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mazingerz88's avatar

After rising from the dead, why didn't Jesus show himself to enough number of people to prove without a doubt that he has truly risen?

Asked by mazingerz88 (18502 points ) January 13th, 2012

If I’m not mistaken, he blinded his two Roman guards and showed himself only to his closest friends. I’ve always wondered how come he didn’t show himself to those people who executed and watched his crucifixion or to Pontius Pilate himself or to the whole of Rome for that matter. It is no small feat to rise from the dead so why the limited appearance?

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78 Answers

phaedryx's avatar

What would be the point? “Ha ha, I told you so”?

Charles's avatar

a. He probably never existed.
b. If he did exist, he probably didn’t rise from the dead
c. If he really did rise from the dead, maybe he thought he had convinced enough people.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The Bible claims that Jesus was seen by hundreds of people after his resurrection.

500 witnesses…
1st Corinthians 15:4–8
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

This is one of dozens of verses that claim witness to Jesus resurrection, weeks after it had happened. He supposedly was on earth for at least six weeks before being taken up into the clouds. Witnessed by another 120 people… some claim.

judochop's avatar

If I was just tortured, put on display until death and then shoved in a hole and covered by a large rock I’d probably want to just get on with what I was doing before I got dragged, beaten and stoned. Dude was probably thirsty.

Judi's avatar

He hung around for 40 days, what more do you want, a polaroid?
@Charles, even Roman historians of the day talked about him.

Judi's avatar

Luke 16: 27–31
‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house,

for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.

Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead’ (NIV)

Blackberry's avatar

Because he didn’t.

Qingu's avatar

‘Cuz he didn’t rise from the dead.

Likewise you’d think more sources than the gospel of Matthew (chapter 28) would mention the numerous zombies that rose from their graves and marched into Jerusalem, “appearing to many.”

But he almost certainly did exist. @Charles, if you don’t think Jesus existed, where did the pre-Pauline Jesus cult come from? If Paul and Peter invented the Jesus character out of thin air then why was there already a well-developed cult—so well developed it had already split into sects—by the time Paul began writing his letters in 50 AD? The existence of a Judean cult leader named Yeshua is not an extraordinary claim.

Qingu's avatar

@Judi, not Roman historians of Jesus’ day. Josephus wrote decades afterward. In fact there are no sources from Jesus’ day whatsoever that describe his resurrection. The gospels were all written decades later as well. And Paul, who began writing his letters around 50AD, says himself that he never met the man.

And another Roman historian from the same period, Tacitus, said that the resurrection story is a mischevious superstition.

Judi's avatar

@Qingu , I won’t attempt to prove the resurrection to you. I Just wanted to show that he did exist. Josephus would be like a young contemporary historian writing about Martin Luther King, talking to primary sources. I know you like to argue religion, but I don’t play that game. I have no desire to convert you and respect your right to have an opinion different from mine.
I think we do agree that he existed right?

Qingu's avatar

No, Josephus would be like me (29 years old) writing about Martin Luther King.

Also, keep in mind the state of historical objectivity at the time. Josephus, ever the credulous reporter, also wrote:

“Besides these, a few days after that feast [of the unleavened bread], on the twenty first day of the month of Artemisius, a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it [the destruction of the temple in 70] of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding the cities.”

Do you think that there really was an army running around in the sky in 70 AD, based on Mr. Josephus’s say-so?

But yes, we agree that JC was a historical person who existed.

Judi's avatar

@Qingu , You’re young. I have kids older than you. Not addressing the rest because, like I said, I’m not into arguing like you are, but I’m sure there will plenty of people who will.
Cheers.

Blackberry's avatar

Even kids know basic biology.

Qingu's avatar

Thanks for calling me young. What with my damn gray hair and almost turning 30, it doesn’t much feel that way anymore :)

digitalimpression's avatar

It is very sad that we haven’t come very far as a species.

Matthew 27:39–44
39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Blackberry's avatar

@digitalimpression Well, when some people obstruct progress of course it’ll be slowed down.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Results or effects that were only seen by believers and followers means that the alleged events were not observed by independent, reliable observers. Sounds like the basis of an good Ponzi scheme or other fraud. Science demands independent, reliable observation while blind faith does not. To each their own.

FutureMemory's avatar

It is very sad that we haven’t come very far as a species.

Oh the irony….

Qingu's avatar

@digitalimpression, it is sad that we haven’t progressed much from the days of the Roman Empire when people also widely believed unsubstantiated bullshit.

digitalimpression's avatar

@FutureMemory I thought surely you were above this rabble. =(

Is there anyone here that wishes to contribute anything? Or is this just another Christian mock session? I don’t know why I even asked…

Qingu's avatar

I love how anything that asks critical questions about the claims of Christianity is portrayed as a “Christian mock session.”

Truly Christians are a persecuted people.

digitalimpression's avatar

I don’t know if it’s a comfort to you , but with everything you say, my faith is further affirmed. =) Thanks @Qingu !

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:10 KJV

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Romans 8:35 KJV

GladysMensch's avatar

You’re seriously looking for a logical answer to a story from the bible? Let’s see:
Why did God require the help of an old man when he flooded the Earth? And for that matter, why didn’t God just zap the humans and skip the flood? And if God is all knowing, didn’t he already know that the humans were going to act in a way that would displease him? And if he knew, why was he then displeased? And if he didn’t know, then isn’t that indicative that God is not all knowing? And if God is not all knowing, why do we call him God?

Blackberry's avatar

My palm is inside my brain right now.

FutureMemory's avatar

@digitalimpression Sorry, but I don’t believe in fairy tales. It’s really as simple as that.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Blackberry's avatar

@digitalimpression What are central beliefs of christianity, to you?

Response moderated
KatawaGrey's avatar

Calling an essential part of someone’s self “fairy tales” is pretty insulting.

Qingu's avatar

@KatawaGrey, I’m sure we can point out more insulting passages from the Bible describing unbelievers.

I seem to recall a passage that says we should be killed without mercy (Deuteronomy 13:6).

Oh, and God himself says that we deserve to be tortured, stricken with boils and diseases, sold into slavery, with our wives raped by other men, and forced to eat the flesh of our own children and the afterbirth of miscarriages (Deuteronomy 28).

So quit yer ablooblooblooing. You believe that a man had magic powers and came back to life after dying. The content of your belief is similar to the content of many fairy tales.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Qingu: So because a few lines of a book that you hate say something against you, you’re going to insult everyone even remotely connected to a group that wrote that book? Does this mean I can use examples of nasty atheists whoops, sorry, you’re not an atheist, you’re an anti-theist to condemn you?

Qingu's avatar

My point is that Christians ought not to have thin skins when their holy book says much more horrible things about the other side of this debate.

Moreover, I also think it’s pathetic and disingenuous that people act insulted when their beliefs are merely criticized. “Qingu thinks my religious belief is a fairy tale and he’s explaining why—oh my, get the vapors, I think I’m going to faint from hurt feelings!”

FutureMemory's avatar

@Qingu Regarding your last post: thank you.

Blackberry's avatar

Fairy tale:
1
a : a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins) —called also fairy story

b : a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending

2: a made-up story usually designed to mislead

Harold's avatar

Exactly how many people would be enough for you? What is the threshhold, and what is the scientific basis for your threshhold? Can you back it up with evidence? I thought not…............

saint's avatar

I’ll join in with the “Because he didn’t” crowd.

basstrom188's avatar

Maybe because his little group were in on the conspiracy. In order to fulfil scripture as they saw it a resurrected body was required. Three options now present themselves:
1. They bribed the guards, stole the body and reburied it where it hopefully would not be found.
2. That when Jesus was brought down from the cross he was not dead and was revived. The rest of the story of the guard on the tomb and Pilate’s seal was a fabrication. Reviving people after a botched execution was not unknown in 18th century England for example.
3. That Jesus again was not dead but came round in the tomb. In a superstitious age the sight of man walking out of tomb would have scared off the guards. It would explain why he only appeared to his followers who would protect him from re-arrest and crucifixion. It would have been easy for him to convince his equally superstitious followers that he was divine.

Qingu's avatar

@basstrom188, you forgot some options:

4. There was no tomb.

5. There was a tomb but he never came back to life, and the authors of the gospels made up that story several decades later when the gospels were written.

Qingu's avatar

@Harold, enough people such that it would get a mention in a contemporary historical source.

But maybe we should step back and ask what your criteria for “believing things” is.

• Do you believe there was really a floating army in the clouds in 70 AD? Josephus says there was and cites many eyewitnesses.

• Do you believe that Emperor Vespasian healed a cripple and a blind man with his magic powers? The Roman historian Seutonius says he did.

• Do you believe the Prophet Muhammad flew up into the sky on the back of a flying donkey? The Bukhari hadith says he did, citing a chain of witnesses.

FutureMemory's avatar

After rising from the dead, why didn’t Jesus show himself to enough number of people to prove without a doubt that he has truly risen?

He didn’t want to get nailed up again…learned his lesson the first time.

Ron_C's avatar

How can you rationalize a fairy tale? Jesus no more came to life after his death than any other mythical figure. I would guess his followers were a bit disappointed that none of his predictions came true so the had to fill in the blanks.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@GladysMensch “And if God is all knowing, didn’t he already know that the humans were going to act in a way that would displease him?”

I think the line of thinking here is the same as me choosing to have my own child. Although I knew before his birth that he would experience pain, suffering, possible handicaps, and even an era where he rejected me his father… knowing all this in advance, I still chose to let my son be born.

As to God needing the help of an old man for the flood… Well, that’s simply the way he chose to do it. But that doesn’t mean it was the only way he could have done it.

I’m not arguing either way for or against Christianity. It is common knowledge here that I believe all religions are evil incarnate. True inquisition requires a little more depth in both the questions we ask and the answers we give.

Qingu's avatar

Resurrection was a big theme in mystery cults at the time. (Osiris was a popular figure in such cults.)

I don’t think Paul invented Jesus or started Jesus’ cult. But it would be relatively trivial for Paul to co-opt Jesus’ cult by grafting on ideas from mystery cults at the time. Jesus’ cult was already mystery-flavored what with the baptism stuff (assuming that didn’t come later).

And it’s not like people susceptible to cults are going to bother demanding evidence for the claim that a cult leader died, then briefly came back to life, then disappeared to heaven. Look at how credulous people are today about such a claim. To say nothing of alien abduction stories.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Where there is smoke there is fire…

If there is nothing to the “Jesus cult”, then why on earth would all of the disciples carry the faith with them till their dying day, suffering persecution, exile, and every one of them meeting a horrible horrible end. Don’t you think at least one of them would have said “WAIT!!! Just Kidding!”

Qingu's avatar

You could ask the same question of Heaven’s Gate, Aum Shinrikyo, or Muhammad Atta and the other 9/11 hijackers.

Though I don’t believe we have any records of what happened to the disciples? Unless you’re counting the gospels, for some reason?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes the gospels. There is a difference in being hypnotized by your current cult leader and carrying on that belief fifty years later unto death, after your cult leader has long passed away. I can’t put them in the same category.

Even Susan Atkins, while in prison, repented for her involvement with Manson. But this only occurs once the bond between them is broken. Many of the disciples were imprisoned too, and tortured beyond anything Atkins had to endure. Still no record of them changing their minds.

The affect of this lasted for a couple hundred years afterwards too, with Christians being slaughtered for their faith. This is a far cry from remaining in a cult only when a leader is present to continue the hypnotism.

Qingu's avatar

Who said anyone hypnotized anyone?

Cultists tend to be delusional folks. A few cultists are even willing to take lives—theirs or, worse, other people—for the sake of their delusions. Why should the early Christians be any different?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“Why should the early Christians be any different?”

Because they weren’t cultists.

Qingu's avatar

Oh, right. Of course they weren’t cultists! I completely forgot that they were members of the one true religion, unlike every other group with similar charismatic leaders and beliefs.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It doesn’t have to be so black or white @Qingu. The answers don’t have to be either Cultist or Blessed by God.

It’s difficult to have a rational discussion on this when people insist upon answer being tightly wrapped up in neat little boxes of precondition. Often, the truth of any argument is found somewhere it the middle of two heavily entrenched dogmas.

One possibility is that The Way wasn’t a religion at all, but a revisiting of good principles upon a people who needed it in the time they did. The “religion” of it all didn’t arise until it became Christianity… held up by dogma.
______

Getting locked into the dogma of resurrection, virgin birth, miracles, son of God… all that dogma serves only to miss the message of Christ. You can have your fun at religion bashing. I’ll join you in that. But none of it will change the message of Christ. It only serves as noise on the line preventing anyone from actually hearing it.

I am the way, the truth, and the life… So accept the way of truth and live.

That’s all anyone need to understand. Nothing else matters to followers of The Way. Everything else is dogma.

Qingu's avatar

They “followed” a charismatic leader and believed wacky stuff about life after death. If that’s not a cult I don’t know what is.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You know what’s funny… As a theist, I think it is you who believe “wacky stuff” about life after death… as in, there isn’t any. That seems downright insane to me.

You might even use the charismatic Richard Dawkins to support your beliefs.

basstrom188's avatar

Dying for what you believe in is not unique to Christianity as some here imply.
I would also like to ask a subsidiary question. Were members of other cults contemporary with the Christians also persecuted and killed?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As I understand it, Rome was pretty lenient towards everyone except Christians and criminals. Other than that, I’ve never heard anything about them persecuting other sects, races, sexual orientations or anything that didn’t threaten their status. Keep in mind that they didn’t really want to persecute Jesus or Christians to begin with. They were carrying out the will of the Jewish leaders of that time.

I could be wrong. I’m just unaware of such things.

mazingerz88's avatar

This is what I don’t get sometimes. It is the Jewish people that came up with the Messiah, the Christ, and yet, Jesus was unable to prove to each and everyone of his people that he was indeed their Messiah. So how could we even assume that Romans and later on down the centuries, that people who have become Christians are right about that?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Oh, well you used that word “prove”. Funny word…

They can prove to me all day long that smoking is bad for me. And yet I still smoke a pack a day.

Basically, if your proof goes against what makes me feel good, then you can take your proof and shove it right up your holiness. Jesus was very threatening to the corrupt Pharisees and Sadjucess of the time. His presence weakened their power and control over people. They had to kill him to protect their pack a day habit.

FutureMemory's avatar

@mazingerz88 We can’t. And yet, many people still believe it.

mazingerz88's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I have no idea whatsoever but was it in their prophecies that they would kill their own Messiah? Because if it wasn’t, then how can Jesus be THE Messiah?

Judi's avatar

@mazingerz88, Look up Issiah 53

mazingerz88's avatar

@Judi I haven’t yet but could that be reading be about that saying where his own shall not accept him or something like that? I’ll see, thanks.

FutureMemory's avatar

@mazingerz88 I am probably one of the least knowledgeable people on this thread when it comes to Biblical history/accuracy, but I thought the Jewish religious leaders considered Jesus something of an upstart that needed to be silenced…?

mazingerz88's avatar

@FutureMemory Yes, I just read @Judi‘s Isaiah 53 post and it was from the Old Testament and I’m guessing part of a prophecy of what their Messiah would have undergone. That certainly came true. I just don’t know where and when exactly the supposed fulfillment of the prophecies as related to Jesus went astray for the ancient Jewish people then. Is it possible it was prophesied that they would not recognize his arrival?

FutureMemory's avatar

@mazingerz88 Hell if I know :)

Harold's avatar

@Qingu – I don’t know enough about the claims you mention to comment. My point is that if you are going to claim whether or not you believe an eyewitness account of a supposed event based on numbers, how many is enough? There must be more to it than just an arbitrary number of people claiming they saw it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If you’re really interested, here is a list of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled to the letter by good ole’ JC… Right down the the 30 pieces of silver that betrayed him and ended up buying a potters field. The prophecies include Christ riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the betrayal by a friend, and even detail his thirst while dying on the cross amidst other transgressors without a bone broken.

It’s kind of eerie when you read it, just how accurate the OT prophesies are… Even his dying words were predicted.

I’m sure there’s nothing to it at all.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

And that’s just one list… incomplete. There are many others. I think I heard once there were over two hundred fulfilled OT prophecies about JC. Who knows? But it’s fun to get spooky with it.

mazingerz88's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies My goodness that was a looong read! But thanks. : )

Ever the skeptic, I couldn’t help imagining another skeptic who lived in those ancient times, who maybe wondered whether Jesus and his followers studied the prophecies and deliberately fulfilled them.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I share your skepticism @mazingerz88. There are a number of things that could easily have been played out, like riding the donkey into Jerusalem, the last words… yep, I get it and find it suspect.

But there are others that would be very difficult to play out, like place of birth, crucified with other criminals, betrayed for 30 coins by a friend, lineage from King David… unless they just found the right guy and convinced him to play the part unto torture and crucifixion.

mazingerz88's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies My huge Catholic family would not say it in front of me but would think me totally hellbound for saying this…all those things that were recorded about Jesus, all after the supposed facts of what he went through and did since birth, were all…well…written. I would have been LESS skeptical if he was recorded to have stayed for years and years after his first resurrection trying to show everybody that he really could be killed, again and again, only to rise, again and again.

But no, it was blessed are those who believe and yet not seen. Really? It could be that those writers realized they have found the right guy decades after he was killed and claimed to have resurrected. And so they wrote.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@mazingerz88 “I would have been LESS skeptical if he was recorded…”

Even if we had a video tape recording of Jesus’ entire life, virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven… there would be countless people who claimed it as fraud.

We’re humans. We believe what we want to believe. Even today there are those who deny the Holocaust and Moon Landings.

GladysMensch's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I think the line of thinking here is the same as me choosing to have my own child.
Yeah, but I don’t kill my children when they misbehave or disappoint me.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Surely you’re not suggesting that God killed Jesus?

And as for Jesus’ death, be him God, or Son of, or even just a crazy lunatic, neither he or God seemed too worried about his death, for they both prophesied it in advance, and they both knew that death would be overcome with resurrection. That’s how the story goes anyway.

mazingerz88's avatar

The story seems to be there is no sacrifice greater than sacrificing yourself so others may be given a second chance. And if God himself can do it, what more with his mere human creations. It’s great drama no doubt. The God of the Bible seems to love watching stories unfold.

Qingu's avatar

I love how people argue that Jesus must be the messiah because sectarian fanatic followers writing decades after the fact claim he fulfilled vague prophecies (though they sometimes can’t seem to agree on how or the details).

@Harold, I think it depends on the claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you’re claiming that Jesus was just some cult leader who achieved some popularity and got crucified, I think the historical record (religious and secular) supports that pretty well. That’s hardly an extraordinary claim.

If you’re going to claim that Jesus rose from the dead, along with an army of zombies, accompanied by darkness and earthquakes, and appeared to many people in Jerusalem, well, that’s a pretty extraordinary thing to claim, and you’d certainly expect some sort of evidence for this to show up in contemporary records beyond those written by the fanatical followers of said Jesus—which, by the way, often contradict each other.

In any case, if your criteria for believing the Jesus-is-risen claim consists of “because the gospels say he did,” I would love to hear why you don’t believe that Muhammad was a prophet of God who rode up into the sky on a flying donkey. The Islamic version of gospels say he did. Or, why don’t you believe Joseph Smith really did find golden tablets and translate them with the help of an angel. The Mormon version of gospels say he did. Jesus is not remotely unique as a historical figure with followers who claimed in writing to have performed magical feats—why on earth do you believe the stories about Jesus but not the stories about all these other magical feats?

Qingu's avatar

About Romans persecuting Christians: @RealEyesRealizeRealLies, I think you’ve oversimplified a great deal.

Romans were fairly tolerant of mystery cults. Such cultists generally bowed down to Roman civic gods and so created no friction with the government. Christianity, in some respects, was a mystery cult. But Christians didn’t like bowing down to gods, so that created problems.

Jews, unlike mystery cultists, did not bow down to Roman gods. But Romans were generally tolerant of Jews because they considered Judaism a “venerable” tradition. They knew how to deal with it. Christianity, on the other hand, was a new thing, which confused the Romans. How to categorize it? A mystery cult? But its followers didn’t participate in Roman civics. As Judaism? But it’s not Judaism really. You see this confusion in Tacitus’ letters.

All that said, Romans were not really lenient towards the Jews altogether. The Jews mounted a violent revolution against Roman rule (somewhat analogous to the Taliban fighting against American occupation) which culminated in a number of impressive mass killings. The Romans also destroyed the Jewish temple in 70 AD, an unspeakable sacrilege that, for all intents and purposes, ended the Jewish religion as it existed at the time. The Temple was considered to be literally where Yahweh dwelled. This event is referenced in all the gospels and was a game-changer for both Judaism and Christianity and probably underlied a lot of the apocalyptic writing at the time (including Revelation, but there were lots of other apocalypses written around then).

Ron_C's avatar

@Qingu Jewish zealots fought a guerrilla war against the Roman garrison in Jerusalem according to histories, I’ve read. The common Roman soldier hated the zealots and by extension the christian cult which was essentially another offshoot of the zealots.

Any reasonable person would have given a nod toward Roman gods, therefore calming discourse between the groups. Unfortunately some priest or preacher brainwashed the early christian followers by glorifying martyrdom. Much suffering could have been avoided if that teacher was hung before he could contaminate his followers. Just imagine if Christianity was about peace and getting along with your neighbor and not condemning those that don’t share your belief. History would have been much less bloody and the world, today would be much more peaceful. I think killing Jesus (if he existed) was a bad idea because it lead to a hardcore ruthless form of religion.

Qingu's avatar

@Ron_C, eh. Goes back before the Christians to the Macabees. Same region, different empire (Seleucids and not Romans) but same conflict. Fundamentalist Jews didn’t want to bow down to Greco-Roman civic gods, started a violent insurgency, sought to establish an autonomous theocratic state, provoked a violent response from the empire in charge.

In the case of the Macabees, these jackasses are lionized as the heroes of the Hannukah myth.

I don’t think we can say for sure what early Christianity’s relationship with the Jewish zealots was. Clearly there is a relationship. Simon is cast as a zealot who believes that Jesus was the political Jewish messiah. In fact that had always been what the “messiah” about. The messiah was supposed to be the return of King David who would lead the oft-conquered-and-occupied Jewish people to their own sovereignty and establish a godly kingdom on Earth again. This is also why the gospels go through the trouble of establishing Jesus’ kinship with David in the genealogy. On the other hand—possibly in response to the Roman crackdown on political Judaism culminating in the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD—the gospels go out of their way to identify Jesus not as an earthly messiah but as a vague and spiritual one. His kingdom is not on earth but is a “kingdom of heaven.”

Probably moving the goalposts if you ask me, but I don’t really know that we can say the Christians were an offshoot of the zealots. I see it more like the Christians are like the Tea Party and the zealots were like the white supremacists who feel at home in the Tea Party. Or the Christians are like Occupy Wall Street and the zealots are the anarchists who feel at home in Occupy Wall Street.

Ron_C's avatar

@Qingu “Christians are like the Tea Party and the zealots were like the white supremacists who feel at home in the Tea Party” I like that analogy.

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