-08-2010 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
08-08-2010 6:07 PM


Re: If at first..
Jar writes:

Well I doubt you will find the word try so that doesn't surprise me much, but I also know that reality says that all we can do is try.

If the core message is 'try your best', I'd be very surprised if the text didn't suggest that idea. Seeing as it doesn't suggest it (you seem to agree), it appears that you are indeed laying this idea of yours onto the text.

-

If you are instructed to do something don't you think it would be a good idea to try to do your best?

If the instruction was to do something and I, like everyone else, found that I couldn't do it - but could only do partial version of it - then I might pause from my trying and query the purpose of the instruction. Given the lack of suggestion that my 'trying' was the name of the game, I mean.

So no, I don't suppose so.

-

BUT...none of that has anything to do with the topic which is how the post resurrection story and the Great Commission changed over time.

Hmm.

If you're factually wrong about Jesus intent then I think it has quite a lot to do with things. How can you talk about something changing if you're not actually sure what it was to begin with?

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


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iano
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 9 of 49 (572935)
08-08-2010 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by jar
08-08-2010 5:48 PM


Jar writes:

And instead of feeding and clothing and sheltering and comforting and teaching, all that is needed is for the apostle to preach repentance and remission of sin.

The Matthew passage talks of making disciples of men and teaching those disciples to do what Jesus commanded. But if making disciples involves men repenting then there is no issue: you'd simply have two elements in a sequence of x number of elements.

How do you arrive at the notion that something has changed - as opposed to having been expanded upon?

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 10 of 49 (572936)
08-08-2010 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by iano
08-08-2010 6:20 PM


Re: If at first..
I will admit you create a very attractive rabbit hole but while I think you have the beginnings of a great discussion of the difference between how you view Christianity and I view Christianity, it really is irrelevant to this topic.

Start a thread on the subject and I'll be glad to discuss it there.

Jesus intent is also irrelevant to this topic since what we are dealing with here is how the marketing of the story changed over time, authors and redactors.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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jar
Member
Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 11 of 49 (572937)
08-08-2010 6:40 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by iano
08-08-2010 6:35 PM


Well, the words change, the local change, there is none of the commands found in Matthew relating to doing for the least of these.

Guess what, a change in emphasis and expanded upon are changes. As I pointed out, in Matthew the Great Commission offers no perks, no benefits to the Apostles. Gradually over time the authors, editors and redactors expanded on the myth.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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jar
Member
Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 12 of 49 (572940)
08-08-2010 8:12 PM


The final version of the story appears in Acts.

quote:
Acts 1

1The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

2Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

3To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


In this last version yet another feature gets introduced, the issue of restoring the Kingdom of Israel.

This is very important because it is the beginning of the redefinition of the Messiah from what the term had always meant to the Jews to what evolved in Christianity.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
  
iano
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 13 of 49 (573048)
08-09-2010 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by jar
08-08-2010 6:40 PM


Jar writes:

Guess what, a change in emphasis and expanded upon are changes. As I pointed out, in Matthew the Great Commission offers no perks, no benefits to the Apostles. Gradually over time the authors, editors and redactors expanded on the myth.

Checkpoint: there is a difference between evolve (which implies a changing from one thing to the other) and expansion (which can imply an increasing degree of revelation with additional authors). I'm assuming this thread is dealing with the former idea.

One account talks about making disciples and what to those disciples should be taught. Another speaks of what is involved in disciples being made (repentence). I see no evolution here - just expansion (along the lines of increased revelation).

Could you explain why it is you plump for the former when the latter is possible?

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


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iano
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 14 of 49 (573052)
08-09-2010 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by jar
08-08-2010 6:36 PM


Re: If at first..
jar writes:

I will admit you create a very attractive rabbit hole but while I think you have the beginnings of a great discussion of the difference between how you view Christianity and I view Christianity, it really is irrelevant to this topic.

I see your point. The above post considers things in a more general sense.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29426
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 15 of 49 (573058)
08-09-2010 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by iano
08-09-2010 3:26 PM


Because it is not simply "expansion (which can imply an increasing degree of revelation with additional authors)". The stories change entirely; the local, characters, content, points of emphasis all change. No where does an author or editor or redactor say, "in addition to what so and so said, we are to xyz."

The tale evolves, changes, markets different products, offers different benefits and rewards.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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