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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

The Ebionites: Early Jewish Christians


Ebionite Christians had an early copy of the Gospel of Matthew; they did not have the two first chapters (including the virgin birth), which were added by later Christians. They strongly believed that all the Old Testament Jewish Laws had to be obeyed; including the Sabbath and circumcision for all males. As such, they considered St Paul to be the archenemy of Christianity as he taught that people did not have to obey the Law in order to be saved. Pauline Christians eradicated the Ebionites, burnt all their books (none survived), and wrote volumes and volumes against them.

"If we were to guess which group was the more austere, holy and godly, we would have to guess it was the Ebionites rather than the Pauline Christians who slaughtered, slandered and oppressed them. Unfortunately the victors get to write history, and it is Pauline Christianity that became the legacy of the Roman Empire. After the fourth century, the Ebionites were vanquished."

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I was more thinking along the line of "do not murder", "love your enemies", two of the 10 commandments, and from the NT when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, he replied, "love your neighbour as yourself, there is no greater commandment than this".... that's just three *very* clear and completely undisputed hints that those who kill & murder people for believing different are indeed less godly.

The judgement isn't from a neutral, stood-back position but is solidly from a Christian point of view: Obviously, as an atheist or a moral person you also arrive at the same conclusion - the ebionites were more moral, because they were more peaceful and tolerant.

That I agree with but it totaly misses what I just said.
The point I was makeing was that you seemed to link the terms holy and godly with the word austere. It seems to display the implication that being austere makes one more Holy or godly. Where as I don't belive one reflects upon the other wheather or not it was a quality possesed by a particular group of people who might be concidered more holy than another.

One case in point is that austerity dose not make one less likely to be war like or to kill. Look in a thesurus under Austere and one would exspect that the word spartan might well be found near by. The Spartans were a very bloodthirsty lot all told (If history is to be belived).

The Spartans were definately austere, and were indeed very war-centric culture. Also, the Ebionites were very austere.

The judgement on godliness is seperate to the judgement on austerity.

On Austerity;

The Ebionites' name come from a word meaning "The Poor", as Jesus was poor. Living in poverty is a defining feature of austerity in all world-rejecting religious groups. Other early Christians were also very poor; it was a feature of Christianity that it caught on amongst the poor, as a result of it's principal teacher, Jesus, also being very poor.

The Pauline Christians were mostly roman converts, and were not poor. Saul of Tarsus was not poor, he was rich. Saul's continual harrassing and arresting of Christians was possible because he had many resources available to him. Emperor Constantine was the richest man in the Roman Empire, and when he converted (along with the Roman Army) to Pauline Christianity, the poor, austere Ebionites really did have absolutely no chance of fighting back. All their books were burnt, their followers arrested, tortured, murdered, crucified, and volumes upon volumes (not cheap to produce!) of anti-Ebionite books were produced by Constantine/Pauline Christians.

Also, Pauline Christians did not obey the Jewish laws. They were therefore less austere (which amongst Christians is a Jewish term). The Ebionites were also vegetarians, something which is also associated with austerity in history and in the present day. The Pauline Christians were not vegetarians.

I can't think of one way in which you could say that the Pauline Christians were 'more austere' than the Ebionites.

and in addition, being less godly (for reasons given) is also something that disassociates them from austerity, in Christian eyes.

I do not diagree that the Ebionites were austere. or the Roman Catholics in favor of living an opulent lifestyle (When possible). I would think it is other factors you mentioned earlier that made them holier or otherwise (Although who am I to sit in judgment).

It is my feeling that any austerity shown by jesus could have been a neccesity of being poor. Equaly so for the Ebionites. I am not sure it speaks well of thier holiness though that they seem to have declared being in a particular state of affairs a virtue, just because that is the situation they have found themselves in.

The poor have often been keen to make the state of being poor something noble; a thing to be proud of. I guess if one is poor theres nothing wrong with them coming to conclutions that make them feel better. As long as it dosn't hold them back.

Has this thing of austerity and povity been used over the years by the ritch to keep the poor in thier place?

Jesus' views

What Jesus said about the greatest commandments is not solidly from a Christian point of view but from a Jewish point of view. There was no Christianity during Jesus' lifetime.

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