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  • Lance Mannion
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actually, even at the time of jesus ideas about damnation are beginning to enter jewish tradition, perhaps from persian zoroastrian sources, although really really dont quote me on that its been a long time since i worked on this praticular topic. the afterlife was a vibrant source of speculation and debate in 1st century judiasm. basically what happened is that rabbinic jews systemically distanced themselves from discussion of the afterlife in part as an attempt to distance jewish thought from christian. also worth noting that most, if not probably all, of the authors of the gospels are devoted jews, and some like matthew are thought to be written explicitly for other jews. its not just jesus who is jewish, most of the gosepels themselves are essentially jewish documents expressing jewish views. it isnt really until the 4th century, hundreds of years after every new testament book is written, that chritianity start taking on a distinct identity as a separate religion, and even that is slow. not that it has that much to do with right wing demagogues, i just thought it was an interesting thing to share.

Lance Mannion

J_Marshak, it's very interesting, and I'm glad you shared it. One of my favorite things about this blog is I learn stuff from readers.


And the problem with this is, of course, that the system of government that we're stuck with was designed by a bunch of 18th Century Enlightenment types who expected that the work of governmentin' would be done by enlightened elites above the hurley-burley and the vices of the emotional mob. It's now being (largely) driven by a rage-drunk insane clown posse, since as old W.B. would remind us, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity."

Not sure if this is worse than the condition we were in back in the last Gilded Age, where the bloated plutocrats damned the Public and openly stole what they could not take by law. I do know that this will be harder to change than the last time, given that the strange coalition of communists and socialists, Progressives, noblesse oblige class traitors of the Rooseveltian breed, muckraking journalists, and good-government types was IMO a genuine accident of history and almost impossible to recreate.

And as for the original subject of the post...

As a midgrade sergeant I damn near got run up before my commander for getting into it with one of the chaplains, a mealy-mouthed type belonging to one of these wierd snake-handling sorts of Protestant fundie sects. Basically my point was that if he couldn't see perfectly well that the rifle in my hand was the Devil's Fork then he was in the wrong line of work; that whilst the reason I might use it might be "right" or "just" that the actual using it was a damnable bloody sin by his Master's own creed, and that if we all died by the sword it would be no more than our deserved consequence. But that I was perfectly fine being the Devil's Disciple and that he and his yowling Old Testament "faith" could go peddle their papers.

He didn't appreciate that and was a commissioned officer to boot, so, too bad for me.

Anyway, that.

S McCoy

Yes Lance, not sure where you got the idea that Jesus didn't believe in an afterlife, the gospels are chocked full of statements he made about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. I think the whole point of his coming (or at least a main point) was to rescue us from the idea that this life is all there is. I'm not sticking up for Starne and have no idea if he's a "real Christian". But I do know he's a sinner. Just like me.


I always gathered that Jews got hell from the Greeks after Alexander came through. They adopted a lot of Greek customs: the symposium for Passover and monogamy around then. Why not hell? (Not that I'm saying Passover and monogamy are like hell, or maybe I am.)

P.S. My source was a History of Hell for hell and Feast of History for Passover.

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