Saturday, November 18, 2006

The reason one or two particular versions of early Christianity has some appeal to me

But not enough realism, for the most part, to be usable

Whether or not there even was a Jesus of history, one of the earliest Christianities, and the first to impute words to a historical Jesus, was the Cynic-shaped “Galilean Christianity.”

Combining the maxims and convention-rejecting emphasis of Cynicism with the prophetic preaching of late-Israelite proto-Judaism was a potent mix. For a person wanting a foundation for personal and spiritual growth that transcended the materialism of its day just as much as ours, why wouldn’t a quasi-idealist like me be attracted?

And, speaking of idealism …

The middle Platonism of the early Christian philosophers has some appeal. Defining a heaven or afterlife as a progression into a Platonic ideal self and locale, without the mysticism or worse of later Neoplatonism has some appeal, especially if one does so with a non-Greek emphasis on a physical, yet somehow Paulist spiritual, body, and rejects the existence of an immaterial soul.

Of course, that’s not a key tenet of Platonism.

As for the other aspects of Christianity in its development, the jealous tribal God Yahweh of the Torah and Former Prophets has zero appeal. Neither does the dripping vengeance of Iranian apocalyptic dualism, wedded and welded to Judaism beginning with Daniel. Certainly the religious mysticism and the philosophical mumbo-jumbo of Paul’s adaptation of eastern Mediterranean mystery religions doesn’t, either.

Alas, though, there’s no indication of a divinity of any sort, let alone one powerful enough to recreate physical bodies into some Platonic ideal.

As for Cynic maxims and Israelite outcries, well I can, and hope I continue to, get better and living that from a secular background.

No comments: