Continuing discussion.

EPS Blog

This is the blog area for the Evangelical Philosophical Society and its journal, Philosophia Christi.

Friday, November 21, 2008

2008 EPS Papers (Sharp)

Mary Jo Sharp

First-Century Monotheistic Judaism, the Earliest Christians, and the Recycled Pagan Myth Theory

Abstract: This paper is a response to the re-emergent claim that Christianity developed put of a first-century Judaism that was doctrinally influenced by Hellenistic pagan religions. I will demonstrate that the evidence available maintains a first-century Jewish faith exclusively monotheistic in doctrine; leading to ritualistic and, to some degree, cultural separatism due to a fear of defilement. Because of this very exclusivity, the first Christians – being first-century Jews – would not have inserted or adapted pagan religious ideas into their belief for the same fear of defiling the one true God. Instead, the earliest evidence presents Jewish-Christians equating Jesus with the monotheistic Godhead and honoring Jesus with the divine worship of which only the Jewish God is worthy. The evidence for this case can be found in 1) an examination of the doctrine and praxis of ancient Judaism as understood in its first century environment, 2) in the early evidence from Paul’s writings in which he equates Jesus with God and rebukes the practices of the pagan religions, and 3) in the lack of evidence to support claims of early influence by pagan religions, because Christianity developed from a monotheistic Jewish faith that fails to – and refused to – align with normal mythological religious patterns.

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