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Christ Circumcised: A Study in Early Christian History and Difference


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English | February 17th, 2012 | ISBN: 0812243978 | 327 Pages | PDF | 4.14 MB

In the first full-length study of the circumcision of Jesus, Andrew S. Jacobs turns to an unexpected symbol-the stereotypical mark of the Jewish covenant on the body of the Christian savior-to explore how and why we think about difference and identity in early Christianity.

Jacobs explores the subject of Christ's circumcision in texts dating from the first through seventh centuries of the Common Era. Using a diverse toolkit of approaches, including the psychoanalytic, postcolonial, and poststructuralist, he posits that while seeming to desire fixed borders and a clear distinction between self (Christian) and other (Jew, pagan, and heretic), early Christians consistently blurred and destabilized their own religious boundaries. He further argues that in this doubled approach to others, Christians mimicked the imperial discourse of the Roman Empire, which exerted its power through the management, not the erasure, of difference.

For Jacobs, the circumcision of Christ vividly illustrates a deep-seated Christian duality: the fear of and longing for an other, at once reviled and internalized. From his earliest appearance in the Gospel of Luke to the full-blown Feast of the Divine Circumcision in the medieval period, Christ circumcised represents a new way of imagining Christians and their creation of a new religious culture.
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xford University Press (2004) | English | ISBN 0195154665 | 390 pages | PDF | 3.65 MB Thinking about church architecture has come to an impasse. Reformers and traditionalists are talking past each other. Statements from both sides are often strident and dogmatic. In Theology in Stone, Richard Kieckhefer seeks to help both sides move beyond the standoff toward a fruitful conversation about houses of worship. Drawing on a wide range of historical examples with an eye to their contemporary relevance, he offers refreshing new ideas about the meanings and uses of church architecture. Kieckhefer begins with four chapters on the basic elements of church architecture-the overall arrangement of space, the use of an altar or pulpit as a centering focus, the aesthetics of church design, and the functions of sacred symbols. He goes on to offer three extended historical studies, dealing with churches of medieval England, revival-style churches of America, and modern churches of twentieth-century Germany. Drawing on these case studies, he concludes with a vision of a new theology of church architecture--historically grounded, yet framed for our own time. Examining church architecture from the third century to the twenty-first, Theology in Stone is a thoughtful, fresh, and informative work that addresses questions vital to the present while shedding a great deal of light on the past. The conception of church architecture that emerges is one that moves beyond the polemics of the "worship wars" to embrace the best of both the traditional and the modern.


Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? Paleographical dating has tended to downplay the Scrolls' importance and to distance them from the personages of earliest Christianity, but a carefully worked out theory based on radiocarbon dating and other tests connects Scroll allusions to personages and events in a specific time period and suggests a new view on how and why the Romans crucified Jesus. Part I of this study is an attempt to deal more realistically with the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls; very few scholars have ever examined the period from 37 BC to AD 71 as the possible setting for the scrolls. Nevertheless, everyone would admit the existence of scroll allusions that only have real relevance in this time period. Part II takes up Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity.

Admittedly, the explanation put forward in this work as to how and why the Romans crucified Jesus is a surprising one and we will not divulge it in this synopsis. However, the way the author sees it, if something like that explanation did not take place, then it is simply inexplicable why the Romans would have crucified Jesus - a peaceful teacher and healer - as a rebel. The only alternative would then have to be that the historical Jesus was really a political revolutionary who attempted in some way to free Israel from the Romans and become its King, a theory that has been offered in various forms beginning in the 18th century. But if he was indeed a rebel, then the later Christians, who strenuously strove to live at peace with Rome, must have been the actual creators of the pacifistic Jesus of the New Testament -- and these unique and time-honored teachings of peace, non-violence, and love were fabrications. That seems less credible than the compelling hypothesis proposed in this work.





Hephzi-Bah Publishing House | 1999-08-01 | ISBN: 8983140356 | 338 pages | PDF | 1,2 MB This is the first book in this age to preach the gospel of the baptism and the blood of Jesus as it is written in the Scriptures. The true gospel clearly tells us that He took away all our sins through His baptism and took over judgment for all our sins on the Cross. I am sure that there is no other book that preaches ‘the gospel of the water and the blood’ more clearly and faithfully than this one. The Samaritan woman who drank from the well of Jacob everyday couldn’t quench her spiritual thirst, but when she drank the water of life from Jesus, she earned salvation and thus, quenched her thirst immediately and forever. All of humankind must be born again. We have to be born again through our faiths, be redeemed from all our sins and become righteous. For only then can we enter the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible says, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). "To be born again of water and the Spirit" is the only way we can enter the eternal Kingdom of God. What, then, is this ‘water’ and ‘the Spirit’ that allows us to be born again? The ‘water’ in the Bible refers to ‘the baptism of Jesus.’ Why was Jesus, who is God, baptized by John the Baptist? Was it to show His humility? Was it to proclaim Himself the Messiah? No, it wasn’t. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist by means of ‘the laying on of hands’ (Leviticus 16:21), it was ‘one Man’s righteous act’ (Romans 5:18), which took away all the sins of humankind. In the Old Testament, God gave Israel the merciful law of redemption. This was so that on the Day of Atonement, all the sins of Israel for that year could be expiated through the High Priest, Aaron, by laying his hands on the head of the ‘scapegoat’ and passing all the sins onto that scapegoat. These were the words of revelation, which foretold the sacrifice of eternal atonement. It revealed the truth that all the sins of humanity would be passed onto Jesus all at once, who came in the flesh of a man, according to the will of the Father. And He was baptized by John the Baptist who was the descendant of Aaron and the representative of all humankind. When Jesus was baptized, He said to John, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). Here, ‘for thus’ means ‘by the laying on of hands,’ in order to pass all the sins of the world onto Jesus, so that all righteousness might be fulfilled for all of us. The word ‘righteousness’ is ‘dikaiosune’ in Greek, and its meaning is "the fairest state" or "to be just in character or deeds with the implication of being righteous or fitting." Jesus had fulfilled all righteousness for all people through His baptism in a just and fitting manner. Because Jesus took on all the sins of people through His baptism, the next day, John the Baptist testified, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) With all the sins of humankind on His shoulders, Jesus walked toward the Cross. He vicariously took the judgment for all the sins He had taken on Himself through His baptism. He died on the Cross, saying, "It is finished" (John 19:30). He took all our sins onto Himself and received the complete judgment for them in our place. This one book will surely quench your spiritual thirst forever and ever.

xford University Press (2008) | ISBN: 9780195306316 | 339 pages | English | PDF | 1.9 MB If sexuality is inherently social, the same thing can be said about celibacy. An understanding of celibacy, argues Carl Olson, can be a useful way to view the significance of the human body within a social context. The purpose of this book is to examine how the practice of celibacy differs cross-culturally as well as historically within a particular religious tradition. The essays (all previously unpublished) will demonstrate that celibacy is a complex religious phenomenon. The control of sexual desire can be used to divorce oneself from a basic human biological drive, to separate oneself from what is perceived as impure, or to distance oneself from a transient world. Within different religious traditions there can be found the practice of temporary celibacy, commitment to long-term permanent celibacy, and outright condemnations of it. By maintaining a state of virginity, members of some religious traditions imitate divine models; other traditions do not admit the possibility of emulating such paradigms. Whether or not a religious tradition encourages or discourages it, the practice of celibacy gives us insight into its worldview, social values, gender relations, ethics, religious roles, and understanding of the physical body. Celibacy can contribute to the creation of a certain status and play a role in the construction of identity, while serving as a source of charisma. In some religious traditions, it is possible to renounce sex and gain sacred status and economic support from society. Each essay in the collection will be written by an expert in a particular religious tradition. Each will address such questions as: Why do some members of a religious community decide to maintain a celibate style of religious life? Is celibacy a prerequisite for religious office or status? Are there different contexts within a given religious tradition for the practice of celibacy? What does the choice of celibacy tell us about the human body in a particular religious culture? What is the symbolic significance of celibacy? What is its connection to the acquisition of power? What are its physical or spiritual benefits? The first collection of its kind, this book will be a valuable resource for courses in world religions, as well as a contribution to our understanding of this very widespread but puzzling human phenomenon.

In the fall and winter of 1901-02, Rudolf Steiner gave a series of lectures on "Christianity as Mystical Fact" in the library belonging to Count and Countess Brockdorff, patrons of the German Theosophical Society. These lectures were then rewritten and issued in book form in the summer of 1902. They mark a watershed in the development of Western esotericism. As Steiner writes in his Autobiography. "My intention was not simply to present the mystical content of Christianity. Rather, my aim was to describe evolution from the ancient Mysteries to the Mystery of Golgotha in such a way as to reveal forces at work in this evolution that were not just earthy, historical forces, but spiritual, extra-earthly impulses. I wanted to show that the content presented in the ancient Mysteries took the form of ritualistic pictures of events occurring within the cosmos, events that were then transferred from the cosmos to the earth in the Mystery of Golgotha as a sense-perceptible fact accomplished on the plane of history". Christianity as Mystical Fact is a fundamental book, both in Steiner's own development and in the development of Western esotericism and our understanding of the Christ event. Here readers will find the evolutionary development from the ancient Mysteries through the great Greek philosophers to the events portrayed in the Gospels. This new edition, therefore, newly translated, edited, and introduced by Andrew Welburn, is a welcome addition to the "Classics in Anthroposophy" series.




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