Biblical Hermeneutics – There Is More To The Bible Than Just Reading Words.

People are different when it comes to faith matters, some people take the Bible word for word, and add nothing to the thought or the words. Some people cannot accept the possibility that there may have been some errors made in the different translations. David’s[1] suggest that in order to read and study the Bible effectively specific, tools are necessary, these tools are called Biblical Hermeneutics. He suggests that It is not only important to be able to read the bible, but to interpret what you are reading.

 

Ÿ         Time

Ÿ         Place

Ÿ         Settings

Ÿ         Characters

Ÿ         Author

Ÿ         Word analysis

 

 

When Biblical chapters were taken as a written script about a set of events, the reader would normally want to know something about the background in which the story was written. Why was the time frame in which the story takes place. What is the geographical location in which the story takes place, and who are the main characters. It is then necessary to do a character analysis to determine what to expect of each player, and why. Each story has to have a problem, and some one trying to solve the problem. Without a problem, there is no story. The question of who is the author of the script is important. Here we would be interested in any and all motivational factors, which may have influenced the writer. The different characters and events coming in and out of the story makes it one of the story of the Bible is very basic and very simple. If left alone it would be not very interesting. The world’s best sellers.

 

David suggests the following outline for reading the Bible for understanding.

Ÿ         Understanding Theological Narratives

Ÿ         Analysis of Narrative Text

Ÿ         Interpreting Psalms

Ÿ         Understanding Prophetic Literature

Ÿ         Elements of the Gospel

Ÿ         Understanding Epistles

Ÿ         Unique nature of biblical narratives

Ÿ         Recognizing “markers” and “links”[2]

Ÿ         Nature of Hebrew poetry

 

Stories take on different meanings if you have the codes to understand what the different biblical stories are all about. There is only one story told in many ways.

The Bible is such an exciting and confusing book. It contains some of the more interesting stories of humankind in the world. The entire bible centers around God trying to communicate with his/her people/ The problem is God speaks in tongues, and unless you have someone around to translate what the words mean, you could have a confusing mumble of gibberish . The codes for human survival are contained in the coded messages of the Bible.[3]

 

In the first book of the Bible, there are two stories of creation. One story provides a scientific overview of the creation which took billions of years. Those who are interested in the concept of time, spend useless hours trying to get 6 billion years into 6 days. It may make for religious conversation for the masses, but reading the Bible from a literal and time perspective would be an unproductive activity.

 

The question of the location of the Garden of Eden where life gave way to human form is a debate centered around ethnic and racial interest, and not necessarily scientific. From a literal perspective Europeans wanted life to start in the caves of Norway Sweden or Denmark. There are some who make want to take the origins up to the North Pole.

This location would negate the description of two people walking naked around an area covered with ice and snow. Weather report suggests that the temperature could drop to minus 50 degrees. This would require the mythological Adam and Eve to require substantial clothing. Genesis goes on to describe God walking in the “cool of the evening.” this would suggest that the morning and afternoon would have been warm and pleasant. This scenario would suggest that the writers of the Bible were referring to a location with a warm climate.

 

Today science has the technology to determine the origins of the first human inhabitants on the earth. Present day science suggests that all life originated on the continent of Africa.[4] The geographical location of most of the stories in the bible suggests that they lands being describes were located from the continent of Africa to the Middle East.

 

               There is now the question of the intent of God in the making of his/her creations. Did God intend for man to continue living, or was the continuity of life an after thought? Did God intend for man to have sexual relations with his mate, or did the humans discover their anatomy by themselves while playing in the garden? God stated on several occasions that He was sorry that He had created mankind. What were His original plans? Were the other Gods playing with the different forms of life for their own pleasure?

Was the female created for the interest and pleasure of one of the celestial beings? What indeed was the purpose? Surely God must have known that the garden such as it was, would attract the interest and attention of the two humanoids roaming freely around. If they could discover the pleasure of sexual intercourse, then, it was just a matter of time before they discovered the “magic” significance of the tree of life. What were the gods doing that they could not pay attention to Adam and Eve becoming creators of new life forms from sexual pleasure?

Did they decide to make the act of sexual intercourse a ‘sin” just because they were angry at being caught not paying attention. The question of cursing the creation of Adam and Eve, and causing violence in the first family is also very confusing. Were Cain and Abel set up from the beginning? The whole concept of sin entering into the world appears to have little to do with the creations, and more with the creators. There must be a reason for the continual teaching of the concept of original sin, it however does not have a logical reason for its theory, and humankind has not had the privilege of the secret knowledge of the gods.

It would appear that the entire meaning of the early part of the Bible is designed to get Jesus into the human family and give Him co responsibility with God the Father. The genealogy carefully laid out in the Old Testament seems to be a long preparation and validation for the coming of Jesus, some refer to as the Messiah.

The lives of many of the lead characters in the Bible center on the difficulty human being were having understanding the plan God had for their existence. The focus on family battles and neighbor conflicts, appear to suggest that man cannot find God if he is too busy working out the problems in his own life, story after story centers around God trying to reach man at a spiritual level.

Sometimes, God had to symbolically lock man up in the belly of a whale to speak to him. The large surroundings of the whale blocked out the every day confusions of life. Sometimes man has to go though his Jonah experiences in order to hear the word of God. Perhaps when life becomes too stressful and meaningless, the Jonah death wish stage comes on man. God heard him when he said, “ It would be better for me to dies than to live.’ ” Jonah 4:8. Jonah had to live, to give life and meaning to the coming of the Son of God.

Sometimes all possessions considered important in life have to be taken away, as man goes through his Job stage in order that God can really get his attention. Perhaps the Job stage of human existence represent a death wish. Job cursed the day he was born, saying, “ Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:1-2,11.

There is also Elijah, the third of God’s strongest and faithful followers. Elijah was full of fear. He prayed to God to take his life, life was too hard for him. He said, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors,’ 1 Kings 19: 3-4. Elijah lives through his state of despair and became one of the foundation of Jewish theology. Elijah had to live because Jesus had to come.

The entire Bible is the story on God taking on human form. God taking on human form is the Son Jesus Christ. Therefore the entire Bible is the story of Jesus Christ. It follows from the first chapter in the Bible with the understanding that God mad man a hermaphrodite. Man had both male and female characteristics. The stories of the men and women in the bible all represent the one Jesus Christ. Adam is Jesus and so is Eve. Moses is Jesus and so is Ruth. Daniel is Jesus and so is Jeremiah, Haggai and Malachi are all forms of the Father preparing the way for the Son.

 

 

This paper will use Hermeneutic tools of history and cultures to look into the search for the historical Jesus. Is it possible to study the geographical areas of the world to determine the birth and life of a given individual? Those of us, who are Christians, accept the life, death and resurrection of Jesus without question. I believe, help thou my curiosity.

 

Today, in the parts of the world so vividly described by the writers of the bible, American troops travel. The media in an effort to describe their location and activities, record biblical names and places. The conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine is making history come alive in the 21st century. We can get a look into the lives of ancient people, whose traditions and life styles may not have change significantly in over 2,000 years. Today’s world’s events help us to understand that what we think we may know about people may not be factual. We know that Israel is today, as it was yesterday. We know that the children of Abraham are still in conflict over birthrights. We see the bitter dispute between neighbors, and we can just imagine what it was like during the time of Jesus.

Dysfunctional families had its foundation in the first family. Cain killed his brother Abel over an offering to God.

Why is so much violence centered on the worship of this God and His son Jesus?

What is the spiritual language of violence?

Did the violence of the people attract them to God centered violence, or did God create a violent people in order to demonstrate his compassionate and mercy? There are many paths to find God; there are also many paths to find Jesus. Some find him in a simple biblical story. Some find him in the complex history in the development of his church. Still others find him through intellectual discourse. They want the empirical evidence of his history and existence. This paper cannot answer all of these interests, but I invite you to take the journey with me to find the why and the how of the historical Jesus.

Jesus was born

Jesus Died

Jesus came back from the dead

He lives 33 years

He turned his world upside down

He healed people

He made many enemies

He made many friends

He healed the sick

He raised the dead

People made up many stories about His life

A religion was started in His name

Religious wars were fought in His name

Great violence occurred in His name

Great peace occurred in His name

1.5 billion people follow a religion centered on His name and mythology

Today, people believe the same history about the beginnings of Christianity as people did 2,000 years ago. Christianity is the largest religion in the world. Islam is second with 1 billion people and it is growing.

However, as seminary students in search of the truth, we must be aware that there are other bodies of scholarly work in the universe of knowledge, which suggest that maybe someone was playing fast and lose with our belief systems. Was there an historical Jesus?

Research on the Question of the Validity of a Historical Jesus.

 

Marcus Borg[5] suggests two negative claims about the historical Jesus. First he says that Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah, or have a message centered on himself or his own identity, and second, Jesus did not expect the coming of the Kingdom of God in his own time.

Borg suggest that a “spirit person” someone who took on the hopes and dreams of a depressed people.

There are others who join with this idea that the people living during the time of the historical Jesus needed a symbolic element of a supernatural nature, which had the power to life them out of their conditions. People needed compassion, which was lacking from the impassionate rulers of Rome. They needed someone to would heal the sick and raise their dead loved ones.

The question arises; did the oppression of an occupying force give rise to the Jesus spirit? Will man when pushed beyond endurance seek a savior who will come forth through some supernatural means and save them from life’s cruel adventures?

Earl Doherty[6] suggest that Christianity began with a mystical Christ, which was influenced by the Jewish mystical speculation on the scripture found in the writings of Solomon as well as the influence of Platonism and Hellenistic ideas of the day.

Robert Funk[7], suggest that Jesus was not apocalyptic. Jesus was different from John the Baptist and Paul who were apocalyptic, and preached a message that the end was near, and all who did not listen and perform certain rites were doomed. Jesus did not scare people to him as many of the founders of Christianity have done. Jesus tended to use a more radical approach, and focused on the every day issues concerning humankind.

 

It may make for some exciting intellectual discourse to ponder on the reliability of the scripture concerning the life of someone living thousands of years ago. However, intellectual massaging of the mind does not address the needs of human voices crying out in a hollow universe. If man cannot or will not hear the cries of the masses, then perhaps the spirit world can. Perhaps the spirit world can and did influence the mind until the mind gave form to a savior. The stories of the Old Testament and the New Testament are the stories of a human population struggling with adversity. Most of that adversity had to do with political, social and economic conditions of the time.

The stories that we read over and over again in our Holy books help us to endure our life’s struggles. Women all over the world, throughout time have been in the center of pain, injustice and sorrow. Therefore, it is understandable, that if the universe were going to change some of these conditions, it would have to center around the needs and wants of women.

The Jesus story elevates women from some of the despair they face. Women reading about a young girl having a baby are not concerned if the story is true or not. They are not concerned about the identity of the author of the story, the story fits, and they say yes to it. It does not matter to the oppressed if Jesus said the words attributed to him in the style and manner presented. The language we receive this information in is Shakespearian, is does not matter that Jesus spoke and thought in Aramaic. It does not matter that he is Jewish, and all of his teachings are Jewish, it still works in the minds on non-Jewish peoples.

The recently discovered Gospels of Thomas have not shed any light on why the Jesus thing works. The Gnostic beliefs and writings about a coded body of secret knowledge only available to and for the truly selected do not matter. What matter is that there is power in the scripture as the word of God. The scripture gives value to the meaning and purpose of our lives, and when that meaning has no purpose, the words still give comfort in time of distress.

The writings of the theological scholars are just another way to view events of history for which we have to depend upon the written word. We were not there during the formation of Christian history. We will never know what factors gave rise to a Christ. We may never know about the historical Jesus, any more than were know about Moses, Abraham or Jacob. Words control history and our belief systems. Our lives are influenced by what we choose to believe.

 

Who is here to testify to the reality of the Crusades? Words written by men connect our minds with history. The spirit of the Christ is something else. Jesus is not a historical figure. The historical Jesus could and would not work in today’s Christianity. Jesus has a transforming presence in which he indwells within the human being at this time and at this stage of his existence.

The historical Jesus preaching on a mountaintop to groups of people wearing dresses does not work. However, in the moment of greatest need the spiritual Jesus steps forth and takes his place besides and inside of individuals of the Christian faith. It is important that one should not come to seminary and lose their religion. The discourse is exciting, but the living and transforming power of Jesus, as a central belief system is more powerful. We tell the story because it has power. We discuss the wars centered on the birth of the religion, because that is the path that some travel to find meaning in their religion. We center on the men and epic leaders who lived during this time of spiritual birth, because form a time frame perspective, it gives order to our Roman minds. The exciting stories around the birth of the Christian and the Catholic Church can be viewed as similar to the stories of Moses and the Israelites and the many battles they had to endure in order to give birth to the nation of Israel. Therefore, just sit back and take a ride through history and some of the events, which influenced the birth of the largest religion, as of today, in the world.

 

The Evolution of ChristianityThe evolution of Christianity is the evolution of history.[8] The story of a child born to a “virgin” mother and unbelievable understanding husband is only part of the story. Why did this birth of peace cause so much death and destruction in the world? Is Christianity the story about Christ, or a story about a world rising out of its stages of barbarism? Would this story have happened with or without the birth and life of the carpenter? The Christian story is many stories about many men. Strong men with strong beliefs that had the power to kill over those beliefs. The sword is turned upside down and made into a cross. It is not the cross which gives birth to the new religion, it is the sword that travels on its destiny, and on its way finds Christianity. If there had not been a historical Jesus, human kind would have created one. There has always been the need to have someone suffer for the pains of human existence. The Shakespeare tragedy of depicting events in life in such a horrible way that it evokes deep feeling of sorrow and relief are well played out in the story of the crucifixion. The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world has to be born again. There are many worlds and many sins yet to be taken away. The story of the disciples, who represented the 12 human characteristics of man, demonstrates that the story of Christianity and its evolution is the story of the world. The Christian churches that were established could represent the nations of the world giving birth to itself.

What does it say about human nature, when a gentle man walks among people, talking to them and healing their pain, and they turn on Him and crucify Him? What does it say to those who want to go out and help the poor and oppressed? What does it say about trust and dependency? Will there always be a Judas to watch for in Christian work? In the message of Jesus, even though the knowledge of a Judas is pre known, does the work of the messenger continue on? Huston Smith[9] suggests that sometimes people have problems distinguishing between the religion of Jesus and the religion about Jesus. Christianity sometimes gets away from the message and tries to analyze the messenger. The evolution of Christianity moved into violence and sacrifice, somewhere along the way it lost the Jesus message of love and helping.

Christianity moved into what became “churches,” these churches divided off into political power bases and belief systems. It is a true testament to the miracle of God, that the Christian church has survived. It is broken into a Western church called Catholicism and an Eastern Church represented by the Orthodox countries and During the days of Peter and Paul, it was just a question of serving Jews or Gentiles. To circumcise or not to circumcise. The fight spread all over the world, and serious battles were fought over rites and rituals. Churches could not agree on the elements which represent the “true” wishes of God, or even who was God, or how many Gods are to be worshiped.  

               One individual who had a significant influence on Christianity and the early churchwas Marcion (c 85-c. 160 A.D.) Many of his views are being discussed 2,000 years later, and have can be the discussion in theological centers of learning. He was a Gnostic ship-wner, who started the belief about two Gods. This introduced the concept of dualism. He believed that the God of the Old Testament was not the same as the God of the New Testament. He believed that the God of goodness and kindness sent His son Jesus to earth because He took pity on earth. The believed that the two gods were in a constant battle for the souls of men. He believed that the evil God of the Old Testament was a punishing God, one of wrath and fire punishing mankind when ever He had a temper fit. Marcion started his own belief system. He denied the virgin birth, the infancy stories, the crucifixion and the resurrection. Of course without these core beliefs, there is no Christianity. Marcion ideas are close to some of the beliefs of some of the new religions. Some of the new religions, not only do not believe in the “Jesus” story, but some go as far and rewriting the chapters in Genesis of the Old Testament. In true Star Wars fashion, some of the new religions believe that there were several chapters before the book of Genesis. These chapters center on the theory that Adam and Eve were not suppose to be together. Eve was suppose to be Satan’s bride, and when she became involved with Adam, the Gods let sin come into the world through the sexual union between the two. There is a whole dialogue concerning sex and sin. ( wild theory) 

Marcion[10] and the other major heresies were the forerunners of the thinkers andwriters of books such as The Da Vinci Code[11]. Today they are not called heresies, and there is no one or religion powerful enough to punish the thinkers or writers. The question is however, what difference it makes if the writers say that Jesus did notexist. That the writers of the Gospels copied from each other, or that Jesus had a childby Mary Magdalene. These stories make exciting bar room talk, but it has no place inthe church. It has no place in religion. It is not religion any more than the Crusades were about religion and the kingdom of God. Religion is not suppose to cloud the mind so that you cannot see the face and the purpose of God. It is a spiritual miracle that the message of Jesus Christ survived. The mind of man tried to destroy it two thousandyears ago. The spirit of the message however, has been passed down to this generation. Jesus is the heart of God, and He is received in the heart, when the heart knows, religion is being experienced, but Christians must be careful how Church history is read and accepted. 

A Culture of Violence, the Foundation of the Christian Church Church history does not center on a spiritual issue. It centers around the history of the world and its violent struggle through the ages. The violence of the Middle East and Europe remains center fold in any research of the history of the church. Violent king seeking to capture other kings and kingdoms. The blood baths of European historygives birth to a violent and oppressive set of beliefs. It does not appear as if religion or European history had any significant effect on each other. Religion did not make the Europeans a more compassionate people, and history of religion does not provide spiritual road maps of man in search of his god.  

Spiritual searches seem to take a philosophical journey rather than a spiritual one. The journeys of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates appear to be more spiritual quest than Peter, John or Paul.  

The battles of the Caesars, the Pharos, the Alexander’s and the Constantine’s of history had little to do with the will of God for His people. A religion that comes out of a bloody crucifixion could and did inspire a careless regard for humankind. What would have happened if the Prophet and messenger of God gave us a quiet reflection on the spiritual meaning of life? What would have happened if the quieter populations of the world gave birth to this new religion? What would have happened if Jesus sat under the tree, talking to a group of people about God’s plans for the world, rather than being nailed to the tree with blood dripping down its bark? Did a violent people need a violent religion? Did Europe need a Jesus on a cross crying out to His heavenly Father? Did the Christ message get lost or swallowed up in the message of violence. It would appear that a people born of violence were not afraid to die for their religious beliefs, but may have lacked the courage to live for them. To dies for the love of Jesus makes no spiritual sense, it does make sense if motivated by the violence of the time.  

Violent actions produce violent thoughts and the belief that through force individuals will change their ways.  

Christian history tells little about man and women living livesof kindness and grace. It tells little about individuals living in complex societies andobeying the laws of those societies. Stories of men and women spreading love and kindness without challenging the status quo. This would have been a message of

Christianity which could have had a different history. The armies and the fighting forces of the world would still have fought their needed battles, but the mingling of Christian history with warfare produced a story of violenceand conflict. Perhaps this trend of thought is naïve . Christianity was born at the cross of violence not at the heart of love. What is the meaning and significance of the cross? It was always a symbol of death.

Perhaps the message was not suppose to be in the cross. Perhaps the message was intended to be in the quiet heart of the women in the life of the man called Jesus. Perhaps only the women heard and understood the message that the Christ came into the world to deliver. Perhaps the one who bore the life, wiped the blood which oozed out of Christ tortured body, stood by the door of the tomb which housed the human remains of the Savior, and were the first to hear the words of the risen Christ saying

 

“GO and Tell.”               That story would not be exciting. That story of women as the foundation of The Christ message would not sell in the local markets. It is more exciting to read about body part being torn apart by lions for the sake of depraved human entertainment. The history of the churches of the past are very similar to the stories of conflict and confusion in modern day churches. People gather around strength and differences, and the individual who is strong enough to prevail become the leaders of the church. The Jews and their religion had their own cultural and spiritual belief systems for centuries. It was a family tradition and religion.  

As the children in the family grow up, they sometimes want to branch out on their own. Two men, Peter, a Jew, and Paul also a Jew, decided to do his own thing. Peter wanted to bring some new ideas back to the Jewish family and Paul wanted to start a new family all together.                The battles of these two people and positions, is also not about religion or spirituality. It centers on power and influence.               Christianity then became a struggle between two power forces – The Peter religion and the Paul’s religion. However, neither of these men were strong enough to inspire religions to be names after them, so they started the religion of the written word. Each writer claimed to have divine inspiration, and a fax machine straight to the front office of God.  

These writers hired themselves an army of translators, since all of these messages were sent back written in a different language or coded, they were able to announce themselves as the only authentic voice of God. Each writer had a different Fax machine and a different set of translators, as a results, Christianity became a religion of words and translations of words. There was even the question of plagiarism. It was difficult to determine who copied from whom. It could be suggested that some of the translators were moonlighting with for the opposition.  

Debates began to center around who wrote what, and who wrote it first. Theories developed with respect to who had the “real” fax machine. The real one was able to send secret messages. Gnostic

messages sent in a form that only the select could or would understand. This was not religion, this was politics. This was sociology and or psychology, but it was not religion.  

Peter set up and organization with specific rules of order. The individuals who became part of this organization, did not have to think, they only had to follow the rules of order, and let selected individuals think for them. 

Peters organization became the Catholic Church, which because it followed the order and structure of the Roman government was successful. It still however was not religion. It was obedience. Paul

decides to go out into the ’Hinter” lands and start club houses around the known world. The members of these club houses focused on issues relating to life and acceptable behaviors for living effectively with each other. There were many conflicts, but it still was not religion.  

               Enters Constantine the Great. He represented the Roman government. He was engaged in the many fun sports of the time specifically – the bloody battles. Christians running around not quite sure of who or what they were had been a minor annoyance, but the bulk of the Christian’s time was spent in internal disputes over who said what, who saw what, and who wrote what.  

             In between these disputes on who was or was not a Christian, and who had the authority to speak for Christians, there was always the willingness on the part of some individuals to go to the cross of sacrifice and suffering. Since they were not clear about the religion, they were clear about the suffering part. Constantine realizing that he was only making the confused Christians happy by leading them to the enlighten, through suffering and death, decided not to help Christians enter into heaven on his watch. He made an interesting decision. He decided to make Christianity the official state religion of Rome. Christians were not sure of whom they were or have clear foundation on a religion with structure. By becoming the official religion of the state, they permitted the state to determine what Christianity was.

               The state, as represented by Rome was in the business of conquering countries and bringing them into the Roman Empire through force. The state did not take on the religion of Jesus the Christ. The church and the followers of the disciples took on the personality of the Roman state. The history of the church from that point on became the history of violence. The violence of Rome became the violence of the Church and this continued for over one thousand years.

                 This is our bible. These were the events, which influence the writing of the bible. The studying of the bible must be taken in the context of the history of the people and the times. Words can be used to express those events, but unless there is an understanding of the cultural and historical factors surrounding any given event, the words are almost meaningless. The bible cannot be studied in any meaningful way without paying attention to what was going on during the time when the writer was writing.

All of the characters in the bible have personalities. Each of these personalities contributed to the richness of the story. The story would just be a collection of words without some context. The same word may have different meanings for different peoples. The same scene described could be perceived in a different way depending on cultural background. Hermeneutics ask the researcher to take into consideration the entire variable surrounding world. The who, what where, when, how and why are the major questions of the bible. These are the questioning world that should be used if the biblical stories are to have meaning in our lives.  

 

Church History- Christian Evolution: A Simple Chronology

Bruce Shelly[12] provides a simple chronology: 

The Period of Jesus and the Apostles (30-70 AD)

u      The death of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection

u      Christianity comes into being. Men preach the gospel  

The Age of Catholic Christianity (70-312)

u      Christianity spreads. People are willing to die for the faith

u      Early teachings called heresies. Church council called to settle differences-canonizing the scripture  

The Age of the Christian Empire (312-590)

u      Constantine makes Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire

u      More people become Christians. Monasticism begins  

The Middle Ages (590-1517)

u      The Roman Empire Falls along with the Byzantine Empire

u      Benedictine monks sent as missionaries, the ruler of the church is now the pope

u      The church loses its soul with the crusades  

The Age of Reformation (1517-1648

u      The protestant movement with Martin Luther

u      Beginning of the different denominations, Lutheran, Reformed Anabaptist and

u      The pope loses his power and influence  

The age of Reason and Revival (1648-1789)

u      People begin to ask who needs God. The Mind becomes God

u      Return of Pietism, Methodism and the great awakening  

The Age of Progress (1789-1914)

u      Christian message is carried all over the world, faith leaves public life

u      Pluralistic and totalitarian countries do not see need for Christianity  

The Age of Ideologies (1912-present )

What is the future? 

Conclusion

Today many new belief systems are spreading all over the United States. America has an influx of religions from the East. The ideas are new to some. There are many paths to finding the Christ. There are many paths to finding and worshiping God. 

 

                                                           Bibliography 

Huston Smith, The World’s Religions, Harper San Francisco, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York  

Justo L. Gonzales, The Story of Christianity, The Early Church to Present Day, Hendrickson Publishers, Harper-Colins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street New York NY 10022. 

Dan Brown, The DA Vinci Code, DoubleDay, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney Auckland,  

Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Harper San Francisco 2000

John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus, Harvard Theological Review 2001

Earl Doherty, The Galilean Tradition, Canadian Humanist Publication 1999  

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html 

 

[1] Dr. Jacob David, Biblical Hermeneutics, UTS Theology Seminary, New York

Ÿ         [2] http://www.xenos.org/classes/otsurvey/othtm 4/25/2005 (see attached)

[3] Dr. Lonnie McLeod, New Testament, and Several other Courses Taken at U. Theology Seminary,New York, New York

[4] ibid

[5] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

[6] ibid

[7] ibid a founder of the Jesus Seminars

[8] Houston Smith, The World’s Religions, Our Great Wisdom Traditions, Harper San Francisco, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

[9] Huston Smith, The Religions of the World, Our Great Wisdom Tradition, Harper San Francisco, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers 10 East53rd Street, New York, NY10022, V111. Christianity

[10] Gnosticism, Montanism, challenged the church to define itself more clearly. Marcion was the son of a bishop. He was called the first born of Satan. He could not believe that the father of Jesus was the same God of the Old Testament. Professor Mickler Church History 1 Winter 2005,

[11] Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, Doubleday New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland. Interesting story about Jesus not dying on cross, but marrying and having a child. The story detains how the Catholic Church tries to kill all the descendants of Jesus in order to keep the male domination of the church. Entertainment but not religion

[12] http://www.church–history.com/

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