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An essay donated by Tony Crosthwaite

Jesus versus Two Religious
Establishments: From Jew to Gentile

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Jesus versus Two Religious Establishments: From Jew to Gentile:

Christianity has Jewish roots that sprang out of Palestine, but church doctrine as we know it was developed by Gentiles that were from a non Jewish/Hebrew culture. The question is did the Gentile interpreters of the Jewish/Hebrew writings that comprise the Bible really understand this work.

Matthew’s gospel is scathing about the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus confronted. It accused them of conspiring to bring about the death of Jesus; it charged them with devouring widows’ houses and making a pretence of long prayer; it branded them as full of hypocrisy and the children of those who killed the prophets; it accused them of abiding by forms of the Law but neglecting the more important matters of justice, mercy and faith; etc. (See Chapters 23, 24, 26, 27)

Elsewhere I have described the motivation of this Jewish religious establishment in its confrontation with Jesus as follows:

Jesus’ clash with the religious establishment ended with his judicial murder. The establishment did not accept his claims. Had he been like them, they might have thought differently about him. But he was not like them. By destroying the man physically, the establishment proved they were right, or so they thought. 1

After the crucifixion, what Jesus had started was continued by his disciples. Their efforts were supplemented by the new convert Paul. This group’s personnel and background were thoroughly Jewish and their Centrex was Jerusalem.

However, circumstances shifted this new movement dramatically and quickly in all its aspects from a Jewish to a Gentile base. Factors at play included the destruction of Jerusalem and the missionary activities directed towards the Gentiles. After 100 CE the Jewish element in the development
of “christianity” is little more than a footnote in history, and often out of step with the developing mainstream.

We know from complaints in the New Testament that well before the end of the first century corruption of the apostles’ teaching had already started to occur.

The question to address is this. Did the Gentile mind understand and appreciate the New Testament message, or did it interpret the words through its own cultural prism and in doing this continue a process of corruption whose beginnings are referred to in the OT?

This question is just as important now as it was then, because the Churches of today are the inheritors of the interpretations formulated by the Gentile Church Fathers.

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From Jerusalem to the Roman Empire and beyond:

Culturally speaking the Roman Empire was divided into two halves. The east had a Greek heritage, a legacy of Alexander the Great’s exploits; the west was more influenced by the Latin’s. The Greeks were an imaginative lot and developed their own suite of gods to cover all situations, whereas the Latins, being of a practical disposition, simply copied many of the Greek gods and gave then different
names. The human and divine characteristics of these “gods” were so intermingled that it was not such a great leap to declare particular men of note gods, such as an emperor.

In the period following New Testament times, most of the development of what we call Christianity took place in the Greek east of the empire. There is no need to comment on the detail of the intellectual ferment of this period as factions went to war for their views, but it is relevant to note that the nature of the controversies might have appealed to the intellectual nature of the Greek mind but
bear little resemblance to anything that would have engaged the Hebrew mind.

In the 380's CE, Christianity became the State religion of the Roman Empire. By then it had come a long way from its humble beginnings which saw its founder put to death at the instigation of the local religious establishment.

The Church became an integral part of the Establishment, jostling with the secular arm for dominance. Often the two arms were the same anyway, princes of the kingdom also being bishops of the church. Power and privilege with arrogance and self righteousness flowed freely. The debasements to which the Church fell can hardly be detailed here, but for anyone interested the Donation of Constantine forgery, the Rule of the Courtesans in the Vatican, the Borgias, the Medicis, the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre, the Inquisition, and the 20th century slaughter by the Ustashi in Croatia provide but a few of numerous examples.

One wonders how this Church Establishment would have treated Jesus had he appeared in their time.

And one can only speculate if Matthew had been alive would he have spoken any more favorably of this Church Establishment than he did of the one that instigated the murder of Jesus?

And has the Church has been the guardian of the Truth or of fabrications about “God’s anointed”?

Curiously, checking the virgin birth claims against the Bible holds the answer to the last question. 2

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References used:

  1. "Does the Bible teach that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived?" — Post 432 at:
  2. See the articles under Doctrine of virgin birth at:

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Originally posted on 2010-NOV-17
Latest update on: 2010-NOV-17
Written by Tony Crosthwaite

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